Canceling God: Hanukkah and Cancel Culture

 

Perhaps no other story so perfectly epitomizes the fight for freedom of worship than the story of Hanukkah. Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be underestimated.

The heroic efforts of the Jewish family known to us as the Maccabees literally saved the Temple in Jerusalem and the right of the Jewish people to worship their God. If not for the willingness of these warriors to stand against an evil tyrant, the circumstances would not have existed for a baby to be born in a stable to a devout Jewish family, circumcised on the eighth day as required by Torah law, and raised in a Torah-observant manner that qualified him to be the perfect sinless sacrifice for very sinful people.

The enemies of God, both spiritual and physical, know that God must be canceled and that the best way to accomplish this is to cancel His word, which is ultimate truth, and to cancel a people group dedicated to representing Him on this earth. The story of Hanukkah was not the first time that the enemies of God tried to cancel Him, and it is certainly not the last. We are living in a time when cancel culture has been intensifying exponentially. Make no mistake about it, cancel culture in the United States is not about canceling misogyny, racism, colonialism, homophobia, or even hate. It is about canceling God. 

The United States is the only nation in the history of the world that was founded on Judeo-Christian foundations — these foundations include the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They include freedom of speech, freedom to worship in the manner you see fit, freedom to defend yourself, limited government— basically most of what is set forth in our founding documents. Our founders turned to God’s word, both the older and the newer testaments when establishing our nation. We have been a nation that, up until very recently, has defined itself as a Judeo-Christian nation that worshipped the God of Israel. Any attempt to cancel the foundations that our nation was built on is an attempt to cancel God.  If we don’t recognize the ancient spiritual nature of our battle, we cannot fight it. I believe that in order to stand against these destructive spiritual forces, we can learn much from the powerful historical account of the story of Hanukkah. 

Much of what we know about Hanukkah is recorded in the writings of Flavius Josephus, a first-century Roman-Jewish historian.  As a thoughtful exercise in comparisons, I am going to use quotes from Josephus’ writings to identify themes of cancel culture that existed well over 2,000 years ago and still persist to this day. I have identified the quotes of Josephus by underlining them. By no means will I cover all of the points of similarity. I welcome readers’ feedback in identifying other relevant comparisons.   

The story of Hanukkah is set in 167 BCE after the death of Alexander the Great who conquered the lands of the kings of Media-Persia. He ruled the world for 12 years and upon his deathbed, he divided his kingdom among four of his generals. These generals and their descendants each ruled a part of the great Greek empire.

A descendant of one of these generals was named Antiochus Epiphanies, the King of Syria. The realm of this particular king included Judea– Israel. Interestingly, Antiochus Epiphanes is not an actual name. It is a title that means “God Manifested.” Keeping this title in mind is critical for understanding the goals and objectives of tyrants like Antiochus.

The goal of King Antiochus was not just military; his goal was also to conquer cultures–to impose the Greek culture upon all nations in his realm.  He wanted unity in his kingdom and required that everyone give up their traditions and adopt a Greek way of life. Many conquered nations fell in line with the Greek culture. Even in Judea, there were many Jews who wanted to adopt the Greek culture. 

Josephus: Thus, they desired his (The King’s ) permission to build them a Gymnasium at Jerusalem. (A Gymnasium was a place where people exercised naked.) And when he had given them leave, they also hid the circumcision of their genitals, that even when they were naked they might appear to be Greek. “Accordingly, they left off all the customs that belonged to their country and imitated the practices of the other nations. “

Many Jews were more than willing to assimilate into the Greek culture–even to the point of engaging in medical procedures to “hide” their circumcision. That was intense assimilation. There is no more effective way to cancel an entire culture, an entire people group, than through assimilation. It is generally much easier and less messy than physical force, although often when assimilation doesn’t work, physical force is used.  The history of the Jewish people is one of either persecution for remaining a separate and set apart people or “relative” peace by assimilating– getting swallowed up by their “host” nation.  

But remember, God called Israel to be a separate and holy nation unto Himself. In Hebrew, “holy” means “to be set apart.” Their set-apartness was part of God’s plan to redeem the entire world. They were not to assimilate. If they become just one of the other nations, it would be impossible for them to be a light to these nations. 

Similarly, we as God’s people are not to assimilate into the world. We are not to forsake our God-given “culture” in order to fit in with the rest of the world or even for the purpose of avoiding persecution. 

