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The First Book of Maccabees, also called 1 Maccabees, is a book written in Hebrew by an anonymousRappaport, U., ''47. 1 Maccabees'' in Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2001)
The Oxford Bible Commentary
, p. 711
Jewish author after the restoration of an independent Jewish kingdom by the
Hasmonean dynasty The Hasmonean dynasty ( audio
; he, חַשְׁמוֹנַּאִים, ''Ḥašmona'īm'') was a ruling ...

Hasmonean dynasty
, around the late 2nd century BC. The original Hebrew is lost and the most important surviving version is the Greek translation contained in the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe wel ...
. The book is held as
canonical Canonical may refer to: Science and technology * Canonical form In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geo ...
scripture by the
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
,
Orthodox Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-paga ...
, and
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
churches (except for the
Orthodox Tewahedo Orthodox Tewahedo is the common and historical name of the Oriental Orthodox jurisdiction in the former Ethiopian Empire, that would later become the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo churches. Until 1959, the Orthodox ...
), but not by
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
denominations nor any major branches of Judaism; it is not part of the
Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages o ...
. Some Protestants consider it to be an
apocryphal Apocrypha (Gr. ἀπόκρυφος, ‘the hidden hings) The biblical Books received by the early Church as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament, but not included in the Hebrew Bible, being excluded by the non-Hellenistic Jews fr ...
book (see also
Deuterocanon The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its p ...
). 1 Maccabees is best known for its account of an early victory in the
Maccabean revolt The Maccabean Revolt ( he, מרד החשמונאים) was a Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees The Maccabees (), also spelled Machabees ( he, מַכַּבִּים ''Makabīm'' or he, מַקַבִּים, ''Maqabīm''; or ''Maccabaei''; el, ...

Maccabean revolt
against the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
: the recapture of
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
in the year 164 BC and rededication of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
– the narrative behind the Jewish holiday of
Hanukkah or English translation: 'Establishing' or 'Dedication' (of the Temple in Jerusalem The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome o ...

Hanukkah
.


Name

The name ''Maccabee'' in Hebrew means "Hammer". This is applied to the first leader of the revolt, Judas, third son of Mattathias. The name came to be used for his brothers as well, which accounts for the title of the book.


Form

The narrative is primarily prose text, but is interrupted by seven poetic sections, which imitate classical Hebrew poetry. These include four laments and three hymns of praise. There are 16 chapters. English language versions of the Bible which contain this book include the
New Revised Standard Version The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is an of the published in 1989 by the . It is a revision of the , which was itself an update of the .Good News Translation Good News Bible (GNB), also called the Good News Translation (GNT) in the United States, is an English translation of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious te ...
(GNT),
New American Bible, Revised Edition The New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) is an English-language, Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with ...
(NABRE). and
Knox Bible ''The Holy Bible: A Translation From the Latin Vulgate in the Light of the Hebrew and Greek Originals'' is a Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of ...
.


Date

1 Maccabees was written around the late 2nd century BC. The
Jerusalem Bible ''The Jerusalem Bible'' (JB or TJB) is an English translation English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or ...

Jerusalem Bible
suggests it was written in about 100 BC, and certainly before the capture of Jerusalem by the Roman general
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...
in 63 BC. Most scholars are in agreement on this date.


Contents


Structure

The
Jerusalem Bible ''The Jerusalem Bible'' (JB or TJB) is an English translation English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or ...

Jerusalem Bible
divides the book into five sections: #Chapter 1: Introduction #Chapter 2: Mattathias and the Holy War #3:1 to 9:22, under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus #9:23 to 12:53, under the leadership of Jonathan #Chapters 13–16, under the leadership of Simon


Detailed synopsis

The setting of the book is about a century and a half after the conquest of
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...

Judea
by the Greeks under
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
, after Alexander's empire had been divided so that Judea had become part of the Greek
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
. It tells how the Greek ruler
Antiochus IV Epiphanes Antiochus IV Epiphanes (; grc, Ἀντίοχος ὁ Ἐπιφανής, ''Antíochos ho Epiphanḗs'', "God Manifest"; c. 215 BC – November/December 164 BC) was a Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean histo ...

