Scholars have questioned every aspect of the story of Mattathias in 1 Maccabees; the revisionist narrative turns Mattathias and his Maccabees from the heroes of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and idealistic fighters for religious freedom, into merely ambitious men who ruthlessly strove for power and usurped the high priesthood of Judaea. Dr. Benjamin Edidin Scolnic takes a fresh, unbiased approach to every element of the story: the incident at Modein, Mattathias's priestly credentials and their implications for his beliefs, the meaning of personal ambition and the greater ambition to create the Jewish kingdom promised by the sacred biblical texts, the meaning of circumcision in his time, and the decision to fight on the Sabbath. Mattathias's actions of zealous violence, as controversial as they were in both his day and as they often are seen today, were primarily for the preservation of his religion and people. Dr. Scolnic asserts that it was Mattathias who defined Judaism and Jewishness for his time.
Benjamin Edidin Scolnic, a scholar and rabbi, is the author of ten other books, including Thy Brother's Blood: The Maccabees and Dynastic Morality in the Hellenistic World. He is a professor in the Program of Judaic Studies at Southern Connecticut State University. He has been the rabbi of Temple Beth Sholom in Hamden, Connecticut since 1983.
Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Scholarly Views of Mattathias Chapter 3: Mattathias's Act of Rebellion Chapter 4: Mattathias and the Priestly Clan of Jehoiarib Chapter 5: Mattathias and the Ambitions of the Maccabees Chapter 6: Mattathias and the Meaning of Circumcision Chapter 7: Mattathias and Defensive Warfare on the Sabbath Chapter 8: The Nature and the Provenance of 1 Macabees Chapter 9: Mattathias and the Definition of Judaism Chapter 10 Select Bibliography