Compare And Contrast The Jewish Faith In The Book 1 And 1 Maccabees

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The books 1 and 2 Maccabees focus on the rebellion of the Jewish people of Jerusalem against the hellenization of their city. While the events of both books are ultimately defined by the Jewish faith as demonstrated by the works’ protagonists, the two books utilize different aspects of that faith; 1 Maccabees is written in a mostly historical manner, showing chronologically how the actions of Jewish individuals contributed to the revolt against the hellenization of Jerusalem, but 2 Maccabees takes the focus away from Jewish people and places it with the Jewish God, declaring that it was his intervention which allowed the Jews to overcome the ungodly act of hellenization in their city. The aim of each author, to promote the Jewish community…show more content…
In 1 Maccabees it was Jewish citizens who started the process of Hellenization in Jerusalem, opting to construct a gymnasium in their city: “[the king] authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom” (1 Maccabees, 1.13-14). Furthermore, these Jewish citizens of Jerusalem went on to “remove… the marks of circumcision” (1 Maccabees, 1.15). It is clear through the language that the author of the piece uses to describe these people (“lawless men” who “sold themselves to do evil”) that they are to be viewed unfavorably and seen as if they are destroying the faith (1 Maccabees, 1.11-15). The author doesn’t just show those people who should not be emulated, however, but provides a depiction of the model Jew: “Mattathias and his friends went about and tore down the altars; they forcibly circumcised all the uncircumcised boys that they found within the borders of Israel,” writes the author (1 Maccabees, 2.46-47). These two passages from 1 Maccabees provide a perfect balance to the reader, first denouncing that which should not be committed by those who practice the Jewish faith and then providing an example of how those who practice the Jewish faith should choose…show more content…
While the promotion of the Jewish faith and the Jewish community of Jerusalem over that of the Hellenistic invaders is the aim of the authors of both pieces, the understanding of what it is that they are promoting is fundamentally different. The author of 1 Maccabees presents a Jewish faith that is constructed with levels of faithfulness; one can subscribe to some of the actions necessary of followers of the religion while not taking part in others, given extenuating circumstances. People, in the eyes of 1 Maccabee’s author, will maintain their position as Jewish without needing to be one-hundred percent devout at all times. The author of 2 Maccabees, on the other hand, presents a Jewish faith that is immensely strict. Despite facing pressures of self-preservation, the individuals presented by 2 Maccabee’s author are unwavering in their devotion to their faith, they simply continue to follow their beliefs and God acts for them according to the necessities of the situation; this presents an image of Judaism in 2 Maccabees as being very black and white, either an individual is Jewish or they are not. It is important for a reader of both Maccabees books to make the distinction that although both authors are attempting to accomplish the same thing, there is a clear

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