Antiochus IV Epiphanes
attempted to suppress the practice of basic
Jewish law ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters (thus '' trans-'' + '' liter-'') in predictable ways, such as Greek → ...
, resulting in the
Maccabean Revolt The Maccabean Revolt ( he, מרד החשמונאים) was a Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees The Maccabees (), also spelled Machabees ( he, מַכַּבִּים ''Makabīm'' or he, מַקַבִּים, ''Maqabīm''; or ''Maccabaei''; el, ...

Maccabean Revolt
(a Jewish revolt against Seleucid rule). The book covers the whole of the revolt, from 175 to 134 BC, highlighting how the salvation of the Jewish people in this crisis came through
Mattathias Mattathias ben Johanan ( he, מַתִּתְיָהוּ הַכֹּהֵן בֶּן יוֹחָנָן, ''Mattiṯyāhu hacCōhēn ben Yōḥānān'') (died 165 BCE) was a Kohen (Jewish priest) whose role in the religion-driven Maccabean Revolt agains ...

Mattathias
' family, particularly his sons,
Judas Maccabeus Judah Maccabee (or Judas Maccabeus, also spelled Machabeus, or Maccabæus, Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...

Judas Maccabeus
,
Jonathan Apphus Jonathan Apphus (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and th ...
, and
Simon Thassi Simon Thassi ( he, ''Šīməʿōn haTassī''; died 135 BCE Common Era (CE) is one of the year notations used for the Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 158 ...
, and Simon's son,
John Hyrcanus John Hyrcanus (; ''Yōḥānān Hurqanōs''; grc, Ἰωάννης Ὑρκανός, Iōánnēs Hurkanós) was a (an) and Jewish of the 2nd century BCE (born 164 BCE, reigned from 134 BCE until his death in 104 BCE). In he is often referred t ...

John Hyrcanus
. The doctrine expressed in the book reflects traditional Jewish teaching, without later doctrines found, for example, in
2 Maccabees The Second Book of Maccabees, also called 2 Maccabees, is a deuterocanonical The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), of ...
. The First Book of Maccabees also gives a list of Jewish colonies scattered elsewhere through the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
at the time. In the first chapter, Alexander the Great conquers the territory of Judea, and is later succeeded by the Seleucid Antiochus IV Epiphanes. After successfully invading the
Ptolemaic Kingdom The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basileía) was an Ancient Greece, Ancient Greek state based in Egypt during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period. It was founded in 305 BC by Ptolemy ...
of Egypt, Antiochus IV captures
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
and removes the sacred objects from the
Temple in Jerusalem Two ancient Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during th ...
, slaughtering many Jews. He then imposes a tax and establishes a fortress in Jerusalem. Antiochus then tries to suppress public observance of Jewish laws, in an attempt to secure control over the Jews. In 168 BC, he desecrates the
Temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called church (building), churches), Hinduism (w ...

Temple
by setting up an "
abomination of desolation "Abomination of desolation"Hebrew: ‏שִׁקּוּץ מְשֹׁמֵם‏‎, Ancient Greek: τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως, Latin: ''abominatio desolationis'' is a phrase from the Book of Daniel describing the pagan sacrifice ...
" (that is, establishing rites of
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, includ ...
observance in the Temple, or sacrificing an unclean animal on the altar in the
Holy of Holies#REDIRECT Holy of Holies The Holy of Holies ( Tiberian Hebrew: ''Qṓḏeš HaQŏḏāšîm'') or HaDvir ( he, הדְּבִיר, lt. " heSanctuary") is a term in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical ...

