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The Maccabees in Rabbinic Tradition

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Chapter Summary

One of the perennial problems of research in rabbinic literature is its reliability for historical purposes. Traditional studies tend to consider rabbinic texts, whatever their age, as a repository of earlier traditions, transmitted orally through the ages. The rabbis, normally seen as the direct successors to the Pharisees and bound up with them by the common name 'the Sages', are thought to have received from them a large store of traditions from the period of the Second Temple. According to this school of thought, at least a kernel of historical truth is to be found in almost any rabbinic text. This chapter presents all the rabbinic texts in which the Maccabees are mentioned, in, as far as possible, historical sequence. It deals with some of the problems arising from the rabbinic evidence.

Keywords: Maccabees; rabbinic texts; rabbinic traditions



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