The Book of Judith


#1

I was searching online for some information on The Book of Judith and came across this website called gotQuestions?.org:

gotquestions.org/book-of-Judith.html

My questions are:

  1. Is it true or false that the early Christian Church (I'm assuming they mean Catholic) didn't believe that this book belonged in the canon of Scripture?

  2. Is it true or false that Nebuchadnezzar ruled over the Assyrian Empire from Nineveh? This site claims that he ruled over Babylonia and that Nebuchadnezzar's father destroyed Ninevheh years earlier making this story's history suspect?

Thank you.


#2

Jerome didn’t believe it belonged in the canon. And that it not historically accurate is also true. But Jerome and individuals do not determine canon.that is the church’s job.
The history is inaccurate. But Judith is not history nor is history the focus of any book ofnot scripture. Judith is a didactic novel. The "facts " are obviously screwed up. There would not be a Jew who wouldn’t know about the Assyrians (taking the 10 tribes of Israel away, hence the so called 'lost tribes ’ of Israel) in the 8th century Bc and the Babylonian exile (very much on their minds) that happened in the 6thcbc. The heroine’s name Judith means, literally "Jewess ". Judith is a warrior and has much in common with Jael the heroine in the book of Judges who slays Sisera, whom she seems obviously patterned after.


#3

I second julia's response, and point out that the critics in question may be misidentifying the genre of the book, which many commentaries cite as a parable. See this article for example and search for "Nebuchadnezzar." The lessons therein are theological. It would be kind of like how literary tradition has the story of the tortoise and the hare where the hare brags about how he will beat the tortoise and we know how the story ends up. The point of the story is to teach persistence. But some obtuse reader unaware of the literary genre might reject its truth because tortoises and hares can't talk. So for many of the theological truths rooted in the Judith account, it may be worth getting a Bible commentary on the matter, such as the Navarre or maybe Sacra Pagina.

In the Pontifical Biblical Commission's Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (1994), the matter of literary genres is addressed. For example is the following statement:When a text is metaphorical, its literal sense is not that which flows immediately from a word-to-word translation (e.g. "Let your loins be girt": Lk. 12:35), but that which corresponds to the metaphorical use of these terms ("Be ready for action"). **When it is a question of a story, the literal sense does not necessarily imply belief that the facts recounted actually took place, for a story need not belong to the genre of history but be instead a work of imaginative fiction.


#4

After the Council of Rome in 382 A.D. Jerome seems to have accepted the 7 deuterocanonical books and he quotes them as Scripture. It could be that Judith is written as a Novella told to illustrate truths about the way God works rather than recording straight history it might be a story teaching theological truths.

The Usccb website points out

"The author of the Book of Judith gives many clues that this story is beyond history. All the worst enemies of the people—the Assyrians of the eighth and seventh centuries, the sixth-century Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar—are rolled into one terror.''

The site you got your info from is a protestant site and is not very friendly or honest about the Catholic Church.


#5

The fourth pope, Clement, makes reference to Judith in his late-first-century Epistle to the Corinthians:

1Clem 55:4-5
The blessed Judith, when the city was beleaguered, asked of the
elders that she might be suffered to go forth into the camp of the
aliens.
So she exposed herself to peril and went forth for love of her
country and of her people which were beleaguered; and the Lord
delivered Holophernes into the hand of a woman.

He must have considered it Scripture or he wouldn’t have quoted it in his letter to the church at Corinth.


#6

[quote="boomerang, post:5, topic:322963"]
He must have considered it Scripture or he wouldn't have quoted it in his letter to the church at Corinth.

[/quote]

False.


#7

[quote="boomerang, post:5, topic:322963"]
The fourth pope, Clement, makes reference to Judith in his late-first-century Epistle to the Corinthians:

1Clem 55:4-5
The blessed Judith, when the city was beleaguered, asked of the
elders that she might be suffered to go forth into the camp of the
aliens.
So she exposed herself to peril and went forth for love of her
country and of her people which were beleaguered; and the Lord
delivered Holophernes into the hand of a woman.

He must have considered it Scripture or he wouldn't have quoted it in his letter to the church at Corinth.

[/quote]

Just like poems are inspired, fiction can be inspired. Scriptural writings do not have to be non -fiction to be inspired. That is very much western, modern thinking. Truths can be voiced in fiction just like lies can be voiced in non fiction.


