ISRAEL STORY 10 – Age of Hellenization – Maccabees and Daniel

SPRING 2015 BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES:

Albertz, Rainer.  A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period.  Volume I: From the Beginnings to the End of the Monarchy.  Translated by John Bowden in 1994.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by James L. Mays, Carol A. Newsom, and David L. Petersen.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1994).

Albertz, Rainer.  A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period.  Volume II: From the Exile to the Maccabees.  Translated by John Bowden in 1994.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by James L. Mays, Carol A. Newsom, and David L. Petersen.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1994).

Blenkinsopp, Joseph.  Ezekiel.  Part of the Interpretation Bible commentary series edited by James L. Mays.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1990).

Boling, Robert G.  Judges.  Part of the Anchor Bible series, W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman general editors.  (Doubleday, Garden City, 1975).

Bright, John.  A History of Israel, second edition.  (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1972).

Campbell Jr., Edward F..  Ruth.  Part of the Anchor Bible Series, W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman general editors.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1975).

Childs, Brevard S.  Isaiah.  Part of the Old Testament Library commentary series, editorial advisory board of James L. Mays, Carol A. Newsom, and Daviud L Petersen.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2001).

Cohn, Robert L.   2 Kings.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry series, edited by David W. Cotter.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2000).

Collins, John J..  Daniel. First Maccabees. Second Maccabees.  Volume 15 of the Old Testament Message series edited by Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P. and Martin McNamara, M.S.C.  (Michael Glazier Press, Wilmington, 1981).

Cook, Stephen L.  2 Isaiah.  Part of the Conversations with Scripture series by the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars.  (Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, 2008).

Cook, Stephen L. and Corrine L. Patton, editors.  Ezekiel’s Hierarchical World: Wrestling with a Tiered Reality.  Number 31 of the Society of Biblical Literature’s Symposium Series edited by Christopher R. Matthews.  (Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, 2004).

Cotter, David W.  Genesis.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry series, edited by David W. Cotter.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).

Creach, Jerome F. D..  Joshua.  Part of the Interpretation Bible commentary series edited by James L. Mays.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).

De Vaux, Roland.  The Early History of Israel.  Translated by David Smith. (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1978).

Doran, Robert.  1 & 2 Maccabees.  Part of Volume IV of The New Interpreter’s Bible commentary series, Bruce Birch – Old Testament editor.  (Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1996).

Gordon, Cyrus H. and Gary A. Rendsburg.  The Bible and the Ancient Near East, fourth edition.  (W. W. Norton, New York, 1997).

Hanson, Paul D.  Isaiah 40 – 66.  Part of the Interpretation biblical commentary series edited by James L Mays, Patrick D. Miller, and Paul Achtemeier.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1995).

Hartman, Louis E. and Alexander A. Di Lella.  The Book of Daniel.  Volume 23 of the Anchor Bible commentary series edited by William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman.  (Doubleday and Co., Garden City, 1978).

Hayes, John H. and J. Maxwell Miller.  Israelite and Judaean History.  Part of the Old Testament Library series edited by John H. Hayes and J. Maxwell Miller.  (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1977).

Hawk, L. Daniel.  Joshua.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2000).

Jensen, Joseph.  Ethical Dimensions of the Prophets.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2006).

Jobling, David.   1 Samuel.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1998).

LaCocque, Andre.  Ruth.  Part of the Continentl Commentary series.  Translated by K. C. Hanson.  (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2004).

Linafelt, Tod.  “Ruth” in Ruth & Esther.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter Editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1999).

Macintosh, A.A..  Hosea.  Part of the International Critical Commentary series edited by J.A. Emerton, C.E.B Cranfield, and G. N. Stanton.  ( T & T Clark: Edinburgh, 1997).

Mazar, Amihai.  Archaeology of the Land of the Bible : 10,000 – 586 B.C.E.  Part of the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library edited by David Noel Freedman.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1990).

Morrison, Craig E.   2 Samuel.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, Jerome T. Walsh editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2013).

