About This Text
Composed: Hellenistic Egypt, c.153 - c.133 BCE
The Book of Maccabees II is an apocryphal summary of a five-volume work that has not been preserved, likely composed in the 2nd century BCE and detailing events of that century that formed the basis of the Chanukah story. It focuses on accounts of hellenization, persecution of Jews under King Antiochus, and battles of Judah Maccabee. Unlike Maccabees I, it was composed in Greek and has a strong religious tone; it incorporates much supernatural intervention and emphasizes religious martyrdom with stories like that of the Jewish woman and her seven sons (II Maccabees 7). The work has no official status in Judaism, but it is often studied to enrich the understanding of Chanukah.