Das Verständnis des Todes bei Ben Sira


Abstract
On the background and within the framework of the traditional Israelite-Jewish anthropology Ben Sira advises his pupils and readers to accept death as a fate and to draw the consequences of the fact that human beings have no other life than the present one. For the Lord the shortness of human life gives reason for his mercy, if they return to his commands. On the other hand the way a man dies is a parameter for God's judgement. Apart from the fact that everybody is responsible for his fate the transitory character of life gives reason to enjoy oneself using his property for gifts to his friend and the embellishment of the own transitory days. But he should as well take care of his name, for a good name is just what may survive. In regard to the death of other people one should not withdraw from a dying, but after his death not lengthen the mourning for this would weaken himself whithout helping the dead one. This in the whole conservative outlook of Ben Sira protected him against philosophical and apocalpytic speculations, which he judged as devorced from reality. All what a humans may need for their life became revealed to them by the Lord. To act according to his commandments is better than to look out for fresh revelations. So we may understand Ben Sira as a representative of Judaism as a religion of reason in a transitional age, even if we would credit to his unnamed opponents that they had some idea about the transcendent mystery of life
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DOI 10.1515/nzst.43.2.175
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