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Kritik der beiden MakkabOerbiicher, nebst Betirtigen zur Geschichte 
der makkab&ischen Erhebung, von Benedictus Niese (Berlin, 
Weidmann'sche Buchhandlung, 1900). 

The chips from some workshops are bigger than the blocks in 
others. Merely as a side-study, to clear a little ground for the 
third volume of his Geschichte der griechischen und makedonischen 
Staaten, Niese has felt it necessary to make perhaps the most 
thorough examination of the two Books of the Maccabees that has 
been attempted since Grimm's day. In fulfilment of this incidental 
purpose, he contributed to Hermes (XXXV, 1900, pp. 268-307, and 
pp. 453-527) two exhaustive articles on the Books of the Maccabees, 
and these articles have been republished together in a separate 
form, under the title given above. This "Kritik" is the most 
important addition to recent criticism of its fascinating subject. 
The subject is fascinating because it is elusive, certainty is un- 
attainable. Hence interest attaches to all new investigations in 
this field, and there have been many of late years. Niese, however, 
is not an ordinary investigator. His edition of Josephus has placed 
him in the front rank of authorities on Judeo-Greek literature, and 
anything that he has to say on the Books of the Maccabees is assured 
of a respectful hearing. His examination of the material is so fresh 
and so thorough, his learning so full, his style so clear, that even 
if his conclusions were old, the method by which he reaches them 
would be worthy of consideration. But his conclusions are not old. 
He would reverse the views commonly held. Niese has a lower 
opinion than most critics of the value of the First Maccabees, and 
a higher opinion than is current of the trustworthiness of the Second 
Maccabees. Before, however, coming to closer quarters with these 
opinions, it must be mentioned that in one direction Niese renders 
a conspicuous service to the First Book, by vindicating the historical 

1 Read before the Jews' College Literary Society, London, on March 
11, 1901. 


character of the embassy of Judas to Rome (p. 88). Willrich altogether 
denies the reality of any such embassy. Wellhausen asserts this 
denial with dogmatic certainty in the third edition of his Geschichte, 
though in a previous edition he had expressed some belief in the report 
that Judas established friendly relation with Rome. Joseph us cites 
the fact (War, I. i. 4), Justin reports it (XXXVI. 3, 9). Whether Niese 
himself would so strongly have maintained a belief in the embassy 
had it not been incidentally and strikingly confirmed by his favourite 
authority, the Second Maccabees (iv. 11), may perhaps be doubted, 
but as things stand he claims that, though the details in 1 Mace, are 
incredible, "the fact that Judas contracted a friendship with the 
Romans is proven as firmly as possible." As Niese argues, the 
embassy comes just at the natural place, for Judas approaches 
the Senate for protection against Demetrius, whose accession to 
the throne of Syria was, as Polybius relates, unfavourably viewed 
at Rome. Judas sent the embassy immediately after his victory 
over Nicanor, but he did not live long enough to receive a reply. 
Demetrius seems to have hastened his preparations so as to anticipate 
Roman intervention, and dispatched an overwhelming force under 
which Judas's resistance was crushed. Wellhausen and others have 
questioned whether the Romans would enter into negotiation with 
rebels such as Judas and his party were. But we know (Diodorus, 
XXXI. 27 a) that the Senate returned a friendly answer to Timarchus, 
a satrap in arms against the same Demetrius. One fails to understand 
the distinction suggested by Wellhausen in his fourth edition (1901, 
p. 266) between the cases of Timarchus and Judas. 

This instance of Niese's independence as against Wellhausen helps 
to illustrate the unsettled condition of many important aspects of 
the Maccabean history. The disturbance is comparatively recent. 
Since the middle of the eighteenth century, when the Wernsdorffs 
assailed the authenticity of both Books of the Maccabees, there had 
grown up a general confidence in Book I, except in so far as some of 
the cited official documents are concerned. Almost absolute reliance 
was placed in it as a sober, though not completely impartial, record ; 
and it was made the basis of all histories of the period. Of the 
Second Book the judgement was entirely the reverse. While Book I 
was pronounced true on the whole and inaccurate in details, Book II 
was credited with truth in details and inaccuracy on the whole. The 
letters with which Book II opens were condemned as fabrications, 
and the only use to which the body of the book was turned was as 
a supplement to Book I, especially with regard to the account of the 
incidents in Judea which preceded the Maccabean revolt. Roman 
Catholic theologians have always refused, however, to assent to this 