Today, we are facing these same pressures to assimilate. Adopting the behaviors of a dominant or coercive culture is not enough to satisfy its leaders. They must insist that everyone think and believe in the same way that they do too. King Antiochus could not afford to allow people to think in ways that threatened his authority and power– that threatened his position as God manifested. Our modern-day gods must also control the thoughts and minds of the people– censoring opposing opinions, or as we now call it — “fact-checking” those thoughts and ideas. 

Thought crimes have always been the target of tyrants. Today, it is not enough for us to accept the behavior of those who go against God’s natural design for men and women, we must now champion it. We are deemed racists if we believe that skin color alone does not determine if one is the oppressor or the oppressed. We are not even allowed to believe in natural immunity acquired by those who have had a virus and recovered. And most disturbing, we are called science deniers if we think that boys cannot magically become girls based on their personal desires. 

There’s another interesting part of the story as told by Josephus:

When the King and his army first came to Jerusalem, he took the city without fighting, those of his own party opening the gate to him.” And when he had gotten possession of Jerusalem, he killed many of the opposite party and plundered the city.

Cancel culture cannot exist without its adherents installed in places of power and influence “within the city.” Those of us labeled as conspiracy theorists call this phenomenon in the US the “deep state.” To the dismay of so many of us in America, we have discovered just how many leftist ideological soldiers have “opened the gate” to this cancel culture nonsense in our government, our schools, our medical profession, even in our houses of faith. We have discovered that these deeply entrenched soldiers of the totalitarian faith are the Trojan horse in our midst. 

Josephus: Then the King’s army left and came back two years later. This time when the king came up to Jerusalem, he pretended peace and by doing so got possession of the city by treachery. 

As Ronald Reagan once so brilliantly surmised: The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help. The entire Covid response has been one of treachery and deceit with the government and its proxies in the established media claiming the mantle of peace, health, wisdom, and ultimate truth. For those committed to the totalitarian faith,  deception serves a higher purpose; therefore, they “will not let a good crisis go to waste.” If it advances their cause to overlook the fact that the Covid “vaccines” do not actually keep people from getting or spreading the disease, this deception is valid and useful and not likely to ever go away. 

Josephus: At which time (after entering the city) he spared not so much as those that had admitted him into it.

Eventually, those who engage in treachery will turn on their own. I am amazed at how many white male CEOs have run to a podium to denounce other white males as racists just by their very existence of being white and male. These attempts to appease the woke mob will be supremely self-destructive in the end.

Josephus continues: On account of the riches that lay in the temple, led by his covetous inclinations (for he saw there was in it a great deal of gold and many ornaments that had been dedicated to it of very great value.) In order to plunder its wealth, he broke the league he made (with those of his party). 

Ahhhh……. Greed.  The root of all evil.  Who is making money or gaining power based on the creation or exploitation of a crisis– be it a racial crisis or a health crisis?  As our general population suffers, many well-positioned elites remain unscathed by their own policies. 

Josephus: So he left the temple bare and took away the golden candlesticks and the golden altar of incense and the table of showbread and the altar of burnt offering and did not abstain from even the veils which were made of fine linen and scarlet. He also emptied it of its secret treasures and left nothing at all remaining …He also burned down the finest buildings…

The goal of cancel culture is always “to leave nothing at all remaining.” No buildings, no businesses, no statues, no traditional institutions. 

Josephus: He compelled them to forsake the worship which they paid their own God and to adore those whom he took to be gods

Can anyone think of a self-declared god of science that we are all supposed to adore and obey?

Josephus: He appointed overseers who should compel them to do what he commanded.

Often the government either finds or compels others to do its dirty work. CEOs of major corporations come to mind, particularly media entities. 

Josephus: He forbade them to offer their daily sacrifices which they used to offer to according to the law….He made them build temples and idol altars in every city and village and offer swine upon them every day

The daily sacrifices of the Jews were part of their worship practices. Tyrants will quickly close down and prosecute religious worship, as we saw with the forced closing of churches and synagogues. Conveniently, pagan worship is encouraged as we learned that we could still purchase alcohol and marijuana, and we could all engage in the sacrament of abortion throughout the pandemic shutdowns. In the same way, false worship at the altar of CRT has been forced on thousands of employees during training classes at woke corporations.   

