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Ritual in the Old Testament Apocrypha

RITUAL IN THE OLD TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA

DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION

James R. Davila

St. Mary's College

University of St. Andrews

paleojudaica.blogspot.com

(c) 2004

Symposium on Anthropology and the Old Testament

Glasgow, 27 August 2004

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Recent decades have seen the emergence of "ritual studies" as a field in its own right, one pursued with increasing methodological sophistication and applied not only in the social sciences but also in the humanities.  This paper is one segment of a larger project to explore the place of ritual in ancient Jewish literature that was transmitted by Christians but dropped by Jews.  The larger corpus includes the works of Philo and Josephus; the Jewish Pseudepigrapha (covered in a symposium paper last year); and the Old Testament Apocrypha.  The purpose of this paper is to apply methods and insights from ritual studies to further our understanding of the last group, the Old Testament Apocrypha.

            The Old Testament Apocrypha consist of a collection of Hellenistic works, including books on scriptural or Jewish themes (1 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, the Wisdom of Solomon, Ben Sira, Baruch, the Epistle of Jeremiah, 1-2 Maccabees) and a number of supplements to books of the Hebrew Bible (Additions to Esther, the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Hebrew Youths, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151).  They are generally agreed to be Jewish works, most of them supposedly composed in a Semitic language (Hebrew or Aramaic).  Much of Ben Sira survives in Hebrew and some of Tobit in Aramaic, but the Apocrypha are preserved in their entirety only in other languages such as Greek, Syriac, and Latin.  In at least two cases (Wisdom of Solomon and 2 Maccabees), and probably in others (e.g., Baruch), they were composed in Greek.  Although the Apocrypha were rejected as scripture by Jerome and some other early church fathers, they were eventually transmitted as part of the Latin Vulgate, as well as part of the Greek Bible, and most of them became canonical in both the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.  They thus form an ancient collection of allegedly Jewish works which Christians knew Jews to have rejected, but which nevertheless held scriptural authority for many early Christians and which eventually became authoritative in most of Christendom until the Protestant Reformation, when the Reformers removed them from their biblical canon. 

            For the purposes of this paper I follow Evan M. Zuesse's definition of "ritual," as "those conscious and voluntary, repetitious and stylized symbolic bodily actions that are centered on cosmic structures and/or sacred presences."  Analysis of the rituals in the Old Testament Apocrypha presents its own set of challenges that arise from the nature of the corpus.  Many of these are similar to those associated with the Jewish Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, but they are not quite identical.  Many of the Apocrypha describe rituals, but they rarely give ritual instructions that the readers are actually expected to follow.  Also, these narratives are sometimes retellings of biblical stories and repeat descriptions of rituals that may have had nothing to do with the ritual life of the author of the work.  In order to take account of and minimize these difficulties I will approach the texts with the following methodological principles.  First, greatest weight will be given to descriptions of rituals that are actually prescribed for the reader or presented in contexts that we now judge likely to be more or less historical, such as the events in 1-2 Maccabees.  We can reasonably assume that these either formed part of the writer's ritual repertoire or that at least the writer found such rituals plausible as contemporary practice.  Fortunately, many of the rituals in the Apocrypha come under these categories.  Second, we can usually assume that rituals in patently legendary stories outside scripture, such as Judith, would have at least been plausible to a contemporary audience and within the possible range of Jewish praxis.  Third, descriptions of rituals derived from biblical stories will be noted but not taken into account in my analysis unless I find special reasons to do so.  Nonscriptural details in the retelling of a biblical story are potentially relevant for the second point above.  Fourth, allusions to idolatrous cults will be noted but not taken into account unless they tell us something particularly interesting.  Fifth, for an event in a narrative to qualify as a ritual it must implicitly or, preferably, explicitly involve physical action of some sort.  Taboos such as laws about clean and unclean foods or mentions of nonritual religious requirements such as tithing will not be taken into account, although, for example, rites for purification from contact with unclean foods will be.  Likewise descriptions of experiences do not count as rituals unless the experience is generated by deliberate actions:  visions and dreams are not rituals unless explicitly preceded by vision quests or incubations.  Sixth, these actions should be presented as things that are repeated in their proper social and sacral contexts:  feasts in honour of specific events or seasons are included but not feasts merely for the sake of feasting.  Assemblies with ritual import are included but not necessarily every assembly.  In other words, ritual activities are distinguished from ritual-like activities and only the former are taken into account.  Distinguishing the two can, naturally, be a subjective process.

