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In either case the First Book of the Maccabees is one of the best sources known for the history of the Jews. Destinon ("Die Quellen des Josephus," 1882) revived this theory and endeavored to prove (pp. Destinon bases his argument on the fact that Josephus treats this portion very scantily in comparison with his treatment of the other material of the book, although these chapters contain quite as much and as interesting material. The writer further takes occasion often to impress upon his readers the sacred character of the Temple at Jerusalem, which the Diaspora might easily undervalue. In the earlier part he supplies some welcome information not contained in I Maccabees, and in nearly every chapter are interesting facts—some of them confirmed by Josephus—which may, with caution, be used. This much, at least, is true—the writer's sympathies were with the Pharisees. The work, therefore, must have been composed about the beginning of the common era. The two letters prefixed to II Maccabees have excited much discussion. 3-24 has been thought by several scholars to be the work of a later hand, but the opinion does not appear to be well founded. 20-24 suits well the style of the author of the earlier parts, and the apparent incongruity of xviii. Its style is oratorical and ornate, though not so extravagant as that of III Maccabees. The writer of IV Maccabees had certainly come under the influence of the culture of Alexandria, even if he lived and wrote in some other city. The divine element is not wanting, and success is ultimately traced (as in Mattathias' deathbed utterances) to God. The period also, as many hold, gave rise to numerous new psalms. The determining fact is held by most to be the statement in xvi. In Torrey's view no such sources are needed, as the author, where he did not have personal knowledge, could have talked with participants or eye-witnesses of the events. Michaelis held that Josephus used the Hebrew original of the book, which differed in some important particulars from the present text. were not contained in the edition used by Josephus. The author is so intent on this that though he has lauded Judas as a splendid example of religious patriotism he passes in silence over his death. This places his work in a very different class from that of I Maccabees. This, together with his attitude toward the priesthood asshown in his lifting the veil which I Maccabees had drawn over Jason and Menelaus, led Bertholdt and Geiger to regard the author as a Pharisee and the work as a Pharisaic party document. 2 would form a weak ending to the book, while xviii. This discourse, also, is too abstruse for an ordinary congregation; it is an address to a more select circle. The writer holds, also, that the suffering of the martyrs was vicarious; by it they wrought deliverance for their nation (comp. Schürer and Niese (in "Kritik der Beiden Makkabäerbücher," Berlin, 1900) maintain that the last verses imply that I Maccabees was written after the death of John Hyrcanus (105 ) and not to the end of Hyrcanus' reign (see "J. This is high praise; but it is fully deserved (comp. On the other hand, it differs somewhat from the Biblical histories in its standpoint.Born in the year of the Emperor Caligula’s accession to the throne, Josephus (b. After spending the rest of the war in Roman custody and assisting the enemy with military intelligence, he was granted his freedom and maintenance in the city of Rome.There he began to write the history of his people—first, of the recent war and its causes (seven volumes on The Judaean War), and later, of Judaean history, law, and culture (twenty volumes on Judaean Antiquities plus an essay in two volumes known as Against Apion).It is transmitted in three uncial manuscripts of the Septuagint—the Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Alexandrinus, and the Codex Venetus—as well as in several cursives. Concerning the author no information is obtainable beyond that which may be inferred from the book itself. It would seem that the author of III Maccabees, anxious to connect this celebration with Jerusalem, has transferred it to an earlier Ptolemy and given it an entirely unhistorical setting. On one important point some modern writers are unfair to the book.
We still lack a traditional Einleitung (systematic introduction) to Josephus’s works, but the studies in this section prepare the ground.To the longest work (Antiquities) he appended an autobiography, which, in the ancient fashion, focused on his personal status, character, and military-political achievements during the crisis with Rome.As Bilde 1988 observes, the extensive use of Josephus’s works in Western history did not entail studying them as whole compositions. It is clear from the Semitic idioms which occur throughout the work that it was composed in a Semitic language (see, for example, ii. 2), and certain passages indicate with great clearness that the original language was Hebrew (see ii. The Hebrew original seems not to have borne the name "Maccabees," though it is not known what was its real designation. For some of these see Grimm ("Das Erste Buch der Makkabäer," p. Be this as it may, the Hebrew was translated very early into Greek, and the Greek only has survived. The author was also a loyal admirer of the Hasmonean family; he believed that to it Israel owed her deliverance and existence. When the elephants turned on his own people the king saw a sudden apparition and gave up his purpose. Mattathias is unknown to II Maccabees, though the latter is supposed by Geiger to be a Pharisaic counterblast to the Sadducean I Maccabees. To this fact Origen and Jerome also bear testimony, though it is possible that the version or paraphrase known to them was Aramaic. 25) quotes Origen as authority for the name Σαρβηθ Σαβαναι, a name which has been explained in many different ways. If this be the correct interpretation, an Aramaic translation of the book must have been made at an early time, and it was this translation which was known to Origen and Jerome—a view which does not seem improbable. 5, 6) and by his lack of accurate knowledge of any of the foreign countries which he mentions. If true, it is one of a very few grains of fact in the whole account. 5) tells how Ptolemy Physco (146-117 ) cast the Jews of Alexandria, who, as adherents of Cleopatra, were his political opponents, to intoxicated elephants. It is certainly true that the author is silent concerning the worst excesses of the (Sadducean) high priests, and attaches primary importance to the founder of the dynasty, Mattathias.