Righteous Revolt: Nearly Final Thoughts
Discussing key takeaways from 1 Maccabees and answering listener questions.
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We’ve reached the end of 1 Maccabees, and we’ve compiled a few of our takeaways from the journey. Here’s the shorthand:
The story of the Maccabees is the prequel to the New Testament and an essential chapter in Jewish history.
The author of 1 Maccabees presents a fairly low view of political authority; nothing good comes from politics.
The Second Temple period saw impressive development of the temple structure and its liturgy.
The ancient world was far more interconnected than one might assume on first blush; travel across vast distances was normal for many.
The “Abomination of Desolation” was a reality that early Judaism would have understood first through the desecration of the temple by Antiochus IV, and secondarily in the first century with the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple.
This is now a written world; books have moved center stage in people’s means of ordering their world.
Listen to our full conversation about each on the show. We also take some time to address listener questions:
Luther Menard asks, “How was the book of Maccabees used or alluded to in the New Testaments? How did the early church use this book in their worship? What are some of the biggest misconceptions you hear and see concerning the book of Maccabees?”
Nick Gillespie asks, “Is the Protestant rejection of Maccabees as divinely inspired simply a function of Catholics using it to justify indulgences?”
David Twombly asks, “Do you have any insight into the way(s) 1 (or the Books of Maccabees in general) are currently viewed by Jewish communities today (assuming that there may be a variety of ways)?”
Davede Alexander Thompson asks, “I wonder if there isn’t beginning to be a major cautionary tale in the Maccabean story, which will set up the world of the New Testament and the major oppression the Jews live under then. . . . I think a lot of the later chapters of the Maccabees are not so rah-rah Israel, but rather Arrested Development: This did not go well for them. What do you think?”
Clayton Dale (aka Nomadic Vagabond) asks, “Why is 4 Maccabees not included in the Orthodox Study Bible? What is the difference between Apocryphal books and Deuterocanonical books?”
Regarding Clayton Dale’s second question, we did most of an episode in our series on Tobit explaining the difference between designations such as apocrypha, deuterocanonical, and pseudepigrapha. You can check that out here. For the rest of our answers to these questions, check out the episode.
We mention a few books and articles in the episode as well. We did a whole show on books helpful for studying the “bad” books of the Bible, especially 1 Maccabees. You can find that here. Here’s some of what we cover in today’s episode in particular:
Brandon Hawk, Apocrypha for Beginners: A Guide to Understanding and Exploring Scriptures Beyond the Bible (Rockridge, 2021).
Paul J. Kosmin, The Land of the Elephant Kings: Space, Territory, and Ideology (Harvard University Press, 2014).
Lawrence H. Schiffman, From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (Ktav, 1991).
Daniel R. Schwartz, “Judea versus Judaism: Between 1 and 2 Maccabees,” TheTorah.com, 2021.
James C. VanderKam, An Introduction to Early Judaism, 2nd ed. (Eerdmans, 2022).
We now refer you to the “nearly final” in the episode title. We’re not quite done! Next week we’re back with an interview with Fr. Stephen De Young on all things Maccabean.
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