Page 175 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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NEHEMIAH SON OF HACALIAH
LURIE / OU R LIBRARY OF LOST BOOKS
167
“The same things were reported in the writings and commen­
taries o f Nehemiah, and how he founding a library gathered
together the acts o f the kings and the prophets, and o f David,
and the epistles o f the kings concerning the holy gifts.” (II Mac­
cabees 2:13)
T h e se books m en t io n ed in II Maccabees have no t come down
to us.
I ESDRAS
T h e o rig ina l H eb rew tex t o f this book was lost and it rem a in ­
ed only in an incom p le te G reek trans la tion . Both the beg inn ing
an d en d o f the book a re incom p le te .6
BOOKS OF BEN LAANAH
“And those who have no share in the world to come . . . R.
Akiba says, also he who reads uncanonical books, such as the
books o f Ben Sira and the books o f Ben Laanah.” (jer. Talmud,
Sanhedrin
10:1, 28a)
T h e books o f Ben L aanah have no t come down to us, bu t
the book o f Ben Sira has survived . At first, we knew o f it
th ro u g h its G reek an d Latin trans la tions and la te r we recovered
some o rig ina l H eb rew fragm en ts from the Cairo Genizah. Some
years ago a large p a r t o f Ben Sira was found a t Masada and
this is the o ldest m anu sc r ip t o f the book, d a ting back app a ren tly
to the H a sm onean p e r iod . F rom the connec tion m ade by R.
Akiba we can d ed u c e th a t the reason fo r the ban on re ad ing
the book o f Ben Sira is the same as th a t fo r the Book o f Ben
Laanah . Ben Sira, an d ap p a ren t ly Ben Laanah as well, does
no t posit be lie f in th e re su r re c t io n o f the dead . T h is concep t
was still unknow n d u r in g his time, in the g en e ra tion p reced ing
the M accabean revolt, bu t it becam e a basic ten e t o f Jew ish belief
as a re su lt o f the in f luence o f the Pharisees a t the en d o f the
pe r iod o f H a sm onean ru le .
11
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6. Abraham Kahana,
Ha-Sefarim ha-Hitsonim
(The Extraneous Books), vol. I,
p. 576.