- General Questions
Hello Rabbi! I am not Jewish but my question is, do Jews today and even ancient Jews recognize what is called the "Apocryphal" books such as Tobit (Tobias) and Maccabees to be God-breathed scripture? And are they in the Jewish Bible?
No, they are not holy, were not written through prophecy, nor with a Godly spirit, and accordingly are not in the Jewish Bible, but are termed: "outside" books. Most of them were written extremely late by Jewish standards ("only" about 2,100 years ago), by Jews and were originally in Hebrew, and even contain some interesting historical facts (especially the first Book of Maccabees, which is documented as having been written in the "real time" of Chanuka). But because they are not in the Bible and relatively insignificant, they were mostly forgotten by us (except for "Ben-Sira"/Sirach whose wisdom is quoted in the Talmud), and were mainly preserved by the gentiles, in translation. Being that, in any event, the Christian Bibles are not the original, and the many different editions, which include a super-varied list of books (ranging in number from 66 to 81!!) and numerous translations (often mistaken), inevitably are a lot more "fluid", often adopting various "outside books", which were never considered holy, even in their own time by the Jews themselves. The intensive study of our original 24 holy books in the Written Law, has been the daily preoccupation of millions of religious Jews (the "People of the Book") for thousands of years, where every single letter is counted, and leaves no possibility whatsoever, for anyone at any time or place, to suggest a "varied edition", adding other, un-Godly, material or books, especially when we were spread throughout the world in many far-flung communities (who would not have heard of any such changes).