Isidore Singer.

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[city], 362 [i.e., 1602], by Herr Conrad Waldkirch."
Despite the author's intention, some non-Jewish
stories found their way into this book. Stein-
schneider assumes that its compiler lived in western
Germany in the last third of the si.xteenth century.
A German translation of it was published by Chris-
toph Hellwig (Ilelvicus), together with notes that
are anti-Jewish in tone (Giessen, 1612). The "Ma-
'aseh Adonai " and the " Ma'asehbuch " (Wilmersdorf
and Rodelheim, 1752) from which Grunbaum pub-
lished extracts (" Chrestomathie, "pp. 385 et seq.), may
also be noted here. All the works belonging to this
class of literature are very similar in content, be-
ing compilations of an undigested series of anec-
dotes from various Jewish books, especially from
the Babylonian Talmud, the Midrash, Yalkut, the
Zohar, and such historical books as the " Yuhasin,"
"Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah," and "Shebet YY-hudah."
Each story begins with the words "Ma'aseh es ge-
schach " or "Ma'aseh es wor einmal" ("a ' ma'aseh '
happened," or "there was a 'ma'aseh ' once upon a
time "). The authors prefer to narrate instructive
stories or miracles of anonymous hasidim, and they
frequently tell tales of famous Jewish rabbis like
Maimonides and Luria, or of earlier ones like Joshua
ha-Levi and Akiba. Often the stories are noble
and lofty and sincere in their religious feeling, and
are told in simple, straightforward language. The
ma'aseh books contain highly valuable material for
the knowledge of the life and thought of the Jews
of the Middle Ages, hut as yet they have scarcely
been studied from this point of view. A detailed
bibliographical list of this literature is given by
Steinschneider in his Bodleian catalogue.

BiDLioGRAPHY : Steinschueider, Cat. Bndl. cols. 613-619: Griiii-
baum, J Udisch- Deutsche Chrestomathie, pp. 385 et seq.,
Lelpsic, 1883; Steinschneider, Hehr. Bibl. vi. 22, \'ii. 42 et
seq., viii. 13-17, ix. 58; idem, in Serapetim, xxvii. 1-12;
idem, in Gosche's Archiv flir Litteraturgench. ii. 1-21;
Wiener, History of Yiddi.'<h Literature wi the Nineteenth
Centura, pp. 2 et seq., 42, New York and London, 1899.

A. G. We.

MA'ASER. See Tithe.




MA<ASEBOT (nnK'yD = " tithes ") : Seventh
masseket of the Mishnah, Tosefta, and Palestinian
Gemara, in the Talmudic order of Zera'iin. It deals
with the tithes of agricultural produce due to the
Levites (Num. xviii. 21). In contradistinction to
the tithe called "ma'aser sheni," which the owner
must consume at Jerusalem (Deut. xiv. 2'iet8eq.),
and to the triennial poor man's tithe (Deut. xiv. 28
et seq., xxvi. 12 et seq.), called "ma'aser 'ani," the
tithe treated in this masseket is denominated " ma-
'aser Lewi" (the Levite's tithe) or "ma'aser rishon "
(first tithe ; see Ma'as. Sh. v. 6, 10). The latter name
was formerly applied to this treatise (see Joshua ha-
Levi, "Halikot '01am/' i. 1; Frankel, "Darke ha-
Mishnah," p. 257), which is so styled in the Erfurt
manuscript of Tosefta (ed. Zuckermandel). The
treatise is divided into five chapters (three in the To-
sefta), and its contents, briefly stated, are as follows:

Ch. i. : Whatever is edible, and is private prop-
erty, and grows in the ground is subject to tithe.
Plants that are edible while young as well as when
full grown are subject to tithe before maturity
(if any part of the crop is taken before maturity);
but of plants that are not properly eatable before
they reach a certain stage of ripeness one may eat,
without separating the tithes, until they develop.
The Mishnah then proceeds to designate the respect-
ive stages at which plants come under the general
head of edibles and are consequently subject to
tithe. As between picking for marketing and for
domestic consumption a distinction is made : in the
latter case one may use small quantities before
bringing the mass under shelter (comp. iii. 5).

