of the Near East, especially the Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes, conducted a violent persecution of the Jews, outlawing the Jewish faith and attempting to force, among other things, the worship of Zeus.
Dimont analyzes the conflict like this: "Antiochus Epiphanes has been so entrenched in Jewish history as a villain that few Jews can see the war that ensued for what it really was--not an uprising against tyrannical Seleucids, but a revolt by Jewish anti-Hellenizers against Jewish Hellenizers
." (34) A point that Johnson makes about Jewish rebels in another context is applicable to the Maccabees: They put into practice "the ancient doctrine that Jewish society was a theocracy, acknowledging rule by none but God." (35)
Jews alone of these conquered cultures did not have a clean prime-divider line along which to sever the elites, and, despite the partial collaboration/assimilation of some (the Hellenizers
, the Sadducees), other elites, especially rabbinic, refused to switch their allegiance from their (chosen) people to the conquering elite.
(Given his track record toward what was once politely termed "effeminacy," it's pretty horrifying to imagine how he might have portrayed the Hellenizers
. I expect, at minimum, copious male eyeliner and hot pokers up bumsand I don't mean that in the nice way.)
a dialectic weapon; to the cutting edge of Greek logic they fitted, in the place of the universals of Greek speculative thought, the positive doctrines of the Koran, and with this they ultimately drove the Hellenizers
from the field....
When the traditionalists prevailed, and the king was forced to back down, the Hellenizers
were systematically hunted down.
The citadel of Jerusalem remained in the hellenizers' hands, and Judas's attempts to relieve it failed; the Syrians broke through the Jewish hold on the Sanctuary, where the sabbatical year had reduced the population to near famine, and Judas evacuated it; and Judas and his supporters were boxed in to a small area of Judaea (again, rather like the retreating Jacobites).
Rather, in the light of the contemporary perception of the rebellion as part of France's plan to dominate Britain politically and forcibly to change its religion, Judas unifying a nation disrupted from within by hellenizers who co-opt foreign hellenizing Syrian forces is equivalent to Cumberland unifying a nation disrupted from within by Jacobites who co-opt foreign Catholic French forces.
Hengel have claimed that this was indeed the case, and that extreme Jewish hellenizers
were actually the ones who instigated the persecution.(9) Moreover, the Hasmoneans themselves quickly adopted Hellenistic mores; they instituted holidays celebrating military victories (Nicanor Day on the 13th of Adar), as did the Greeks; they signed treaties with Rome and forged close alliances with the upper strata of Jerusalem society, whose hellenized proclivities - as those of the Hasmoneans themselves (see below) - are attested by names such as Alexander, Diodorus, Apollonius, Eupolemus, Numenius, Antiochus, Jason, Antipater, and Aeneas.(10)
Grainger recounts that the Hellenizers
"now tackled the central element of the opposition, the temple.
The spokesmen of this group ("Hellenizers
") were all Jews.
in their fierce struggle against the Hellenizers