Judas Maccabeus(redirected from Judah Maccabee)
Judas Maccabeus:see MaccabeesMaccabees
, Jewish family of the 2d and 1st cent. B.C. that brought about a restoration of Jewish political and religious life. They are also called Hasmoneans or Asmoneans after their ancestor, Hashmon.
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Died 161 B.Cl Leader of a popular revolt in Judea, directed against the political, taxational, and religious oppression of the Seleucids.
Judas was the third son of Mattathias (who died in 166 B.Cl), a descendant of the priestly clan of the Hasmoneans. In 167 B.Cl, Judas, together with his father, led a rebellion, which spread in response to religious persecution of the Jews by the Seleucid king Antiochus IV and grew into a popular revolt. (The revolt was called the Maccabean war from Judas’ nickname Maccabee, which presumably meant “hammerer.”) In a series of battles in 167-162 B.Cl, the army of Judas Maccabeus routed the greatly superior forces of the armies of the Seleucid generals. In 164 he seized Jerusalem and reconsecrated the temple. The armed and political struggle was continued even after the abolition of religious persecution by the Seleucids (in 162 B.C.). In 161 he concluded an alliance with Rome. After the death of Judas in the battle near Laisa (Elasa), the struggle was headed by his brothers until the achievement of complete political independence by Judea in 142 B.C.