Why does the Catholic Bible include the Maccabees and the Book of Wisdom?

Question: Why does the Catholic Bible include the Maccabees and the Book of Wisdom? And do any other denominations acknowledge the extra books? Why at some point were they considered part of the Bible then a man-made council decided they didn’t belong?

Catholic Bibles contain 46 books in the Old Testament, including seven (Tobit, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and Baruch) which were part of an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. These books were better known among Greek speaking Jews in the Mediterranean world around the time of Jesus. Today these seven books are variously referred to as the “apocryphal” or “deuterocanonical” books and are usually placed between the Old and New Testaments. At the time of the Protestant Reformation, Protestant leaders decided not to include these seven Greek books in the Old Testament (because they weren’t written in Hebrew like the rest of the Old Testament) while Catholic leaders decided to retain them since they were important to our Jewish ancestors.

Ann Naffziger

Ann Naffziger

Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.