HellenisticMonarchyMidtermPaper - Matthew Zabinsky CLAS 115...

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Matthew Zabinsky CLAS 115: Hellenistic Monarchy and Judaea Professor Adam Kolman Marshak October 14, 2007 Judah Maccabee: An Evaluation In 176 BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, newly crowned king of the Seleucid Empire, imposed a policy of Hellenization on the Jewish inhabitants of Judea. Hellenization entailed forcing the Jews to abandon their own social and religious practices (i.e. Torah, circumcision) and adopt Greek social and religious customs (i.e. sacrifice, idolatry) by punishing opposition with torment and death. Then in 167 BCE, Mattathias of Modein, a Judean priest of Hasmonean descent, incited a rebellion against Antiochus IV Epiphanes by openly refusing to offer sacrifice to the Greek gods. “Far be it from us to desert the law and its ordinances. We will not obey the king’s words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left. 1 After destroying the Seleucid troops stationed in Modein, Mattathias and his five sons fled into the wilderness with a small group of rebels. Less than one year later, Mattathias died, and military leadership of the Maccabean Revolt passed on to Judah Maccabee, the most formidable warrior among his five sons. Judah commanded the Maccabean army for seven years, defeating numerically superior Seleucid forces on the battlefields of Beth-Horon, Emmaus, and Beth-Zur. In 164 BCE, Judah and his army 1 “1 Maccabees” 2:21-22 (Available Online) New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (1989); Available from http://hope.edu/bandstra/BIBLE/1MA/1MA0.HTM 1
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broke through to Jerusalem and purified the Second Temple, which had previously suffered defilement at the hands of Antiochus IV. After successfully engineering a treaty of friendship with Rome, Judah fought his last engagement at the Battle of Elasa. Brother Jonathan assumed command of the revolt, and intermittent conflict between Hasmonean and Seleucid forces continued for the next thirty years. The career of Judah Maccabee is recorded in three separate works of antiquity: “1 Maccabees”, “2 Maccabees 2 ”, and Antiquities of the Jews 3 . While all three works agree on the basic pattern of facts as presented above, they differ in their portrayals of Judah Maccabee himself, specifically the extent of his influence on the revolt. 1 Maccabees, which narrates the Maccabean Revolt in its entirety (167-134 BCE), plays down the role of Judah by regarding him as equal in stature to the rest of the Maccabees. 2 Maccabees covers only that part of the Maccabean Revolt in which Judah participated (167-161
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HellenisticMonarchyMidtermPaper - Matthew Zabinsky CLAS 115...

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