A History of New Testament Times in Palestine, 175 B.C.-70 A.D

By Shailer Mathews | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
JUDAS MACCABÆUS AND THE REÉSTABLISHMENT OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY (165-161 B.C.1)

THE condition of Judea when thus Judas succeeded to the captaincy of a religious guerilla war was briefly this: On the one side, the legitimate political powers, the high priest and the Syrian captain-general, together with a considerable number of the more aristocratic citizens, were united in the endeavour to force the nation into submission to Syria and into conformity with the religion of the rest of the known world. On the other, was a force of insurgents under Judas, made up of two very different groups of men, -- the fanatical Chasidim, and the patriotic adventurers constituting the party of the Asmoneans or Maccabees. Between these two parties in the approaching civil war was the great mass of the people, doubtless at heart favourable toward Judaism, but indifferent to calls to heroic sacrifice, poor and unarmed, certain to be oppressed whichever side won, and consequently ready to submit to whichever party might for the moment be the victor. To speak of an uprising of the people is as misleading as in the case of England during the wars of the Roses.

Real character of the revolt.

Judas the Hammer -- for such seems to be the

____________________
1
General References: Schürer, The Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, Div. I. I. 219-223; Graetz, History of the Jews, I. 488-508; Renan, History of the People of Israel, bk. viii. chs. 15-17; Ewald, History of Israel, V. 306-323.

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