verdict. The curious narrative of the sacrifices ordered on behalf of 
the dead by Judas— a narrative seemingly accepted by Niese, yet 
unparalleled in Jewish history, and without a trace of support in 
Rabbinic literature ; further, the spirited descriptions of the mar- 
tyrdoms of the aged Eleazar and the seven brothers— martyrdoms 
which became the exemplar of Christian courage, and were made the 
motive for an annual church festival with its appropriate homilies 
and hymns ; — these features endeared the Second Book to the Roman 
Church. Raphael's picture of Heliodorus, the only notable artistic 
illustration of the Maccabean story, was inspired by the same Second 
Book. The antagonistic attitude towards the two Books of the 
Maccabees was, and remains, a standing division between Catholic 
and Protestant critics. This intrusion of theology into a literary 
question is no novelty in the criticism of the Maccabean history. 
Geiger, in that remarkable work (Urschrift), which is year by year 
receiving more justice, maintained that the very Books of the 
Maccabees themselves were the outcome of a theological rivalry. 
The First Book was, according to Geiger, Sadducean, the Second 
Book a Pharisaic counterblast. It is unfortunate that it cannot be 
said that, even apart from the inter-Christian differences just alluded 
to, theology nowadays plays no part in the literary criticism of the 
Maccabean history. Willrich, in particular, seems possessed by 
theological animus against everything, or almost everything, Jewish ; 
even when the thing Jewish is dressed in Greek. Josephus is treated 
by him with scorn, and though he holds that the original author of 
i Mace, was a trustworthy historian, he has some very hard things to 
say about the unfortunate person who gave to the book the form 
which it now presents, and in which we can alone judge it. Willrich 
appears to apply as his first canon of criticism the principle that no 
Jewish historian told the truth except by accident, and that such 
lucky accidents were rare. 

A critic of a very different type is Niese. Willrich disbelieves his 
authorities unless he is compelled to trust them ; Niese believes them 
unless he is compelled to distrust them. Niese has thus struck a blow 
for genuine criticism. It was high time, for instance, that a strong 
word was uttered against those who think that because an ancient 
narrative contains legendary embellishments it is therefore untrust- 
worthy. A great deal has been made of the mythical elements in 
2 Mace. But these can mostly be detached without difficulty from 
the genuine narrative. Yet, even here, the superiority of the First 
Book is already manifest. If the Second Book resembles Polybius 
in language, the First Book resembles the great historian of the second 
century b. c. in restraint. But the rhetorical flights of the Second 


Book, its fondness for the intervention of direct angelic aid to the 
Jews (already announced in the Prologue, ii. 21, (cat ras e'£ ovpavov 
yevopevas emcpavdas), all this does not justify critics in discrediting the 
whole book. Niese in vindicating 2 Mace, in such matters is vin- 
dicating criticism. He is restoring one's wavering confidence in 
the common sense of historical investigators. There is no doubt 
that in the main the two Books of the Maccabees tell the same 
story, in so far as they cover the same ground. The persecution, the 
character of Antiochus, the revolt, the steadfastness of the faithful 
kernel of the nation, the nature of the campaigns, the triumph 
of the party of Judas, the absence of self-seeking in the Jewish 
leaders, the dedication festival in 165 B.C., the victory celebrated 
as Nicanor's day — in all these and other chief elements of the story the 
two Books have, indeed, very much in common. It may even be that 
they have a common origin in the history written by Jason of Cyrene. 
The Second Book is ostensibly an epitome of Jason's larger history, 
and there are now several critics who maintain that the author of 
Book I also relied on Jason. In modern times Schlatter is the most 
prominent advocate of this theory, his Jason von Kyrene (1891) being 
devoted to that theme. Kosters, on the other hand, leads the band 
of those who perceive in Jason of Cyrene what Kamphausen calls 
a mask, assumed in disguise of his own identity by the writer of 
2 Mace, assumed one knows not why. Willrich believes in Jason, 
but is confident that he did not live before the Christian era. Now, 
while there is absolutely no reason to doubt the existence of Jason, 
though Niese may well be right, as we shall see, in placing him in 
the middle of the second century B. c, and in regarding Jason as a 
personal friend of Judas who went to Egypt after Judas's fall, this 
unfortunately proves little that is relevant. The epitome known 
to us as the Second Maccabees was not written by Jason, and we know 
very little of the treatment meted out to Jason by his epitomizer. 
The best attempt to analyse this " editing " of Jason by the epitomizer 
is that of Prof. Buchler, in the latter part of his brilliant work Die 
Tobiaden und die Oniaden. Niese refers to this work, but he has made 
insufficient use of it. 

