Biblical Archaeology Review 22:5, September/October 1996

The Twins and the Scholar

How two Victorian sisters and a rabbi discovered the Hebrew text of Ben Sira

By Molly Dewsnap Meinhardt

This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most famous letters in the history of Biblical scholarship:

University Library, Cambridge
May 13, 1896

Dear Mrs. Lewis,

I think we have reason to congratulate ourselves. For the fragment I took with me represents a piece of the original Hebrew of Ecclesiasticus. It is the first time that such a thing was discovered. Please do not speak yet about the matter till to-morrow. I will come to you to-morrow about 11 p.m. and talk over the matter with you, and how to make it known.

In haste and great excitement

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