Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use

1 Maccabees, Book

Al HaNissim: A Chanukah Prayer Revised to Include 1 Maccabees

While silent about the miracle of oil, Al HaNissim calls attention to the lighting of the lampstand in the Temple, even making use of the Talmud’s wording, thus leaving the matter open to interpretation.

Prof. Rabbi

Reuven Kimelman

,

,

The Hasmoneans Usurped the High Priesthood from the Oniads

The family of Onias long controlled the high priesthood before the persecution of Antiochus IV and the Hasmoneans’ (“Maccabees’”) rebellion. When the dust settled, the Hasmoneans found themselves in charge of the priesthood and the Oniads had relocated to Egypt. 1 Maccabees, a pro-Hasmonean work, defends the legitimacy of the Hasmonean accession to the high priesthood, and the fact that it went to the family of Judah Maccabee’s brother, Simon.

Prof.

Daniel R. Schwartz

,

,

The Hasmonean Calendar Begins with the Rule of Simon the High Priest, 142 B.C.E.

Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Temple by Judah Maccabee in 164 B.C.E. But the war continued for another 22 years until the Seleucid King Demetrius appointed Simon as High Priest of Judea. To mark their new autonomy, the Judeans use the high priest’s regnal years, like that of a biblical king, to date their documents.

Rotem Avneri Meir

,

,

The Maccabean Victory Explained: Between 1 and 2 Maccabees

1 and 2 Maccabees have different understandings of why the Maccabean revolt succeeded. 1 Maccabees emphasizes the zealous killing of sinners as the element that wins God's favor, while 2 Maccabees emphasizes the tragic death of righteous Jewish martyrs as bringing about God's mercy and compassion.

Prof.

Katell Berthelot

,

,

Judea versus Judaism: Between 1 and 2 Maccabees

Ancient tensions between Judaism and the Jewish state can be seen by comparing 1 Maccabees, a book that serves the interest of the Hasmonean dynasty, and 2 Maccabees, a work of the diaspora whose focus is on Judaism.

Prof.

Daniel R. Schwartz

,

,

Channah, Daughter of Mattathias: Instigator of the Maccabean Rebellion

1 Maccabees recounts how Mattathias instigated a rebellion against the Greeks out of zealotry against Jewish idolatry. Later midrashim tell how Mattathias’ daughter Channah goaded her father and brothers into fighting the Greeks to protect her from being raped by the local governor.

Prof. Rabbi

Rachel Adelman

,

,

Chanukah and the Politics Behind the Maccabean Revolt

The story of the Maccabees is known as a battle between traditionalists and assimilationists, the latter supported by the Seleucid kings. But what do the books of and 2 Maccabees, with their elaborate descriptions of alliances and power plays, really tell us about the revolt?

Prof.

Eric Orlin

,

,

Sukkot, the Temple, and the Messianic Controversy

“May the All-Merciful One reestablish the fallen sukkah of [King] David” הרחמן הוא יקים לנו את סוכת דוד הנופלת — from the Grace after Meals of Sukkot.

Dr.

Malka Z. Simkovich

,

,

Honoring the Death of Soldiers

Praise of heroic death is a trope in ancient Near Eastern and Greek texts, and in modern commemorations such as Israel’s Yom Hazikaron and America’s Memorial Day, yet it is conspicuously absent in the Bible. Why?

Prof.

Jacob L. Wright

,

,

Chanukah: The Greek Influence of Martyrdom

On Chanukah we celebrate the miraculous military victories of the “few over the many,” and of Jewish culture over Greek.  Ironically, however, Chanukah has also bequeathed to us a new genre of Jewish literature, one that has been in frequent use ever since: Greek-style stories of bravery in defeat and dying for the cause.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

,

,

The Original Meaning of Chanukah

Why did Judah Maccabee establish the holiday? What were the religious and political factors ​that inspired the Maccabees to promote it throughout Judea and the diaspora?

Prof.

Eyal Regev

,

,

Moses’ Father-in-Law: Kenite or Midianite?

In the ancient world, genealogy was not about family relations but about political alliances.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

,

,

Uncovering the Truth About Chanukah

Dr.

Malka Z. Simkovich

,

,

No items found.