Ben Sira in the Praise of the Fathers (Sir 44:1-50:21) speaks about Nehemiah, but does not mention Ezra. This peculiar omission has elicided a lively discussion concerning the reasons of this silence. The present paper presents the most important exegetical attempts to solve this problem. There are essentially two ways of approach to Ben Sira's omission: the fi rst one concentrates on the literary and historical motifs, the most important of which questions the historical character of Ezra. The second approach proposes to solve the problem by pointing to some theological motivations that might have caused the omission. One of the proposals sees a different conception of theocracy between the author of Ben Sira and the book of Ezra, where the latter is presented as an offi cer of Persian authority, and therefore responsible for foreign infl uence on Israel in Judea. This reason together with a different understanding of priesthood in these two texts have most probably led to the omission of any mention of Ezra in Ben Sira's book. The ultimate answer to that question, however, must remain hypothetical.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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