Reply To: Proof The Apocrypha Is Unbibilical And Historically Incorrec

Home Forums All Things Catholic Proof The Apocrypha Is Unbibilical And Historically Incorrec Reply To: Proof The Apocrypha Is Unbibilical And Historically Incorrec

#9380
Anonymous
Inactive

Based on the criteria you establish for Judith 1:7, you would also have to reject Genesis, as there are two stories of the Creation which give a different order of what happened on which day.

Catholics see the Bible as the story of our Salvation, from the Creation and Fall, through the revelation of God to Abram, who is renamed Abraham, the rise of Israel, Captivity and the ultimate fulfillment of the promise in the Advent of Jesus, His Incarnation, Life, Passion, Death, and Rising from the dead. We do not hold the Bible to be a Scientific Textbook or a History Textbook. If someone who transcribed the text erred, it is does not reflect the truths contained in it. Below is a discussion from another Board, (Catholic Answers) I have bolded it to designate it as the writing of someone else.

[b:3r7q2444]Judith is often charged with making historical errors, which raises the question: What style of literature is it? Is it meant to be an ordinary historical document or something else?

One of the most intriguing possibilities is that Judith is a roman ?† clef (a real historical person who is written about under alternate names). This literary form, in both the ancient and the modern world, has often been used when someone rich and powerful is being discussed. For example, the 1941 movie Citizen Kane is a roman ?† clef about newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, who recognized the unflattering portrait of himself in the movie and used his media empire in an (unsuccessful) attempt to squelch its box office success.

If Judith is a roman ?† clef, the original Jewish audience could have figured out the real names of its characters, just as filmgoers in ’41 figured out that the movie character Charles Foster Kane was really Hearst. Unfortunately, at this late date it is difficult for us to do so with the book of Judith.

It is also possible that Judith is an extended parable intended to teach that God will always deliver his people if they are faithful to him (this is the key lesson of the book even if it is not an extended parable).

Whether the book is a roman ?† clef or an extended parable, this must be communicated to the audience of the book in some way so that they would know they were not reading a piece of ordinary historical writing. If the audience could not have reasonably been expected to know that the work was not ordinary history, then the divine veracity or inspiration of the book could be called into question. It is no surprise then that we find clues in the work that would have told the original readers that it was either a roman ?† clef or an extended parable. It is these very clues that lead to the charge that Judith contains historical errors.

For example, in 1:1, Nebuchadnezzar is said to be the king of the Assyrians. “How can we take Judith seriously,” the opponent may ask, “when everybody knows that Nebuchadnezzar was king of the Babylonians, not the Assyrians?”

“That is precisely the point,” one may reply. “Everyone, and certainly every literate Jew of the period, knew which nation Nebuchadnezzar ruled. The reason he is presented as king of Assyria in the very first verse of the book is that the author wants to telegraph to his audience, right from the beginning, that they are not reading ordinary historical writing.”

Consider the situation: The book of Judith is about a devout woman named Judith, a name that means the Jewish woman or Lady Jew. She battles a general sent by Nebuchadnezzar the greatest individual who was an enemy of Israel. He is pictured as the leader of the Assyrians the nation that was the other great enemy of the people of Israel.

Let’s transpose this into a twentieth-century American context. Judith Lady Jew is a female personification of her nation, rather like Lady Liberty might be regarded today. Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest evil individual who fought the nation, would correspond in the twentieth century to someone like Adolph Hitler. The Assyrians, the other great enemy, would correspond to the Soviet Union (which, after the Nazis in World War II, was regarded later in the Cold War as the other great enemy of America).

Now suppose you picked up a book about a conflict between Lady Liberty and a general sent by Adolph Hitler, the premier of the Soviet Union. You would know instantly that what you were reading was not intended to be a historical account but a parable or at least a cloaked retelling of a historical event.

In the same way, any Jew in the ancient world who read Judith would have known instantly that he was reading a parabolic rather than a historical work. Every ancient Jew knew that Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Babylonians, not the Assyrians, just as every American today knows that Adolph Hitler was the chancellor of Germany, not the premier of the Soviet Union.

Thus the charge of historical error is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of the book’s genre. The supposed “errors” are actually cues to the ancient audience to tell them what kind of literature they were reading.

In addition to the charge of historical error, opponents of the deuterocanonicals also charge the character Judith with the moral fault that she lied to the general Holofernes (cf. 11:5–19) in order to kill him (cf. 13:8).

This is also easy to solve, since it is no different than the other instances in Scripture in which a woman lies in order to save lives. Examples include when the Hebrew midwives lie to Pharaoh to save the baby boys (cf. Ex. 1:15–21), when Rahab lies to save the Hebrew spies (cf. Josh. 2:1–14), or when Jael lies to Sisera in order to save the Israelites by nailing his head to the ground (cf. Judg. 4:17–22).

The same solutions that solve these problems in the protocanonical books will solve any parallels in the deuterocanonical books.[/b:3r7q2444]