The relation of 2 Mace, to Jason is of the utmost importance, but 
it does not entirely dispose of the question. For Niese is convinced 
that the Second Book, even in its epitomized shape, is older than the 
First Book. In stating his main thesis Niese also states this convic- 
tion. "There is," he claims, "in truth no reason for treating the 
Second Book as invariably inferior to the First, but the Second Book 
must be regarded as the older and often purer source." (" Es liegt 
in Wahrheit kein Grund vor, das 2. Makkabaerbuch in alien Stucken 


fainter das erste zurtickzusetzen, sondern es ist als die altere und oft 
reinere Quelle anzusehen," p. 8.) The two clauses of this contention 
have no necessary connexion. In order to win a better opinion for 
the Second Book it is not essential to prove that it is older than the 
First. As to the First Book, Niese holds that it was written after the 
year 105-4 B - c -> f° r i n * Mace. xvi. 23-4 he, like many others, finds 
a reference to the death of John Hyrcanus, which occurred at the 
date mentioned. But despite the weight of authority here on Niese's 
side, this statement cannot be received without demur. Schiirer 
(III. 3 141) does not commit himself to the view that this passage was 
written after Hyrcanus' death : on the contrary, he assigns it to 
" towards the end of Hyrcanus' rule." But I think one can go further. 
In the first place there is good reason for doubting whether this 
passage belongs to the original 1 Mace, and there is also ground 
for holding with Destinon and Wellhausen (Geschichte, ed. 4, p. 273) 
that 1 Mace, really ended with xiv. 15 (Niese's arguments against 
Destinon, p. 97, are not at all convincing). Be that as it may, the 
reference to John Hyrcanus at the end of Book I by no means 
implies that Hyrcanus was dead, or that he had been high priest for 
any considerable period. The passage runs : — 

Km to Xoiwa t5>v \oya>v ladvvov km tS>v iro\eua>v avrov Kal rmv avbpa- 
ya6ia>v avrov $>v T)v8payd0T)(rcv Kal rrjs olKoboprjs rS>v rtixtatv &u (pKoSoprjcrtv 
Kal t&v irpd^eiav avrov, tboii ravra yiypawrai ejri fiifikiov r/pep&v ap^tepo>- 
a-vvrjs avrov, d<j> ov lytvifir) dpxiepevs ptrct top narepa avrov. 

"And the rest of the acts of John, and of his wars, and of his 
valiant deeds which he did, and of the building of the walls which he 
built, and of his doings, behold they are written in the Book of Days 
of his high-priesthood, from the time that he was made high priest 
after his father." 

Ewald acutely perceived that the phrase " Book of Days " pro- 
bably alludes to an annual record in progress when this last sentence 
in the First Book of the Maccabees was written or added. The 
whole passage has all the appearance of a contemporary note, 
written soon after 135 B.C., for the phrase ra \onra ra>v X6ya>v is 
limited by the clause drf> ov tyevr)6r] apxtepeiis pera. rbv traripa avrov — 
an event which occurred in 135. The note does not convey the 
least impression that its writer was acquainted with the whole 
career of Hyrcanus. Observe the details : the wars and the walls. 
The walls were probably strengthened by Hyrcanus immediately 
after his accession ; perhaps the reference is to a rebuilding which 
came directly after the withdrawal of Antiochus VII. It is very 
significant that Josephus (Antiq. XIII. vii. 2) reports that in the first 


