But in fact, the rabbis only excluded those books specifically because they were likely to lead people into Christianity, and they are repeatedly quoted or cited in the New Testament, as they were by Jewish writers up to their rabbinical exclusion. Even thereafter, a point is made by the continued celebration of Hanukkah, a celebration thanks to books to which Jews only really had access because Christians had preserved them, since the rabbis had wanted them destroyed.
Hanukkah bushes, and the giving and receiving of presents at Hanukkah, stand in a tradition of two-way interaction both as old as Christianity and about as old as anything that could reasonably be described as Judaism. As Rabbi Hilton puts it, “It is hardly surprising that Jewish communities living for centuries in Christian society should be influenced by the surrounding culture.” There are many, many, many other examples that could be cited.
Many a midrash – such as “to you the Sabbath is handed over, but you are not handed over to the Sabbath” – is easily late enough to be an example of the direct influence of Christianity, yet Jewish and Christian scholars alike tend to announce an unidentified common, usually Pharisaic, root, although they rarely go off on any wild goose chase to find that root. I think that we all know why not.
Thus constructed, Judaism became, and remains, an organising principle, again like Classically-based reactions, for all sorts of people discontented for whatever reason with the rise of Christianity in general and with the Christianisation of the Roman Empire in particular, including all the historical consequences of that up to the present day, without any realistic suggestion of a common ethnic background.
And it is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that is the religion of the Hebrew Scriptures. Including the two Books of Maccabees, the origin of Hanukkah. The true form of which, as of so much else, is Christmas.