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What is the Jewish view on the Apocrypha?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus


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The Apocrypha refers to books that remained outside the biblical canon, such as the Book of Maccabees, which deals with the story of Chanukah, and The Book of Ben Sira, which is a collection of Proverbs.

These books were not written with Divine inspiration and according to some contain ideas that are antithetical to true Judaism. Judaism therefore does not encourage one to read them. However, they do contain valuable info and wisdom and according to some opinions may be consulted appropriately.

See Talmud Sanhedrin 100b regarding the “external books.”

(Obviously the Christian Apocrypha is treated like all other books of Chrisitanity.)

TAGS: Apocrypha


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Bit of info

Posted by: Moses on Apr 20, 2005

By the way the Christian King James Bible is a corrupt mistranslated version of the original. Most historians would agree with me. I think that the reason the Jewish people you know dont look at the Christian Bible is because they are aware that is false. For information on why Jews reject the so - called "complete" bible go to

Reading the Torah

Posted by: Daniel, Austin, TX on Nov 09, 2005


For any reading of the Torah it is extremely important to read it in Hebrew and with appropriate commentary, at the very least with Rashi. Reading the Torah translated and without commentary only gives you a very limited understanding of what the text is actually trying to say. If you don't know Hebrew studying with a learned jewish scholar or bochur is the next best thing.

Apocrypha and interesting discovery

Posted by: Anonymous, Tel-Aviv, Israel on Nov 19, 2005

This was new to me. I never actually asked about the Jewish position on the Apocrypha and didn't know that it's considered more by the Xtians.

Last year I participated a gorgeous Chanukah-party in Rome (btw organized by the Roman Chabad!) where lots of different wines and cheeses were served. I knew that the scriptural origin of Chanukah may be found in the Maccabeans' books but had no idea about a connection with the Book of Judith. The story happens at the same time with the Maccabeans' combat and the heroine Judith saves the inhabitants of the besieged city Bethulia: according to the legend the food ended and she gave them wines and aged cheeses for nutrition!

Strange that even in Israel just a few people know about this story!


Jewish Identity » Non-Jews » Other Religions - Missionaries

Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.
The Jewish Supreme Court. The court would convene in a designated chamber in the Holy Temple, and was comprised of 71 of the greatest scholars of the time. Continued after the destruction of the Temples, but was dissolved in the 5th century when due to Roman persecution the seat of Torah scholarship relocated from Israel to Babylon.
One of the 24 books of the Bible. A collection of moral writings authored by King Solomon.
The Maccabees (Hebrew: Makabim) were a Jewish family who fought against the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty in the story of Chanukah. The Maccabees founded the Hasmonean royal line and established Jewish independence in the land of Israel for about 100 years.