Many modern scholars argue that the king may have been intervening in an internal civil war between the traditionalist Jews in the country and the Hellenized elite Jews in Jerusalem. These competed violently over who would be the High Priest, with traditionalists with Hebrew/Aramaic names like Onias overthrown by Hellenizers with Greek names like Jason and Menelaus. As the conflict escalated, Antiochus took the side of the Hellenizers by prohibiting the religious practices the traditionalists had rallied around. This may explain why the king, in a total departure from Seleucid practice in all other places and times, banned the traditional religion of a whole people.The Maccabean uprising itself began with a Jew killing a Jew. ("After Antiochus issued his decrees forbidding Jewish religious practice, a rural Jewish priest from Modiin, Mattathias the Hasmonean, sparked the revolt against the Seleucid Empire by refusing to worship the Greek gods. Mattathias slew a Hellenistic Jew who stepped forward to offer a sacrifice to an idol in Mattathias' place. He and his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judea.")
So what happened to the story of the oil and the miracle of the lights? Well, that's where the rabbis come in. In the rabbinic sources, we find virtual silence on the topic of Chanukah in the Mishnah. It is only in the Gemara (the later rabbinic material which, along with the Mishna makes up the Talmud) that we find the new story about the oil and the miracle of the lights. By the time of the development of the Talmud, around 200-500 C.E., the Jews were living under Roman rule in Israel and under Persian rule in Babylon. In these circumstances, celebrating stories about military rebellion might not be viewed in too positive a light by the authorities, and the sages also feared that some Jewish hotheads might stir up trouble and cause all kinds of problems for the Jewish community. So the Talmudic sages put a new spin on the established holiday: God wrought a great miracle for the people, enabling the few to triumph over the many, and God showed the people another miracle in the oil, when a flask of ritually pure oil sufficient for one day lasted for all eight days.3) Chanukkah as the Late Version of Sukkhot
When they took over the Temple and cleaned out all the remnants of the idolatrous Greek worship, they rededicated the Temple and then immediately held a late observance of the eight day festival of Sukkot, the most important festival of Temple times. The next year, to commemorate their victory and the rededication of the Temple, a "late Sukkot" was held again, thereby giving birth to our eight-day celebration of Chanukah - which means "dedication".And you want to guess what they called this new holiday?
As a result, they celebrated Sukkot late that year — in December, during the Hebrew month of Kislev. In fact, the book of Maccabees doesn't even call the festival Hanukkah. Instead, it refers to the celebration as Sukkot B'kislev — December Sukkot.4) Additional Chanukkah Trivia About Herod the Great
Yet what was most devastating about Hasmonean rule was its retreat from the principles of the Maccabean rebellion. It was the Hasmoneans who introduced into Jewish history the infamous policy of coercive conversion by compelling pagan residents of Galilee and of Idumea either to accept conversion to Judaism or to be killed. This forcible conversion policy, so notorious in later Jewish history, unfortunately was introduce by the Jews themselves.Then, along comes King Herod, but "since Herod's family had converted to Judaism under duress, his Jewishness had come into question by some elements of Judean society." And if you go on the Western Wall Tunnel Tour in Jerusalem, the tour guide will tell you that Herod rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem to try to prove his commitment to Judaism, but even after all his efforts the Temple Priests refused to recognize his Judaism and would not let him enter the Temple that he built.
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