Regarding Sirach (Primarily for Fellow Catholics, but Everybody's Welcome)

Pax Christi Everybody,

I’ve been reading Ecclesiasticus lately, and I came upon a chapter that gave me some pause: 25. It primarily talks about people worthy of praise, which then segways into people who aren’t, being in this chapter bad wives.

Now I think we can all agree that bad wives are, like bad husbands, unpleasant people to be around (and Ecclesiasticus would certainly agree), but there’s some stuff that’s said that makes me a little uneasy, like “worst of all evils is a woman,” or “The man is a slave, in disgrace and shame, when a wife supports her husband”, or especially “In woman’s was sin’s beginning, and because of her we all die.”

Already I feel as if the first statement shouldn’t be taken to mean that women are completely evil; if that were true, wisdom would not be personified as such an intelligent and remarkable woman, and the whole of the passage is in regards to awful wives and how they can ruin a man like a cracked foundation topples a house, but I’m not sure how 2 and 3 are supposed to be taken. I guess 3 should be taken as an example of 1, but I don’t know what Ecclesiasticus meant by 2.

Your thoughts?

Sounds apocryphal to me. ; - )

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Looking at how primitive morality is now, let alone then, how can anyone doubt that it’s evolved?

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I guess if casual observations about the proper way to treat one’s slave are par for the course then I’m not surprised if women receive similar treatment. The shocking thing would be if any believers who recognize the utter unacceptability of owning slaves still sanctioned diminished responsibility and opportunities for women. Thank God we’ve moved on from such dark times.

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