Julia Rhyder

Festivals and Violence in 1 and 2 Maccabees: Hanukkah and Nicanor's Day

Volume 10 () / Issue 1, pp. 63-76 (14)
Published 15.06.2021

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This article analyzes the nexus between collective violence, temple violation, and military glory in 1 and 2 Maccabees by comparing two festivals established in the context of revolt and guerilla warfare; namely, Hanukkah and Nicanor's Day. It argues that the accounts of the origins of these two festivals in 1 and 2 Maccabees reinforce the close connection between the violation of the temple cult and violence against the community in the memories of the Maccabean rebellion that the authors of these books promote. The article further suggests that the annual celebration of Hanukkah and Nicanor's day was intended to provide sophisticated mnemonic legitimation of the Hasmonean claim to exercise both military and cultic agency as kings and high priests in Judea.

Julia Rhyder Born 1987; 2011 BA (University of Melbourne, Australia); 2012 BTheol (Hons) (University of Divinity, Australia); 2018 PhD (University of Lausanne, Switzerland); currently Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, USA.