Ch. ii.-iv. : Under what circumstances a Haber
may eat of the produce of an 'Am ha-Arez without
first separating the ma'aser. If a laborer, hired to
assist in gathering figs, stipulates with his employer
that he be allowed to eat of the fruit, he may eat
without regard to tithing; but if his stipulation
includes one of his dependents, or if he sends one of
his dependents instead, the latter will not be privi-
leged to partake of the fruit before the tithe is prop-
erly set aside. [The laborer is by law entitled to
eat of the produce he handles (see B. M. vii. 2 et
seq.), as a kind of charity; comp. B. M. 92a e< seq.'\
After the crop reaches the employer's enclosed
premises the laborer may eat thereof only if his em-
ployer has not promised to board him.

Ch. V. : Laws regarding cases in which one is re-
quired to pay tithes when he transplants vegetables;
laws regarding the sale of crops to one who is sus-
pected of non-observance; law regarding the paj'-
ing of tithes in the case of vegetable fields purchased
in Syria.

s. s. S. M.

MA'ASIYYOT. See Anecdotes.

MACCABiEAN, THE : Monthly magazine of
Jewish life and literature published in New York;
established Oct., 1901, as the outcome of a resolution
unanimously passed at a convention of the societies
affiliated with the Federation of American Zionists,
held at Philadelphia in the Jtine preceding.

Until June, 1902, "Tlie Marcabjean " was issued
l)artly in English and partly in Yiddish under the
editorship of Louis Lipsky. By a resolution of the
convention held in Boston iu June, 1902, the Yid-

dish department was dropped, and the editorial chair
has since been occupied by J. de Haas. In 190iJ
(Jan.) the publication was incorporated as a stock-
company, the Federation holding the majority of the
stock, and Prof. Richard Gottheil being appointed
president of the company. The present (1904) pres-
ident is G. H. Mayer; M. B. Laude, William Morris,
and J. H. Lieberman are respectively vice-president,
treasurer, and secretary.

G. S.

MACCABiEANS, THE: Association of English
Jewish professional men and others; founded in 1892;
its aim is social intercourse and cooperation among
its members with a view to the promotion of the
higher interests of the Jewish race. At first mem-
bership was not limited to any one class in the com-
munity, but shortly after the establishment of the
club admission was restricted to Jewish professional
men. The term " professional men " was, how-
ever, very widely interpreted, and subsequent legis-
lation has empowered the committee to elect in any
year ten Jews who have become prominent by rea-
son of their public services or their connection with
literature, science, or art. These specially elected
members must not number more than one in four of
the ordinary membership.

The establishment of the Maccabajans was pri-
marily due to Herman Cohen, with whom the idea
originated, and whose efforts were well supported
by several professional friends, including Solomon
J. Solomon, A.R.A. (first president); and Asher I.
Myers (treasurer). Herman Cohen himself became
first honorary secretary. The Maccabaeans hold fre-
quent meetings for the reading and discussion of
papers of Jewish interest. Not only do these meet-
ings offer a free platform on which all parties in the
community meet and discuss controversial topics of
general interest, but as a result of papers read before
the Maccabaeans the Jewish Lads' Brigade, the Jew-
ish Athletic Association, and the Education Aid
Society, among other movements, have been started.

J. A. M. H.

MACCABEES, THE (Greek, Ot UaKKa(ialoi) :
Name given to the Hasmonean family. Originally
the designation "Maccabeus" (Jerome, "Macha-
baeus ") was applied solely to Judas, the third S(m of
Mattathias the Hasmonean (I Mace. ii. 4, iii. 1, et pas-
sim), Mattathias' other sons having different sur-
names; but as Judas became the leader of the party
after his father's death, and as lie was also the most
heroic warrior, his surname was applied not only
to all the descendants of Mattathias, but even to
others who took part iu the revolutionary move-
ment under the leadership of the Hasmoneans.
Hence the title "Books of the Maccabees."

