For 2,000 years Jews and Christians have mentioned Queen Esther and the widow Judith in the same breath. And it’s not surprising. Both women are Jewish heroines in popular books named after them. Both women were beautiful, resourceful and brave. And the books bearing their names are among the most interesting and best-written in the Bible.
Ultimately, however, these two books experienced drastically different fates. Esther was canonized and is sacred scripture for both Jews and Christians. Judith, on the other hand, is noncanonical, apocryphal, for Jews and Protestants; and deutero- (that is, second-) canonical for Roman Catholics.1