The ritual data extracted from the Old Testament Apocrypha will be categorized and analyzed according to the typology set forth by Bell, nuanced at times by the earlier typology of Ronald L. Grimes.  Bell uses the following six "genres" or categories:

1.  Rites of Passage are, most basically, rites of birth, coming of age, marriage, and death.  But these may be supplemented by any number of additional rites, such as those in the seven Christian sacraments.

2.  Calendrical Rites are ritual observances of seasonal changes or commemorations of important historical events.

3.  Rites of Exchange and Communion include various kinds of offerings to a deity, sacrifices (involving destruction of the offering and perhaps some type of communal consumption), prayer, incantation, divination, consultation of oracles, incubation, and fertility rites.  These rites operate on a continuum between quid-pro-quo exchanges for benefits (material gains, atonement, spiritual advances, etc.) and nearly disinterested communion and devotion to the divine.

4.  Rites of Affliction have the purpose of mitigating the influence of negative forces such as demonic spirits, sins, karma, and impurity.  They include rituals of healing, exorcism, purification, and self-afflicting and purificatory preparation for encounters with the divine (such as voluntary trance and possession, and vision quest) as well as oaths and curses intended to mobilize negative forces against oath breakers or enemies, and executions of malefactors to purify the community.

5.  Feasting, Fasting, and Festivals are cultural performances expressing commitment to the religion, society, community, etc.  These include lamentations, processions, games and contests, pilgrimages, and carnivals and rituals of reversal.

6.  Political Rites display and promote the power of political institutions, using symbolic representation to make these institutions a part of the order of things.  They include royal rites, enthronement rituals, legal ceremonies, ceremonies of warfare, and ritual dramas with a political end.

Even given the comprehensiveness and flexibility of this typology, it is not always easy to categorize a ritual and, in some cases, a ritual may fit into more than one category.  But these categories are heuristically useful and will guide my analysis.  I will consider each book of the Apocrypha in alphabetical order by personal name in the title, followed by the short works and additions to biblical books presented in alphabetical order according to the same principle.

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SYNTHESIS

The general picture of ritual in the Old Testament Apocrypha is as follows.

            Rites of Passage .  Weddings are mentioned in Baruch, 1 Maccabees, Ben Sira, and Tobit.  Tobit actually describes a wedding ceremony in some detail:  the father gives the bride to the groom and blesses them, the men sign a written contract, there is a meal, then the family escort the groom to the bride's bridal chamber.  Tobit also mentions a fourteen-day wedding feast and a subsequent seven-day celebration by family in another city.  We are told in 1 Maccabees that royal weddings were celebrated with great pomp and that a Nabatean wedding included a procession and music.  Funeral rites are mentioned in 1 Esdras, the Epistle of Jeremiah, Judith, 1-2 Maccabees, Ben Sira, and Tobit.  Tobit's description of the burial of an abandoned murder victim is our most detailed account of a funeral (involving bathing oneself, mourning and weeping, burial after sunset, and sleeping outside the house due to ritual impurity) but it is difficult to say how typical it is.  Otherwise, burial is taken for granted, often in a family tomb and the thought of being left unburied horrified the writers of 2 Maccabees and Tobit.  Ben Sira implies that there was no music at a funeral, although 1 Maccabees does refer to funeral dirges.  Mourning of prominent people may last for many days (1 Maccabees), and Ben Sira refers to seven days of mourning, but also just one or two depending of the status of the dead.  The custom of leaving food on graves is mentioned in the Epistle of Jeremiah, Ben Sira, and Tobit:  it seems to have been well known, whether or not it was approved of.  2 Maccabees mentions the exhumation and reburial of Jonathan with full honors.  Circumcision is a definitive rite for establishing a male as a Jew and is mentioned in Judith, 1-2 Maccabees, Ben Sira, and Addition to Esther A.  It was normally done to infants, but Judith reports the conversion and circumcision of an adult man, Achior.  Divorce is important in 1 Esdras for purging the community of foreign influence from idolatrous foreign wives.  And Judith appears to make a virtue extending the ascetic customs of widowhood throughout her lifetime.  These seemed to involve fasting and wearing special clothing, perhaps including sackcloth, and presumably were normally temporary measures.

