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This article claims "Maccabees" means "hammer" but "hammer" is writen "פטיש" and "Macabees" is writen "מכבי". Any thoughts?

"Macabee" should in fact be written "מקבי" and the word you're looking for is "מקבת" which is a war hammer. Poliocretes (talk) 13:58, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Maccabees v. Hanukkah[edit]

This article contradicts the one on chanukah which says that, according to the Bible, the Seleucid king did want to Hellenize the Jews and rob them of their rights. What really happened?

Who knows what really happened? The Maccabees article states that apart from the books 1 and 2 Maccabees (which are not part of the Hebrew Bible), there is no corroborating evidence of Hellenization. Instead we have Josephus writing ([1]) about Jewish Priests & Greek Politics:
Under attack by the latter, Menelaus and the sons of Tobias retreated to Antiochus (IV) and informed him that they wished to abandon their native (Jewish) laws and corresponding (priestly) civic order for those of the king and a Greek civic order. ... And abandoning all their other native (Jewish) customs, they copied the practices of other nations.
Josephus also writes that in 169 BC Antiochus looted the Temple and left having "committed murder and spoken with great arrogance", and also:
And many of the Jews followed the things the (Syrian) king ordered, some voluntarily but also through fear of paying the proclaimed penalty. But the noblest and best-born persons did not heed him but held their native customs to count more than the penalty he threatened for those who did not obey. And because of this they were abused each day. And they died, subject to bitter tortures.
I could not find any mention of a sudden change of policy, so that sentence could be rewritten. Maybe both articles could indicate more clearly which sources say what? -Wikibob | Talk 12:07, 2004 Jul 28 (UTC)

Moved some paragraphs[edit]

I have moved some paragraphs of the later dynasty to the Hasmonean page, where I reckon they fit better in. Also, I added the difference between the two terms Maccabee and Hasmonean. --Sponsianus 09:27, 30 November 2005 (UTC)


Maccabees is going to require a specific disambiguation page rather than a disambig paragraph at the top of this article. There is now an up and coming Band in the UK which shares the name and it's only a matter of time before they get their own article. Unless anyone has any objections to Maccabees (disambiguation). I'll set to it this evening. Y control 09:47, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Objection to the use of this image[edit]

I object to the use of the image containing the map of the Hasmonean Kingdom set against the background of the so-called present-day borders of Israel. The image is also being used in the articles on Hanukkah, on Jewish history, on Judas Maccabeus, on Hasmonean and on the Golan Heights. But these are not the internationally recognised borders of Israel. The image suggests that the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are integral parts of the state of Israel, whereas this is subject to international disputes. To present these borders as undisputed facts, is to lessen the quality of information provided by Wikipedia. I therefore decided to remove this image. In a (very swift) reaction by a Wikipedia administrator, he accused me of "blatant vandalism". That is absurd. I'm in the habit of using Wikipedia as a source of factual, unbiased information. Ocasionally, I make a small contribution to try to enhance the factual accuracy of an article. To enhance an article is not vandalism. It is what I thought Wikipedia was all about. There are undoubtedly many images available that could be used in these articles that depict the borders of Israel, while clearly marking the disputed Palestinian Territories and the Golan Heights as disputed entities. Why would an unbiased encyclopedia, out of of all the available options, choose an image that is provided by the Israeli Foreign Ministry? If it is Wikipedia's standard policy to discourage user participation in this agressive way, then in my view, it fails in its stated purpose. -- 13:39, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

please do not double post. you have left this comment at talk:Golan Heights, Talk:Hasmonean, Talk:Judas Maccabeus, Talk:Maccabees, Talk:Hanukkah, and Talk:Jewish history. I have moved it to Image talk:Hasmonean-map.jpg. Jon513 14:13, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for opening that Image talk page and for your comment. But I would also have to disagree with you on multiple postings. There is a good reason to place multiple postings. Many users only view one of the involved pages. If they wish to see whether there are differences of opinion on the article they are reading, they have a right to a complete overview. Now if they would happen to forget to click on the image itself (and subsequently on its Image talk page), but instead would only view this discussion page, they would be denied that complete overview, if there were no multiple postings.-- 17:59, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
The image on this page does not depict the modern state of Israel. It depicts the ancient Hasmonean Kingdom. The kingdom included modern Israel, the Palestinian territories, and parts of Jordan and Syria too. There is nothing political about it - you've just misunderstood the image.

