April 04, 2018

What if there were no successful "Maccabean revolt"?

The revolt is of course, connected with Hanukkah, not Passover, but, with the Ahed Tamimi conviction and other Israeli ramp-ups against Palestinians, and us nearing the end of Passover, this deserves pondering.

First, what am I saying?

That, per this academic piece, Antiochus the V granted Jews restoration of full Temple rights not too long after Antiochus IV Epiphanes died. And that Antiochus V was petitioned for such by Menelaus. And that Judas Maccabeus did not magically conquer, then cleanse and restore, the Temple.

What I am saying is that the "framing" by 1-2 Maccabees (and lesser extent by Daniel) is both historically and theologically inaccurate. Critical scholars have long known that what happened 168 BCE and ff was more than just a revolt; it was to some degree a civil war, just like the "American Revolution." This idea further extends what that means. And, per analogy, the Maccabean "patriots," just like the American ones, wrote history and the Loyalists and Hellenizers had to suffer in silence. And, to the degree it was a revolt, non-theological political drives may have been part of the cause.

I have said elsewhere that Judaism, just like Christianity, has supersessionist elements. (Most religions do; Navajo religion incorporates — and won't admit – large chunks of Puebloan belief.) One of those elements, as I have noted elsewhere, was the Maccabees' forced conversion of Idumeans, like the ancestors of Herod. Another may have been restrictions, and attempts at conversion, of Samaritans. Per that first link, they rejected being lumped with Jews at the time of the Revolt. Surely this would have drawn some punishment, not at 164 BCE or immediately after, but decades later. And this likely carried into Christian New Testament times.

And, of course, this has effects today.

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