            Calendrical Rites .  We find references to the sabbath in 1 Esdras, Judith, and 1-2 Maccabees.  The latter two works make it clear that Jews felt it necessary to observe it even during wartime:  some gave up their lives rather than fight while others fought in self-defense but gave up tactical advantages rather than violate it.  Feast days in general are mentioned in Baruch (accompanied by reading of the book of Baruch), Judith, 1 Maccabees, and Ben Sira.  New moon celebrations appear in 1 Esdras, Judith, and 1 Maccabees; Passover and Unleavened Bread in 1 Esdras and the Wisdom of Solomon; Tabernacles in 1 Esdras and 1 Maccabees; Pentecost in 2 Maccabees and Tobit; "Mordechai's Day (i.e., Purim) in 2 Maccabees; and the annual commemoration of Josiah's death in 1 Esdras.  The holy convocation (the modern Jewish new year) associated with the beginning of the seventh month in Leviticus in mentioned in 1 Esdras, again with a reading, this time of the Law.  The nonscriptural annual festivals of Hanukkah and Nicanor Day are mentioned in 1-2 Maccabees (Hanukkah is strongly promoted in the latter); and the annual festival commemoration the purification of the Jerusalem citadel in 1 Maccabees.

            Rites of Exchange and Communion .  Prayer is mentioned in Baruch, 1 Esdras, Judith, 1-2 Maccabees, Ben Sira, Wisdom of Solomon, Tobit, The Prayer of Azariah, and Additions to Esther C, D, and F.  The texts of a number of prayers are found in Baruch, 1 Esdras, Tobit, the Prayer of Azariah, and Addition to Esther C.  The Prayer of Manasseh and Psalm 151 could, of course, be regarded in themselves as prayers or liturgy.  Ben Sira gives a number of instructions on how to pray and the internal attitudes one should adopt when praying.  There is little information about rituals accompanying prayer, although 1 Esdras, Judith, 1-2 Maccabees, and Addition to Esther C, describe prayers of contrition during which the actors abased themselves in traditional ways (lying on the ground, weeping, with sackcloth and ashes, etc.).  Judith carried out ablutions in running water before her evening prayers and the Wisdom of Solomon advocates praying at dawn.  Prayers are offered for many things, including supplication for the safety of the royal house (Baruch, 1 Esdras), requests for rain (Judith), victory in battle (1-2 Maccabees), healing (Ben Sira), accurate diagnosis by physicians (Ben Sira), defeat of a demonic adversary (Tobit); confession of communal sin (1 Esdras, Judith, 2 Maccabees); gratitude for winning a contest (1 Esdras), and a safe and successful journey (Tobit).

            Sacrifices and offerings figure in Baruch, 1 Esdras, Judith, 1-2 Maccabees, Ben Sira, Wisdom of Solomon, and Tobit.  The most detailed account of a sacrifice is Ben Sira's description of one by the high priest Simon.  Ben Sira also gives advice on the moral nature that should accompany sacrifices, while making clear that a moral person should still offer them.  Sacrifices are normally made in the Jerusalem Temple (cf. Tobit), although Baruch seems to prescribe their offering at the altar when the Temple was in ruins.  Many different types of sacrifice are mentioned, including the evening sacrifice (1 Esdras), incense offerings (Judith, 2 Maccabees), freewill offerings (Judith), votive offerings (Judith), gifts to the temple (Judith), offerings on behalf of the royal house (1 Esdras, 1 Maccabees), customary temple sacrifices (2 Maccabees), the twice-daily whole burnt offering (Ben Sira), burnt offerings (1 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon), cereal offerings (2 Maccabees), lighting of the lamp (2 Maccabees), the bread of the Presence (2 Maccabees), sacrifices for atonement (2 Maccabees), sacrifices for healing (2 Maccabees), first fruits, tithes, and first-shearings to be taken to the priests (Tobit), and the legendary naphtha sacrifice of Nehemiah (2 Maccabees).

            Blessings are mentioned occasionally and these may have some ritual function.  Blessings of both God and people appear in Judith and Tobit.  The blessings of Judith in particular come in public and with the concluding pronouncement, "So be it!"  Also, divination, in the form of the legendary Urim and Thummim, is alluded to in 1 Esdras and Ben Sira, and the latter warns against divinatory experiences (divination, omens, and dreams) that do not have a divine origin.