Holy of Holies
). Antiochus forbids both
circumcision Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin The foreskin is the double-layered fold of smooth muscle tissue, blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system that transport blood throughout the human body. Th ...
and possession of Jewish scriptures on pain of death. He forbids observance of the
sabbath In Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Abrahamic ...

sabbath
and the offering of sacrifices at the Temple. He also requires Jewish leaders to sacrifice to idols. While enforcement may be targeting only Jewish leaders, ordinary Jews were also killed as a warning to others.
Hellenization Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the adoption of Greek culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as t ...
included the construction of
gymnasium Gymnasium may refer to: *Gymnasium (ancient Greece), educational and sporting institution *Gymnasium (school), type of secondary school that prepares students for higher education **Gymnasium (Denmark) **Gymnasium (Germany) **Gymnasium UNT, high ...
s in Jerusalem. Among other effects, this discouraged the Jewish rite of circumcision even further, which had already been officially forbidden; a man's state could not be concealed in the gymnasium, where men trained and socialized in the nude. However, 1 Maccabees also insists that there were many Jews who sought out or welcomed the introduction of Greek culture. According to the text, some Jewish men even engaged in
foreskin restoration #REDIRECT foreskin restoration#REDIRECT foreskin restoration applied to a circumcised penis for non-surgical foreskin restoration Foreskin restoration is the process of expanding the skin Skin is the layer of usually soft, flexible outer tissue c ...
in order to pass as fully Greek. The narrative reports that news of the desolation reaches Mattathias and his five sons, a priestly family who live in
Modein Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut ( he, מוֹדִיעִין-מַכַּבִּים-רֵעוּת) is an Israeli city located in central Israel, about southeast of Tel Aviv and west of Jerusalem, and is connected to those two cities via Route 443 (Israel), ...
. Mattathias calls upon people loyal to the traditions of Israel to oppose the invaders and the Jewish Hellenizers, and his sons begin a military campaign against them (the ''
Maccabean Revolt The Maccabean Revolt ( he, מרד החשמונאים) was a Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees The Maccabees (), also spelled Machabees ( he, מַכַּבִּים ''Makabīm'' or he, מַקַבִּים, ''Maqabīm''; or ''Maccabaei''; el, ...

Maccabean Revolt
''). There is one complete loss of a thousand Jews (men, women and children) to Antiochus when the Jewish defenders refuse to fight on the Sabbath. The other Jews then reason that, when attacked, they must fight even on the holy day. In 165 BC the Temple is freed and reconsecrated, so that ritual sacrifices may begin again. The festival of
Hanukkah or English translation: 'Establishing' or 'Dedication' (of the Temple in Jerusalem The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome o ...

Hanukkah
is instituted by Judas Maccabeus and his brothers to celebrate this event (1 Maccabees 4:59). More wars involving Judas and his brothers Simon and Jonathan are reported in chapters 5, 6 and 7.Rappaport, U., ''47. 1 Maccabees'' in Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2001)
The Oxford Bible Commentary
, p. 718-722
Chapter 6 reports the last days of Antiochus Epiphanes and the accession of his young son
Antiochus V Eupator Antiochus V Eupator ( Greek: ''Αντίοχος Ε' Ευπάτωρ''), whose epithet means "of a good father" (c. 172 BC – 161 BC) was a ruler of the Greek Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδ ...

Antiochus V Eupator
to the throne. In chapter 8, Judas seeks an alliance with the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
, aiming to remove the Greeks. Verses 23–32 record an
agreement Agreement may refer to: Agreements between people and organizations * Gentlemen's agreement, not enforceable by law * Trade agreement, between countries * Consensus, a decision-making process * Contract, enforceable in a court of law ** Meeting of ...
between Rome and the nation of the Jews, whereby each party would act as a willing ally of the other and refuse to supply their enemies in time of war, specific warning being given to
Demetrius I Soter Demetrius I (Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Δημήτριος Α`'', 185 – June 150 BC, reigned September/October 161 – June 150 BC), surnamed Soter (Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Σωτήρ'' - "Savior"), was a ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. ...
that this pact would be activated against him if requested by the Jews. Jewish historian Uriel Rappaport asserts that "the majority of scholars today accept the authenticity of this document". After the death of Judas and a period of lawlessness, he is succeeded by his brother
Jonathan Apphus Jonathan Apphus (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and th ...
, whose battles with the Greek general Bacchides are recounted in chapter 9. Jonathan becomes high priest (1 Maccabees 10:20). Demetrius' death is reported in 1 Maccabees 10:50, and
Ptolemy VI Philometor Ptolemy VI Philometor ( gr, Πτολεμαῖος Φιλομήτωρ, ''Ptolemaĩos Philomḗtōr'';"Ptolemy, lover of his Mother". 186–145 BC) was a king of Egypt from the Ptolemaic period. He reigned from 180 to 164 BC and from 163 to 145 BC. ...

