Streams to the Ocean of Wisdom

Reflections on Ben Sira 24

in European Judaism
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  • 1 Leo Baeck College, UK
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Abstract

The second of two short papers, this article responds to Bachmann, and focuses on the metaphor of water as a symbol of Wisdom in Ben Sira 24. Having enumerated six biblical rivers of wisdom, Ben Sira conceives himself as the seventh river, beginning as a tiny channel and swelling into a mighty river of instruction, eventually joining the sea of Wisdom. The symbolism looks back to the prophetic association of living waters with Messianic redemption, and forwards to the Rabbis’ use of water as a symbol of Torah, which they identify both with biblical Wisdom and with the divine Logos. Both Christian and Jewish traditions see the Logos, whether incarnate in Christ or embodied in the Torah, as the vehicle for God's purifying, redeeming activity. In both cases, the universal redemption flows from the particular.

Contributor Notes

Mark L. Solomon, BA (Hons), MA, is rabbi of the Edinburgh and Leicester Liberal Jewish Communities, senior lecturer in Rabbinic literature and Jewish philosophy at Leo Baeck College, and Rosh Beit Din and interfaith consultant for Liberal Judaism. He is a member of the organising team of the International Jewish Christian Bible Week.

European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe

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