            Rites of Affliction .  Personal self-affliction, especially during prayer, appears in Baruch, 1 Esdras, Judith, 1-2 Maccabees, Ben Sira, Tobit, and Addition to Esther C.  Typically this involves such things as weeping, fasting, tearing of clothing, lying prostrate, and putting ashes, dust, or dung in the hair.  Ritual purification of priests figures in 1 Esdras; of the Temple in Judith and 1-2 Maccabees; of house from idols and of the citadel in Jerusalem in 1 Maccabees; and ritual purification of regular people in Judith and, with regard to corpse impurity, Ben Sira.  Tobit also encountered corpse impurity and took steps to avoid contaminating his house, but he did not explicitly undergo purification.  Oaths, vows, pledges, and surety are found in 1 Esdras, Judith, 1-2 Maccabees, and Ben Sira.  Judicial executions occur in 1-2 Maccabees, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, and Addition to Esther E.  The ascetic customs associated with Judith's widowhood have already been noted.  There is a detailed description of an apotropaic ritual directed against a demon in Tobit.  Ben Sira mentions curses; the bringing of the adulteress before the assembly, evidently for punishment.  The story of Susanna includes an episode in which the lecherous elders stood among the people, placed their hand on Judith's head, and testified (perjuring themselves) to her misdeeds.

Feasting, Fasting, and Festivals .  1 Esdras reports the one-time, seven-day festival with music celebrating the permission to rebuild the Temple; and the musical escort to the exiles returning to Jerusalem.  The Book of Judith tells us that, after the defeat of the Assyrians, the people held a victory celebration:  Judith and some of the women danced with props and the men presented arms and sang; Judith composed a victory song; and they all held a three-month festival.  The contest over what is the strongest is found in 1 Esdras (a story not present in our Hebrew Ezra), and contests are mentioned in the Wisdom of Solomon.  Ben Sira refers to some issues of table etiquette.

Political Rites .  Political rituals involving the Temple include the celebrations over the completing of the Temple and the dedicatory offering for it in 1 Esdras; the right of refuge in the Temple recognized by King Demetrius according to 1 Maccabees; and the investment of Jonathan as high priest in 1 Maccabees.  War-time political rites include, perhaps, the victory celebrations in Judith, noted above; the invocation of the Deuteronomic laws of holy war by Judas before battle; the singing of hymns of praise to God after battle; the address of Judas to his men before battle; the surrender of Ashkelon "with great pomp" (all in 1 Maccabees); the public reading by the high priest before battle; and the battle cry and Hebrew hymns sung before battle (all in 2 Maccabees).  The abuse and display of the corpse of Nicanor, reported in both 1 and 2 Maccabees also has political overtones.  Other political rites include Baruch's reading of his book to the king and the people (Baruch); Ezra's reading of the Law before the assembled people on the day of holy convocation (1 Esdras); the convening of the elders in Jerusalem (1 Maccabees); the assembly of the elders and the public assembly mentioned by Ben Sira; the special right of Simon to convene an assembly and wear distinctive clothing; the ritualized welcome of Holofernes with garlands and music and Judith's obeisance to him (Judith); the meeting of Jonathan with kings Alexander and Ptolemy in which he gave them gifts and Alexander heaped honors upon him (1 Maccabees); Alcimus' gifts to Demetrius when they met (2 Maccabees); and perhaps the sabbath rest of the land (1 Esdras).  The refusal of Mordechai to bow down to Haman (Addition to Esther C) and the episode involving Esther and the king's golden scepter (Addition to Esther D) are based on episodes in the Book of Esther probably best regarded as legends.

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If we may now draw some generalizations from this material, the first point worth noting is the level of interest in ritual we find in the texts.  References to ritual matters are especially dense in 1 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, and 1-2 Maccabees, although every text in the Apocrypha has some reference to such things.  Many of the stories are set in plausible historical contexts, especially in 1 Esdras, 1-2 Maccabees, and Ben Sira, and probably give us reasonably reliable information about ritual in the second temple period.  The legendary texts that are not based on scriptural stories (Judith and Tobit) contain many independent traditions about Jewish rituals and it is reasonable to assume that much of this was at least within the realm of possible Jewish practice for the contemporary audiences.  More caution is, of course, in order when we evaluate the texts that retell and augment scriptural stories (the Additions, Baruch, Psalm 151, and Wisdom of Solomon), but even these, when they include nonscriptural details about ritual may tell us indirectly about practices known to the authors.