Ptolemy VI Philometor
and
Alexander Balas Alexander I Theopator Euergetes, surnamed Balas ( grc, Ἀλέξανδρος Βάλας, Alexandros Balas), was the ruler of the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλά ...

Alexander Balas
, claimant to the Seleucid throne, enter into an agreement under which Alexander marries
Cleopatra Thea Cleopatra Thea ( el, Κλεοπάτρα Θεά, which means "Cleopatra the Goddess"; c. 164 – 121 BC) surnamed Eueteria (i.e., "good-harvest/fruitful season") was the ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. She was queen consort of Syria from ...

Cleopatra Thea
, Ptolemy's daughter (1 Maccabees 10:58). The relationship between Jonathan and Demetrius' son and successor,
Demetrius II Nicator :''For the similarly named Macedonian ruler, see Demetrius II of Macedon. For the Macedonian prince, see Demetrius the Fair.'' Demetrius II ( grc, Δημήτριος Β`, ''Dēmḗtrios B''; died 125 BC), called Nicator ( grc, Νικάτωρ, '' ...
, is covered in chapter 11: Jonathan provides military support to Demetrius at the latter's request (verse 44), and a successful engagement against a popular revolt at
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
enables the Jews to "gain glory in the sight of the king" (verse 51). Maccabees does not mention the involvement of the
mercenaries A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is a private individual, particularly a soldier, who takes part in military conflict War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and ...
who are mentioned in other accounts, whereas other accounts do not mention the Jewish involvement. Ultimately the relationship between Jonathan and Demetrius breaks down: Maccabees' opinion is that Demetrius "broke his word about all that he had promised; he became estranged from Jonathan and did not repay the favors that Jonathan had done him, but treated him very harshly". Alliances with Rome and with Areus of
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
are covered in 1 Maccabees 12:1–23. Jonathan's capture in 143 BC, having been double-crossed by Diodotus Tryphon, is recorded in 1 Maccabees 12:48. Simon follows Jonathan as the next Jewish leader "in place of Judas and your brother Jonathan", taking on civil, military and liturgical roles: "great high priest, governor, and leader of the Jews". Simon fortifies Jerusalem (1 Maccabees 13:10) and secures the reoccupation of (1 Maccabees 13:11), leading the people in peace and prosperity until he is murdered by agents of
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes ...
, son of
Abubus Abubus, also spelt Abobus or Abobi, was the father of Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowled ...
, who had been named governor of the region by the Macedonian Greeks. The period of peace and prosperity is celebrated in a biblical-style poetic passage, the "Eulogy of Simon", which Rappaport considers to be "one of the most important poetic passages in 1 Maccabees". Simon is succeeded by his son, John, referred to by
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
as
John Hyrcanus John Hyrcanus (; ''Yōḥānān Hurqanōs''; grc, Ἰωάννης Ὑρκανός, Iōánnēs Hurkanós) was a (an) and Jewish of the 2nd century BCE (born 164 BCE, reigned from 134 BCE until his death in 104 BCE). In he is often referred t ...

John Hyrcanus
. The concluding verses () note that "the acts of John and his wars and the brave deeds that he did ... are written in the annals of his high priesthood".


Canonicity

Pope Damasus I Damasus I (; c. 305 – 11 December 384) was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Withi ...

Pope Damasus I
's
Council of Rome The Council of Rome was a meeting of Catholic Church officials and theologians which took place in 382 under the authority of Pope Damasus I Damasus I (; c. 305 – 11 December 384) was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, o ...
in 382, if the
Decretum Gelasianum The ''Decretum Gelasianum'' or the Gelasian Decree is so named because it was traditionally thought to be a Decretal Decretals ( la, litterae decretales) are letters of a pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, " ...

