Maccabees

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Maccabees,

two books included in the SeptuagintSeptuagint
[Lat.,=70], oldest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible made by Hellenistic Jews, possibly from Alexandria, c.250 B.C. Legend, according to the fictional letter of Aristeas, records that it was done in 72 days by 72 translators for Ptolemy Philadelphus, which
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 and placed as the last two books in the Old Testament of the Vulgate; they are not included in the Hebrew Bible and are placed in the Apocrypha in Protestant Bibles. First and Second Maccabees are both historical narratives. First Maccabees was originally written in Hebrew and is usually dated c.100 B.C. It begins with the rebellion of Mattathias (c.167 B.C.) and ends with the murder of Simon (135 B.C.). The book relates the struggles of the Maccabees, led by Judas Maccabeus, against Antiochus IVAntiochus IV
(Antiochus Epiphanes) , d. 163 B.C., king of Syria (175 B.C.–163 B.C.), son of Antiochus III and successor of his brother Seleucus IV. His nephew (later Demetrius I) was held as a hostage in Rome, although still claiming the throne.
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 of Syria. The restoration of the Temple under Judas' leadership is described as the high point of his career. The careers of his brothers Jonathan and Simon, both high priests, are also narrated. First Maccabees is the best source for the period of history that it treats; it is careful in citing and dating. It includes an interesting account of the reputation of republican Rome and of Maccabean relations with that power. Second Maccabees was probably composed in Greek late in the 1st cent. B.C. Claiming to be the condensation of a history of the Maccabees by one Jason of Cyrene, it is a devout treatment of Judas Maccabeus' career and of Jews persecuted at the hands of Antiochus. The book begins with an apparently extraneous letter, from Palestinian Jews to Jews in E Egypt, referring to the feast of the restoration of the Temple in 165 B.C. A literary preface follows. An account of the troubles leading to the persecution is followed by two accounts of martyrdom. Finally Judas' glorious career is treated in a long passage that includes the horrible death of Antiochus and a vision of Judas. Second Maccabees sheds light on Jewish beliefs of the period—on creation, resurrection, prayers for the dead, and the ability of God's anger to be slackened in the face of suffering by Jewish martyrs. Third and Fourth Maccabees, also found in the Septuagint, were not included in St. Jerome's Vulgate and are usually classified among the PseudepigraphaPseudepigrapha
[Gr.,=things falsely ascribed], a collection of early Jewish and some Jewish-Christian writings composed between c.200 B.C. and c.A.D. 200, not found in the Bible or rabbinic writings.
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.

Bibliography

See studies by J. A. Goldstein (1976, 1983); J. H. Charlesworth, ed., Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Vol. II, 1985).


Maccabees

or

Machabees

(both: măk`əbēz), 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.

The Maccabees appear in history as the family of a priest, Mattathias, dwelling in Modin, who opposed the Hellenizing tendencies of the Syrian ruler Antiochus IVAntiochus IV
(Antiochus Epiphanes) , d. 163 B.C., king of Syria (175 B.C.–163 B.C.), son of Antiochus III and successor of his brother Seleucus IV. His nephew (later Demetrius I) was held as a hostage in Rome, although still claiming the throne.
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. Antiochus had taken advantage of factionalism among the Jews and had stripped and desacralized the Temple and begun a religious persecution. Mattathias, after killing an apostate Jew who took part in a Greek sacrifice, killed the royal enforcing officer. With his five sons he fled to the mountains and was joined by many HasidimHasidim
or Chassidim
[Heb.,=the pious], term used by the rabbis to describe those Jews who maintained the highest standard of religious observance and moral action. The term has been applied to movements at three distinct times.
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. Thus began a guerrilla war.

On Mattathias' death (166 B.C.) the leadership passed to his son Judas Maccabeus, from whose surname the family name is derived. Judas, an excellent military leader, defeated an expedition sent from Syria to destroy him. Having occupied Jerusalem, he reconsecrated the Temple; the feast of HanukkahHanukkah
, in Judaism, the Festival of Lights, the Feast of Consecration, or the Feast of the Maccabees; also transliterated Chanukah. According to tradition, it was instituted by Judas Maccabeus and his brothers in 165 B.C.
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 celebrates this event (165 B.C.). At that time there was civil strife in Syria. Demetrius IDemetrius I
(Demetrius Soter) , c.187–150 B.C., king of ancient Syria (162–150 B.C.), son of Seleucus IV. He was sent as a hostage to Rome, where he remained during the reigns of his father and his uncle Antiochus IV.
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, then in control, sent the general Nicanor with an army against Judas; that expedition was routed, but another, led by Bacchides, defeated and killed Judas (161? B.C.).

Judas' brother Jonathan, the new leader, was successful for a time; he supported Demetrius' rival, Alexander Balas, and made treaties of friendship with Sparta and Rome. Jonathan was killed by treachery in 143 B.C., and the last brother, Simon, succeeded; he was recognized by the other powers as civil ruler as well as high priest, and Palestine enjoyed some years of peace. Eventually Antiochus VII sent an expedition against the Jews; Simon defeated it, but in the disorder afterward he was murdered (135 B.C.) by an ambitious son-in-law. John Hyrcanus, Simon's son, managed to gain the ascendancy in the subsequent strife. He fought against Antiochus and remained in power until his death (105? B.C.). Under him Judaea enjoyed its greatest political power.

