present in Sirach.173 He is a self-conscious heir to the sages who stand behind Proverbs.
All this does not mean that Sirach is simply redundant compared with Proverbs. There are clear signs that he stands at a later, more sophisticated place in the wisdom tradition's history. Not the least of these signs is the self-identification and attribution of the book.
Instruction in understanding and knowledge I have written in this book, Jesus the son of Sirach, son of Eleazar, of Jerusalem, who out of his heart poured forth wisdom. Sirach 50:27
Sirach's more abundant use of the longer didactic poems (which appear to be his favorite medium)also indicate a development beyond earlier sages. Even when he uses inde- pendent sayings, they are much more likely to be arranged topically rather then being scattered throughout the book as in Proverbs.174 In comparison with Proverbs, Sirach shows a development toward schematization and a desire to cover all the bases on a certain topic. Other signs of Sirach's development include his survey of Israel's history
173 174 Cf. Sir. 24:30-34; 51:13-30. For example, 14:3-10 is a series of seven sayings (vv. 3, 4, 5, 6-7, 8, 9, 10) each one of which could stand independently with complete clarity. They are found together because they all deal with the topic of the miser. In Proverbs seven sayings dealing with miserliness would more likely be found in seven different places.