The Books of the Maccabees are a series of books that are part of the biblical Apocrypha. They concerned with the Maccabees, the leaders of the Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid dynasty, or related subjects.

The term mostly refers to two deuterocanonical books contained in some canons of the Bible:

  • 1 Maccabees, originally written in Hebrew and surviving in a Greek translation, relates the history of the Maccabees from 175 BC until 134 BCE.
  • 2 Maccabees, a Greek abridgment of an earlier history in Hebrew, relating the history of the Maccabees down to 161 BCE, focusing on Judas Maccabaeus, talks about praying for the dead, offerings.

The term also commonly refers to two further works:

The term may also refer to:

  • 5 Maccabees, an Arab language history from 186 BCE to 6 BCE. The same title is also used for a Syriac version of 6th book of Josephus' Jewish War.[1][2]
  • 6 Maccabees, a Syriac poem which possibly shared a lost source with 4 Maccabees.[2]
  • 7 Maccabees, a Syriac work focusing on the speeches of the Maccabean Martyrs and their mother.[2]
  • 8 Maccabees, a brief account of the revolt drawing on Seleucid sources, preserved in the Chronicle of John Malalas (pp. 206-207 in Dindorf).[2][3]

The three books of Meqabyan from Ethiopia are similar in name but quite different in content.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 'Maccabees, Books of, 3-5.' International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (via Last accessed: 7 May 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 James R. Davila, 'The More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project.' U of St. Andrews. Last accessed: 7 May 2013.
  3. John Malalas. Chronographia. Edited by Ludwig A. Dindorf. Vol. 15 of Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae. Bonn: Weber, 1831.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Books of the Maccabees. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.
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