We'll receive a $25,000 grant if others match it by Pentecost. $24,070 to go. Your gift will be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

MACCABEES

A family that controlled the course of jewish history from 166 to 63 B.C. and secured some measure of religious freedom and political independence during those troubled years. The Seleucid king, Antiochus Epiphanes, who dominated Palestine was determined to wipe out Judaism and force Hellenistic culture on the Jews (I Maccabees 1). When he resorted to the crowning indignity of introducing pagan sacrifices to Zeus in the Temple in Jerusalem, the priest Mattathias launched open rebellion, refusing to conduct heathen sacrifices and killing an apostate Jew who agreed to do so. Mattathias and his five sons had to leave Jerusalem, but the struggle had only begun. After the father died, his son, the great Judas Maccabaeus, took over leadership (I Maccabees 2) and re-entered Jerusalem victoriously and purified the Temple (I Maccabees 3-9). He eventually died in battle, but his brother, Jonathan, continued the struggle for eighteen years (I Maccabees 9-12). He was followed by a third brother, Simon, who finally achieved political freedom in 142 B.C. But intrigue and violence never ceased; both Jonathan and Simon were murdered. It was not until the reign of John Hyrcanus, Simon's son, that Judaea became the dominant power in Palestine (I Maccabees 13-16). Several other Maccabees followed (Aristobulus I, Alexander Jannaeus, Alexandra, and Aristobulus II), but increasing internal dissension weakened the government. Finally Roman legions besieged Jerusalem in 63 B.C., took over control, and the Jewish kingship was abolished. The Maccabee dynasty became extinct after a tempestuous century of violence. The history of this heroic struggle is told in detail in the First Book of Maccabees. The Second Book of Maccabees is a more rambling account that parallels the first seven chapters of the First Book but covers only fifteen years.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Matching Campaign
Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

A silent scandal: Catholic schools promoting morally unacceptable vaccines 7 hours ago
A More Militant Church? 7 hours ago
How we'll know if the Vatican and the US hierarchy are serious about deposing negligent bishops 7 hours ago
Final take on the LCWR: A time to plant, a time to uproot 10 hours ago
With the LCWR, has the Vatican taken Gamaliel's advice? 14 hours ago

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn CWN - April 21