Decretum Gelasianum
is correctly associated with it, issued a biblical canon identical with the list given at Trent including the two books of Maccabees.
Origen of Alexandria Origen of Alexandria, ''Ōrigénēs''; Coptic: Ϩⲱⲣⲓⲕⲉⲛ Origen's Greek name ''Ōrigénēs'' () probably means "child of Horus" (from , "Horus", and , "born"). ( 184 – 253), also known as Origen Adamantius, was an early Christian ...
(253),
Augustine of Hippo Augustine of Hippo (; la, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, was a theologian and philosopher of Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Im ...

Augustine of Hippo
(c. 397),
Pope Innocent I Pope Innocent I ( la, Innocentius I) was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within ...

Pope Innocent I
(405),
Synod of Hippo A synod () is a council of a Ecclesia (church), church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word ''wikt:synod, synod'' comes from the meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is analogous with the L ...
(393), the
Council of Carthage (397)The Councils of Carthage were church synod A synod () is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word '' synod'' comes from the meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is analogous w ...
, the Council of Carthage (419), the
Apostolic Canons The Apostolic Canons or Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles or Canons of the Holy Apostles is a 4th-century Christianity in Syria, Syrian Christian text. It is an Ancient Church Orders, Ancient Church Order, a collection of ancient ec ...
, the Council of Florence (1442) and the
Council of Trent The Council of Trent ( la, Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent (or Trento, in northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of ...

Council of Trent
(1546) listed the first two books of Maccabees as canonical.


Transmission, language and author

The text comes to us in three codices of the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe wel ...
: the
Codex Sinaiticus The Codex Sinaiticus (ShelfmarkA shelfmark is a mark in a book or manuscript that denotes the cupboard or bookcase where it is kept as well as the shelf and possibly even its location on the shelf. The closely related term pressmark (from pres ...
,
Codex Alexandrinus The Codex Alexandrinus (London, British Library, Royal MS 1. D. V-VIII; Biblical manuscript#Gregory-Aland, Gregory-Aland no. A or 02, Biblical manuscript#Von Soden, Soden δ 4) is a fifth-century Christian manuscript of a Greek Bible,The Greek V ...
and
Codex Vaticanus The Codex Vaticanus (Vatican Library, The Vatican, Vatican Library, Bibl. Vat., Vat. gr. 1209; no. B or 03 Biblical manuscript#Gregory-Aland, Gregory-Aland, δ 1 Biblical manuscript#Von Soden, von Soden) is one of the oldest copies of the Bible, ...
, as well as some cursives. Though the original book was written in
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
, as can be deduced by a number of Hebrew idioms in the text, the original has been lost and the version which comes down to us is the Septuagint. Some authors date the original Hebrew text even closer to the events covered, while a few suggest a later date. Because of the accuracy of the historical account, if the later date is taken, the author would have to have had access to first-hand reports of the events or other primary sources.
Origen of Alexandria Origen of Alexandria, ''Ōrigénēs''; Coptic: Ϩⲱⲣⲓⲕⲉⲛ Origen's Greek name ''Ōrigénēs'' () probably means "child of Horus" (from , "Horus", and , "born"). ( 184 – 253), also known as Origen Adamantius, was an early Christian ...
gives testimony to the existence of an original Hebrew text.
Jerome Jerome (; la, Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ἱερώνυμος; – 30 September 420), also known as Jerome of Stridon, was a Christian priest A priest is a religious leader authoriz ...