year of Hyrcanus' rule Antiochus VII, despite the seven camps with 
which he surrounded Jerusalem, "accomplished nothing at first, 
because of the strength of the walls." So, too, with regard to the 
wars, the very opening of Hyrcanus 1 official life was distinguished 
by military operations in which his valour and determination (r&v 
dvSpayadiav avrov) were conspicuously displayed. Further, my 
belief that the First Book was finished soon after the assassination 
of Simon is confirmed by another circumstance. In the year 143 b. c, 
Simon erected a magnificent mausoleum at Modein (1 Mace. xiii. 
25-30). "He set up seven pyramids, one over against another, for 
his father, and his mother, and his four brethren." The seventh 
pyramid was thus for himself. How comes it, then, that we are not 
informed of Simon's burial in Modein ? My impression ia that 
I Mace, was finished at about the time of Simon's death. The 
expression, "This is the sepulchre which he (Simon) made at 
Modein, unto this day " (ea>s rfjs rtfiepas Tavrtjs, xiii. 30), has the mark 
of a later gloss, and may even be a mere reminiscence of an Old 
Testament phrase. We, moreover, know too little of the significance 
of such a phrase to feel sure that an interval of ten years might not 
be covered by it. 

Even then if 2 Mace, was written as early as Niese maintains, 
i.e. in 125-4 B.C., I think it unproven that it is older than the First 
Book. But it is on rather unsatisfactory grounds that Niese assigns 
the date he does to Book II. He greatly relies on the integrity of 
the introductory epistles, which he ascribes to Jason's epitomizer, 
and the date of these epistles, 125-4 B.C., fixes according to him the 
date of the epitome. Niese considers these letters authentic, which 
others besides himself do, but he stands almost alone in refusing to 
disintegrate them. This part of Niese's apologetic is ingenious and 
original, and his scorn of the excessive subdivision to which the 
epistles have been or are likely to be subjected is pleasant to witness. 
It is something peculiarly gratifying to find a critic of Niese's 
eminence thus vigorously contending for the unity and integrity of 
an ancient Judaic document; one so rarely is confronted by such 
faith that dissent from him must be reluctant. But I fear that the 
instincts of scholars have not been at fault in detecting the hand of 
the manipulator here. The whole of the legends from 2 Mace. i. 18b 
to ii. 15 are probably an interpolation, being added to serve as 
a commentary perhaps on 2 Mace. x. 3, or to explain the illumina- 
tions which were subsequently associated with the festival. The 
epistles bristle with difficulties apart from these legendary insertions. 
That some (late post-Maccabean) historical incident lies at the back 
of these letters is obvious ; that phrases may be taken from a genuine 


letter of Judas must be conceded. But Niese's vindication of the 
genuineness is that of a candid, a far too candid friend. The Judas 
referred to is, he holds, not Maccabeus, the Antiochus is not Epiphanes 
but Sidetes, though the writer reports in regard to Sidetes a story 
similar to that told of Epiphanes, viz., his symbolic nuptials with 
a heathen goddess. Apart from this, a collation of i. 18 (MeXXovTir? 
aytiv iv rm XuovXeii . . . rbv KalBapurji^v) with ii. 16 (MeXXovrer ovv ayeiv 
tov Kadapia-fidv) alone suffices to disprove the integrity of the letters, 
and Niese's refusal to make at least this division weakens one's 
interest in his whole discussion of the point. Niese has not succeeded 
in proving either that the epistles were written in 125-4, or that they 
have any close connexion with the book itself. "Gewiss," says 
Niese himself, "ist der innere Zusammenhang zwischen Vorrede 
und Buch nur locker" (p. 12). The date of the letters, in short, 
cannot be used as proving the date of the epitome ; if they could be 
so used, Niese's case would be hopelessly untenable. 

Niese is naturally concerned to prove that the author of the Second 
Book made no use of the First. Adopting Schlatter's view with an 
important modification, he thinks on the contrary that the author 
of 1 Mace, used Jason for his first seven chapters, and relied on 
a Seleucid chronography for the rest of his information as to events 
in Syria. This may be so ; at all events I agree with Niese's con- 
tention that Book II is in no sense a Pharisaic rejoinder to the 
Sadducean Book I. This was a clever suggestion of Geiger's, and 
it has enjoyed the honour of acceptance by Wellhausen. But with 
Niese I fail to perceive any conclusive proof that the writer of 
Book II was acquainted with Book I at all. I think that there 
are some indications of it, but they are not decisive. But Geiger's 
theory that there are considerable theological and political differ- 
ences between the two books cannot be brushed aside so easily. 
The attitudes towards the priesthood are not the same, while on 
the debated question as to the lawfulness of waging war on the 
Sabbath the two books occupy different standpoints. Even more 
notable is the prominence given to the resurrection in Book II, 
whereas there is no allusion whatsoever to the doctrine in Book I. 
All these and other differences indicate, not that Book I is Saddu- 
cean, but that it is more ancient. When Book I was written the 
Pharisaic doctrine was immature and incomplete ; the book reflects 
exactly the Maccabean position (as shown in part in Ben Sira). 
Book II places itself at a frankly Pharisaic standpoint : we feel 
that a good deal has happened in Judea since Book I was written. 
To this extent the theory of Geiger must still hold its ground. 

