Friday, September 28, 2012

Some Interesting Points in Goldstein's II Maccabees

I started Jonathan Goldstein's Anchor Bible commentary on II Maccabees.

Goldstein dates I Maccabees to 90 B.C.E., Jason of Cyrene's work to 86 B.C.E., and the abridgement of Jason's work that we recognize as II Maccabees to 78/7-63 B.C.E.  Goldstein offers various reasons for his date for I Maccabees, but he believes that II Maccabees came later because it appears to respond to I Maccabees----to dispute some of I Maccabees' details.  At the same time, Goldstein maintains that I Maccabees and II Maccabees drew from a common source, for they overlap on a variety of details, such as Jason's construction of a gymnasium.

I go into the ideological differences between I Maccabees and II Maccabees in my post here.  In this write-up of Goldstein, I'll mention two details that stood out to me.  First, Goldstein argues that II Maccabees does not regard the Jerusalem Temple as fully chosen by God and thus recognizes other sanctuaries; I Maccabees, by contrast, appears to dislike sanctuaries other than the one in Jerusalem.  Second, Goldstein maintains that I Maccabees and II Maccabees had different approaches to the Book of Daniel (which Goldstein may date to the second century B.C.E.).  I Maccabees does not shy away from mentioning the events surrounding Antiochus that did not transpire as Daniel predicted; II Maccabees, by contrast, ignores those details or tries to show that many of Daniel's prophecies indeed were fulfilled.

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