Josephus: He compelled them not to circumcise their sons and threatened to punish any that should be found to have transgressed his injunction.

In the case of Antiochus, he compelled the Jews not to engage in a physical procedure on their bodies. In the case of governments around the world in 2021, tyranny in the form of an invasive medical procedure is the modern practice of the day. 

Josephus:  And indeed many Jews there were who complied with the king’s commands, either voluntarily, or out of fear of the penalty that was pronounced 

Fear is the source of tyrannical control and the tool of cancel culture both in 167 BCE and in 2021. Fear is cultivated by tyrants and used to control the people. The good news is that tyranny and fear did not win in the Hanukkah story. The courage of just a few faithful and righteous followers of the God of Israel was enough to turn the tide then and it is enough to turn the tide now.

If you want to know the rest of the story and learn how these faithful few successfully defeated one of the greatest efforts in history to cancel God, I encourage you to read the account of Hanukkah in the writings of Josephus, which can be found online. Or you can search “Torah Talk Podcast” on all major podcast apps and listen to Cancelling God: What Hanukkah can teach us about cancel culture. 

And I look forward to hearing from you about other ideas that may have been sparked by the words of Josephus. 

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    This is a fascinating historical study, Kathy. It seems there is nothing new under the sun.

    • #1
  2. Kathy Mardirosian Coolidge
    Kathy Mardirosian
    @KathyMardirosian

    JoelB (View Comment):

    This is a fascinating historical study, Kathy. It seems there is nothing new under the sun.

    @joelb   What has been, it is what will be, And what has been done, it is what will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a case where one can say, “Look, this is new”? It has already existed in the ages before us.

    There is so much wisdom and warning in God’s word.

    • #2
  3. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Nice job cancelling “the Jews” and making it all about Jesus.  The Jews are still here, not some ancient people to be read of in history books.

    • #3
  4. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Nice job cancelling “the Jews” and making it all about Jesus. The Jews are still here, not some ancient people to be read of in history books.

    I don’t get it. This seems a bit of a straw man.

    • #4
  5. Kathy Mardirosian Coolidge
    Kathy Mardirosian
    @KathyMardirosian

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Nice job cancelling “the Jews” and making it all about Jesus. The Jews are still here, not some ancient people to be read of in history books.

    @caryn  It was certainly not my intent to cancel the Jews. I want very much for Christians to understand all that the Jewish people have suffered for the right to worship their God.  I celebrate that the Jews are “still here.” Their existence despite all efforts to wipe them out proves that there is a God of Israel. And this God is the same God that both Jews and Christians worship. I am not dismissing the shameless behavior of the church toward their brothers in faith throughout history, but I believe that there are many Christians who are waking up to the fact that we owe our faith to the righteous actions of the brave Maccabees and other faithful Jews throughout history. Am Yisrael Chai!!!! 

    • #5
  6. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    The Catholic Bible includes the I and II Book of Maccabees.

    • #6
  7. Kathy Mardirosian Coolidge
    Kathy Mardirosian
    @KathyMardirosian

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    The Catholic Bible includes the I and II Book of Maccabees.

    @dougwatt Yes, these 2 books in the Catholic Bible and the writings of Josephus provide two  historical “witnesses” to the Hanukkah story. 

    • #7
  8. Mad Gerald Lincoln
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Jesus is recorded as observing Hanukkah in John chapter 10:

     

    22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem;

    23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple area, in the portico of Solomon.

     

    • #8
  9. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    The Jewish scriptures were closed approximately 430 BC so the Maccabees would not have been mentioned.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your history lesson, and would like to have copies of it to pass out to everybody I know.

    I have the works of Josephus, translated by William Whiston, but would prefer to have a translation by someone else. Whiston adds and deletes at will.

     

    • #9
  10. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    The Jewish scriptures were closed approximately 430 BC so the Maccabees would not have been mentioned.

    There are reasons some of us don’t recognize the Apocrypha as Scripture.

    Not that it isn’t awesome, important, edifying, and pretty darn reliable.

    • #10
  11. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Kathy Mardirosian: If you want to know the rest of the story and learn how these faithful few successfully defeated one of the greatest efforts in history to cancel God, I encourage you to read the account of Hanukkah in the writings of Josephus, which can be found online. Or. . .