John Hyrcanus was succeeded by his son Aristobulus I, who died a year later. Another son, Alexander Jannaeus, then took the throne; he governed with great severity and headed the Sadducees in their strife with the Pharisees. Upon his death (78? B.C.) his widow, Salome Alexandra, who had also been married to Aristobulus, became queen. She favored the Pharisees and governed well. After her death, her son John Hyrcanus II, who had been high priest, acquired the temporal rule as well, but his more energetic brother, Aristobulus II, revolted. A civil war followed and resulted in Roman intervention and the taking of Jerusalem by Pompey (63 B.C.).

The house of the Maccabees made several efforts to throw off Roman rule. One of its members, Alexander, led an abortive rebellion in Syria, and in 40 B.C. Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus II, invaded Judaea with Parthian aid. Some of the Jews rallied to his standard, but he was defeated and put to death (37 B.C.) at the request of Herod the Great. Hyrcanus II, who had been reinstated as high priest by the Romans, was captured by the Parthians and deprived of his ears in order to render him unfit for priestly service. He returned (33 B.C.) to Judaea but was put to death (30 B.C.) on a charge of treason.

The chief sources for the Maccabees are the books of First and Second Maccabees and the Antiquities of Josephus. The name Maccabees has been extended to include the Jewish martyrs of the persecution, notably those of 2 Mac. 6; 7.

Bibliography

See E. Bickerman, The Maccabees (Eng. tr. 1947); A. Tcherikover, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews (1959); D. J. Harrington, The Maccabean Revolt (1988). See also bibliography under Old TestamentOld Testament,
Christian name for the Hebrew Bible, which serves as the first division of the Christian Bible (see New Testament). The designations "Old" and "New" seem to have been adopted after c.A.D.
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 and JewsJews
[from Judah], traditionally, descendants of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, whose tribe, with that of his half-brother Benjamin, made up the kingdom of Judah; historically, members of the worldwide community of adherents to Judaism.
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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Upon his departure from America following a tour to raise funds on behalf of the Technikum in Haifa in the summer of 1914, the Federation of American Zionists' English language monthly, The Maccabaean, wrote of Levin, "Whomever he addressed, in whatever circle he appeared, he stood out as a new type of Jew, prepared to defend the integrity of the Jewish people, and speaking in the name of a living, progressive nationality." (80) This even though until that time Levin had spent only a few years in Ottoman Palestine.
Under the more extreme reading, Devlin's argument was much closer to the earlier statement of legal moralism in Lord Stephen's book, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.(63) Certain key passages in Devlin's writings supported this reading, especially the concluding sentence of the Maccabaean lecture:
The coinage of their Maccabaean period is the poorest Hellenistic.
Charlesworth, the structure and content of Stephen's speech compared to Old Testament credos, a comparison of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 with ancient thought on ethics and emotion, and the Epistle of James and the Maccabaean martyr tradition: an explanation of sacred tradition in the New Testament.
This was perhaps the first public Jewish manifestation of which I could say that." Morrow recorded similar thoughts: "The critical intelligence, the broad scholarship and culture we found in its pages, [were] nothing short of amazing to us." Other Jewish journals published in English were uninspiring and insipid--a "hall of fame," Morrow said, "for Jewish pinheads and receptacles for the most disgusting kind of parochial chauvinism." While it is unclear which journals Morrow had in mind--perhaps the Zionists' The Maccabaean or Jewish organizational newsletters--he undoubtedly felt that there were no comparable highbrow, secular, Jewish cultural magazines in America.
From a survey of the available sources, he covers the period from Alexander the Great's conquest to the Maccabaean revolt in the context of the wider Hellenistic world.
"Two Poets on the East Side." The Maccabaean December 1918: 356-57.
In this he distinguishes four periods in the "restoration and progressive expansion of the Temple and of the sacred Book" (post-exilic restoration, Maccabaean restoration, Herodian expansion, restoration of the Pharisees after 70 C.E.).
This is shown to be wrong because there were many martyrs under the law (Maccabaean martyrs, the three young men in the burning fiery furnace).
It covers a bird's eye view of biblical history: from King David to the start of the Hellenistic period; from the arrival of Hellenization in Judaea to the outbreak of the Maccabaean uprising; the Maccabee trio Judas, Jonathon, and Simon; and the Hasmonaeans from John Hyrcanus to Mattathia Antigonus.
The gendered implications of linking Jews and nervousness was particularly striking in this issue of the journal because the "Notes on Prophecy and the Jews" column was directly followed by a column reprinted from The Maccabaean, the United States' most important Zionist journal.
They seek to find the place of the Maccabaean literature within the circles that wrote them, and contextualize it in the contemporary literature.