It exists in Greek, in the Alexandrian manuscript of the Septuagint ; and from thence was printed by Dr. Grabe, about 125 years ago, and was reprinted at Oxford in 1817, 8vo., and again in the folio Septuagint by Parsons. (In fact it had appeared in Greek Bibles at least so long ago as the year 1545.) From the various readings of this last edition I have been enabled to correct the text of 1817, which is extremely faulty.
The author of this fourth book is not known for a certainty ; but it has been generally attributed to Josephus ; with whose treatise De Maccabteis, or De imperio rationis, it certainly agrees very much ; yet not entirely, as may be readily seen upon a close comparison.
In fact, this is the treatise which, by Athanasius and other ancient writers, is understood by ” the fourth book of Maccabees:” yet Sixtus Senensis, in his Bibliotheca Sancta, asserts that he had seen in the library of Sanctes Pagninus, a learned friar, a manuscript calling itself the fourth book, but very different from the above, and containing the acts of John Hyrcanus : [thus following the series of history of our second book.] This manuscript was never published, and the library of Sanctes Pagninus, at Lyons in France, was destroyed by fire.
Calmet, in his ” Dictionary of the Bible,” under the article “Maccabees,” supposes that Sixtus was mistaken in his opinion of this being the true fourth book : and that probably what he saw was that work which in Arabic has been printed in the Paris and London Polyglotts, [namely mySir Henry Cotton fifth book :] this latter however contains much more than Sixtus takes notice of, and reaches down to the birth of Jesus Christ.
In his ” Literal Comment on Scripture,” Calmet has given our fourth book both in Latin and French.
I do not believe that it has ever yet appeared in English ; except in a very loose paraphrase, in L’Estrange’s translation of Josephus, folio, London, 1702 : but Whiston, a subsequent translator of that author, does not consider it as the production of Josephus, and therefore has wholly passed it by, for reasons which may be seen at the end of his version of the treatise against Apion. I have endeavoured to suit the style and language to those of the preceding books, as closely as was consistent with a careful adherence to the Original.
Source of commentsp.26 [PDF: 30/524] THE FIVE BOOKS OF MACCABEES BY HENRY COTTON, D.C.L.
(i) On the power of Religious Principle.
P. 219 – 224 Book 4 B.C. XXX [PDF: 269/274 of p.524]
(i) Particular illustrations of the strength of Principle.
P. 224 – 227 Book 4 B.C. XXX [PDF: 274/277 of p.524]
(i) The argument illustrated by example.
P. 227 – 229 Book 4 B.C. XXX [PDF: 277/279 of p.524]
(i) The attempt of Apollonius. The beginning of Antiochus ill-will to the Jews.
P. 230 – 233 Book 4 B.C. 176 [PDF: 280/283 of p.524]
(i) Eleazar brought forward. His eloquent address to the king.
P. 233 – 237 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 283/287 of p.524]
(i) Eleazar’s sufferings; and death. Reflections on it.
P. 237 – 241 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 287/291 of p.524]
(i) Reflections on the sufferings and constancy of Eleazar.
P. 241 – 243 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 291/ 293 of p.524]
(i) Seven brethren, with their mother, are brought forth to the torture.
P. 243 – 247 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 293/297 of p.524]
(i) The noble address of the young men. The first and second are put to death.
P. 247 – 250 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 297/300 of p.524]
(i) The third and fourth brothers are put to death.
P. 251 – 253 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 301/303 of p.524]
(i) The death of the fifth and sixth brothers.
P. 253 – 255 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 303/305 of p.524]
(i) The speech, and death, of the seventh brother.
P. 255 – 257 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 305/307 of p.524]
(i) Reflections on the above-mentioned occurrence. (see XII)
P. 257 – 260 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 307/310 of p.524]
(i) Reflections on the noble conduct of the youths, and on their mother’s sufferings.
P. 260 – 262 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 310/312 of p.524]
(i) An eulogy of the mother, for her most noble behaviour.
P. 262 – 267 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 312/317 of p.524]
(i) The praises of the mother of the seven brethren.
P. 267 – 270 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 317/320 of p.524]
(i) The praises of’ the mother continued.
P. 270 – 273 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 320/323 of p.524]
(i) The victorious result of their constancy. The mother’s speech to her children.
P. 273 – 276 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 323/326 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