Its author is unknown ; and its original language has been greatly controverted. Origen and St. Jerome assert, that they had seen the original in Hebrew; but this is considered to have been lost. Yet it is to be observed, that Dr. Kennicott, in his ” Dissertatio Generalis,” cites two MSS. one of which, No. 474. is preserved at Rome, ” Lihr. Maccab. Chaldaice,” written early in the 13th century : a second, No. 613, existing at Hamburg, “Libr. Maccab. Hebraice,” written in the year 1448. Archbishop Ussher, following St. Jerome, says, ” it is a book exactly translated out of the Hebrew, and containeth everywhere the brevity and Hebraisms of it.”
Annals of the World. Michaelis, in “Biblioth. Oriental, part. XII.” (as quoted by Harles in his edition of Fabricius,) asserts that Josephus took his account of these transactions from the Hebrew book of Maccabees, and did not consult the Greek version. Theodotion has by some writers been considered as its translator into Greek : and the book is thought to have been compiled partly from the memoirs collected by Judas Maccabaeus, and partly from those of John Hyrcanus, whose leadership began at the period where this book leaves off, and who moreover himself has been regarded by some persons as its author. Others again, as Beveridge, in his ” Codex Canonum Vindicatus,” contend that both books were originally written in Greek.
There is in bishop Walton‘s Polyglott Bible a Syriac version of this book, made from the Greek: also an ancient Latin one ; respecting which, see SabatierPierre Sabatier? in the Prolegomena to his edition of the Hebrew Bible : there is likewise a modern Latin translation, by Nobilius.
It deserves to be noticed, that a short history of king Antiochus, in Hebrew, but differing in many points from the account given in this book of Maccabees, is printed, accompanied by a Latin version, by Bartoloccius in his ” Bibliotheca Rabbinica,” (toM. I. p. 383, &c) who states it to be found in the Ritual of the Spanish Jews. FabriciusJohannes Albertus Fabricius, in his “Codex Pseudepigraphus Veteris Testamenti,” (tom. I. p. 1165,) has reprinted the Latin version of Bartoloccius, but without his long and learned notes; in which he maintains that the author of the work is unknown, but that beyond doubt it was compiled from the Talmud.
Christopher Wagenseil reports that he had discovered a manuscript of the same work, in Chaldee, in the dirty study of a Jew at Nicolasburg in Moravia. Wagenseil translated this into Latin, and his version is said to be remaining in the public library at Leipsic.
In Archbishop Marsh’s library at Dublin is a small Hebrew roll on parchment, without points, containing this history of Antiochus and of “John the son of Mattathias ;” of which the beginning (and probably the whole) agrees with that which has been published by Bartoloccius.
Source of commentsp.21 [PDF: 25/524] THE FIVE BOOKS OF MACCABEES BY HENRY COTTON, D.C.L.
(i) The cruelties of Antiochus Epiphanes to the Jews.
P. 43 – 50 Book 2 B.C. 175 [PDF: 93/100 of p.524]
(i) The Firmness of Mattathias.
P. 50 – 57 Book 2 B.C. 167. [PDF: 100/107 of p.524]
(i) The valiant acts of Judas Maccabaus.
P. 57 – 63 Book 2 B.C. 166. [PDF: 107/113 of p.524]
(i) The wars of Judas. The sanctuary cleansed.
P. 63 – 69 Book 2 B.C. 166 [PDF: 113/119 of p.524]
(i) The wars of Judas. The expedition of Simon.
P. 69 – 77 Book 2 B.C. 164 [PDF: 119/127 of p.524]
(i) The death of Antiochus Epiphanes. The wars of Judas. The heroic act of Eleazar.
P. 77 – 84 Book 2 B.C. 164. [PDF: 127/134 of p.524]
(i) The wars of Judas with Bacchides, Alcimus, and Nicanor. Nicanor’s death.
P. 84 – 89 Book 2 B.C. 162. [PDF: 134/139 of p.524]
(i) Judas makes a league with the Romans.
P.89 – 93 Book 2 B.C. 161 [PDF: 139/143 of p.524]
(i) The death of Judas. Also, of John. Jonathan is made captain. The death of Alcimus.
P. 94 – 101 Book 2 B.C. [PDF: 144/151 of p.524]
(i) The negotiations of Alexander and Demetrius with Jonathan. The death of Demetrius.
P. 101 – 111 Book 2 B.C. 153 [PDF: 151/161 of p.524]
(i) The death of Alexander, and of Ptolemy. The exploits of Jonathan.
P. 111 – 119 Book 2 B.C. 146 [PDF: 161/169 of p.524]
(i) Jonathan renews the league with the Romans and Lacedaemonians. He is made prisoner by Tryphon.
P. 119 – 125 Book 2 B.C. 144 [PDF: 169/175 of p.524]
(i) Simon made captain. His acts. Jonathan’s death, burial, and monument. Tryphon seizes the kingdom.
P. 125 – 132 Book 2 B.C. 144 [PDF: 175/182 of p.524]
(i) The good deeds of Simon. His fame. Renewal of the league by the Romans and Lacedaemonians.
P. 132 – 137 Book 2 B.C. 141 [PDF: 182/187 of p.524]
(i) The acts and honours of Simon. Antiochus defeats Tryphon: and sends Cendebaeus into Judaea.
P. 137 – 143 Book 2 B.C. 140 [PDF: 187/193 of p.524]
(i) John defeats Cendebaeus. Simon and his sons are slain treacherously by Ptolemy son of Abubus.
P. 143 – 145 Book 2 B.C. 138 [PDF: 193/195 of p.524]
Original Source: Transcribed from PDF copy of Book "The Five Books of Maccabees in English. With Notes and Illustrations", by HENRY COTTON, D.C.L.(Sir) Archdeacon of Cashel, and Late Student of Christ Church, Oxford. Publication date 1832 | PDF