Ripping yarns – Tobit, Judith and Esther

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

As I mentioned early in this series, I am including the deuterocanonical books / apocrypha in their traditional Greek and Latin Bible order. (The main post discussing this distinction is here.) Today’s post considers a cluster of short stories grouped towards the end of the historical books.

No readings occur in the Sunday Lectionary from the two deuterocanonical books of Tobit and Judith, and only one from the undisputedly canonical book of Esther. It is worth mentioning them together, as they illustrate the kind of short story, told with a historical framework, which show popular stories in their literary versions getting into the Bible. A basic familiarity with them can help us understand the culture in which Jesus and his first followers grew up.

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Ruth: casualty of a ruthless lectionary

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

The short story, Ruth, sadly gets no use in the normal Sunday lectionary. It is tempting, following on from the absence of Deborah and Jael (see yesterday’s post), to wonder if the men who compiled the lectionary were giving in to a little bit of unconscious bias against women’s stories!

Jean-François Millet, The Gleaners. Ruth meets her future husband while gleaning.
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