The etymology of the name, in spite of the efforts
of the .scholars, who have advanced various theories
on the subject, remains undetermined. According
to Jerome ("Prologus Galeatus "), the Finst Book of
the Maccabees was originally written in Hebrew.
Origen (in Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." bonk vi., last
fhiipter) even gives the Hebrew title, "il "It^' Dn"IK^
^K; thus the Greek and Latin forms of tlie name
must have been transliterations from the Hebrew.

But the original Hebrew text is lost; and there is




no mention of the name either in tlie Talmud or in
the Midrash, where the family is always referred to
as "the Hasmoneans." In later Hebrew writings
the name occurs in two forms, ^33D. transliterated
from the Latin, and 'aplO, according to the Greek
spelling. The latter form is generally explained as
meaning "the hammer," a surname given to Judas
on account of his heroism. Iken (" Symbolae Litte-
rariae," i. 184, Bremen, 1744) derives it from the Ara-
bic "mankab" (= "general"), while, according to
others, the name originated in the fact that Modin,
where Mattathias dwelt, was in the territory of Gad
(Reland, "Palastiua," p. 901), the banner of which
tribe bore the inscription 3pD, the final letters of
the names Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

'23)0 is, however, the preferred form; it occurs in
" Yosippon" (ch. xx.), and is explained by Gorionides
as meaning " the hero," though it is not known in
what way. Others explain it as composed of the
initials of niH' D''^Kn 1103 'O (Ex. xv. 11), written
on the banner of the Hasmoneans, or as the initials
of pnV }2 p3 in^nnO- But the statement that
it was the surname of Judas only is against these
interpretations. Curtiss ("The Name Macha-
bee," Leipsic, 1876) derives it from n33 = "to
extinguish"; thus '330 would mean "the extin-
guishsr," which agrees with the interpretation of
Gorionides. Finally, the following two opinions
may be added: (1) that the Hebrew read 'X3nO =
"he who hides himself," referring to the fact that
the Hasmoneans hid themselves in the mountains (I
Mace. ii. 28); (2) that of Filosseno Luzzatto that
it is a Greek word, an anagram of Bcacofiaxoc = " vio-
lent warrior." For the history of the Maccabees
see Hasmoneans; Judas Maccabeus ; Mattathias

Bibliography: a. Levi, In Mnsse, ii. 6; E. Levi, in Univers
Israelite, xlvi. 330 ; D. Oppenheim, in Ha-Ma^jgid, xvii., Nos.
.5, 6; P. Perreau, in Vessillo IsraeUtlcn, xxviii. 76, 113; Wet-
stein, in Ha-Magaid, xxiii.. No. 19 ; Zipser, in Ben Chananja,
lii. 497 et seq.; Winer, B. R. i. 631, s.v. Judas.
J. M. Sel.

MACCABEES, BOOKS OF : I. There are four
books which pass under this name — I, II, III, and
IV Maccabees. The first of these is the only one of
the four which can be regarded as a reliable histor-
ical source.

I Maccabees : The First Book of the Maccabees
covers the period of forty years from the accession
of Antiochus (175 B.C.) to the death of Simon the
Maccabee (135 b.c). Its contents are as follows:
Ch. i. 1-9 is a brief historical introduction; i. 10-ii.
70 treats of the rise of the Maccabeau revolt; iii.
1-ix. 22 is devoted to the Maccabean struggle under
Judas; ix. 23-xii. 53, to the fortunes of Israel under
Jonathan; xiii. 1-xvi. 24, to the administration of
Simon. The events are followed with intense inter-
est and sympathy. At times the enthusiasm of the
writer rises to a high pitch and breaks out into
poetry of a genuine Semitic character (comp. iii.
3-9). The style is simple, terse, restrained, and ob-
jective, modeled throughout on that of the historical
books of the Old Testament. The fact that just
proportions are observed in treating the different
parts of the narrative proves the author to have
been a writer of considerable skill. He dates all
events in terms of the Scleucid era.