Judah v Judas Maccabeus[edit]

To my recollection, Judah and Judas are the same person? There should be internal consistency within the article - any thoughts? - TMac 00:04, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Huge misconception[edit]

Um yeah, Jews do not celebrate Chanukah because of the victory, they celebrate because of the menorah oil burning for 8 days instead of one. Jews do not celebrate war whatsoever. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:08, 19 March 2007 (UTC).

joke map[edit]

I'm sorry. that map. is that serious? it presents a hook-nosed face, dribbling.

I don't thing ancient Israel looked like that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:31, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

This article is almost identical to Maccabean Revolt. I propose they be merged. Marshall46 (talk) 10:54, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I have edited this article so that it now contains all the material that was in Maccabean Revolt but not here; I've also added a bit. This article is now the definitive one and the merge should be to this one. I'm not sure how to use the merge template so I'd appreciate it if someone more experienced could do it. Marshall46 (talk) 19:47, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Merged. Marshall46 (talk) 15:55, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

"National self-determination"[edit]

The article says that, "as the Maccabees realized how successful they had been, many wanted to continue the revolt as a war of national self-determination." It also refers to "the war of national liberation". I suggest that "national self-determination" and "national liberation" are anachronisms, reading back concepts from the 20th century to the 2nd century BCE. The article also tends to overstate the degree of autonomy achieved by the Maccabeans relative to the Seleucid empire. It would be more accurate and more consistent with modern sources to say that, having won the freedom to practice the Jewish religion and more autonomy for Judea, the Maccabeans continued fighting to win more territory. Marshall46 (talk) 14:59, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

No-one has objected, so I'm going to edit accordingly. Marshall46 (talk) 22:11, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
The anachronistic phrase "national liberation movement" (which is more appropriate to the 20th century) still remains in the opening paragraph, but I am not sure what to replace it with. "Army"? "Guerrilla army"? "Group of warriors"? Suggestions, please. Marshall46 (talk) 09:12, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I have used the phrase "Jewish rebel army" instead Marshall46 (talk) 16:13, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Useful for the article?[edit]

Austerlitz -- (talk) 17:31, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

"At the beginning of the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a conflict broke out between two members of the High Priest Levite family. The conflict resulted in High Priest Onias III going to Egypt. There he set up a new temple at Heliopolis northeast of what is now Cairo. This temple functioned until 70 C.E. when the Romans destroyed it along with the one in Jerusalem." Is there another source for this? the article doesn't mention.

Austerlitz -- (talk) 17:56, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
It is mentioned in a paper in the Journal of Semitic Studies. I think it belongs in the article on Onias III, not in the article on Macabbeees. Please add there if you wish. Marshall46 (talk) 16:02, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Date format[edit]

The date format has been changed back and forth between BC and BCE. Wikipedia has no preference for one over the other, but I suggest that BCE is more appropriate for this article. BCE/CE is becoming increasingly common in historical and academic writing and it is considered to be more neutral in religious terms than BC/AD. BCE/CE stand for "Before the Common Era/Common Era". BC/AD stand for "Before Christ/Anno Domini (in the year or Our Lord)". As this article is about events in Jewish history, the former is prefererable, so I have changed the dates back again. If any editor wants to undo this, they should explain their reasons here. Marshall46 (talk) 18:38, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

WP:ERA prohibits changing the established era style in an article "unless there are reasons specific to its content" (emphasis added), and requires prior discussion to seek consensus for the change. Hertz1888 (talk) 14:13, 5 November 2013 (UTC)


I have made changes in the summary box.

