1 Maccabees

Chronicle of the rise of the Hasmonean dynasty from about 175-130 BCE. It was probably composed in Hebrew ca. 110 BCE to bolster Johanan Hyrcanus against sectarian opponents. But it survives only in the Greek translation included in the Septuagint. It is not in the Hebrew Bible but was accepted by Christians as one of the apocryphal scriptures. 

The fact that this work was not preserved in Hebrew has led to a long scholarly debate over the etymology of the name "Maccabee" & its proper application. In primary narratives the term is used in the singular as a nickname to refer to the Judean priest Judah ben Mattatyahu alone. The use of the plural form by later Greek & Latin Christian writers [e.g., Origen & Jerome] to refer to various books that narrate the exploits of Judah & his brothers [i.e., "the first book of (the) Maccabees" and "the second book of (the) Maccabees"] led to the widespread mistaken use of "Maccabees" to refer to the whole family itself. While "Maccabees" & "Maccabean" remain convenient modern designations for the Jewish fight against foreign political & cultural dominance in the mid 2nd c. BCE, there is no ancient textual support for using this name to refer to individual members of the family of Mattathias of Modein other than his son Judah.

Other resources on line:

[Edition used: Rahlfs, Alfred, ed. Septuaginta. Stuttgart: Deutsche Biblestiftung, 1935].

Perspective on the World of Jesus

Copyright 1999-2023 by Mahlon H. Smith
All rights reserved.

an American Theological Library Association Selected Religion Website
OCLC catalog no.: 62046512