It is clear from the Semitic idioms which occur

throughout the work that it was composed in a

Semitic language (see, for example, ii. 40, iv. 2), and

certain passages inilicate with great

Original clearness that the original languagi-

Language, was Hebrew (see ii. 39, iii. 19). To

this fact Origen and Jerome also bear

testimony, though it is possible that the version

or paraphrase known to them was Aramaic.

The Hebrew original seems not to liave borne
the name " Maccabees," though it is not known what
was its real designation. Eusebius ("Hist. Eccl."
vi. 25) quotes Origen as authority for the name
lap(3T/d la/javai EA, a name which has been explained
in many different ways. For some of these see Grimm
("Das Erste Buch der Makkabiier," p. xvii.). Dal-
man ("Grammar," p. 6), whom Torrey (Cheyne and
Black, "Encyc. Bibl.") follows, takes the name as a
corruption of 'KJOJJTI n'3 "IDD (="Book of the
Hasmoneans "). If this be the correct interpretation,
an Aramaic translation of the book must have been
made at an early time, and it was this translation
which was known to Origen and Jerome — a view
which does not seem improbable. Be this as it may,
the Hebrew was translated very early into Greek,
and the Greek only has survived. Tlie Greek ver-
sion seems to be a literal one, often preserving the
Semitic, and sometimes even the Hebrew, idiom ;
but it is clear, and probably it is, on the whole, a
satisfactory translation. It is transmitted in three
uncial manuscripts of the Septuagint — the Codex
Sinaiticus, the Codex Alexandrinus, and the Codex
Venetus — as well as in several cursives.

Concerning the author no information is obtain-
able beyond that which may be inferred from the
book itself. He was a devout and patriotic Jew
who lived and wrote in Palestine. This latter fact
is proved by his intimate an<l exact geographical
knowledge of the Holy Land (comp.

Author. iii. 24; vii. 19; ix. 2-4, 33, 34, 43; xii.
36-40; xiii. 22, 23; xvi. 5, 6) and by
his lack of accurate knowledge of any of the foreign
countries which he mentions. The author was also
a loyal admirer of the Hasmoneau family; he be-
lieved that to it Israel owed her deliverance and
existence. He admired not only the military deeds
of Judas (comp. v. 63), but also those of Jonathan
(comp. X. 15-21) and Simon (comp. xiv. 4-15). The
narrative is told not as though deliverance came by
miracle, but as though it was due to the military
genius of these men, exercised under the favoring
guidance of God (i. 64, iii. 8). Curiously enough
the word "God" does not appear in the work, nor
does the word "Lord." The idea is not lacking,
however, as in the Book of Esther, but is repre-
sented by " Heaven." or by the pronoun " He." The
author was a deeply religious man in spite of this
mannerism. He was very zealous for the Law and
for the national religious institutions (see i. 11, 15.
43; ii. 20-22; iii. 21), for the Scriptures (i. 56, iii.
48), and for the Temple (i. 21, 39; iii. 43).

It should be noted, also, that throughout the work
the priesthood is represented in a favorable light.
The renegade priests Jason and Menelaus are not
mentioned— a fact in striking contrast with the
treatment which the Second Book of the Maccabees




accords them. From these facts Geiger conjectured
that the author was a Sadducee, aud most recent
writers follow him in this opinion, although they
consider him wrong in calling the First Book of tlie
Maccabees a partizan document ; its temperate and
just tone certainlj^ redeems it from sucli a stricture.
The terminus a quo of the work is found in the
fact that John HyrcanusL, who be-
Date. gan to reign in 135 B.C., is mentioned
at the close of the book (xvi. 21-24).
As the Romans are throughout spoken of in terms
of respect and friendliness, it is clear that the ter-
minus ad quern must be sought at some time be-
fore the conquest of Jerusalem by Pompey in 63
B.C. As to whether the date can be more nearly de-
termined scholars are not agreed. The determining
fact is held by most to be the statement in xvi. 23,
24, that the "rest of the acts of John ... are
written in tlie chronicles of his high-priesthood."
It is thought by many that this impUes that John
had died and that a sufficient time had elapsed since
his death to permit the circulation of the chronicles.
Bissell (Lange's "Commentary," p. 479) thinks that
not more than a score or two of years had passed,
while Schilrer ("Hist, of the Jewish People," div.
ii., vol. iii., p. 8) and Fairweather (in "Cambridge
Bible" and Hastings, "Diet. Bible") think that not
more than a decade or two had elapsed, and date tiie
work in the first or second decade of the first century
B.C. Torrey, on the other hand, thinks ("Encyc.
Bibl.")that this reference to the chronicle of the
priesthood is an imitation of well-known passages
in the Books of King*, that it was intended solely
as a compliment to John, and that the work was
composed early in his reign (i.e., soon after 135 B.C.)
b)' one who had been an interested spectator of the
whole Maccabean movement. The vivid character
of the narrative and the fact that it closes so abruptly
after the death of Simon make this a very plausible

