1 & 2 Maccabees


Let’s just talk about these books, as they are what I’ve been reading. I remember, Mel Gibson was talking about making a film about the Maccabean revolt but he never did. Pity, I think that’d have been an awesome film. So let’s discuss the context, history, and spirituality behind the books.


Some parts talk of what Antiochus did, he was that little horn that Daniel spoke of, a precursor for the antichrist.


I know that these two books are not included in the Protestant Bibles, which I wonder why. Its a shame because why keep them out from what is considered Holy Scripture?

I’m afraid its been years since I studied those books- I’m not sure I can say anything about them for this thread, but I find them to be important books, especially since they are the books Jesus Himself referred to in some Scripture.

Sadly, how incomplete the Protestant’s understanding would be since they are missing that Scripture… they would not be able to know what Jesus was talking about in certain passages. I’m sorry I’d post the passages, but I can’t even remember what it was that I found that He said that referred to Maccabees- I just know that its one of the reasons why I came home to the Catholic Church, because I found the Protestant Bible sadly lacking in totality, thus the ability to understand as Scripture itself touts that Scripture must be taken as a whole. How can they when books are missing?


One aspect is that they portray the pre-Christian time in which the practice of Judaism was banned under the threat of death. How those who “contend for the faith” are rewarded. Perhaps most interesting is that Judaism was indeed restored, combined with the cleansing of the temple (1st Hanukkah) so that our Lord could be born under the Mosaic law in order to fulfill the law (see Galatians 4:4). The Hasmonean Dynasty also ushered in a new priesthood, not of the House of Aaron, presaging the eternal priesthood of Christ. Sacrifice and prayers for the dead, and the concept of Purgatory are in 2 Maccabees 12.


Martin Luther rejected 1 and 2 Mc because they were not in the Jewish Bible, while Judaism rejects them because they were written in Greek.



Hi, Adam!

…well… it would have been an epic movie, at the level of Masada.

It would be a great exercise, though I don’t know much other than the Books themselves (1 & 2 Maccabees), that the Jews reject them in spite of one of their most revered Festival being based on the Maccabean revolt…

They contain so much material… and they demonstrate that Believers can in deed be obedient to God rather than man–even at the cost of their temporal life.

Since you threw in the thought… do you have specific questions (one at a time, please) or do you want to just post summaries of the books?

Maran atha!



From 2Macc12:39 On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchres of their fathers. 40 Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen. 41 So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; 42 and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. 43 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

I think one of the reasons Protestants are so stringent about removing them has to do with the above passage which speaks clearly of an afterlife of the soul and benefit of praying for the dead.


I read them last year. They are very different from any of the other historical books (IMO). I enjoyed reading them, but they feel odd to me. Probably because I was never told about them in Sunday school. I knew about the Torah and the people in it, I knew of David and Daniel- but nobody in either books of Maccabees. I never heard of them. Maybe that’s why I feel the way I do.



I concur!

…though, we must take it one step deeper… it is not just the Protestants but the Jews as well; remember that that was one of the issues when Jesus was check by the religious Jews:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]23 That day some **Sadducees – who deny that there is a resurrection **

– approached him and they put this question to him, 24 ‘Master, Moses said that if a man dies childless, his brother is to marry the widow, his sister-in-law to raise children for his brother. 25 Now we had a case involving seven brothers; the first married and then died without children, leaving his wife to his brother; 26 the same thing happened with the second and third and so on to the seventh, 27 and then last of all the woman herself died. 28 Now at the resurrection to which of those seven will she be wife, since she had been married to them all?’ 29 Jesus answered them, ‘You are wrong, because you understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For at the resurrection men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you never read what God himself said to you: 32 I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?*b] God is God, not of the dead, but of the living.’ 33 And his teaching made a deep impression on the people who heard it. (St. Matthew 22:23-33)
There has always been division amongst the Jews; this is clearly stated in Scriptures… yet, Scriptures makes this distinct remark: “Sadducees deny there is a resurrection.”