            We find many scriptural rites in these texts, often in what appears to be a real second-temple life situation.  Many different kinds of sacrifices are mentioned and the detailed eyewitness account by Ben Sira of a sacrifice carried out by the high priest Simon is particularly valuable.  All of the scriptural calendrical rites appear at one point or another, along with the nonscriptural festivals of Hanukkah, Nicanor Day, and the day commemorating the cleansing of the citadel.  Curiously, the Day of Atonement does not appear in the Apocrypha.  Other particularly interesting rites found in the Apocrypha but not in scripture include the anti-demonic praxis in Tobit, the customs associated with widowhood in Judith, and the various rites associated with war (including preparations for battle, the ritual abuse of an enemy leader's corpse after victory, and the victory celebrations in the Book of Judith).

            The Apocrypha also contain numerous details about the practice of scriptural rites.  We are told, for example, of halakhic adjustments to sabbath observation during wartime; of the secondary burial of Jonathan; of periods of mourning the dead of various lengths; and the circumcision of an adult male convert to Judaism.  We read intriguing accounts of the wedding of Tobias and Sarah, Tobit's burial of a murder victim, and communal blessings pronounced over Judith, which may include information about actual praxis.  And although much of the material on prayer is stereotyped, some details, such as descriptions of pre-prayer ablution or acts of self-affliction during prayers of communal confession may reflect actual praxis.  Occasionally hints are dropped about other rites such as courtroom procedures and the leaving of food-offerings on graves, but we have too little information to evaluate these properly.

            We also run across a number of rituals, mostly in retellings of biblical stories, which have a legendary air about them and should be taken with a grain of salt.  The reference to sacrifice at the altar of the destroyed Temple is not implausible in itself, but it is the sort of detail that might have occurred to a hagiographer and we cannot take Baruch's late reference to it as very compelling evidence.  The contest of Zerubbabel and his friends to curry the king's favor by writing statements on what is the strongest thing is implausible on numerous grounds and is probably nothing more than a good story.  The same is true of Mordechai's refusal to do obeisance to Haman, the king's favoring Esther with a touch of his golden scepter, and Nehemiah's naphtha sacrifice.

            To provide some context for this evidence, let us compare the assemblage of rituals in the Old Testament Apocrypha with the assemblage of rituals in the Jewish Old Testament pseudepigrapha which I considered in the conference at St. Andrews last year.  It may be noted, first of all, that ritual comes up more frequently and is treated in considerably greater detail in the Apocrypha than in the corpus of Jewish pseudepigrapha.  The Apocrypha are more independent of scripture Ð most of the stories are nonscriptural Ð so the real life of ancient Judaism is on more direct display, rather than being filtered through retellings of scriptural stories, as is more common in the Jewish pseudepigrapha.  In terms of genre, most of the works in the Apocrypha are prose narratives telling nonscriptural historical or legendary stories (1 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, 1-2 Maccabees).  Only two of the Jewish Pseudepigrapha are of this genre (the Letter to Aristeas and 3 Maccabees ).  Some of the Apocrypha consist of narratives of rewritten scripture (Baruch, the Additions to Daniel, and the Additions to Esther).  Some of the Jewish pseudepigrapha also fall under this category (Jubilees , 4 Maccabees , the Testament of Moses , and Pseudo-Philo ).  If we take Psalm 151 and the Prayer of Manasseh in the Apocrypha to be liturgical texts, they could be compared to the Psalms of Solomon in the Jewish pseudepigrapha.  However, sapiential literature, represented in the Apocrypha by Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon, is missing in the Jewish pseudepigrapha.  Moreover, the genre apocalypse, the best-represented genre in the Jewish pseudepigrapha (2 Baruch , five compositions in 1 Enoch , and 4 Ezra ) is not found at all in the Apocrypha.  Likewise, the genre oracles (i.e., Sibylline Oracles 3 and 5 in the Jewish pseudepigrapha) does not appear in the Apocrypha.

