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The Maccabees made a lot of noise between the ministries of Malachi and John the Baptist.
The setting of the Hannukah story is well-known to most Jews and Bible scholars thanks to 1 and 2 Maccabees, two books written during the biblical “silent period” and counted among the Apocrypha. It is 166 BC. Jewish religious practices in Jerusalem have been outlawed by foreign invaders. The Temple has been plundered, the people have been force-fed paganism, and the city has become a fortress against its own. Jerusalem, once the pearl of ancient Judah, recently part of Ptolemaic Egypt and now a Seleucid conquest, is no longer the world’s hub of Jewish life. More Jews live in each of Alexandria, Antioch, Babylon, and Cyrene (in East- ern Libya) than in the holy city.
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