Maccabees, Books of the

There were originally five books of the Maccabees. The first
contains a history of the war of independence, commencing (B.C.
175) in a series of patriotic struggles against the tyranny of
Antiochus Epiphanes, and terminating B.C. 135. It became part of
the Vulgate Version of the Bible, and was thus retained among
the Apocrypha.

The second gives a history of the Maccabees' struggle from
B.C. 176 to B.C. 161. Its object is to encourage and admonish
the Jews to be faithful to the religion of their fathers.

The third does not hold a place in the Apocrypha, but is read
in the Greek Church. Its design is to comfort the Alexandrian
Jews in their persecution. Its writer was evidently an
Alexandrian Jew.

The fourth was found in the Library of Lyons, but was
afterwards burned. The fifth contains a history of the Jews from
B.C. 184 to B.C. 86. It is a compilation made by a Jew after the
destruction of Jerusalem, from ancient memoirs, to which he had
access. It need scarcely be added that none of these books has
any divine authority.