I have listed the combatants as Jews and Seleucid Empire. Although the Maccabees did attack Hellenized Jews, the latter were not combatants in the sense that they did not fight the Maccabees. I have made some changes to "territory" and "results".

In the intro. I have changed Coele-Syria to Israel. This is, of course, not the state of Israel, but it is the land of Israel. That makes more sense than Coele-Syria.

Marshall46 (talk) 17:37, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Spelling and Grammar[edit]

In looking over the references I noticed that the spelling of Victor Tchrikover's name is wrong (spelled as "Tcherikover"). I'm new to editing wikis and don't know how to change it myself. Can someone take care of it? -- Moshe (talk) 19:00, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

It's spelled "Tcherikover" on the cover of his book.[2] Marshall46 (talk) 09:40, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Relationship between Judea and Seleucids[edit]

The Maccabees are now described as "a Jewish rebel army who took control of parts of the Land of Israel, which had been a client state of the Seleucid Empire." I agree with Crotalus Horridus that we need to find a non-POV way of describing what happened. As I understand it, Judea was part of the Seleucid empire but not directly ruled by the Seleucid king. It was governed by the High Priest, who was appointed by the king. I think it is best to describe it as a "client state", though I am open to suggestions. Marshall46 (talk) 09:36, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

I think your wording is probably the best choice. Thanks for the suggestion. *** Crotalus *** 17:08, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Tcherikover says Antiochus III appointed a governor. There were taxes but tax exemptions. Hellenism was promoted but the traditions of the Jews were protected until Antiochus IV "Epiphenes". Perhaps "client state" is not quite the correct phrase but I can't find a better one at the moment. Marshall46 (talk) 09:52, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Civil war vs. War against oppression[edit]

I have a question: If its true that "Most modern scholars argue that the king was intervening in a civil war between traditionalist Jews in the countryside and Hellenized Jews in Jerusalem," why is the rest of the content on the revolt framed as a war against foreign oppression? For example:

  • "After Antiochus issued his decrees forbidding Jewish religious practice, a rural Jewish priest from Modiin, Mattathias the Hasmonean, sparked the revolt against the Seleucid Empire by refusing to worship the Greek gods."
  • "After Mattathias' death about one year later in 166 BCE, his son Judah Maccabee led an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucid dynasty in guerrilla warfare, which at first was directed against Jewish collaborators, of whom there were many."

Wouldn't it be incorrect to refer to the Hellenic Jews as "collaborators". They were just non-revolting Hellenic Jews. And did Mattathias spark the revolt by refusing to worship the Greek gods or by murdering the Hellenic Jew? I'm just confused on that point. johnpseudo 18:45, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Good question. The inconsistency reflects the fact that the events were probably first described as the authors of Maccabees described them, as a revolt. Then subsequent edits brought forward the views of modern scholars. Tcherikover (1959) says that, having reviewed the theories of modern scholars, it is not easy to explain the origins of the Maccabean wars, either as the Hellenizing drive of Antiochus or of the Jerusalem aristocracy. He does refer to class interest as a possible factor, which is not mentioned in the article. It needs some sophisticated editing to retain a strong narrative yet still to reflect these uncertainties. I've made some small changes. Marshall46 (talk) 10:06, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
I will be adding in references to this civil war aspect of the period. Dalai lama ding dong (talk) 17:17, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

I suggest this article is merged with Hasmonean which covers the same events. It is a better article than this one, drawn from more modern sources. Marshall46 (talk) 11:37, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

against, see comments in Hasmonean article. Poliocretes (talk) 16:17, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
No-one supports merging and I can see the arguments against it, so I am removing the tags. However, the overlaps should be reduced. Marshall46 (talk) 15:46, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Roman Senate reference for footnote[edit]

I don't know how to add it, but one source for the interactions between the Maccabees and the Roman Senate are in I Maccabees 8: 17-32 (NEB). Also, I seem to recall an instructor suggesting that while this was a canny alliance to seek at the time, it brought the Jewish community to Roman attention and may have opened the back door to the later Roman hegemony over the area. If that's true it might be helpful to tie the narrative together further by mentioning it, or if not, to clarify.