#8

[quote="juliamajor, post:2, topic:322963"]
Jerome didn't believe it belonged in the canon. And that it not historically accurate is also true. But Jerome and individuals do not determine canon.that is the church's job.

[/quote]

Good point.

[quote="juliamajor, post:2, topic:322963"]

The history is inaccurate. But Judith is not history nor is history the focus of any book ofnot scripture. Judith is a didactic novel.

[/quote]

Thank you for pointing that out.

[quote="juliamajor, post:2, topic:322963"]
Judith is a warrior and has much in common with Jael the heroine in the book of Judges who slays Sisera, whom she seems obviously patterned after.

[/quote]

I recently became interested in reading about the heroines of the Old Testament, so I appreciate the mention of Jael in the book of Judges, otherwise she probably would have been overlooked.


#9

[quote="MarcoPolo, post:3, topic:322963"]
I second julia's response, and point out that the critics in question may be misidentifying the genre of the book, which many commentaries cite as a parable. See this article for example and search for "Nebuchadnezzar." The lessons therein are theological.

[/quote]

Thanks for the above link to the well written article titled, Why Do Catholics Have 7 Extra Books In Their Bibles? I liked that the writer of the article pointed out that if were going to dismiss books of the Bible because of factual errors, then we ought to dismiss the Gospel of Matthew which contains factual error about the mustard seed being the smallest of all the seeds, when its not. (The fact is that a black pepper seed was the smallest of all seeds at the time the Gospel of Matthew was written) and that its NOT the Holy Spirit who makes mistakes and errors in Sacred Scripture, but the error belongs to us who interpret Scripture. Praise God for the Magisterium of the Catholic Church!


#10

[quote="MarcoPolo, post:3, topic:322963"]
The point of the story is to teach persistence.

[/quote]

That is all I wanted to know when I started to read this book.


#11

[quote="Jerome81, post:4, topic:322963"]
The site you got your info from is a protestant site and is not very friendly or honest about the Catholic Church.

[/quote]

Yes it was unfriendly (I wonder how many of them are misinformed, ex-Catholics? Lets pray for the Holy Spirit to lead them to repentance and conversion!) and this link is much better:

Info on the Book of Judith:

newadvent.org/cathen/08554a.htm


#12

[quote="aemcpa, post:6, topic:322963"]
False.

[/quote]

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"....it is certain that the Fathers of the earliest times have reckoned Judith among the canonical books; thus St. Paul seems to quote the Greek text of Judith 8:14, in 1 Corinthians 2:10 (cf. also 1 Corinthians 10:10, with Judith 8:25). In the early Christian Church we find it **quoted as part of Scripture in the writing of St. Clement of Rome (First Epistle of the Corinthians, lv),* *Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian."


#13

[quote="boomerang, post:12, topic:322963"]
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"....it is certain that the Fathers of the earliest times have reckoned Judith among the canonical books; thus St. Paul seems to quote the Greek text of Judith 8:14, in 1 Corinthians 2:10 (cf. also 1 Corinthians 10:10, with Judith 8:25). In the early Christian Church we find it quoted as part of Scripture in the writing of St. Clement of Rome (First Epistle of the Corinthians, lv), Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian."

[/quote]

J
Ok. And? No one said Judith was not scripture or canon,but is it fiction or non fiction scripture/canon.
For if being non fiction is a criteria for canon we 'd have to get rid of the psalms, song of songs, Tobit, Esther and edit Jesus' parables.


#14

[quote="boomerang, post:12, topic:322963"]
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"....it is certain that the Fathers of the earliest times have reckoned Judith among the canonical books; thus St. Paul seems to quote the Greek text of Judith 8:14, in 1 Corinthians 2:10 (cf. also 1 Corinthians 10:10, with Judith 8:25). In the early Christian Church we find it quoted as part of Scripture in the writing of St. Clement of Rome (First Epistle of the Corinthians, lv), Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian."

[/quote]

That doesn't change the fact that the statement to which I replied was false.


#15

gotquestions.org is not a Catholic site. It is Baptist. The couple which runse the site out of Colorado Springs went to Calvary Bible College. No Catholic should be getting any information from this site.

From the site...

