Jewish Holy War in Practice

Reuven Firestone

in Holy War in Judaism

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860302
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950621 | DOI:
Jewish Holy War in Practice

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The military victory of the Jewish Maccabees against the idolatrous Seleucid Greeks and their Hellenised Jewish allies during the period of the Second Temple was understood by its protagonists to have been successful by virtue of divine providence. Descriptions of this are not found in the Hebrew Bible but appear in the non-canonical Books of Maccabees. The triumph of Jewish heroes against the Greeks was acknowledged by Jews as a celebration of divinely wrought military success. Josephus acknowledges God’s hand in victory, and the festival of Hanukkah originally developed a celebration of military victory. Later, however, as observed from canonical rabbinic literature, Hanukkah takes on an entirely different meaning that plays down the military aspect of the occasion it celebrates.

Keywords: Maccabee; Hasmonian; Hanukkah; Second Temple; Seleucid; Hellenism; Josephus; Book of Maccabees

Chapter.  7450 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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