Two other thoughts: It might also make sense to at least mention that the events in I and II Maccabees are at some points congruent; the article on the various books doesn't really make that clear, either. And Coele-Syria is used by the translators of some versions of the book (I'm working from the NEB at the moment but I've seen it elsewhere) so even if it's not to be used in general throughout the article, at least one reference explaining its usage might be helpful to those who run across it in this context and are trying to puzzle out the geography issues. (talk) 10:34, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Maccabees & Irish history[edit]

There is quite a large number of books, mostly it seems from the seventeenth century, written by Irish writers in Irish and Latin about the Maccabees. For instance,This Irish writer in exile in Salamanca in 1651 wrote a two-volume work on the Maccabees, with 704 pages in Volume 1 alone. This is a good summary of how the Maccabees story was used by the Catholic Irish in the seventeenth century as solace for their war, overthrow and conquest. This article could probably be improved by acknowledging such extensive traditions connected with the Maccabees. (talk) 15:35, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Also Maccabees and Eberhard Bethge? The essay that starts on page 31 of "Friendship and resistance: essays on Dietrich Bonhoeffer" by Bethge. The epigraph used for the essay is from from 2 Maccabees 7, and Bethge relates it to the martyrs of Nazi Germany's Plotzensee. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:05, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Who were the Hellenists?[edit]

Uri Avnery points out that the Hellenists the Maccabees fought against were principally the Hellenistic Jews of Israel, and that their struggle was a bloody civil war:

It is also ironic that by the time of the early Roman Empire, the struggle was over, the Hellenists had won. Hebrew was all but forgotten, the daily speech was Aramaic or Greek, the Bible was the Greek translation known as the LXX, and Greek mores and social customs prevailed; for example, reclining at table (see John 13:25).

Rename or split?[edit]

I think this article is mainly describing the Maccabean Revolt itself, rather than the Maccabees (the brothers of Judah). It also has a military campaignbox, and is much more weightful than the term Maccabees, who are also sufficiently described under Hasmoneans. Would you support renaming to Maccabean Revolt?Greyshark09 (talk) 22:17, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

In which case it would need a more detailed description of the Revolt. It has lacked that for a long time. Marshall46 (talk) 12:16, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
I didn't make it an official proposal, just to the reason i needed to hear more opinions. Perhaps splitting it to "Maccabees" and "Maccabean revolt" would be better. I did the same for Simko Shikak, from which i did split the Simko Shikak revolt.Greyshark09 (talk) 16:30, 19 December 2011 (UTC)


The article encompasses both description of the Hasmonean leaders named "Maccabees" (the first generation of Hasmoneans) and the event in which they revolted against the Seleucid Empire, in the famous Maccabean Revolt. Like in the case of Simko Shikak, from which Simko Shikak revolt was split, i propose to split Maccabean Revolt, from this article. In addition the article Maccabean Revolt had already existed, but was merged into Maccabees without a proper discussion and reasoning.Greyshark09 (talk) 19:05, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

There's no reason for a split, the individual Maccabean leaders already have dedicated pages and yet another split would serve nothing except to create yet another page for what is practically the same subject. As I've already mentioned in a previous disucssion on this page, what we should do is dedicate this article to the revolt itself and remove the details about Hasmonean rule to the Hasmoneans page. Poliocretes (talk) 20:24, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
There is no easy way to do that, but the fact is Maccabean Revolt is a notable event to have its own page. This page was previously merged with Maccabean Revolt in 2010, without a proper discussion, so i just propose to revert this. Maccabees can later be made a disambiguation page if you like to point to individual Maccabee leaders.Greyshark09 (talk) 21:15, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm with Poliocretes. Leave as is. --Nemonoman (talk) 22:46, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
Leave it as it is but add material on the revolt. Marshall46 (talk) 16:28, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Concensus to leave as is. Split tag removed. Op47 (talk) 17:03, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Capital offence[edit]

