Around this time of year while Christians celebrate the Christmas season, our Jewish friends celebrate Hanukkah– one of their holiest times of the year, forming a major part of their Sacred Tradition. Of great importance, the story of Hanukkah forms a major part of Christian tradition as well, as told in the First and Second Book of Maccabees- except for Christianity’s minority: Protestantism.
Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the Second Temple after the Maccabean Revolt. The short version: ancient Israel finds itself under foreign rule yet again, although the ruling Greek Seleucid Empire tries and assimilates the Jewish nation by desecrating the Temple in Jerusalem (and closing other places of worship), outlawing Judaism and by force try to get the population to adopt a new religion (sounds similar to the English Reformation doesn’t it). The Maccabean Revolt is successful and the Temple is cleansed and rededicated: allowing for the survival of the Jewish nation who did not have to wait long afterwards for the coming of the Messiah.
The events in the Books of Maccabees set into motion many events of great importance to the New Testament: for some examples it changed the landscape of Judaism leading the formation of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and it changed the political landscape which lead to the Roman Empire conquering the Holy Land and the rise of Herod the Great. The story of Hanukkah plays a vital role in Salvation History.
And yet Protestants threw out the the deuterocanonical Old Testament books- well they replaced the Alexandrian Canon once used by the majority of Jews, which Christians had always used, with the Palestinian Canon Rabbinical Judaism put together after the destruction of Jewish Temple in 70AD- after the foundation of Christianity. The ‘Reformers’ did this partially because one of the Books of Maccabees had a prayer for the dead, something which always existed in Catholicism as it existed in Judaism. So The ‘Reformers’ switched to what “The Jews use” to oppose what the Jews do themselves.
Strangely the 7 Books deemed non-canonical were kept in many Protestant Bibles up until the 19th century, and they were even permitted to be read in the services of the Church of England in times past. Yet as the logical conclusion of “Bible Alone”- these books were eventually dropped from being included in Protestant Bibles: well that and saving money on printing costs, and in the King James version case to help sell more copies to other Protestant groups in the English speaking world.
My point is as with every book of the Bible: before it was Sacred Scripture, it was Sacred Tradition. The story of Hanukkah was enshrined in Christianity via the two books of Maccabees- so much so that even Protestants who denied their canonical status took centuries to get them out of their Bibles. Why would such a monumental time for Israel have no monument? Why would it be the one time Israel was under foreign rule, that almost wiped out Judaism, and the Temple itself was so violated, that that would not be worthy of being recorded in Salvation History?
As my Ordinary Mons Harry Entwistle says, the Personal Ordinariates are the only places for true and authentic Anglo-Catholicism in its fullness. Strangely there are Anglo-Catholics who belong to church bodies who use the King James Bible which leaves out the deuterocanonical books- to them I say, leave the last aspects of Protestantism behind and come home to the Ordinariates.