Syndics of Cambridge University Library, OR. 1102

The Gibson-Lewis fragment. Named for the sisters who discovered it, this 11th-century copy of the Wisdom of Ben Sira 39:15–40:8 preserves the Hebrew text written around 180 B.C.E. by the Jewish scribe Yeshua ben Eleazar ben Sira. One of the longest Biblical or apocryphal books, the Wisdom of Ben Sira (also called Sirach and Ecclesiasticus) provides a guide to moral and ethical behavior. Quoting every book of the Bible except Daniel, Ben Sira uses rabbinical methods to turn Biblical passages into instructive lessons.

In this fragment, Ben Sira invites the faithful to “proclaim the greatness of [God’s name], give thanks and sing his praises” (Wisdom of Ben Sira 39:15).