The book, 2 Maccabees, begins with a letter addressed to the Jewish community in Egypt. Immediately at the outset of the work, it is clear what the author’s intention is; “having been saved by God out of grave dangers we thank him greatly,” he writes, bringing the reader’s focus to not only the Jewish faith, but to the Jewish God, specifically (2 Maccabees, 1.11). 1 Maccabees, on the other hand, begins not with a proclamation of God’s will, but with a historical account of Alexander and his empire; in fact, God is not mentioned at all in 1 Maccabees. Given this ...
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...plish their goal. The author of 1 Maccabees chose to promote Judaism and Jerusalem through the exploits of Jewish individuals while the author of 2 Maccabees utilized the presentation of God as a means to promote the faith. Ultimately both pieces succeed in painting the picture of the Jews as being the heroes and the hellenist invaders as being the enemy, however, the two authors differ on their belief of what Judaism is. Despite promoting two faiths that are fundamentally different than one another, the pieces 1 and 2 Maccabees actually go hand in hand in presenting the reader with a complete feeling for the Jewish faith. 1 Maccabees provides examples of good and bad Jews while 2 Maccabees presents what is viewed as the voice of God himself. Together, they allow the reader a fuller grasp of the scope of Judaism as it related to the hellenistic invasion of Jerusalem.
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