            Let us turn to the rituals represented in the two corpora.  Rites of passage:  both refer to weddings, funerals, and circumcision.  Purification after childbirth appears in the Jewish pseudepigrapha alone (Jubilees ) and divorce and widowhood in the Apocrypha alone.  Calendrical rites:  both corpora refer to the sabbath, Passover and Unleavened Bread, Tabernacles, Pentecost, and the annual holy convocation or Festival of Trumpets.  The Jewish pseudepigrapha also refer to the three-hundred-sixty-four- day calendar (Astronomical Book, Jubilees ), a Jewish festival or festivals in Egypt (3 Maccabees ), and an annual commemoration of Jephthah's daughter (Pseudo-Philo ).  The Apocrypha also mention Mordechai's Day (Purim, a scriptural festival), Hanukkah, Nicanor Day, the annual celebration of the purification of the Jerusalem citadel, and the annual commemoration of Josiah's death.  Rites of exchange and communion:  both corpora deal with prayer, sacrifice, blessings, and divination, with, naturally, many variations in detail.  Rites of affliction:  Incubation rites to generate a dream revelation appear only in the Jewish pseudepigrapha (2 Baruch , the Book of the Watchers, and possibly 4 Ezra and Pseudo-Philo ).  Rites of affliction:  both corpora deal with various rites of purification; oaths, vows, and the like; fasting; curses; judicial executions; and rites of exorcism.  In the Jewish pseudepigrapha only, we find the Day of Atonement (Jubilees) and the rite I have called the "vision-quest," which involves isolation, self-affliction, and a seven-day fast (2 Baruch and 4 Ezra ).  Feasting, fasting, and festivals:  the Apocrypha has clearer cases of these than the Jewish Pseudepigrapha, including Judith's victory festival and the celebration in 1 Esdras over permission to rebuild the Temple.  Political rites:  The Jewish pseudepigrapha and the Apocrypha agree on the political importance of the Temple and both describe priestly investments.  Both include rituals involving the reading of holy writings to the assembled people.  The Apocrypha includes more on political rites involving war and the machinations of political leaders.

            The transmission history of the Old Testament Apocrypha is worth noting at this point.  These texts were rejected from the scriptural canon by Jews but their Greek translations were increasingly adopted by Greek-speaking Christians as scripture, with the result that they became part of the scriptural canons of Greek- and Latin-speaking Christendom (and some other Christian traditions).  Does this brief study of ritual in the Apocrypha illuminate this process in any way?  For now, I leave aside the question of why Jews rejected these works and ask why the Apocrypha was adopted as scripture by so many Christians while the other Jewish works in the pseudepigrapha, although remaining popular among Christians, did not achieve canonical status?  One can see how Christians would value the Apocrypha for both the homespun wisdom of the sapiential works and the edifying and sometimes titillating stories in the prose narratives, which stories told of the victories of devout monotheists against oppressive pagan rulers who had much greater worldly power.  But a notable difference between the Apocrypha and the Jewish pseudepigrapha is the interest in the latter corpus in esoteric revelations embodied in apocalypses and oracles, as well as the descriptions of incubation rituals and vision quests which implied the possibility of eliciting divine revelations through ritual praxis.  Perhaps this means that Christian leaders avoided, at least when possible, giving an official stamp of approval to works that presented themselves as esoteric revelations or which implied that with the proper means one could generate such revelations for oneself.  Granted, we do have Daniel in the Jewish canon and Revelation in the New Testament, but the former was part of the Jewish canon and the latter, given its early date and its rapidly accepted apostolic authority, was hard to exclude (although the Syriac-speaking church did exclude it for many centuries).  These reflections are, of course, at best only a small part of the picture and may help explain why no apocalypses or oracles became part of the Apocrypha.  A full attempt at understanding why these and other books of Old Testament pseudepigrapha were excluded from the Apocrypha would be a mammoth task far outside the scope of this paper.

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CONCLUSION

This survey of ritual in the Apocrypha confirms that scriptural rituals were alive and well in Jewish circles in the second temple period.  They were practiced, pondered, adapted, and augmented to meet changing circumstances.  It also shows that Jewish ritual encompassed traditions outside the scriptures.  Basic human institutions such as marriage, funerals, and the prosecution of war undoubtedly always had their own rich ritual life, about which the scriptures tell us next to nothing.  The Apocrypha is still frustratingly laconic about such matters, but they do give us some additional information.  I do not doubt that Israelite exorcism rites existed in the second-temple period and earlier, but Tobit gives us the first detailed account of one.  New festivals were created in the second temple period to commemorate important milestones in Jewish history.  In addition, a comparison of the rituals in the Apocrypha with rituals in the Jewish pseudepigrapha gives us some hints of why the latter were accepted as canonical by much of the Church while the former, despite their appeal and popularity were rejected.  A complete study of ritual in Jewish works transmitted only by Christians is likely to provide us with more insights along these lines and this paper is offered as one component of that larger project.

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