Myers, Eric M. and Mark A. Chancey.  Alexander to Constantine: Archaeology of the Land of the Bible.  Volume 3 of the Anchor Bible Reference Library edited  by John Collins.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2012)

Niditch, Susan.  Judges.  Part of the Old Testament Library series, editorial advisory board Brown, Newsome, Petersen. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2008).

Propp, William H. C..  Exodus 1-18: A new translation with introduction and commentary.  Volume 2 of the Anchor Yale Bible, William F. Albright and David Noel Freedman General Editiors.  (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1999).

Provan, Iain, V. Philips Long, and Tremper Longman III.  A Biblical History of Israel.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).

Sakenfeld, Katherine Doob.   Ruth.  Part of the Interpretation Biblical commentary series, James L. Mays series editor.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1999).

Sarna, Nahum M.  Genesis.  Part of The JPS Torah Commentary, edited by Nahum M. Sarna.  (The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1989).

—————–.  Exodus.  Part of The JPS Torah Commentary, edited by Nahum M. Sarna.  (The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1991).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson.  The Prophets: Joshua / Judges: The early prophets with  commentary anthologized from the Rabbinic writings.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 2000).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson and Meir Zlotowitz, editors.  The Mishnah: Seder Zeraim vol. IIa PEAH.   A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and rabbinic sources.  Part of the Artscroll Mishnah series.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 1990).

Scherman, Rabbi Nosson and Meir Zlotowitz, editors.  The Mishnah: Seder Zeraim vol. 1a SEDER MOED.   A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and rabbinic sources.  Part of the Artscroll Mishnah series.  (Mesorah Publications, New York, 1982).

Schneider, Tammi J.  Judges.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2000).

Seitz, Christopher R.  Isaiah 1-39.  Part of the Interpretation biblical commentary series edited by James L Mays, Patrick D. Miller, and Paul Achtemeier.  (John Knox Press, Louisville, 1993).

Silver, Daniel Jeremy.  A History of Judaism: Volume 1, From Abraham to Maimonides.  (Basic Books Inc., New York, 1974).

Smith-Christopher, Daniel L..  Daniel.  Part of Volume VII of The New Interpreter’s Bible commentary series, Bruce Birch – Old Testament editor.  (Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1996).

Stern, Ephraim.  Archaeology of the Land of the Bible.  Volume II: The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Periods (732 – 332 B.C.E.).  Part of the Anchor Bible Reference Library edited  by David Noel Freedman.  (Doubleday, New York, 2001)

Tuell, Steven S..  First and Second Chronicles.  Part of the Interpretation Bible commentary series, edited by James L Mays.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1989).

Walsh, Jerome T.   1 Kings.  Part of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, David W. Cotter editor.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1996).

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Doran p. 4 BACKGROUND:

  • Alexander the Great conquers much of the known Western world (ruled 336 to 323 BCE).  Defeated the Persians, among others, who ruled over Israel at the time.  At his death, the empire was divided into four pieces.
  • For an extensive time three empires vied for control over Israel / region.  The Macedonians (Greek), Ptolemaic (Egypt) and Seleucid (Persia / Babylon).  Antiochus Epiphanes was part of the Seleucid tradition.  Rome then emerged, in the second century BCE and took control of the region.
  • The Ptolemaic era of domination, about 100 years, came to an end when Antiochus Epiphanes first took Egypt and then Judea.

Collins p. 1: “In the year 167 B.C.E. King Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria made a systematic attempt to suppress the Jewish religion.  The Jewish law was banned and copies of the law were burned.  Distinctive Jewish practices such as circumcision were outlawed under penalty of death.  The Jewish sacrificial cult was suppressed and a pagan altar was erected on top of the great altar of sacrifice in the temple, thus profaning the holy place in the eyes of the Jews.”

Collins p. 1: scholars are divided on “why” of the above.  Attempt to unify the empire?  Only taking a side of a dispute within Jews?  There is no doubt that there were Jews sympathetic, at this time, to the idea of turning Jerusalem into a secular style Greek city.  The brother of the high priest at the time led this effort!

Collins p. 2: “It is apparent, in any case, that the persecution was not simply a willful act on the part of the king, but was the culmination of a complicated build-up of tension over several years and involved a deep division within the Jewish community.”