    . . . you can just pick up an unabridged (Catholic) Bible.

    While there’s a lot of truth and good comparative observations in this post, I think people might be misled about just how violent and self-sacrificial the Maccabean victory over tyranny was. We’re not going to beat back cancel culture without some massive personal sacrifices (maybe start by having mom quit work to stay home and raise the kids. . .). 

    But, I better stop there, lest I start a (new) religious war on Ricochet.

     

    • #11
  12. Mad Gerald Lincoln
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    I have the works of Josephus, translated by William Whiston, but would prefer to have a translation by someone else. Whiston adds and deletes at will.

     

    I also have the Whiston translation – is there another?  I’ve never heard that material was added or deleted.  Could you expand?  Examples?

    • #12
  13. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Nice job cancelling “the Jews” and making it all about Jesus. The Jews are still here, not some ancient people to be read of in history books.

    I didn’t get that message reading this post or the quotes. In fact, the opposite. Where do you site a canceling of the Jews? Personally, I think this post nails it. Many Christians and Jews have “assimilated” into the modern culture and all its decadence – greed – power – control. The Bible – both the Old and New Testaments tell the free choice that God gave us – and guidance. But we can’t worship God and man at the same time. Selfie anyone? We’re in a period of time in history where we’ll see evil increase, and God will allow it, but not indefinitely. It is a period of purification – whether we like it or not, we have to go through it. It is in His mercy that He hopes people will willingly turn back to Him.

    You can see what a vast spiritual void has done to the world.  Nature abhors a vacuum and it is being filled with the worst rubbish.  It is all about Jesus for Christians. 

    • #13
  14. Kathy Mardirosian Coolidge
    Kathy Mardirosian
    @KathyMardirosian

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    The Jewish scriptures were closed approximately 430 BC so the Maccabees would not have been mentioned.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your history lesson, and would like to have copies of it to pass out to everybody I know.

    I have the works of Josephus, translated by William Whiston, but would prefer to have a translation by someone else. Whiston adds and deletes at will.

     

    If you are interested in sharing this history lesson you may easily do so by sharing my podcast of the same title (or close to it). You can find it by searching “Torah Talk Podcast” on Apple, Google, Spotify or Edify podcast platforms.  

    • #14
  15. Kathy Mardirosian Coolidge
    Kathy Mardirosian
    @KathyMardirosian

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Kathy Mardirosian: If you want to know the rest of the story and learn how these faithful few successfully defeated one of the greatest efforts in history to cancel God, I encourage you to read the account of Hanukkah in the writings of Josephus, which can be found online. Or. . .

    . . . you can just pick up an unabridged (Catholic) Bible.

    While there’s a lot of truth and good comparative observations in this post, I think people might be misled about just how violent and self-sacrificial the Maccabean victory over tyranny was. We’re not going to beat back cancel culture without some massive personal sacrifices (maybe start by having mom quit work to stay home and raise the kids. . .).

    But, I better stop there, lest I start a (new) religious war on Ricochet.

     

    No battle, spiritual or physical, comes without great cost and sacrifice. We cannot expect to continue life as “usual” and expect anything to get better. 

    • #15
  16. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    The Jewish scriptures were closed approximately 430 BC so the Maccabees would not have been mentioned.

    There are reasons some of us don’t recognize the Apocrypha as Scripture.

    Not that it isn’t awesome, important, edifying, and pretty darn reliable.

    Their reliability is remarkable. 

    • #16
  17. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Kathy Mardirosian: Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be underestimated.

    What do you mean it’s not in the Bible?  It’s right there in mine, 1 and 2 Maccabbees.  

    • #17
  18. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Manny (View Comment):

    Kathy Mardirosian: Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be underestimated.

    What do you mean it’s not in the Bible? It’s right there in mine, 1 and 2 Maccabbees.

    It is not in the Bibles most Protestants use neither are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, the extended text of Daniel. 

    Personally, I think they should be. Reading the Apocrypha for the first time was an enlightening experience. Also, my fellow Protestants who have not would do well to read the early Christian texts such as the letters of Barnabas, Clement,  and Polycarp, as well as the Didache. They rip the skeptics’ “But they changed the text! We can’t really know what Jesus said!” arguments to shreds. 

     

    • #18
  19. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Kathy Mardirosian: Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be underestimated.

