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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Author, Date, and Title.

1.

The author of 1 Maccabees is anonymous, and whatever may be surmised about him comes from the book itself. He seems to be attached to the Hasmonean dynasty, both ideologically and personally, and to have some connection with the ruling circles.

2.

Most scholars date 1 Maccabees to around 100 BCE. The principal disagreement is whether it was written in the last years of John Hyrcanus or in the days of Alexander Jannaeus. According to Momigliano (1976) and S. Schwartz (1991 ), 1 Maccabees was written in the beginning of Hyrcanus' rule, before 129 BCE, but it seems to me that the evidence is somewhat too narrow and that the last years of Hyrcanus' rule fit better (and see 16:23–4 ).

3.

1 Maccabees is named thus according to the Septuagint's textual tradition; obviously it has nothing to do with the original title, which some scholars think can be reconstructed from a reference in Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 6. 25. 1–2, which goes back to Origen (first half of the 3rd cent. CE). There it is cited under the Hebrew name of the book as Sarbethsabanaiel. Among the acute proposals to decipher it we will cite the following: ‘Book (sēper) of the house of the ruler (śar) of the sons of God’; ‘Book of the dynasty (bêt) of God's resisters’, where God's resisters should mean ‘resisters on behalf of God's cause’ (Goldstein, 1975; 1976: 15–17).

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