The claim that possession of the Torah was a capital offence is not substantiated by the source of 1 Mac 60-61. Unless a source can be provided I will remove it.Dalai lama ding dong (talk) 17:13, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

1 Mac 57. Marshall46 (talk) 15:17, 15 February 2012 (UTC)


One should not mistake the understanding of the proper etymology and spelling is not merely an academic exercise. A whole spate of material have been published, both in English and Hebrew, to discuss the 'Maccabees' surname etymology. Hatam Sofer attempts to show that correct to the name Machabee. We should briefly discuss here in the TalkPage the name Machabee and their common variations in Greek, Latim and than sefaradi ladino. I added on the beginning of the article, variations of Maccabees in Latin, and Sefaradi-Ladino, also with Latim root that is important to extend the knowledge of this name-surname. Levin, in his Mi-Boker ad Erev, cites explanations including that if makbas means a hammer it is not a large hammer but instead a small one used by a blacksmith. It could also be possible that, because of the extensive collection of Pagan Greek statues and idolatrous shrines that had sprouted up throughout Judea and the surrounding area, Judas may have also been dubbed the 'Hammer' due to his propensity to smash any idol or statue which he encountered into as many pieces as possible.What is certain is that Machabees has it’s Latim variations as Machabi, and Machado (from latim ‘marculatum’ that means ‘Hammer’. Levin rejects Munks explanation that Machabee refers to Hammer as used as an honorific for Charles Martel - Martel the Hammer - for his victory over the Muslims between Tours and Poitiers.JewishResearcher (talk) 01:16, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Greek Games[edit]

While Hellenism did much to erode and seduce the Jewish culture, I think it notably skewed to state or imply (as this article does) that Greek sports were totally against the indigenous culture of Judea. Did Judeans not play sports in their spare time? Of course they did! The content concerning Greek sports upon this page must be clarified. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:46, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, the blame isn't really being placed with the sports. The problem was not the sports themselves, but the cultural atmosphere that surrounded them. Among Hellenist Jews, circumcision became less and less common as they assimilated to Greek culture. The lack of foreskin, which was very visible in the Hellenist/gentile atmosphere of the gymnasium, was seen as non-masculine, and sometimes also as immodest, as many ancient cultures considered that a man was not truly naked unless his foreskin was retracted. To solve the problem of fitting into Hellenist culture, many Jews underwent primitive procedures to restore the foreskin, and a likely greater number discontinued the practice of circumcising their sons. In summary, it wasn't the mere fact that the Jews participated in Greek recreation, but what they did to "fit in" once they began participating. I hope that addresses your concerns. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 02:59, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not an expert on this topic, but there's probably a lot more to it than circumcision. The Greek concept of sport was strongly linked to paganism (at least originally), and the Jews may well have objected to the symbolism.Nojamus (talk) 23:22, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Tretchikov (Hellenistic Civilisation and the Jews, p.350) writes that "at the beginning of the Roman period, the Jews made various attempts to penetrate the citizen-class, and one of their ways of doing this was to obtain an education in the gymnasium. Greek athletic life, however, was carried on in a Greek religious setting, and was saturated with memories of Greek mythology and Greek classical literature; and not for nothing did II Maccabees regarded the establishment of the gymnasium at Jerusalem as 'the acme of Hellenism' (4:13) But Diaspora Jewry thought differently. Philo saw the life of athletics ... as an everyday phenomenon and found no fault with it. ... [T]here is no doubt that the education of young Jews in the gymnasia opened them to the way to a deeper understanding of Greek culture as a whole." Marshall46 (talk) 12:07, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Naming conventions on WP for the Maccabees[edit]

Please see Talk:Eleazar Avaran#Naming conventions on WP for the Maccabees. Discussion: How should the original Maccabees, the father Mattathias and his five sons, John (Johanan), Simon, Judah (Judas), Eleazar (Elazar), Jonathan be known on Wikipedia? Thank you, IZAK (talk) 11:10, 7 November 2013 (UTC)