One's sympathy with Niese rises highest when he is seeking, not 


to Crown the Second Book with laurels despoiled from the First, 
but to weave new laurels for the Second. He offers many convincing 
arguments to prove that in the Second Book we have a history- 
belonging to the second century B.C., so far as Jason's original is 
concerned. The resemblance of the style to Polybius, the exactness 
of the official titles, the names and the functions of Syrian officials, 
are displayed by Niese with much learning and ability. Very 
interesting is his inference from the Roman titles (p. 30). We find 
only the two names, Nomen and Gentile, not the Cognomen (2 Mace, 
xi. 34 seq.). This points clearly to the second century B.C. Jason's 
date may thus be safely assigned to that period (before 153-2 B.C., 
says Niese, p. 37) ; but the epitome of Jason is not Jason. 2 Mace. 
is a patchwork. The epistles do not claim to be Jason's. It is wise 
to hold with Professor Buchler that the famous Vorgeschichte did not 
emanate from Jason. The epitome does not accurately correspond 
with the programme sketched in ii. 20. There are again clear 
differences of style between iii. 1 — vii. 42 and viii onwards. The 
latter portion alone was probably derived from Jason. It would be 
attractive to follow Professor Buchler further and discuss his analysis 
of the chapters which may certainly be treated as derivatives from 
Jason. Even in these chapters Professor Buchler detects the hand of 
the interpolator or epitomizer. In the main, Dr. Buchler attributes 
the exactness, logical order, and historicity to Jason ; the errors and 
confusion to his epitomizer, thus applying to Book II something of 
the same principle that Willrich would apply to Book I. Niese, 
without an adequate examination of these arguments, and of others 
of a similar character, resolutely refusing his assent to all partition 
theories, does less justice to Jason than do others who hold no brief 
for the book. Niese attributes the exaggerations, the rhetorical 
extravagances to Jason himself, and exclaims, " This is how a Greek 
wrote history." But did Polybius write history in that manner ? 
How does Jason's great contemporary compare with him if 2 Mace. 
really represents Jason's style and method ? Sometimes (p. 37) Niese 
thinks that the epitome has diverged from Jason ; but he has not 
dealt satisfactorily with this side of the problem. 

It is impossible to go the length of a thorough vindication of 
Book II without attacking Book I. The main outlines of the two 
narratives are identical, but there are serious discrepancies in detail. 
Niese, like his predecessors, fails to clear up the omission of 
Mattathias from the purview of Book II. He thinks the fault not 
one of omission on the part of Book II, but of commission on the 
part of Book I. He follows Geiger in charging the author of Book I 
with introducing Mattathias, or at least with exaggerating his 


importance, in order to glorify Simon with the reflected light of 
his father, and to legitimize the later Hasmoneans, making Matta- 
thias on his death-bed appoint as leader Simon, " a man of counsel, 
a father unto you" (ii. 65). But if there be one matter in which 
Jewish tradition on the Maccabean history has a message it is on 
the importance of the role played by Mattathias. It is highly 
improbable that in this respect the Synagogue has followed a 
Sadducean tendency ; yet, if the importance of Mattathias be false, 
it must have done so, for the so-called Pharisaic Book II does not 
know Mattathias at all. The Rabbinic tradition (which is inde- 
pendent of both books of the Maccabees) recognized Mattathias 
as the principle figure in the struggle for religious liberty. In the 
Synagogue liturgy he and not Judas is named as the hero of the 
drama. (Compare the strong confirmation of this in 1 Mace. xiv. 26 ; 
see also xvi. 14, from which it appears that Mattathias was a family 
name.) Wellhausen in his fourth edition rightly protests that at all 
events there is no ground for doubting that Mattathias was the 
father's name. There is something very touching in this figure of 
the strenuous old man, a typical Puritan warrior, zealous in doctrine 
and in battle, dying before the fruits of victory had been won, yet 
enjoying unto this day deathless renown, named on the Maccabean 
festival in every Jewish house of prayer. Would the self-sacrificing, 
lion-hearted Judas have desired a finer fate than this, that his 
glorious career should be merged in the renown of his noble father 
in those Jewish "meeting-places of God" which his deeds had 
helped to found or preserve ? The Second Book of the Maccabees 
is supposed by some critics to be written entirely in the personal 
interests of Judas. One wonders what Judas would have thought of 
such a eulogist. And the Jason who is credited with this is said by 
Niese to have been possibly a personal friend of Judas. 

