By: Michael Avi-Yonah; Shmuel Safrai; Ze’ev Safrai
Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ harsh decrees had the effect of accelerating Jewish resistance to Greek customs rather than the intended opposite. In his belief that the Jewish nation was ready for Hellenization, he forbade religious practice and dedicated the Jewish temple to a Greek deity. This and other acts of religious persecution led to the uprising in 167 BCE. The Seleucids had counted on Mattathias, son of John and a leader of the community to accept the king’s rulings.
Mattathias, however, refused and, seeing one of his own people offer a pagan sacrifice, he killed the blasphemer. Thus began the Jewish struggle for freedom that lasted for over two decades and ushered in the Hasmonean kingdom.
40 pp.; 23×30 cm (9×12 in.); full color; maps, illustrations, and photographs; paper
About the Authors
Michael Avi-Yonah (1904–74) was Professor of Archaeology and History of Art at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He wrote numerous books and papers, among them In the Time of Rome and Byzantium, A Historical Geography of the Holy Land from the Return to Zion until the Arab Conquest, and Gazetteer of Roman Palestine. He planned and constructed a model of Second Temple Jerusalem at 1:50 scale, now on display at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Shmuel Safrai (1919–2003), a founding member of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, was emeritus professor of Jewish History of the Mishnaic and Talmudic Period at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Safrai was the recipient of several literary prizes for his research, and wrote over 80 articles and 12 books.
Ze’ev Safrai is professor emeritus in the Martin Susz Department of Land of Israel Studies at Bar Ilan University in Israel. He has written and edited more than ten books, among them The Economy of Roman Palestine: The Missing Century, as well as dozens of articles.