Those who maintain the later date of the work are
obliged to account for the vivid details which it
contains by supposing tliat the writer
Sources employed older sources, such as let-
and ters and memoranda. In Torrey 's

Integrity, view no such sources are needed, as
the autlior, where he did not have per-
sonal knowledge, could have talked with partici-
pants or eye-witnesses of the events. In either case
the First Book of the Maccabees is one of the best
sources known for the history of the Jews.

J. D. Michaelis held that Josephus used the He-
brew original of the book, whicli differed in some
important particulars from the present text. Desti-
non ("Die Quellen des Josephus," 1882) revived this
tlieory and endeavored to prove (pp. 80 et seq.) tliat
ch. xiv.-xvi. were not contained in tlie edition used
by Josephus. Destinon bases his argument on the
fact that Josephus treats this portion very scantily
in comparison with his treatment of the other ma-
terial of the book, although these chapters contain
quite as much and as interesting material. He
has been followed by Wellhausen (" I. J. G." pp. 222
etseq.). But Torrey (in "Encyc. Bibl."), by utilizing
the investigations of Mommsen, has shown tliat Jo-
sephus actually knew some of this material and in-

troduced it at a later point in his work ("Ant." xiv.

8, § 5), in describing the history of Hyrcanus II.

In all probability, therefore, the First Book of the

Maccabees has retained its original form.

Bibliography : Grimm, Da>^ Erstc Buch der Makkabder, in
Kurzgefasstes Exegetiaches Handhuch zu den Apokry-
plien, 1853; Wace, Ap<>crypha: Bissell, Apocrypha, in
Lange's Commentary, Fairweather aud Black, First Book of
Maccabees, in Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges;
Kautzsch, Apokryphen; Torrey, Schtveizer''s Hebrew
Text of I Maccabees, in Jour. Bib. Lit. xxii. 51-59.

II Maccabees : The Second Book of the Macca-
bees opens with two letters written by Jews resident
in Palestine to brethren dwelling in Egypt. The first
letter occupies ch. i. 1-lOa; the second, ch. i. 10b-
ii. 18. These letters, it is thought by some, formed
no part of the original work. The preface is found
in ch. ii. 19-82, aud states that Jason of Cyreue had
composed five books on the Maccabean revolt, which
the writer undertakes to epitomize for his readers.
Ch. iii. relates how the attempt of Heliodorus to
plunder the Temple was miraculously thwarted;
ch. iv. narrates the wickedness of the high priests
Jason and Menelaus, and of Simon, the Temple
overseer; ch. v., how Antiochus began the persecu-
tion of the Jews; ch. vi. and vii., the story of the
martyrdom of Eleazarand the seven young men and
their mother; while ch. viii.-xv. are occupied with
the history of the wars of Judas Maccabeus.