    What do you mean it’s not in the Bible? It’s right there in mine, 1 and 2 Maccabbees.

    It is not in the Bibles most Protestants use neither are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, the extended text of Daniel.

    Personally, I think they should be. Reading the Apocrypha for the first time was an enlightening experience. Also, my fellow Protestants who have not would do well to read the early Christian texts such as the letters of Barnabas, Clement, and Polycarp, as well as the Didache. They rip the skeptics’ “But they changed the text! We can’t really know what Jesus said!” arguments to shreds.

    And we read C. S. Lewis, who isn’t the Bible either. But the Apocrypha is probably wrong less often than Lewis–which isn’t much.

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Kathy Mardirosian: Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be underestimated.

    What do you mean it’s not in the Bible? It’s right there in mine, 1 and 2 Maccabbees.

    It is not in the Bibles most Protestants use neither are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, the extended text of Daniel.

    Personally, I think they should be. Reading the Apocrypha for the first time was an enlightening experience. Also, my fellow Protestants who have not would do well to read the early Christian texts such as the letters of Barnabas, Clement, and Polycarp, as well as the Didache. They rip the skeptics’ “But they changed the text! We can’t really know what Jesus said!” arguments to shreds.

    Do you believe the Bible is different from history or story books?  Do you believe it’s inspired and inerrant?

    • #20
  21. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Kathy Mardirosian: Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be underestimated.

    What do you mean it’s not in the Bible? It’s right there in mine, 1 and 2 Maccabbees.

    It is not in the Bibles most Protestants use neither are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, the extended text of Daniel.

    Personally, I think they should be. Reading the Apocrypha for the first time was an enlightening experience. Also, my fellow Protestants who have not would do well to read the early Christian texts such as the letters of Barnabas, Clement, and Polycarp, as well as the Didache. They rip the skeptics’ “But they changed the text! We can’t really know what Jesus said!” arguments to shreds.

    Do you believe the Bible is different from history or story books? Do you believe it’s inspired and inerrant?

    The Bible is inspired, inerrant, as well as a contextual history. The Bible is not a scientific document. There is some irony, and a symbiotic relationship between fundamentalists that affirm the Bible as a scientific document, and scientists who criticize the Bible as a scientific document.

    There is a danger in that one verse memorization of verses taken out of context leads to personal interpretation. Translation from Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, into local languages is at times paraphrase by necessity.

    • #21
  22. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Kathy Mardirosian: Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be underestimated.

    What do you mean it’s not in the Bible? It’s right there in mine, 1 and 2 Maccabbees.

    It is not in the Bibles most Protestants use neither are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, the extended text of Daniel.

    Personally, I think they should be. Reading the Apocrypha for the first time was an enlightening experience. Also, my fellow Protestants who have not would do well to read the early Christian texts such as the letters of Barnabas, Clement, and Polycarp, as well as the Didache. They rip the skeptics’ “But they changed the text! We can’t really know what Jesus said!” arguments to shreds.

    Do you believe the Bible is different from history or story books? Do you believe it’s inspired and inerrant?

    The Bible is inspired, inerrant, as well as a contextual history. The Bible is not a scientific document. There is some irony, and a symbiotic relationship between fundamentalists that affirm the Bible as a scientific document, and scientists who criticize the Bible as a scientific document.

    There is a danger in that one verse memorization of verses taken out of context leads to personal interpretation. Translation from Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, into local languages is at times paraphrase by necessity.

    I was really asking if the books listed above met the criteria for inclusion.

    • #22
  23. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Kathy Mardirosian: Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be underestimated.

    What do you mean it’s not in the Bible? It’s right there in mine, 1 and 2 Maccabbees.

    It is not in the Bibles most Protestants use neither are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, the extended text of Daniel.

    Personally, I think they should be. Reading the Deuterocanon Apocrypha for the first time was an enlightening experience. Also, my fellow Protestants who have not would do well to read the early Christian texts such as the letters of Barnabas, Clement, and Polycarp, as well as the Didache. They rip the skeptics’ “But they changed the text! We can’t really know what Jesus said!” arguments to shreds.

    FIFY.

     

    • #23
  24. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Kathy Mardirosian: Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be underestimated.

    What do you mean it’s not in the Bible? It’s right there in mine, 1 and 2 Maccabbees.

    It is not in the Bibles most Protestants use neither are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, the extended text of Daniel.

