Reardon states that although it is found in every major extant Christian manuscript of the Old Testament, the later exclusion of the Wisdom of Sirach from the Protestant canon has made it one of the little-known gems of Holy Scripture. Composed in Hebrew and translated into Greek in the 2nd century before Christ, it is among the last books of the Old Testament. Sirach represents the more primitive and conservative aspect of Israel’s wisdom tradition—the practical application of the fear of God to daily life—but he enhances that tradition by a singular attention to biography and historical literature in the shaping of the soul.
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Patrick Henry Reardon is the pastor of All Saints Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and a senior editor at Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity. He was educated at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, St. Anselm’s College in Rome, the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, the University of Liverpool, and St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary. He is the author of several books and more than 500 articles, editorials, and reviews published in Books and Culture, Touchstone, The Scottish Journal of Theology, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Pro Ecclesia, St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, and other journals across three continents.