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As far as Jesus and the New Testament writers were concerned, the Jewish Scriptures that Christians call the “Old Testament” were the Scriptures. In saying that, I cut corners a bit, as the New Testament never gives us a list of these Scriptures, but the body of writings that the Jewish people accept is as near as we can get to identifying the collection that Jesus and the New Testament writers would have worked. The church also came to accept some extra books, such as Maccabees and Ecclesiasticus, that were traditionally called the “Apocrypha,” the books that were “hidden away”—a name that came to imply “spurious.” They are now often known as the “Deuterocanonical Writings,” which is more cumbersome but less pejorative; it simply indicates that these books have less authority than the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. The precise list of them varies among different churches. For the purposes of this series that seeks to expound the “Old Testament for Everyone,” by the “Old Testament” we mean the Scriptures accepted by the Jewish community, though in the Jewish Bible they come in a different order, as the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings...

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