    Personally, I think they should be. Reading the Apocrypha for the first time was an enlightening experience. Also, my fellow Protestants who have not would do well to read the early Christian texts such as the letters of Barnabas, Clement, and Polycarp, as well as the Didache. They rip the skeptics’ “But they changed the text! We can’t really know what Jesus said!” arguments to shreds.

    Do you believe the Bible is different from history or story books? Do you believe it’s inspired and inerrant?

    The Bible is inspired, inerrant, as well as a contextual history. The Bible is not a scientific document. There is some irony, and a symbiotic relationship between fundamentalists that affirm the Bible as a scientific document, and scientists who criticize the Bible as a scientific document.

    There is a danger in that one verse memorization of verses taken out of context leads to personal interpretation. Translation from Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, into local languages is at times paraphrase by necessity.

    I was really asking if the books listed above met the criteria for inclusion.

    By what authority? The Bible doesn’t have a table of contents. . . 

    • #24
  25. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Kathy Mardirosian: Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be underestimated.

    What do you mean it’s not in the Bible? It’s right there in mine, 1 and 2 Maccabbees.

    It is not in the Bibles most Protestants use neither are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, the extended text of Daniel.

    Personally, I think they should be. Reading the Apocrypha for the first time was an enlightening experience. Also, my fellow Protestants who have not would do well to read the early Christian texts such as the letters of Barnabas, Clement, and Polycarp, as well as the Didache. They rip the skeptics’ “But they changed the text! We can’t really know what Jesus said!” arguments to shreds.

    Do you believe the Bible is different from history or story books? Do you believe it’s inspired and inerrant?

    The Bible is inspired, inerrant, as well as a contextual history. The Bible is not a scientific document. There is some irony, and a symbiotic relationship between fundamentalists that affirm the Bible as a scientific document, and scientists who criticize the Bible as a scientific document.

    There is a danger in that one verse memorization of verses taken out of context leads to personal interpretation. Translation from Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, into local languages is at times paraphrase by necessity.

    I was really asking if the books listed above met the criteria for inclusion.

    By what authority? The Bible doesn’t have a table of contents. . .

    Well, the books have to be inspired by God, don’t they?, in a way that Shakespeare is not.

    • #25
  26. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Kathy Mardirosian: Though celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries, this story cannot be found in our Bibles. In fact, it occurred in the years between the testaments, but its significance to both Jews and to Christians cannot be underestimated.

    What do you mean it’s not in the Bible? It’s right there in mine, 1 and 2 Maccabbees.

    It is not in the Bibles most Protestants use neither are Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, the extended text of Daniel.

    Personally, I think they should be. Reading the Apocrypha for the first time was an enlightening experience. Also, my fellow Protestants who have not would do well to read the early Christian texts such as the letters of Barnabas, Clement, and Polycarp, as well as the Didache. They rip the skeptics’ “But they changed the text! We can’t really know what Jesus said!” arguments to shreds.

    Oh I know. I was being tongue in cheek. They should be, especially since they were in the Septuagint, and therefore in the Church since the beginning. They were there for 1500 years until Luther decided to take them out. The common Protestant talking point is that Catholics put them, “added books to the Bible.”  That is a lie. The reality is that Protestants took them out.

    • #26
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Well, the books have to be inspired by God, don’t they?, in a way that Shakespeare is not

    Of course! The question is who (what institution, for example) gets to declare the books inspired or not? Do you personally decide for yourself, or is there a higher authority ordained by Jesus Christ to do such things? And how do you know? Catholics and a variety of flavors of Orthodox accept the Deuterocanon as the inspired word of God. Protestants abridged their Bibles after the Reformation, although they kept the Deuterocanon in the back of the King James Bible for a while. Just in case, I guess. 

    One of our apologists has written a book about the history of the canon, if you’re open to it. I haven’t read it, but Jimmy’s a trustworthy resource: The Bible is a Catholic Book

    • #27
  28. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Well, the books have to be inspired by God, don’t they?, in a way that Shakespeare is not

    Of course! The question is who (what institution, for example) gets to declare the books inspired or not? Do you personally decide for yourself, or is there a higher authority ordained by Jesus Christ to do such things? And how do you know? Catholics and a variety of flavors of Orthodox accept the Deuterocanon as the inspired word of God. Protestants abridged their Bibles after the Reformation, although they kept the Deuterocanon in the back of the King James Bible for a while. Just in case, I guess.

