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2 Maccabees

About the Book of 2 Maccabees.

books The Book:

2 Maccabees is a deuterocanonical book of the Bible which focuses on the Jews' revolt against Antiochus and concludes with the defeat of the Syrian general Nicanor in 161 BC by Judas Maccabeus, the hero of the work. Catholics and Orthodox consider the work to be canonical and part of the Bible. Protestants and Jews, while not considering it to be Scripture, consider it useful as a historical supplement to 1 Maccabees, but reject most of the doctrinal innovations present in the work. Some Protestants include 2 Maccabees as part of the Apocrypha, useful for reading in the church.

books Contents:

Unlike 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees does not attempt to provide a complete account of the events of the period, instead covering only the period from the high priest Onias III and King Seleucus IV (180 BC) to the defeat of Nicanor in 161.

In general, the chronology of the book coheres with that of 1 Maccabees, and it has some historical value in supplementing 1 Maccabees, principally in providing a few apparently authentic historical documents. The author seems primarily interested in providing a theological interpretation of the events; in this book God's interventions direct the course of events, punishing the wicked and restoring the Temple to his people. It's possible that some events appear to be presented out of strict chronological order in order to make theological points. Some of the numbers cited for sizes of armies may also appear exaggerated though not all of the manuscripts of this book agree.

The Greek style of the writer is very educated, and he seems well-informed about Greek customs. The action follows a very simple plan: After the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Feast of the Dedication of the Temple is instituted. The newly dedicated Temple is threatened by Nicanor, and after his death, the festivities for the dedication are concluded.

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