2 Maccabees


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Synonyms for 2 Maccabees

an Apocryphal book describing the life of Judas Maccabaeus

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There are many reasons to read and reread books such as Wisdom and 2 Maccabees. You can read them as historic documents, or they can serve as mighty defenses against those who believe that Catholic doctrines such as prayer for the dead are unscriptural.
Confronted with arguments about Purgatory, based in part on 2 Maccabees 12:43-45, D'Auchy denied that the authority of 2 Maccabees was equal to that of the rest of the Bible on the grounds that it was an apocryphal text.
That arguments for the existence of Purgatory often drew on 2 Maccabees 12:38-46 did prove problematic for some Anabaptists--not because the Anabaptists were drawn into debates with Catholics on this point, but because they were drawn into debates with Protestants who objected to their valuing of the Apocrypha.
(18) Along the way, he asks, "What was it that induced so many men in the wide spectrum of Anabaptism to take such a strong interest in the Apocrypha in general and to show a particular preference for 2 Esdras?" (19) He notes that Pieter Jansz Twisck, a particularly conservative Old Frisian historian, "appears to have had a particular preference for the books of Sirach and 1 and 2 Maccabees." (20)
While 1 Maccabees can be understood as a defense of the Hasmonean dynasty, 2 Maccabees can be understood as a defense of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Elsewhere I have examined Daniel and 1 and 2 Maccabees as examples of resistance literature from the late Second Temple Period.
While it was inspired by 1 and 2 Maccabees and shares with them a strong objection to the evils of Hellenism, it focuses on the pressures of the Ptolemaic dynasty on the Jewish faithful in third-century Egypt and thus predates the stories of the Maccabees by at least fifty years.
Third Maccabees is cited along with 1 and 2 Maccabees in the Biblical Concordance of the Swiss Brethren, 1540, while 3 Maccabees 1 is cited under the topic "Steadfastness, Confession and Courage of the Faithful" in the "Guide to Holy Scripture," which was included in most printed editions of the Biblical Concordance after 1567.
This same "Guide" lists 3 Maccabees 6 as evidence of "angels in general," along with about fifty other Scriptures, including Tobit 5 and 10; Judith 13; Baruch 6 [i.e., the Letter of Jeremiah]; and 2 Maccabees 11.
Fourth Maccabees is almost exclusively an expansion of the martyr stories in 2 Maccabees 6 and 7.
It is difficult to assess this, however, since 4 Maccabees largely represents an expansion of 2 Maccabees 6 and 7 for a different purpose, and since 4 Maccabees circulated in the Middle Ages as Passio SS.
This lore about oil is not recorded in any of the classic histories from the times, not in 1, 2 Maccabees, nor in the writings of Josephus.
For example, 2 Maccabees 7 relates the moving, tragic story of the pious widow Hannah and her seven sons.
The piece de resistance of Judaean Hellenization, and the most dramatic development of all, occurred in 175 B.C.E., when the high priest Jason converted Jerusalem into a Greek polis replete with gymnasium and ephebium (2 Maccabees 4).
Even a book as hostile to the Jewish Hellenizers and their reforms as 2 Maccabees - written towards the end of the second century B.C.E.