Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The name Maccabees denotes two groups of Jewish heroes and a collection of books connected with the period during which these heroes were active. The first group concerns the family of the priest Mattathias and his five sons, who started the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164 BCE). Mattathias refused to offer a pagan sacrifice in his hometown Modein, which was the starting signal for the revolt (1 Macc 2:15–27). “Maccabee” (Makkabaios i…

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Henten, Jan Willem, “Maccabees”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 30 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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