    One of our apologists has written a book about the history of the canon, if you’re open to it. I haven’t read it, but Jimmy’s a trustworthy resource: The Bible is a Catholic Book


    Western Chauvinist (View Comment)
    :

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Well, the books have to be inspired by God, don’t they?, in a way that Shakespeare is not

    Of course! The question is who (what institution, for example) gets to declare the books inspired or not? Do you personally decide for yourself, or is there a higher authority ordained by Jesus Christ to do such things? And how do you know? Catholics and a variety of flavors of Orthodox accept the Deuterocanon as the inspired word of God. Protestants abridged their Bibles after the Reformation, although they kept the Deuterocanon in the back of the King James Bible for a while. Just in case, I guess.

    One of our apologists has written a book about the history of the canon, if you’re open to it. I haven’t read it, but Jimmy’s a trustworthy resource: The Bible is a Catholic Book

    Well, in my view no institution should ever be empowered with spiritual things.  People should be, people of indisputable spiritual character and insight, but even then only under the unction of the Holy Spirit.  Even Peter was corrected by Paul about some fundamental issue, if I recall.  The reason I asked is that I would probably include the Book of Enoch, but the book itself specifically excludes that possibility.

    • #28
  29. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Reading through the comments it seems that most people don’t understand how the Bible cannon differences between Protestants and everyone else came about. Catholics are not the only Christian groups that contain what some call the deuterocanonical books. All Christians except most Protestants include them.

    What is counter-intuitive and I think confuses most people (and it confused me before I learned this) is that Christians actually had an Old Testament cannon before Judaism. There was no Jewish cannon before the second or third century AD. Notice “AD.” Back in the third century BC (notice “BC”) there was a large Jewish diaspora across the Greek speaking world, remnants of Alexander the Great’s empire. In time those Jews wanted a copy of the scriptures they could read in what had become their native Greek language. So across the Greek speaking world seventy rabbis translated as many of the scriptures as possible. This ultimately included the deuterocanonical books. But remember, there was no official Jewish list of Books that had to be included. That Greek translated Bible came to be known as the Septuagint, which stands for the number 70, which was the number of translators. 

    So by the time of Christ a couple of centuries later, the Greek speaking Jews used the Septuagint.  The New Testament authors all traced their quotes from the Septuagint.  When you see Christ quote from the OT in the NT, the phrasing is identifiable to the Septuagint.  Mark, Matthew, Luke and John had the Septuagint available as they constructed their Gospels.  Even in the Epistles, Paul and the other letter writers are quoting from the Septuagint.

    The Jewish cannon, known as the Tanakh, came about after the diaspora resulting from the destruction of the Temple and Israel in 70 AD by the Romans.  After a couple of hundred years, somewhere in the second or third century AD, they put together an official cannon, and it did not include the deuterocanonical books.  What I learned last week inclusion was based on whether those books were originally in Greek or Hebrew.  That was for Judaism to decide but all Christians at that point had already a cannon.

    continued…

    • #29
  30. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    …continued

    Now, come 1500 years later and Martin Luther in creating a Bible for his new church is faced with a problem.  If he includes the Maccabee books he is faced with the theological problem of praying for the dead. Here’s what 2 Mac 12:42-46 says:

    42 Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen.
    43 He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection in mind;
    44 for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.
    45 But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought.
    46 Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be absolved from their sin.

    Why is that important?  Luther fought the Catholic Church over Purgatory and praying for the dead.  He could not keep that in or he would have been slammed dunk proven wrong.  Notice what it says, there was a collection of money to be taken for prayers for the dead to Jerusalem.  That’s no different than Catholic prayers for the dead given in churches.  Not only that, it justifies the theological concept of purgatory.  If there is no purgatory, then there is no reason to pray for the dead.  Either you’re already in heaven, and so no prayers are needed, or you’re in hell and no prayers will help.  Indeed, I do not believe that Protestants are theologically supposed to pray for the dead.  So using the excuse that Judaism had excluded these books, Luther dropped them altogether.  But by doing so, he took out the link between quotes from the NT to the old.  But the deuterocanonical books (as well as praying for the dead and the notion of purgatory) were there from the first century.  

    • #30