Judas Maccabeus: About this Site

This site holds 210 resources about Judas Maccabeus (Judah Maccabee, Judas Maccabaeus) the great Jewish warrior, who defeated the Syrian Greeks and recaptured the city of Jerusalem.

Web Resources

This site links to 210 web resources. Start with Judas Maccabeus and the Revolt covering web biographies and accounts of the revolt started by Judas' father Matthias (Matityahu). Related Topics covers The Hasmoneans, the Greek King Antiochus IV and other topics. Primary Sources covers the ancient sources that recorded Judas' exploits. I've assembled some 55 pictures of Judas Maccabeus from the Middle Ages to today, and a few maps.

In general, the quality of historical material on Judas Maccabeus on the web does not rise to the level of what could be found in a good bookstore. The web is, however, a major authority on one aspect of the issue: how the story of Judas and the Maccabean revolt is interpreted, used and abused today. I have gathered many such resources under Religious and Political Meaning. One flashpoint has been a proposed movie from Mel Gibson. Other sections cover Literature, Music and Art, Kids and Commerce.

Use and Abuse

The story of Judas Maccabeus, the Maccabean Revolt and Hanukkah inspires different reactions in today's world. For many it is a straightforward battle for true religion against a pagan tyrant. Others boil it down into a struggle for religious freedom or cultural pluralism against conformity. It is sometimes viewed through the lens of Jewish nationhood, or as a symbol of what can be achieved by a small group of passionate believers. Some extend the symbolism, likening the Maccabees revolt to modern civil rights struggles or the fight against globalization.

Running through many modern discussion, however, is a thread of unease over the perceived self-righteousness of the cause, and the degree to which other Jews were targets of Maccabean violence. As Rabbi Margaret Holub writes "were the Maccabees in fact heroes, or were they the Taliban of their time?"

Other controversy surrounds the major historical source, 1 and 2 Maccabees. Stated generally, Catholics, Orthodox and some Protestants accept the books. Many Protestants reject them, and cite doctrinal errors. Contemporary Jews reject their canonicity, but rely on them for an account of Jewish history; some details of the revolt are found in the Talmud.

Finally, there are the miscellaneous gripes the internet has made available for us all, eg., Greek nationalists upset at the "one-sided" portrait of Syrian Greek rule.

Help me out

Know a good site I missed? Find a broken link? Let me know at [email protected].

Enjoy the site!

Tim Spalding
Portland, Maine

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may like these others by me:

Cleopatra on the Web. Everything about Cleopatra VII of Egypt, in history ad the Western imagination.

Hieroglyphics! Comprehensive guide to Egyptian hieroglyphics.

( See all my ancient history sites )