With a feeling of relief I turn to Niese's brilliant investigation of 
the chronology of the Syrian kings. He places the date of Antiochus' 
death at 165-4, not, as is usually done, at 164-3 B - c - The chronology 
of the First Book is not without difficulty, and Niese's results are 
deserving of the closest consideration. Wellhausen, in his fourth 
edition, apparently accepts Niese's chronological results. It is 
worth while excerpting them (p. 81) :— 
Antiochus III, reigned 36 years. First year, 01. 139, 2 (223-2 B.C.). 

Last year, 01. 148, 1 (188-7 B.C.). 
Seleucus IV, reigned 12 years. First year, 01. 148, 2 (187-6 b. a). 

Last year, 01. 151, 1 (176-5 B.C.). 
Antiochus IV, reigned n years. First year, 01. 151, 2 (175-4 B.C.). 

Last year, 01. 153, 4 (165-4 B. a). 


Antiochus V, reigned 2 years. First year, 01. 154, 1 (164-3 B.C.). 

Last year, 01. 154, 2 (163-2 B.C.). 
Demetrius I, reigned 12 years. First year, 01. 154, 3 (162-1 B.C.). 

Last year, OL 157, 2 (151-0 b. a). 
Alexander Balas, reigned 5 years. First year, 01. 1 57, 3 (1 50- 1 49 b. c). 

Last year, 01. 158, 3 (146-5 B.C.). 

This certainly supports somewhat the narrative of 2 Mace, as 
against 1 Mace. ; the former seems to place the death of Antiochus 
before the Dedication of the Temple. Into the chronology of the 
Egyptian campaigns of Antiochus it is unnecessary to enter, for 
Niese, who prefers the arrangement in 2 Mace, tells us in his preface 
that he does not himself regard the issue as settled. Wellhausen 
(4th ed., p. 257) still prefers the account in Book I, which agrees 
better with Daniel. Beverting to the death of Antiochus and its 
relation to the Dedication, the two events clearly must have almost 
synchronized. Niese seems to think that 1 Mace, would date the 
operations of Judas against the neighbouring tribes as prior to the 
death of the king (p. 56), as, in fact, placing these operations between 
Antiochus' death and the Dedication. A close reading of 1 Mace. 
shows this assumption to be doubtful ; this ground for preferring the 
arrangement in Book II has no firm foundation. In 1 Mace. vi. 5-8, 
we read (R.V.) : " And there came one bringing him (Antiochus) 
tidings into Persia, that the armies, which went against the land of 
Judah, had been put to flight ; and that Lysias went first with a 
strong host, and was put to shame before them ; and that they had 
waxed strong by reason of arms and power, and with store of spoils, 
which they took from the armies that they had cut off; and that 
they had pulled down the abomination which he had built upon the 
altar that was in Jerusalem; and that they had compassed about 
the sanctuary with high walls, as before, and Bethsura, his city." 
This brings us only to the fortification of Bethzur, which is reported 
in 1 Mace. iv. 61. Hence the events of chapter v, in other words the 
campaigns of Judas against the neighbouring tribes, had not reached 
the ears of Antiochus at the moment of his death. These campaigns 
may -have been in progress, and have continued after the king's 
demise. There can be no question that 1 Mace, has the more 
accurate account of the manner of Antiochus' death; Polybius is 
evidence enough of that. In all this part of the story 1 Mace, is 
clearly superior. It is highly improbable that Lysias would appear 
alone without Antiochus V in Judea after the death of Antiochus IV, 
as 2 Mace, (xi) requires us to believe, and as Niese believes. Lysias 
would not have left the side of his youthful ward, and thus thrown 