The time covered by this material is barely fifteen
years, from the very end of the reign of Seleucus

IV., whose servant was Heliodorus,

Historical to the victory of Judas over Nicanor

and (175-160 B.C.). The reason why the

Religious book terminates here is to be found in

Character, its aim, which was to set before the

Jews of the Diaspora the importance
of observing the two Maccabean feasts— the Feast
of the Dedication and the Feast of Nicanor. In no
other Avay, the writer believed, could they share in
the glory and the fruits of the great struggle for
liberty. The author is so intent on this that though
he has lauded Judas as a splendid example of relig-
ious patriotism he passes in silence over his death.
The writer further takes occasion often to impress
upon his readers the sacred character of the Temple
at Jerusalem, which the Diaspora might easily un-
dervalue. In contrast with I Maccabees, the lan-
guage of II Maccabees is highly religious. God ap-
pears as the great "Sovereign" who miraculously
delivers His people (see iii. 24 and, perhaps, ii. 21).
The autiior is a religious teacher (see iii. 1 etseq.,
iv. 15-17, V. 17-20, etfiL); he did not write for the
sake of the history as such. This places his work
in a very different class from that of I Maccabees.
In the earlier i)art he supplies .some welcome infor-
mation not contained in I Maccabees, and in nearly
every chapter are interesting facts— some of them
confirmed liy Josephus— which may, with caution,
be u.sed. But his puri^jse, style, and temperament
are such that, since the time of Ewald, it has been
recognized that the work is not a sober and re-
strauicd history like I Maccabees, but is rhetorical
and bombastic.

One important fact to be noted is the writer's be-
lief in the bmlily resurrection of the dead (see vii. 9,
11,14, 36; xiv. 16; and especially xii. 43-45). This,
together with his attitude toward the priesthood as




shown in his lifting the veil which I Maccabees had
drawn over Jason and Menelaus, led Bertholdt and
Geiger to regard the author as a Pharisee and the
work as a Pharisaic party document. This much,
at least, is true— the writer's sympathies were with
the Pharisees. The author claims that he epito-
mized the work of Jason of Cyrene (ii. 23), which
seems to have been his only source,

Sources. unless he himself prefixed the two let-
ters to his work. Jason is thought by
Schurer {I.e. p. 212) to have compiled his work
from hearsay shortly after 160 B.C. at Cyrene. If
this is true, the work of Jason, like II Maccabees,
concluded with the victory over Nicanor. There
can be no doubt that both the work of Jason and
that of his epitomizer {i.e., the author of II Macca-
bees) were written in Greek, and that the latter was
a Hellenistic Jew.

There is a reference in ch. xv. 37 to the Book of
Esther, which would preclude any earlier date of
authorship than about 130 B.C. (see Cornill, "Ein-
leitung," p. 252). On the other hand, II Maccabees
was known to the author of the Epistle to the He-
brews (see Peak, in "The Century Bible." p. 223)
and to Philo (see Schurer, I.e. p. 214). The work,
therefore, must have been composed about the be-
ginning of the common era.

The two letters prefixed to II Maccabees have ex-
cited much discussion. Some scholars regard them
as the basis of the author's work, which he himself
prefixed to it because they treat of the topics of
which he wished to speak — the Tem-
The pie at Jerusalem and the importance

Letters. of observing its feasts. Others hold
that the letters were placed in their
present position by a later hand, while some believe
them to be fabricated. There is in the letters noth-
ing which is inconsistent with their belonging to the
time from which they profess to come, and there
seems to be no good reason for doubting that it was
the epitomist himself who prefixed them to the
book. For details see the works mentioned below.

Bibliography : Grimm, Zweites, Drittes,uncl Viertes Bllcher
der Makkahaer, in Kurzgefasstes Exeuetisches Handbuch
zu den Ap<ikriiphe)i: W&ce, Apocrypha ; Kautzsch, Apo-
krtjphen; Bruston, Ti-nis Lettres des Juifs de Palestine, in
Stade's ZeUschi-ift, 1890, x.nOetseq.: torrey. Die Brief e
2 MakkahUer, i. l-ii. IS, lb. 1900, xx. 225 et seq. ; Herkenne,
Die Brief e zu Beuinn des Zweiten MakkabUcrbuches, 1904.

Ill Maccabees : The Third Book of the Macca-
bees has in reality nothing to do either with the

Online LibraryIsidore SingerThe Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) → online text (page 60 of 169)