What's Mi Yodeya's stance on questions concerning Jewish apocryphal texts? There's one that was asked earlier, and I saw that it was flagged by a number of people as "comparative religion", though I'm not entirely sure why.

On the other hand, there are a few apocryphal questions that were well or fairly-well-received, but it seems generally because they are asking about traditional/Orthodox concepts referred to in these books or traditional/Orthodox stances on these books.

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    Here's a previous proposal that touches on this question. I personally don't know enough about the status of apocrypha in Judaism to feel comfortable advancing an opinion about this, and I suspect the same is true of many other Yodeyans. I would encourage anyone who does have familiarity with this niche topic (including you, Harel13?) to post an answer here, making a case one way or the other.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 14:27
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    @IsaacMoses Instead of having the discussion in Meta of the status of apocrypha in Judaism, perhaps we should have a main site question for that, and then have the Meta discussion use that as the springboard.
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 20:05

1 Answer 1


Propose something similar to what Isaac linked: does it somehow connect to something canonical in today's Judaism? Shed any light?

The question as mentioned quotes something from the Apocrypha in reference to a long piece by about "Ordination In the Old Testament” by Afolarin Olutunde Ojewole, Ph.D. So it's a non-Jew proposing a theory about "Old Testament" -- which may have its own Christological undertones -- and then comparing said theory to Apocrypha. I'm not necessarily seeing any connection here to something canonically Jewish.

Contrast that with a question like: how does the Talmud view Jeremiah's student Baruch, as he appears to have not gotten his own book other than the Apocrypha?, or Rabbi Dr. Leiman discussing eidim zomemim not following Talmudic procedure in the book of Sussanah. There's some kind of nexus to mainstream Judaism there.

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    So, you're saying (and I agree with you that b_a implied in the answer I linked) that an apocryphum such as "Testament of Moses" is not, by itself, part of Judaism? As far as I'm concerned, that's the key question here.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 18:51
  • @IsaacMoses not unless you can tie it in to mainstream canon. I'd even be okay with "apocryphum says the Jews did XYZ, is that halacha today" or something like that.
    – Shalom
    Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 20:16
  • @IsaacMoses For the record, that's not what I meant to imply. The "insofar as they relate to Judaism" isn't "mainstream Judaism," but the religion thereof, some form of Judaism (to use the name broadly). The relation to Judaism was meant only to rule out "favorite flavor of ice cream" type questions about non-Judaism related things in apocryphal texts. In this case, a question about how Jews understood a biblical term for ordination and its application to angels meets at least (my interpretation of) my own criteria.
    – b a
    Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 17:41
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    What's canonically jewish? If I'm reading Maccabees on Chanauka and have trouble understanding a passage, can I ask about it?
    – Double AA Mod
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 0:37
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    I suppose I get what you mean, but in this sense there's no difference between apocrypha and other books, let's say Winnie-the-Pooh. It's not necessarily a problem, but we should make it explicit. Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 7:19
  • Why couldn't such books be related to heterodoxy questions?
    – Harel13
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 17:36

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