I was recently advised that the Book of the Maccabee is Chitzoni and therefore forbidden. Does this mean that it should not be read at all or not read in a religous context? (example - reading for my own historic edification as opposed to trying to glean religous significance from it.) I was very interested in reading. Please advise. Thank you.
It is permitted to read outside of a religious context. This means knowing that it was not written like the Tanach through any level of prophecy or "ruach hakodesh", knowing it shouldn't be accepted as necessarily true, and recognizing that reading it has no intrinsic value except for the information gleaned (Ritba Bava Batra 98b; see also Talmudic Encyclopedia XV- "Chachmot Chitzoniyot).