If we take a close look at the books that were included in the Church’s Canon and excluded in the Jewish Canon we will find that there are specific Revelations or Doctrinal Beliefs that are contrary to what is presented as Judaism.

Now, if a faction of the Jews is so vehemently opposed to the resurrection, is it beneficial for them to fight to include a book that blows their beliefs out of the water?

…and Jesus by claiming that He can take back His own Life from the dead, does that not put the nails on the coffin of the New Covenant Sacred Writings?

These Jews are the original “protestants.”

Maran atha!




Hi, Thom!

…yeah, when something is not taught or when there’s a huge gap in what is known about a particular subject it does seem foreign; then there are those “scholars” and “theologians” that throw conflict and doubt into the mix… it leaves one with an empty feeling… that’s the beauty of the Church… there’s that Body Left to us by Jesus that will help to guide us in understanding the Faith and the Word of God.

…also, if we are humble enough and hungry enough, the Holy Spirit can help us understand God’s Revelations and Unfolding of the Truth.

…so focus in what God is Revealing or Unfolding… not so much in “the feel” or what “experts are saying/have claimed.”

Maran atha!



I actually just finished reading them yesterday and with that am done with the Old Testament I have the RSV CE so they are at the end. I think they appeal to me because it shows you what life was like after a good chunk of the Old Testament but before the birth of Christ. I love history and history has always been my favourite topic even when I was in school. I think that is what I like about the books, now I’m not dismissing the spiritual aspect of them.


I do not understand why these books would be considered scripture. It seems strange not to simply take the Jewish canon as the Old Testament and instead to add to it.


I just would like to have a discussion about them is all. I feel like Protestants don’t know what they’re missing out on.


Well I think by that logic then we shouldn’t accept the New Testament either after all Jews do not accept it as part of their Bible (do note, when I say Jews I do not refer to ethnic Jews many of which are Christian). I believe the church has the authority to make such decision and if I do recall correctly there was not a set of Canon even amongst Jews during the time of Christ. I’m just a little curious how we could accept the Jewish Canon of scripture when it didn’t exist yet.


It just seems strange to accept the canonical status of a book of Jewish origins but not the opinions of the community that produced it.


Hi, Peter!

…I think that you have missed a few posts… the Septuagint is the Old Testament translated by the Jews for the Jews (Alexandrian/Hellenistic Jews); all sources (except for the Jews who deny Jesus and the New Covenant) accept and place the Septuagint in the hands of the Jews, even in Jerusalem, and including Jesus and the Apostles…

Further, the Canon of the Church came together after three Councils (during several decades) and one of the determining factors was that the books that were included had to be part of the Church’s Liturgy…

What you and non-Catholics seem to ignore is that: a) it was the Jews that translated and used the Septuagint about 200 years prior to the Incarnation of the Word, and, b) the Church was not part of Judaism so her Doctrine and Practices cannot reflect a mirror image of Judaism–it contains elements; yet these are of Messianic value.

Maran atha!



Hi, Adam!

I work better with a direct question… so if there’s something specific you want to discuss I welcome the opportunity to work with you.

Maran atha!



Hi, Adam!

…it’s the swiss cheese flaw: holes all over the place (though, for the swiss cheese, holes gives it its distinctive character); when people remove chunks of history (1500 years, give or take) reasoning becomes haphazard–going on the tradition/rule of their founding agents and/or their own personal construct (apostasy of the Church; personal revelation by the Holy Spirit; can’t trust what is written–unless it seems to reject Church Doctrine and Practice…); it is so irrational to side with those who reject Christ as the true and authentic Inspiration of the compiling of Sacred Scriptures… never mind that they have to throw out the New Covenant’s Sacred Writing, at least they are protesting the Church! :banghead::banghead::banghead:

Maran atha!



Hi, Peter!

…do you think that twenty plus years of study is mere opinion gathering?

…that happens today in non-Catholic settings… people (the leadership) gets together and present arguments and either they or all the members vote on it… the argument/tenet with the highest percentage gets to be adopted as that group’s law/tenet of faith…

Maran atha!



Sort of the same argument Catholics have towards Sola Scriptural Protestants:D

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.