him into the arms of his rival Philip. Again, Niese raises difficulties 
against the account in i Mace, which makes the occupation of 
Jerusalem by Judas and his re-dedication of the Temple coincident. 
Is it then conceivable that Judas would have allowed an appreciable 
interval to elapse between setting foot in Jerusalem and restoring 
the Temple services? Judas did not, according to i Mace, occupy 
Jerusalem without opposition, as Niese thinks (see i Mace. iv. 41). 
Niese's contention that Jerusalem could not have been retaken 
without a struggle on the part of the Syrian garrison may thus be 
true, and 1 Mace, also true. Niese himself perceives that Jerusalem 
was destitute of strong defences, except for the Citadel or Akra, 
which Judas failed to wrest from the hands of the enemy. In all of 
this 1 Mace, is thoroughly consistent, so consistent indeed that the 
narrative proclaims its truth aloud. Thus, in 1 Mace. i. 31, we are 
told how the walls of Jerusalem were demolished by order of 
Antiochus. In iii. 45 we are again informed that Jerusalem was 
without any fortifications except the Citadel. When Lysias temporarily 
withdrew, Judas was able to enter Jerusalem without a siege, though 
not without fighting, for he made a feint of attacking the Citadel 
to keep the Syrian garrison engaged, while he proceeded to cleanse 
and repair the Temple (iv. 41). Then he restored the walls (iv. 60, 
vi. 7). Note how admirably this fits in with the incident that marked 
the subsequent march of Antiochus V on the capital. Thanks to 
Judas' restoration of the walls, and to the further fact that Jerusalem 
was then defended by resolute Jews instead of Syrians, the city was 
able to sustain a siege (vi. 51). "And he encamped against the 
sanctuary many days; and set there mounds to shoot from, and 
engines of war, and instruments for casting fire and stones, and 
pieces to cast darts, and slings. And they also made engines against 
their engines, and fought for many days." The whole series of events 
is beautifully proportioned. It is hard to conceive that the rival 
narrative in the Second Book can find an advocate. 

Here this review must close. I have said nothing of Niese's many 
valuable textual criticisms of both books, of his enlightening comments 
on many passages, of his careful examination of the sources. Niese 
never dogmatizes ; if he makes an assertion, he gives his reasons. 
Thus the student is able to make enormous use of Niese without 
assenting to his results. No student of the two books can afford 
to neglect Niese's work. He has done a good deal towards re- 
habilitating the Second Book. He has also brought into fuller relief 
the defects of Book I, though these defects were always more or less 
recognized. The First Book is not free from "tendency." Some 
things that the author probably knew are occasionally suppressed. 


The numbers are exaggerated, the priestly deficiencies are lightly 
touched. (Yet see 1 Mace. iv. 42.) The official documents regarding 
foreign states have been " edited," and are on the whole not to be 
relied on. The imitations and reminiscences of the Old Testament 
are not restricted to style, but also colour the narrations of events. 
Wellhausen, the fourth edition of whose Israelitische und jiidische 
Geschichte reached me when this paper was practically finished, 
agrees, and rightly agrees, with Niese on these heads (p. 246). But 
the Second Book must still be employed against the First with caution, 
though with a more credulous caution. Schurer (in his new edition, 
1898) still holds that "The author (of Book I) has at his disposal such 
a fund of details that it is impossible to entertain any doubt as to the 
credibility of his narrative as a whole (uber die Glaubwurdigkeit im 
Grossen und Ganzen kein Zweifel obwalten kann, p. 141). His book 
is one of the most valuable sources we possess for the history of the 
Jewish people." This view of Schurer was repeated before Niese's 
Kritik was published. But it remains true after Niese's criticism. 
Wellhausen, writing in full cognizance of Niese's work, now expresses 
himself (loc. cit.) in terms with which I unhesitatingly agree : 
" Niese's penetrating criticism of the two Books of the Maccabees 
has taught me much, but has not convinced me that the Second Book 
is older than the First and deserves preference to it ... . One must 
not indeed view everything through the spectacles of the First Book. 
But there remains no alternative but to use it as the foundation 
(of the history of the period)." 

I. Abrahams.