Even a cursory reading of the New Testament will reveal that the Catholic Church does not have its origin in the teachings of Jesus or His apostles.

They go on to say that Marian devotion is the absorbtion of the cult of the goddess Isis into Chritianity by Constantine, that the sacrificial meal is an absorbtion of Mithranism into Christianity, and basically that Constantine invented Catholicism.

No Catholic should be getting any information from this site.

Judith is a beatiful and strong woman of the Old Testamant who forshadows Mary. Judith cuts off the head of the enemy of Israel, just as it was prophsied that the daughter of Eve would do... strike at his head ... and which Mary would fulfill.

-Tim-


#16

[quote="aemcpa, post:14, topic:322963"]
That doesn't change the fact that the statement to which I replied was false.

[/quote]

I don't understand what you're saying. False?

  1. The OP asked if the early church considered Judith to be Scripture.
  2. I replied that it seems Clement thought it was Scripture.
  3. The Catholic Encyclopedia says Clement thought it was Scripture.

What exactly is false here? Could you be a little more clear?


#17

scripture is one thing ,Canon is another. all scripture is not Canon. judith is and was considered Canon. if it is didactic novel -it is still Canon. if it is non fiction-it’s still Cnon


#18

As to all such matters, here is a good article on the Deuterocanon: 5 myths about 7 books. It is good to remind those 66 book "scripture-disadvantaged" souls with whom we speak, and who question the Deuterocanon, that no book was considered for inclusioon in the canon if it had not been in use since the first days of the Church. All of the Deuterocanon, being OT books, were in use somewhere, since before Christ took flesh. Most were written within the two centuries leading up to Christ. To cover this scriptural lack in their 66 book bibles, Deutero-deniers have had to make up the "inter-testamental period" to explain why God was supposedly silent in that 400 year period leading up to Christ. Of course, this rather goes against our Lord's own words in Matthew 11:13 and Luke 16:16: "The law and the prophets prophesied up to John (Baptist)" I note that the "last prophet" in the 66 book bible does not claim to be the last prophet. Hmmmm....

As well, I highly recommend Inside the Bible by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J. It is a synopsis of each of the 73 books of the bible, containing that book's place in the bible, its date and author (if known), its theme, a summary, its theological content as well as an outline and a scriptural reflection taken ffrom the book. It is a very handy informational reference for personal use or when dealing with bible types who really do not know the bible.


#19

[quote="po18guy, post:18, topic:322963"]
As to all such matters, here is a good article on the Deuterocanon: 5 myths about 7 books. It is good to remind those 66 book "scripture-disadvantaged" souls with whom we speak, and who question the Deuterocanon, that no book was considered for inclusioon in the canon if it had not been in use since the first days of the Church. All of the Deuterocanon, being OT books, were in use somewhere, since before Christ took flesh. Most were written within the two centuries leading up to Christ. To cover this scriptural lack in their 66 book bibles, Deutero-deniers have had to make up the "inter-testamental period" to explain why God was supposedly silent in that 400 year period leading up to Christ. Of course, this rather goes against our Lord's own words in Matthew 11:13 and Luke 16:16: "The law and the prophets prophesied up to John (Baptist)" I note that the "last prophet" in the 66 book bible does not claim to be the last prophet. Hmmmm....

As well, I highly recommend Inside the Bible by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J. It is a synopsis of each of the 73 books of the bible, containing that book's place in the bible, its date and author (if known), its theme, a summary, its theological content as well as an outline and a scriptural reflection taken ffrom the book. It is a very handy informational reference for personal use or when dealing with bible types who really do not know the bible.

[/quote]

Thank you for recommending Insided the Bible by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.

ignatius.com/Products/IBIB-P/inside-the-bible.aspx

I just ordered it.

I have one more question about the Book of Judith:

I have read part I of Judith (completed end of chapter 7). I am also reading a book titled, Pray, Hope and Don' Worry by Diane Allen and at the end of each chapter, Scripture verse is quoted.

The book quotes Judith 13:25, "The trust you have shown shall not pass from the memories of men, but shall ever remind them of the power of God."

Yet, my NAB ends with verse 20. The above titled book does not cite the translation. I thought it was a beautiful verse but why is it not in my NAB. Do you know what translation it is taken from and why is it not in my NAB? Thank you all for your patience with me.


#20

It's the Douay Rheims


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