Friday, February 16, 2007

Ben Sira and Luke

Over on Scripta de Divinis, Tim Brookins has an introductory post on Ben Sira, including some NT parallels. One of the most remarkable parallels between Ben Sira and the NT is, I think, the Rich Fool parable in Luke:
Sirach 11.18-19 (RSV): [18] There is a man who is rich through his diligence and self-denial,
and this is the reward allotted to him:
[19] when he says, "I have found rest,
and now I shall enjoy my goods!"
he does not know how much time will pass
until he leaves them to others and dies.

Luke 12.15-21 (NASB): 12:15 Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." 16 And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive. 17 "And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ''What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?'' 18 "Then he said, ''This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 ''And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."' 20 "But God said to him, ''You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'' 21 "So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
The fact that this parable also appears in Thomas 63 raises some interesting questions about the relationship between Thomas, Luke and Ben Sira, but I don't have time to blog on them just now.

1 comment:

Judy Redman said...

Yes, Mark, this does have some very interesting implications in terms of the interaction between Jewish and Christian story-telling!

There is a similar set of parallels between Matt 13:44, GTh 109 and Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs IV:25 (parable of the treasure), although the Midrash is attributed to Simeon ben Yohai, one of the most important disciples of Akiva, so nowhere near as old as Ben Sira.