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Did the Sages Forget the Hasmoneans

Many scholars have addressed the place of the Hasmoneans in Talmudic literature. The most well-known treatment in Israel is Gedaliah Alon’s “Did the Jewish People and Its Sages Cause the Hasmoneans to be Forgotten?” Another contribution to the academic discussion around this question has been written by Vered Noam and recently published in Zion, “Did the Rabbis Cause the Hasmoneans to be Forgotten? A Reconsideration.” From now until the end of Hanukah Zion has posted the article (Hebrew) online for viewing, it can’t be downloaded or printed. The article can be accessed here.

From the English summary:

This article offers a fresh perspective on a stormy scholarly debate that has been ongoing for almost two centuries surrounding the rabbinic attitude toward the Hasmonean dynasty. To date, the scholarship has not discriminated between geographically and historically distant sources, combining testimony from the Second Temple period with that from late rabbinic sources. This article takes a different approach, making a clear distinction between traditions that most likely belong to the Second Temple period and their secondary reworking in rabbinic citations. By separating ancient embedded fragments from their deliberate reworking, it is possible to characterize both the attitude toward the Hasmoneans in temple times and the shifts that took place among the redactors and transmitters of rabbinic literature. This reconsideration demonstrates that the rabbis indeed sought to erase the memory of the individual Maccabean brothers, but that they did not display a negative attitude toward the Hasmonean dynasty as an institution. Their outlook on the generations of the Hasmonean leaders – whether positive or negative – was the outcome of their attempt to present history from the ‘rabbinic’ perspective, in which the Torah and its scholars took center stage.

Hanukah Sameah.

One Response to “Did the Sages Forget the Hasmoneans”

  1. 1
    sam kahan:

    Look at חגי chapter 2, verses 18 to 20. It states there that on the 24th of the ninth month(Kislev) the foundations of the second temple were placed.

    It is just a small leap to assume that the חשמונים in rededicating the desecrated temple would attempt to link their efforts to the initial temple building by selecting a similar date. Yet as far as I know the rabbis never made such a connection. The earliest citation I have found was by Rav Yaakov Emden, early 1700’s.

    Sam

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