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Citation for The Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books within Judaism

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"The Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books within Judaism." In The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Oxford Biblical Studies Online. Oct 26, 2020. <http://www.oxfordbiblicalcstudies.com/article/book/obso-9780195288803/obso-9780195288803-div1-955>.


"The Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books within Judaism." In The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Oxford Biblical Studies Online, http://www.oxfordbiblicalcstudies.com/article/book/obso-9780195288803/obso-9780195288803-div1-955 (accessed Oct 26, 2020).

The Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books within Judaism

All of the writings in the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books are Jewish in origin, but it is not clear that they were collected by any particular community of Jews. Some of them (for instance, Sirach) were quoted by rabbis, but for others no evidence exists that they were regarded as central to the Jewish community at any point. Some (Tobit, parts of Sirach, the Letter of Jeremiah, and Psalm 151) are among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and were therefore presumably of importance to the Essene community there, but whether or not they were considered canonical is not clear.

Nevertheless, influences from some of these works are apparent within Judaism. As mentioned above, rabbinic literature quotes and appropriates sayings from Sirach. The martyrdom of the woman and her seven sons (2 Macc 7.1–42; 4 Macc 8.3–18.24 ) is recounted in several places (Lam. Rab. 1.50 ; Git. 57b; Seder Eliyahu R. 29).

First and Second Maccabees (1 Macc 4.36–59; 2 Macc 10.1–8 ) provide the original accounts of the purification of the Temple in 164 BCE, which is commemorated in the festival of Hanukkah. The Talmudic legend (Shab. 21b) that oil in the Temple, though only enough for one day, nevertheless burned for eight—the supposed reason for the eight‐day length of the observance—is not found in the books of Maccabees. Judith was, during the Middle Ages, associated with Hanukkah as well, on the grounds that both had to do with rallying an oppressed Jewish population to overthrow a threatening or occupying power.

Both Tobit and 2 Esdras influenced later Jewish literature and were popular during the Middle Ages. Baruch may have been read in synagogues at one time (see Bar 1.14 ), and Baruch himself, and therefore his writing, were regarded in some rabbinic writings as sharing Jeremiah's prophetic status (Sifre Num. 78; Seder Olam R. 20; b. Bat. 14b; Jer. Sot. 9.12 ). Susanna's story is recounted in the Babylonian Talmud (b. San. 93a).

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