Jerome
likewise claims "the first book of Maccabees I have found to be Hebrew, the second is Greek, as can be proved from the very style" (per '' Prologus Galeatus''). Many scholars suggest that they may have actually had access to a
Biblical Aramaic Biblical Aramaic is the form of Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and l ...
paraphrase of the work—but one should be aware of a "creeping Aramaicism", finding evidence for a vaguely Aramaic text when there is nothing definite to point to. Only the Greek text has survived, and this only through its inclusion in the Christian canon. Origen claims that the title of the original was ''Sarbēth Sarbanael'' (variants include Σαρβηθ Σα αναι ελ "''Sarbēth Sa anai El''" and Σαρβηθ Σα ανέελ ''Sarbēth Sa aneel''), an enigmatic Greek transliteration from a putative Hebrew original. Various reconstructions have been proposed: *"''Book of the Prince of the House of Israel''" or "''the Prince of the House of God ( El)''", from the Hebrew שַׂר בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, ''Sar Beit-Yisra'el'' or שַׂר בֵּית אֵל, ''Sar Beit-El'', respectively, *"''History of the House of the Warriors''", *"''Book of the House of the Princes of God''", *"''the Book of the Dynasty of God's resisters''", perhaps from סֵפֶר בֵּית סָרְבָנֵי אֵל, ''Sefer Beit Sarevanei El'' ("Book of the House who strive for God").
Gustaf Dalman 200px, Gustaf Dalman. Gustaf Hermann Dalman (9 June 1855 – 19 August 1941) was a German Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, a 16th-century German Protestant R ...
, meanwhile, suggests that the title is a corruption of the Aramaic "''The Book of the House of the Hasmoneans''". The book's author is unknown, but some suggest that it may have been a devout Jew from the Holy Land who may have taken part in the events described in the book. He shows intimate and detailed geographical knowledge of the Holy Land, but is inaccurate in his information about foreign countries. The author interprets the events not as a miraculous intervention by God, but rather as God using the military genius of the Maccabees as the instrument to achieve his own ends.


Liturgical usage

The Roman Catholic
Lectionary A lectionary ( la, lectionarium) is a book or listing that contains a collection of scripture Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sac ...
makes use of texts from 1 Maccabees 1 to 6, along with texts from
2 Maccabees The Second Book of Maccabees, also called 2 Maccabees, is a deuterocanonical The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), of ...
6 and 7, in the weekday readings for the 33rd week in
Ordinary Time In the liturgy Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a community, communal response to and participation in the sacred through activities reflecting praise, thanksg ...
, in year 1 of the two-year cycle of readings, always in November, and as one of the options available for readings for the and as one of the suggested readings at a
Mass Mass is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms of "more", "less", or "equal", or by assigning a numerical value ...
celebrated to honour persecuted Christians.Roman Missal, Lectionary, Revised Edition approved for use in the dioceses of England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland, published by Collins, Geoffrey Chapman and Veritas, 1981, 1982, volumes 2 and 3


References


Further reading

*Bartlett, John R. 1998. ''1 Maccabees.'' Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press. *Borchardt, Francis. 2014. ''The Torah in 1 Maccabees: A Literary Critical Approach to the Text.'' Boston: Walter de Gruyter. *Darshan, Guy. 2019. "The Original Language of 1 Maccabees: A Reexamination." ''Biblische Notizen'' (Neue Folge) 182: 91–110. *Goldstein, Jonathan A. 1976. ''I Maccabees: A New Translation, with Introduction and Commentary.'' Anchor Bible 41. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. *Lanzinger, Daniel. 2015. "Alcimus’ Last Command: History and Propaganda in 1 Maccabees 9:54." ''Journal for the Study of Judaism'' 46, no. 1: 86–102. *Williams, David S. 1999. ''The Structure of 1 Maccabees'', Washington, DC:
Catholic Biblical Association The Catholic Biblical Association of America (CBA) is an United States of America, American learned society dedicated to the academic study of the Bible. The suggestion to form a permanent association of biblical scholars was made at the beginning ...
.


External links


The Book of First Maccabees
– Full text from
Coptic Orthodox Church The Coptic Orthodox Church ( cop, Ϯⲉⲕ̀ⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛ̀ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲛ̀ⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ, translit=Ti.eklyseya en.remenkimi en.orthodoxos, lit=the Egyptian Orthodox Church; ar, الكنيسة القبطي ...

Coptic Orthodox Church
Heritage
1 Maccabees: 2015 Critical Translation with Audio Drama
at biblicalaudio *
Knox Bible ''The Holy Bible: A Translation From the Latin Vulgate in the Light of the Hebrew and Greek Originals'' is a Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of ...
br>1 Maccabees 1
* *



article in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith * {{DEFAULTSORT:Maccabees, 1 2nd-century BC books Ancient Hebrew texts Books of the Maccabees, 1 Deuterocanonical books Hanukkah Hasmonean dynasty Maccabees Jewish apocrypha