Judith 16:24-31 (DRB) And the people were joyful in the sight of the sanctuary, and for three months the joy of this victory was celebrated with Judith. 25 And after those days every man returned to his house, and Judith was made great in Bethulia, and she was most renowned in all the land of Israel. 26 And chastity was joined to her virtue, so that she knew no man all the days of her life, after the death of Manasses her husband. 27 And on festival days she came forth with great glory. 28 And she abode in her husband's house a hundred and five years, and made her handmaid free, and she died, and was buried with her husband in Bethulia. 29 And all the people mourned for seven days. 30 And all the time of her life there was none that troubled Israel, nor many years after her death. 31 But the day of the festivity of this victory is received by the Hebrews in the number of holy days, and is religiously observed by the Jews from that time until this day.

Thanks in advance.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya! Please take a look at our tour for more information on how our site works; I see that you’re a member at Biblical Hermeneutics and Christianity, so you’re already aware that different Stacks work differently from each other. – DonielF Sep 14 '18 at 15:10
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    To others who see this question: do not vote to close this as comparative religion. If we allow questions about Judaism from other religions, certainly we should allow them from the Apocrypha. – DonielF Sep 14 '18 at 15:11
  • I'm sorry, is this question about the Apocrypha? I'm using this as a scrap of paper for now; a historical record. Not as God-inspired or anything. I am merely asking for the identity of the spoken-of Feast and its continuation or discontinuation into the present. Thanks. – SolaGratia Sep 14 '18 at 15:39
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    @SolaGratia Many scholars agree that references to "the king of Assyria", "Babylon", etc. are euphesisms for the Greeks. The story is supposed to have taken place during the Hellenistic period, during the Maccabean Revolt. – ezra Sep 14 '18 at 15:53
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    My copy of Judith ends at verse 25. Where are these extra verses from? – Double AA Sep 16 '18 at 1:30

The Book of Judith was originally written as a fiction and was (incorrectly) accepted as valid by the Christians. Even the nonJewish scholars regard this as a work of fiction. It does seem that it is possible that it is conflated with Chanuka. However, since the reference is to a single day, But the day of the festivity of this victory, it does not seem likely.

The Jewish Encyclopedia dates its composition as around the first century before the Common Era. This means that it could never have happened.

One would probably not be far out of the way in placing it near the beginning of the first century B.C. The book is first quoted by Clement of Rome (Ep. I. ad Corinth., c. 55), near the end of the first century of the common era.

Wikipedia says

Historicity of Judith

It is generally accepted that the Book of Judith is ahistorical. The fictional nature "is evident from its blending of history and fiction, beginning in the very first verse, and is too prevalent thereafter to be considered as the result of mere historical mistakes."[26]

Thus, the great villain is "Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled over the Assyrians" (1:1), yet the historical Nebuchadnezzar II was the king of Babylonia.[26] Other details, such as fictional place names, the immense size of armies and fortifications, and the dating of events, cannot be reconciled with the historical record.[26] Judith's village, Bethulia (literally "virginity") is unknown and otherwise unattested to in any ancient writing.[26]

Nevertheless, there have been various attempts by both scholars and clergy to understand the characters and events in the Book as allegorical representations of actual personages and historical events. Much of this work has focused on linking Nebuchadnezzar with various conquerors of Judea from different time periods and, more recently, linking Judith herself with historical female leaders, including Queen Salome Alexandra, Judea's only female monarch (76-67 BCE) and its last ruler to die while Judea remained an independent kingdom.[31]

The Jewish Encyclopedia also explains that it is a complete work of fiction. As a result, there would be no such holiday. In fact, the Encyclopedia points out that from the first sentence, it is deliberately written so that the reader would know that it is fiction.

Historical Setting.

The book begins with a date, "the twelfth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar," and everything moves with the air of a precise account of actual events. But the way in which the narrative at once makes open sport of chronology and history is very striking. Nebuchadnezzar is the king of Assyria, and reigns in Nineveh(!). The Jews, who have "newly returned from the captivity" (iv. 3, v. 19), are in no sense his subjects; indeed, his chief captain has apparently never heard of them (v. 3). Yet the writer of this story was a well-informed man, familiar with foreign geography (i. 6-10, ii. 21-28), and well acquainted with the Hebrew Scriptures (i. 1; ii. 23; v. 6-19; viii. 1, 26; ix. 2 et seq.). It must therefore be concluded either that the principal names of the story are a mere disguise, or that they were chosen with a purely literary purpose, and with the intent to disclaim at the outset any historical verity for the tale. The former supposition is not rendered plausible by any consideration, and fails utterly to account for the peculiarities of the narrative; the latter, on the contrary, gives a satisfactory explanation of all the facts. That is, with the very first words of the tale, "In the twelfth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned over the Assyrians in Nineveh," the narrator gives his hearers a solemn wink. They are to understand that this is fiction, not history. It did not take place in this or that definite period of Jewish history, but simply "once upon a time," the real vagueness of the date being transparently disguised in the manner which has become familiar in the folk-tales of other parts of the world.

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    Are you aware the book of Judith is not a Christian book? They adopted it into their canon, but it predates Christ and is a Jewish book; cf. the 1913 Jewish Encyclopedia article on the Book.. Moreover, my question does not rely on the canonicity of the Book, but to what the author is referring when he states the Jewish people celebrate this among their Feasts. Clearly his readers couldn't be fooled into believing the Jews held a Feast in memory of Judith in his day if they could readily see they didn't. – SolaGratia Sep 14 '18 at 21:37
  • @SolaGratia According to the citation, it appears to have been known to be a work of fiction. As such, references cannot be trusted to be correct. If there was such a day, it was not regarded as a holiday, like Chanuka. – sabbahillel Sep 14 '18 at 21:47
  • @SolaGratia I changed the Christian reference to match the Jewish Encyclopedia. – sabbahillel Sep 14 '18 at 21:55
  • 'it was not regarded as a holiday' is sadly begging the question: what if this is testimony to the keeping of this holiday you said we lack ('they didn't regard it as a holiday')? "This means that it could never have happened" what of Genesis? What is the length of time from the events recorded and the composition of the history? I don't think that's a good standard for anyone who believes in the Torah to be applying to books. – SolaGratia Sep 14 '18 at 21:58
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    Invalid logic: did the Book of Esther cause Purim to be celebrated? 1 Maccabees, Chanukka? Aren't they histories of the figures celebrated? Don't the Books themselves note they are written post the founding of the respective Feasts? – SolaGratia Sep 14 '18 at 22:05

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