In contrast to 1 Maccabees, the style of 2 Maccabees indicates that it was composed in Koine Greek, most likely between 150 and 120 BC in Alexandria (c. 124 BC according to Stephen L. Harris). It may have been written as early as 167-166 BC but this is not certain.
Maccabean literature first appears around 200 BC but it is 2 Maccabees that provides our only detailed knowledge of the contents of the books of the Maccabees. The books themselves are mentioned by several other ancient authors including Josephus, Clement of Alexandria and Origen but they received little attention until the 12th century when they were included in the Hebrew Bible.
The date of writing of 1 and/or 2 Maccabees is uncertain but they probably date from after the Hasmonean period (about 160-10 BC). They may even antedate the Hasmoneans since both they and the book of 1 Maccabees claim that the events described here took place before the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. However, since no independent evidence exists apart from these two books, many scholars believe them to be later forgeries written during the time of the Roman emperor Augustus (r. 30 BC - AD 14).
Two Maccabees, a Greek abridgment of an earlier Hebrew chronicle by Jason of Cyrene, tells the tale of the Maccabees from 176 BCE to 161 BCE, focusing on Judas Maccabeus and detailing prayers for the dead and gifts. It was probably written between 150 and 100 BCE.
Jason was a priest who lived in Cyrene, in modern-day Libya. The work claims he wrote it during his retirement after serving as high priest for six years. But since no other information is given about him, this can't be confirmed.
The book is divided into two parts: a history of the Jews (1–6) and a prophecy of future events (7–14). In the first part, Jason narrates how long ago the nation of Israel was freed from Egypt and then recounts the exploits of four military leaders who fought against Antiochus IV Epiphanes: Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and David. In the second part, he foretells the coming of a new king who will restore Israel to her former greatness. This new king will be descended from Judah but will have a greater role to play than his ancestor. He will defeat the Greeks at the Battle of Magnesia and lead his people in prayer for the dead. After his death, he will be succeeded by his son Alexander, who will be a great ruler like his father.
Concerning the Book of 1 Maccabees. 1 Maccabees is a deuterocanonical book of the Bible written by a Jewish (pre-Christian) author following the restoration of an autonomous Jewish monarchy, most likely about 100 BC. It is sanctioned under Catholic and Orthodox canons. Concerning the authorship of 1 Maccabees, see below.
Concerning the books of 2 Maccabees and 3 Maccabees. These books are also known as the "Apocrypha" (meaning "hidden things") because they were not included in the Septuagint (the first Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible), nor in many other ancient versions of the Bible. They were probably added later by Jewish authors to fill out the history of the Maccabean revolt.
The books of 2 Maccabees and 3 Maccabees have similarities in style and content with the writings of Josephus, who was a prominent historian of the time. This suggests that these books may have been authored by someone close to Josephus. However, there are also differences between the two texts that make this identification uncertain. For example, 2 Maccabees contains more prophecy than history, while Josephus' work is more focused on politics and military affairs. Also, while both writers mention a number of high-profile people who played important roles in the revolt, neither refers to others even indirectly.
"2 Maccabees 10:1-8: Who Wrote It and Where Does It Fit?" 2017. Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 136, no. 1, pp. 117–30.
Reviewed by Peter Enns. 2Maccabees is a Jewish text written in Greek language around 200 CE. It consists of two books about the ancestors of the Jews who fought against Alexander the Great and were saved from destruction at the hands of the Greeks. The first book, called "The First Book of 2 Maccabees" in English Bibles, describes how Jason and his brother Asclepius defeated King Antiochus IV Epiphanes and forced him to sacrifice his own son on a rock where birds ate the flesh and the stone remained. The second book, called "The Second Book of 2 Maccabees" in English Bibles, tells how Judas Maccabeus led a revolt that overthrew the Seleucid king and restored freedom of worship to the Jews.
Enns points out that although 2 Maccabees does not quote any biblical texts but only refers to events in the history of Israel's temple in Jerusalem, it has been included in many Bible commentaries because it is believed to have been written by Moses or by someone else using material composed by Moses.
The Volumes of the Maccabees, usually called Machabees, are four books that do not occur in the Hebrew Bible but do appear in some Septuagint copies. They are: Machiavellianus, on the life of Alexander macaque and other rulers; An abridgment of histories; The doctrines of the Jews (or Jewish doctrines).
The first three books are ascribed to Moses of Alexandria. Although they differ significantly from each other in content and style, all four books share a common theme: the need for leadership change after a period of tyranny.
Machiavellianus tells the story of a Greek ruler who learns the lessons of morality through experience. It is said that he was an excellent teacher because his actions were always in accordance with what he preached. The author also notes that happiness depends on our own actions rather than on external factors such as wealth or status. This book was probably written around 200 B.C. in Egypt. An abridgment of histories covers events from the time of Abraham to that of Alexander the Great. It is unknown who wrote this book but it likely was composed sometime between 100 B.C. and 300 A.D. The doctrines of the Jews are a collection of beliefs about God, Torah, and Israel's role as his chosen people.
The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible initially written for the Jewish community of Alexandria, contained the First and Second Maccabees. The Septuagint, on the other hand, became the authoritative version of the Bible for the fledgling Christian Church. It was from this version that the New Testament was translated into English.
Maccabee means "hammerman" or "mason builder" and refers to the family who led the revolt against Seleucus IV Philopator. The dynasty came to an end with their defeat by Alexander Janneus in 164 B.C., but the term "Maccabee" came to be used as a title of honor for those who fought under its banner. The first Maccabee was a priest named Mattathias who lived around 160 B.C. He led a rebellion against the Syrians (Seleucids) after they forced the Jews out of their homeland in 167 B.C. During the revolt, he obtained weapons from the Egyptians and fought the Syrians alongside them. The rebels were successful and drove the Syrians out of Israel, so Mattathias could establish a monarchy there. However, the new king killed Mattathias and took control of the country. A son of Mattathias called Judah Maccabee rebelled again against the Syrian-Greek ruler in 152 B.C. This time he won victory after victory, forcing the Greeks out of Israel until only Jerusalem remained. In 140 B.