Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Maccabee Books

Ok, can we settle this once and for all? If any of you  readers are aware of evidence that the Rabbis held a meeting and voted to exclude the Maccabee Books from the canon, please share it with us.

Because absent evidence to the contrary, I think its safe to follow the wise suggestion made by S. and Kosheracademic and presume that these books were never intended to be canonical scripture. In short, the fact that a book was accepted into the canon of others faiths is not, in of itself a proof, that it was formally rejected from our canon.  We know of many books that didn't make it into our canon, yet are quoted favorably by Chazal (Ben Sira, Book of the Wars of the Lord). There are also non-canonical books (Jubilees, Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs, and many more) that seem to have influenced the later development of aggadic interpretation, as recorded in books like Avot d'Rabbi Natan or Tanchuma.

Perhaps it would be correct to view the Maccabee Books simply as a non-canonical work, rather than as books that were officially and formally opposed by the Sages.

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