1 & 2 Maccabees

1 Maccabees                 2 Maccabees

Woo-1-Maccabees    Woo-2-Maccabees




      • Similarities = same general period + about holy wars.  “Liberation theology” –> but more focus on God’s rights & divine law rather than human rights… 1&2 M = stories of prayer & dependence on God + moral requirements for political action + Mattathias’s family takes centre stage = selfless dedication + humility… “charism of violence” like in Judges… optimistic ending.
      • Differences = independent works, written by different authors, in different languages, from different viewpoints.
            • 1 M = 176-134 – Active resistance – Militarism – history from below – human – political scene – objective narrative.
            • 2 M = 180-160 – Passive resistance – Martyrdom – history from above – divine (God’s direct actions within history through visions, miracles, angelic visitations) – interior life (thoughts, motives, dreams, prayers of main characters) – subjective florid lessons.
  • Wars of Maccabees: 167-164 –> began with Antiochus IV – Jews forced to sacrifice to greek gods, give up Torah, circumcision, etc.
        • Passive resistance = Hasideans – “the pious ones” – devoted to Law, NOT willing to take up arms or fight on sabbath.
        • Active resistance = Maccabees – Mattathias and his sons Judas, Jonathan, Simon. Lack of authority b/c NOT high-priestly family. Under jonathan finally had full authority through Syrians.
  • Antiochus Epiphanies IV – Ptolemy and Seleucus were 2 of Alexander the Great’s generals. Rome defeated Seleucids (defeated Antiochus III) & captured Antiochus III’s son… then he seized power later under name of Antiochus IV Epiphanies. Power struggle between Ptolemies and Seleucids over high priest office. 2 attacks of Jerusalem while passing through on way to Egypt. 2nd time erected Zeus statue in temple. Caricature of ruthless pride. Dies in torment in 2 M. “Epiphanes” = manifest. 175-164. Nickname was Epimanes = madman.
        • Unity under AE IV = one people by giving up unique customs. Suppress any efforts to keep God.
        • VS. Unity under Catholic Church = Lumen Gentium → opposite of ‘giving up customs’… Church doesn’t detract from any temporal good of all people… takes up the good customs… Church recapitulates all things in Christ… everything that is good, true, and beautiful is assumed into the Catholicity of the Church.
  • High priests: were civil & religious authority in himself. Under Antiochus IV, high priests became “Hellenizers”. (1) Simon II (220-198) = praised in Sirach 50. then bad successors (2) Onias III – son, (3) Jason – bought office from Anitochus IV, (4) Menelaus – also bought office.
  • Desolating Abomination = 167 BC – Baal Shamem = “Lord of heaven” (statue of Zeus) Shmm = desolating…
        • Sparks Mattathias and his sons to rebel.
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