Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Ecclesiasticus (Greek, the Church Book, from its frequent use in the services of the early Christian Church), the oldest of the Apocryphal books of the Old Testament [Apocrypha], and called by its author The Wisdom of Jesus the son of Siravh. From his preface we learn that it was written by one Jesus or Jeshua, in the Hebrew (probably not the Aramaic) language, and translated by his grandson, Jesus, the son of Sirncll, whose name it bears, "in the thirty-eighth year of Ptoleuiy Euergetes." This rendering, however, is disputed. There are two kings of this name; and it mentions, also, apparently as nearly contemporary, a certain Simon the High Priest, the son of Onius, who repaireel the fortifications of Jerusalem. But there are two kings and five high priests who bore the names. The Simon mentioned is identified with either tlee first (310-290) or the second (219-199 B.C.), and the Ptolemy Euergetes with Ptolemy Physkon, who reigned from 170 to 116 B.C. Thus the work may have been originally written either about 300 or 180 B.C. and translated at some time during the 2nd century B.C. In substance it is chiefly a collection of moral maxims, modelled on, and sometimes borrowed from, Solomon's Proverbs. In part they are groupeel by subjects, but the work was perhaps composed piecemeal and exhibits no very definite scheme. It opens with u noble exordium on the supreme wisdom of Goel and an exhortation to patience and trust, and contains descriptions of nature, and passages of very great beauty and eloquence in praise of famous men. (Sec chap. xlii. 89.) At the same time, the sayings are sometimes homely, and sometimes exhibit mere self-regarding, worldly wisdom. There is little or no trace of belief in Satan, of the hope of a Messiah or a resurrection, or of the doctrine of a future life. The work is of much importance as exhibiting Judaism in a stage hardly known otherwise: slightly touchetl by Greek thought, but little affected by Alexandrian influences, e.y. wistlom is not personified here as in the book bearing that name. The work is perhaps allueled to in the Epistle of St. Jeemes (i. 19; cf. Eeclus. v. 13). It is often quoted iei the Talmud and by Clement of Alexandria, and was held in high esteem by St. Augustine sis well as by the reformers of the liith century. At least two well-known hymns - Jesus, the very thought of Thee, and Now thank we all our God - are said to be derived from it, and it had a considerable influence on liturgical language of the early Church.