Judas Maccabaeus


Judas Maccabaeus

biographical name

(died 161/160 BC) Leader of a Jewish rebellion against the Syrians. The son of an aged priest who took to the mountains in rebellion when Antiochus IV Ephiphanes tried to impose the Greek religion on the Jews, Judas became leader of the rebels on his father's death and won a series of victories over the Syrians in 166–164 BC. In 166 he purified the Temple of Jerusalem, an event celebrated at Hanukkah. On Antiochus's death in 164, the Seleucids offered the Jews freedom of worship, but Judas continued the war, hoping to gain political freedom. He was killed soon thereafter, but his brothers carried on the struggle. The history of the dynasty is told in the two books of Maccabees in the Apocrypha.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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