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Bibil Identifier bibil:212697
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) On Joshua in Pseudo-Sirach
Author Nissan, Ephraim
Journal Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha (Volume: 20, Issue: 3)
Year (Publication) 2011
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2011
Year (Copyright) 2011
Year (Reference) 2011
Language English
Pages 163-218 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract Pseudo-Sirach (or Pseudo-Ben Sira) is an early medieval Hebrew text which contains much homiletical material, but whose intent is more playful than genuinely exegetical. Eli Yassif has argued that this work originated in Caliphal Mesopotamia. Pseudo-Sirach is structured as a series of exchanges between the child prodigy Ben Sira (Jeremiah’s son), and King Nebuchadnezzar. Yassif’s argument that the Solomon and Sheba tales which underlie some of Pseudo-Sirach probably depend on a non-Jewish source is useful as we try to explain a puzzling short aetiological tale in this work. In this article, it is argued that in its form in Pseudo-Sirach the tale about Joshua’s bull-riding during the taking of Jericho, first, has been re-aetiologized: whereas Muslim tradition explains the Ephraimite Joshua’s association with the bull in a different way, the Jewish rationale for this motif occurs on account of tribal symbolism that links the bull to Joseph. Second, it is proposed that the motif of a bull-riding hero is likely derived from an Iranian myth in which King Ferêdûn is associated with cattle and bull-riding; it also reflects Islamic sources where it is connected to various biblical characters. Third, it is argued that a bull-riding hero against the backdrop of city walls, in a relief from the Capitoline Museums in Rome, is probably unrelated to Pseudo-Sirach; however, it is evidence of the occurrence of such a juxtaposition of motifs in international folklore. Finally, the tradition that the Abū Thōr neighbourhood in Jerusalem was named after a bull-riding man (a general of Saladin) is discussed. The toponym Abū Thōr is possibly correlated to the bull-riding Joshua. The tale behind the name of the neighbourhood is possibly reminiscent of one of the conflations between the Iranian Ferêdûn and Islamic traditions about a number of biblical characters.
DOI 10.1177/0951820710369415
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Bible (as a whole) : History of Interpretation and Reception
Thesaurus BiBIL : Milieu : Ancient Judaism : Important Persons and Movements : Middle Ages
Last modification 2017-10-27