My Second Book Of Bible Stories

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It was there that the contents of the canon of the Hebrew Bible may have been discussed and formally accepted. However, this is a scholarly proposition that has lost adherents in recent years.

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Be that as it may, some of the debates surrounding these discussions—whenever and wherever they may have taken place—do appear in rabbinic literature, although we have no complete surviving record of these debates. Therefore, we can only speculate on why some materials were excluded from our canon and others included. In spite of the fact that various non-canonical writings did not make it into the Jewish canon, they nonetheless contain much of value and are worthy of study, even if the rabbis did not consider them to be divinely inspired or as holy as the Bible.

Many of these writings appear in a category of documents known as the Apocrypha. The apocryphal writings contain books that existed at the putative time of Jamnia, but for whatever reason were not included in the biblical canon. It is in this category that we find the books of the Maccabees.

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There are various theories to explain the exclusion of the apocryphal books. One theory is that only books written originally in Hebrew were considered for inclusion in the canon.


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However, the Book of Daniel , although included within the canon, is to a large extent written in Aramaic. Even more problematic is the fact that scholars believe that the First Book of Maccabees was indeed written originally in Hebrew, therefore meeting the language criterion for inclusion—and yet it is absent from the biblical canon. Another theory to explain the omission of the first two Books of Maccabees is based on the dating of these documents.

Although it is often assumed that the biblical canon was formalized at Jamnia, there is some speculation that the accepted list of books was in existence long before. In other words, perhaps the gathering of rabbis at Jamnia inherited a list of documents already unofficially recognized as canonical and simply formalized this list. If this is true, the relatively late date of the Maccabean revolt would preclude its inclusion in an already accepted previous list.

This theory, however, is severely weakened through a comparison with the Book of Daniel, since Daniel is included within the biblical canon in spite of the fact that most scholars date the latter book to the time of the Maccabean revolt around B. It has also been suggested that the exclusion of the Books of the Maccabees can be traced to the political rivalry that existed during the late Second Temple Period between the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The Sadducees, a priestly class in charge of the Temple, openly rejected the oral interpretations that the Pharisees, the proto-rabbinic class, openly promoted.


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The Maccabees were a priestly family, while the rabbis who may have determined the final form of the biblical canon at Jamnia were descended from the Pharisees. Is it possible that the exclusion of the Books of Maccabees was one of the last salvos in the battle between the Pharisees and Sadducees?

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Would the rabbis at Jamnia have been inclined to canonize a document that so clearly praised the priestly Hasmonean family? Perhaps the answer lies more within the realm of pragmatism and politics. A couple of centuries later, Jewish scholars found themselves in Jamnia with the Temple destroyed and Jerusalem lost. Their circumstances were the result of their own failed revolt against the Romans. Perhaps they felt it unwise to promote a text that heralded the successful outcome of a Jewish revolt.

The book is, essentially, a combined reprint of earlier works. The first half, Lost Books of the Bible , is an unimproved reprint of a book published by William Hone in , titled The Apocryphal New Testament , itself a reprint of a translation of the Apostolic Fathers done in by William Wake , who later became the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a smattering of medieval embellishments on the New Testament, from a book by Jeremiah Jones , posthumously published in In the three centuries since these were originally published, a great deal more is known about the Apostolic Fathers including a good deal of the original text that was not available in and New Testament apocrypha.

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The second half of the book, The Forgotten Books of Eden , includes a translation originally published in of the "First and Second Books of Adam and Eve", translated first from ancient Ethiopic to German by Ernest Trumpp and then into English by Solomon Caesar Malan , and a number of items of Old Testament pseudepigrapha, such as reprinted in the second volume of R. More modern translations of these works include J. Charlesworth , ed. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha ; W. Schneemelcher , ed.

New Testament Apocrypha ; and M.

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James , The Apocryphal New Testament. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article includes a list of references , related reading or external links , but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations.

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