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Topic: Apocrypha, Definition

Will Sleever wrote:

I read through several areas of the origins of Chanukah. There was also reference to the books of Maccabees and Judith. Are these considered false history or true history? I am aware that various peoples like to trace their history to your civilization. I am aware that other religions have Maccabees I and II and Judith in their writings. In your opinion are these events portrayed in these books false or true or mixed?

Dear Will Sleever,

These books and others like them are part of what is known as the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha are not considered holy, inspired or prophetically written. Therefore, they are not necessarily historically accurate. The Book of Maccabees describes events already discussed in the Talmud and hence is generally considered more accurate than the other books of the apocrypha. Another account is the Scroll of Antiochus, which is printed in the Siddur Otzar Hatefillot. Some communities used to read the Scroll of Antiochus during Chanukah on Shabbat afternoon.

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