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Maccabees, the Fifth Book of

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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an important chronicle of Jewish affairs, which was for the first time printed in Arabic in the Paris Polyglot (1645), and was thence copied into the London Polyglot (1657).

I. Title. The name, the fifth book of Maccabees, has been given to this production by Cotton, who placed it as fifth in his order of the books of Maccabees. According to the remark at the end of chap. 16, the first, part of this book, i.e. chap. 1:50-16:26, is entitled The second Book of Maccabees according to the Translation of the Hebrews, while the second part, i.e. chap. 17:1-59:96, is simply called The second Book of Maccabees. The fact that this second part gives the history of John Hyrcanus (ch. 20) has led Calmet (Dict. of the Bible, s.v. Maccabees) and others to suppose that it is the same as the so-called fourth book of Maccabees, a unique MS. of which, written in Greek, Sixtus Senensis saw in the library of Sanctes Pagninus, at Lyons, and which was afterwards destroyed by fire, so that the fifth of Maccabees is sometimes also called the fourth. The description of the MS. given by Sixtus Senensis (Bibl. Sancta, lib. i, sec. 3) has been printed in English by Whiston (Authentic Records, 1:206, etc.) and Cotton, The five Books of Maccabees, Introd. p. 38, etc. See MACCABEES, FOURTH BOOK OF (b).

II. Contents. This book contains the history of the Jews from Heliodorus's attempt to plunder the treasury at Jerusalem till the time when Herod revelled in the noblest blood of the Jews, and completed the tragedy of the Maccabaean princes by slaughtering his own wife Mariamne, her mother Alexandra, and his own two sons Alexander and Aristobulus, i.e. B.C. 184 to B.C. 6, thus embracing a period of 178 years. The subjoined table shows the parallelism between the narrative recorded in this book and the accounts contained in 1 and 2 Maccabees and the works of Josephus.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Maccabees, the Fifth Book of'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature.​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​m/maccabees-the-fifth-book-of.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.