Revolt of the Maccabees

The Biblical account tells a cautionary tale for Mid-East policy today—to those reading between the lines.

Issue: Sept-Oct 2006

As the insurgency in Iraq continues and questions about its outcome surface, one might look for possible historical parallels--and one of the most successful insurgencies against a colonial power in the Middle East was the Jewish revolt, under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus, against Greek Seleucid overlords in the second century B.C.E.1

The success of the revolt is still celebrated today by Jews as the Feast of Hannukah. Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox know the story because their Bible contains the First and Second Books of the Maccabees. Protestants, on the other hand, are less familiar with this narrative, because these two books are not in their Bible but belong to what are called the apocryphal books.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!