Notes by Autumn Light

On Hebrew, English, translation, editing, and more—by Jonathan Orr-Stav

How do Jewish people regard the Deuterocanonical books?

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Judith Beheading Holofernes (by Caravaggio)

I can’t speak for “Jewish people”, who vary across the globe in their knowledge of Hebrew and of the Scriptures, but in Israel the deuterocanonical books (known in Hebrew as sfarim ḥitzoni’im – “External books”) are almost entirely unknown—even by name—by the general secular public (with the possible exception of the Book of Judith), and known about but excoriated by Orthodox Jews.

Tragically, because these books were not included in the biblical canon, the original Hebrew versions have, in most cases, been lost, and they are known to us only in their Greek translation.


(Originally written in reply to a question at


Author: יונתן אור-סתיו | Jonathan Orr-Stav

Hebrew-English translator, editor, author. מתרגם עברית–אנגלית, עורך באנגלית, וסופר.

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