Essay Maccabees


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Religion and Theology
Exegesis of meaning, symbols, historical significance of Old Testament book featuring heroics of Judas Maccabeus.

II Maccabees renders the compelling details surrounding the events culminating in the revolt of the Israelites led by Judas Maccabeus. Glorified by Dante in the Divine Comedy, Paradiso (18:40-2), Maccabeus surfaces as one of the everlasting heroes of world history, a figure who also merited an oratorio composed by the famed Handel in 1747. Despite the high level of visibility surrounding the historical figure of Judas Maccabeus, the three books of Maccabees have been eliminated from several Christian communities. In 1534 Martin Luther relegated these books to an appendix pronouncing them not to be equated with Holy Scripture. In contrast, Catholic tradition has authorized their validity since the days of the early Church, still including them as apocryphal works determined to be …

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