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Did the Jews ever accept the Deuterocanon?


Time and again I run across anti-Catholic websites that claim (erroneously) that the Jews never accepted the Deuterocanon, or the seven Old Testament books that Catholics and Orthodox Christians accept as Scripture, but Protestants reject as “Apocrypha” (Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees, as well as parts of Esther and Daniel).

On the contrary, one could appeal to New Testament evidence that Jesus, the Apostles, and the inspired authors of the New Testament did indeed accept the Deuterocanon as Scripture. But does extra-biblical evidence exist that points to the earliest Christians’ acceptance of these seven books?

One of the earliest pieces of evidence comes from a person who, despite his hostility toward Christianity, nevertheless attests to a few truths of the budding faith, including the acceptance of the Deuterocanon.

After the First Jewish Revolt (AD 66-73), the rabbinical school in Jamnia became the center for Jewish religious and political thought. The destruction of the Jerusalem Temple during the First Revolt left Judaism in a precarious position, since it was impossible for the Jews to follow all the cultic requirements of the Old Testament ceremonial law without the presence of the Temple. Two paths laid before the nation: either stage a second revolt and rebuild the Temple, or redefine Judaism from a cultic religion to a religion of the book. Rabbi Akiba be Joseph (A.D. 37-137), the head of the school during the first decades of the second Christian century, endorsed both paths.

Read more at the Michigan Catholic.

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