Do modern Jews believe in purgatory, as 2 Maccabees 12:45 speaks of prayers for the dead?


Full Question

Do modern Jews believe in purgatory, as 2 Maccabees 12:45 speaks of prayers for the dead?

Answer

Although the theology of the afterlife is not highly developed in Judaism (which is due, in part, to Judaism’s emphasis on the importance of this life), traditional modern Jews offer prayers and memorials on behalf of their deceased loved ones. They do not recognize the Catholic doctrine of purgatory per se, but their actions are in line with Catholic concern for the souls of the deceased. In any event, the books of Maccabees are usually not included in the modern Jewish canons of Hebrew Scripture and are considered by most modern Jews to be apocryphal.