Bible Corner

In the piece above about All Souls’ Day there is a reference to a passage from the Second Book of Maccabees (2 Maccabees 12: 46). It is one of the Historical Books in the Old Testament and the passage is seen as the scriptural foundation for our need to pray for the dead and for the existence of Purgatory. The books date from the late second century BC. The narrative of the first book covers about 40 years and the second about 15 years that overlap the timescale-of the first. In the introduction to the books in the Jerusalem Bible it says this about 2 Maccabees: “The book is important for its affirmation of the resurrection of the dead (7: 9); sanctions in the afterlife (6: 26); prayer for the dead (12:38, 41-46), the spiritual fruits of martyrdom (6:18-7:41) the intercession of the saints (15:12-16). Other Old Testament writings had left these teachings vague; but these teachings justify the authority accorded to Second Maccabees by the Church.