The four Books of Maccabees are not part of the Hebrew Bible. Nevertheless, they provide the historical information concerning the Maccabean revolt and Hasmonean rule.
Reprinted with permission of the author from A Different Light: The Big Book of Hanukkah, published by the Shalom Hartman Institute and Devora Publishing.
In contrast to First Maccabees, the book of Second Maccabees is a summary of a history written originally in Greek for Diaspora Hellenistic Jews living in the Greek-speaking area in Egypt. The Jews to whom the book was addressed were both loyal to their nation and its new Hasmonean state and yet faithful subjects of the kingdoms of the Greek dynasty of Ptolemies in Egypt. Jason of Cyrene wrote the original five-volume history of the Maccabees which was later summarized by anonymous “epitomizer” in Second Maccabees. The original has not been preserved.