We find in Babylonian Talmud that there were some Holy Books that Khazal (חז"ל) wanted to take out / to hide (לגנוז), such as the Book of Ezekiel, The Song of Songs and others (see for example: Shabath p. 32:, Khagiga p. 13.). My question is if there were Holy Books that Khazal actually excluded from the biblical canon?

  • @UbiquitousStudent -- Some books are referred to in the Sources, but were not included and are lost. Example: the Midrash says: And furthermore, my son, be admonished: There is no end to making many books, [but] whoever brings into his house more than the twenty-four books [of the Bible] introduces confusion into his house, as, for example, the book of Ben Sira and the book of Ben Tagla. [The latter is lost.] [Ecclesiastes Rabbah 12:11] – Maurice Mizrahi Apr 9 '19 at 22:53
  • I don't think in any of the cases discussed (Ezekiel, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes) that they were in Tanach and taken out, but rather that they wanted to prevent their inclusion in Tanach in the first place. – DonielF Apr 10 '19 at 1:36

The best known excluded book is Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Ben Sira. The second-century BCE author, Ben Sira, is the only apocryphal author who signed his work. The greater part of the Hebrew original was recovered in the Cairo Genizah. The book was popular with Jews. It is quoted by name in the Talmud 17 times, in the Midrash Rabbah 8 times, and in the Zohar once. For example, the Talmud says:

It is written in the Book of Ben Sira [Ecclesiasticus 3:21-2] "Do not seek things that are too hard for you, and do not search things that are hidden from you. Think about the things that have been permitted to you. You have no need of the things that are secret.” [Talmud, Chagigah 13a]

The commentators excluded it because it shows Epicurean and Sadducean tendencies. However, the Talmud says:

R. Joseph said: [We may ban the book, yet still] we may expound to [the masses] the good things that the book contains. [Sanhedrin 100b; also Bava Kamma 92b]

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