1 and 2 Maccabees written about 50 years after these events and the revolt they caused.  The books, as are all in the Bible, contain some historical data but are not primarily historical in nature – they are a narrative theological exploration of the events.   The Book of Daniel, a set of visions, may have been contemporaneous with the profanation events.

Hellenization: Greek philosophy, values, practices, institutions, and culture pushed, adopted in areas and resisted in others, clashing with more ancient Jewish practices during this whole time period.  Gymnasium in Jerusalem, other gods, etc.

Daniel

Visions deal with events from Babylonian exile through Antiochus Epiphanes, written AFTER the events happened.  Are not prophecies about future events that came true.

Daniel resembles the apocalyptic writings such as Enoch, Moses, Ezra, and others.  Collins p. 13: “The visions of Daniel, like those of Enoch, can be quite satisfactorily explained as constructs of the Hellenistic age, which are ascribed to an ancient figure to add to their authority.”

There are strong signs that the Book of Daniel had many authors / hands.  Written in Hebrew in one part, Aramaic in another.  Some are tales, others visions.  Collins p. 17: “It is highly probable that the tales in chapters 1 – 6 were written in exile in the Diaspora, at some point in the Hellenistic age, probably in the third century BCE.  The visions, however, were obviously written in Jerusalem in the heat of the persecution and its aftermath.”

Hartman pp. 3 – 6, summarizes the chapters of Daniel this way:

  1. During Babylonian exile the king takes 4 handsome youths into his special service.  He orders them to be fed extravagantly.  They do not want to eat foods (pork?, shellfish?) that would defile them and resolve to only eat the vegetables.  God ensures that they are the healthiest ones in the king’s service.
  2. The king of Babylon has a dream.  Wants his own seers and then others to tell him BOTH the dream and the interpretation of it.  Daniel does so.
  3. Refusing to worship a golden idol, Daniel and companions are thrown into a fiery furnace, but God protects them
  4. The king writes to all the people of the world.
  5. A hand writes on the wall: mene, teqel, peres.  Daniel interprets.
  6. Daniel cast into the lion’s den because, contrary to orders, he prays to the LORD.
  7. Apocalyptic vision of 4 beasts
  8. Apocalyptic vision of ram, goats.  Horns.
  9. Apocalyptic vision.  70 years, 70 weeks
  10. 10.  To 12.  Longest apocalyptic vision: Cyrus the Great 538 to the death of Antiochus Epiphanes

 

First Maccabees

Collins p. 149: Originally written in Hebrew, survives only in Greek translation.  Not part of the Jewish canon.  Told from the point of view of the Maccabees / Hasomoneans.

Four sections of the book: the persecution, career of Judas (ch. 3 -9), career of Johnathan (ch. 9 – 12), career of Simon (ch. 13 – 16).

Collins p. 151:  “They were the ones who effected the liberation of Judaea and revitalized the distinctive identity of the Jews.  Then again, their achievement should not be exaggerated.  The liberation they brought about was temporary.  The later Hasmonean kings were quite oppressive, and incurred the enmity of the Pharisees.  When other Jews followed the example of the Maccabees in the first century  CE and launched a violent rebellion against Rome, the results were catastrophic.”

Doran p. 17: “We can begin to understand that the communities out of which these books came felt themselves to be under attack and knew that their existence depended on building up their own self-esteem by denigrating their opponents.  When we read these books, then, we can empathize with the protagonists in their struggles and seek to understand their point of view, but without sympathizing with their war practices and their demonization of their enemies.”

Both 1 and 2 Maccabees raise issues: pacifism vs. self-defense vs. agression

Second Maccabees

Lots of overlap with 1 Maccabees, has greater emphasis on the miraculous and on the death of the martyrs (the 7 brothers story appears to have been composed independently and was added later).  It is NOT a sequel to 1 Maccabees.

Collins p. 263: “Despite the inclusion of fantastic and legendary stories, 2 Maccabees is an important historical source.  It is the main source of information on the internal strife in Jerusalem which led up to the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes and is far more illuminating than the terse and oversimplified account of 1 Maccabees on this period.”

Collins p. 265 – God supports not one family (David, any other) but those who live the covenant.  Intense devotion to the Law, up to and including suicide, in its defense.

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