What is the Book of Jubilees and is it legitimate (canonical)?

The Book of Jubilees is an ancient Jewish work, also called “The Little Genesis.” It claims to have been delivered by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai through angels. It edits and rewrites the contents of the biblical text of Genesis 1 through Exodus 20 by arranging these sections into a detailed chronology of historical units of 49 years, forming a Jubilee of Jubilees as spoken of in Leviticus 25:8-13. It was likely written in the 2nd century BC.

The content and teaching of this book focuses on a strict sectarian interpretation of the Mosaic Law with a heavy emphasis on the centrality of the law, priestly concerns, and angels. The book attempts to place the origin of the Law (with its prescriptions about feasts, Sabbath, offerings, etc.) during the ancient historical periods of Genesis. It also claims that for the ideal future to be realized, scrupulous observation of this Law was to be practiced. Canonical scripture tells us the Law originated during the time of Moses, not during the ancient narratives of Genesis.

The faiths of Judaism, Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox consider the Book of Jubilees to be pseudepigraphal. Pseudepigrapha means “writings falsely attributed.” These books are falsely attributed to well-known ancient heroes of the faith; for instance, Adam, Moses, or Enoch. Pseudepigrapha are a type of intertestamental literature that may give us insight into the history, culture, or worldview of the Ancient Near East as a whole, but they were not accepted into the Christian or Jewish canon of scripture. Some of what pseudepigraphal books say may be true and correct, but much is also false and historically inaccurate.

Therefore, the Book of Jubilees is not canonical (part of sacred scripture).

Of further note, Christians are no longer bound by the Mosaic Law. We now belong to Jesus Christ through His life, death, and resurrection (See Romans 7:4-5). We are called to live for God in Christ (Galatians 2:19).

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