Were the Maccabees Real People?
Here is the flyer for the program this coming Wednesday. You have to click on the pdf at the bottom of the page to download it.
(Artist Ori Sherman)
Jews celebrate Hanukkah more than any other holiday including Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and even Passover. What are we celebrating? We all know the story of Judah the Maccabee who beat the Greeks and drove them out of the Temple. But did this really happen?
We will take a look at the history of Hanukkah. Did this reconquering of the temple actually take place? Who were the Maccabees and what did they stand for? Where did the miracle of the oil come from? We don't promise to answer all of these questions but we will explore them and see what we can discover in the ancient sources.
What many are not fully aware of is that the primary sources are the books of Maccabees one and two and that these books did not become part of the Hebrew Bible. Fortunately they were preserved and we have them to read and study. What do they tell us and how likely are they to be telling us the actual historical reality?
We hope that you will come away from this evening with a better idea of where Hanukkah comes from and what it meant to the ancient Jews in the second century BCE as well as slightly later in the Talmudic period of the second century CE. Most importantly we hope to get a better idea what Hanukkah might mean for us today.