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Books of the Maccabees

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The Books of Maccabees are ancient books, some of which are accepted by some Christians as Biblical. They are named because they all relate somehow to the Maccabean revolt against Seleucid rule; 1 & 2 Maccabees in particular give a historical account of that revolt. The remaining books are not specifically about the Maccabean revolt, but are so named because they were seen to relate to it somehow.

  • 1 Maccabees: believed to have been originally written in Hebrew, although only a Greek translation survives. Accepted by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church as part of the Old Testament, but not by Jews or Protestants
  • 2 Maccabees: believed to have been originally written in Greek, which survives. Accepted by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthdox Church as part of the Old Testament, but not by Jews or Protestants
  • 3 Maccabees: accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church, but not by Catholics, Protestants or Jews
  • 4 Maccabees: accepted by the Georgian Orthodox Church, but not by other Eastern Orthodox Churches, Catholics, Protestants or Jews
  • There are further books sometimes called 5, 6, 7 and 8 Maccabees — and confusingly, 5 Maccabees is used to refer to two completely different works. However, no church has ever accepted these; rather, this naming has been imposed by scholars, since they have similar content to 1—4 Maccabees (and possibly have some common textual history with them also)
  • 1—3 Meqabyan: three books accepted as biblical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Eritrean Orthodox Church, but not by any other Christian group. Their name is derived from the word Maccabees, but they recount different events.