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The Causes of the Maccabean Revolt?

In the last post on apocalyptic literature, I discussed how the crisis under Antiochus “Epiphanies” provides a plausible context for the apocalyptic oracles in the book of Daniel. I followed a fairly standard account of the causes of the Maccabean revolt. That is, the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV to enforce Hellenistic customs on his Jewish subjects, whether in forcing Jews to abandon their native customs such as eating food prohibited by biblical law as “unclean” (cf. 2 Macc 7) or desecrating the temple (Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; 1 Macc 6:7), sparked the revolt by Judas the “hammer” (Maccabeus). However, Sylvie Honigman has an article over at the website Bible and Interpretation entitled “Religious Persecution or High Taxes? The Causes of the Maccabean Revolt against Antiochus IV.” She presents an alternative scenario that does not take the “cultural codes” of 1 and 2 Maccabees at face value, namely that the impious priests Jason and Menelaus and the foreign ruler Antiochus upset the divinely established social order which was restored by the righteous revolutionaries, and instead suggests that there were more mundane political (e.g. the proper dynastic priesthood) and economic (e.g. higher taxes) causes. Check it out for the details and see what you think.

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