Wednesday, December 12, 2007

MEGILLAT ANTIOCHUS, The Scroll of Antiochus, is noted as relevant to the season in an Arutz Sheva article:
The Unknown Megillah of Chanukah
by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple

The theme of the book is the Hasmonean victories.

Chanukah and Purim are often compared. But the differences are substantial. In particular, without Megillat Esther there would be no Purim, whilst Chanukah without its megillah is not only possible, but taken for granted.

Yet, there is actually a megillah for the festival. Known variously as Megillat Antiochus ("The Scroll of Antiochus"), Megillat Beit Chashmona'i(m) ("The Scroll of the House of the Hasmoneans") and Megillah Y'vanit ("The Greek Scroll"), it is a post-Biblical compilation in 76 verses, originally in Aramaic, in deliberate imitation of the style of the Scroll of Esther. Presumably, the authors hoped their work would achieve the status of Megillat Esther on Purim, but the dream was never realised, for reasons we shall explain.

The theme of the book is the Hasmonean victories, ending with the destruction of the Second Temple. It is more legend than objective history. ...
We first intended to include this text in the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project, but we couldn't find anyone willing to defend a pre-seventh-century date. Still, it's an interesting document that deserves more attention. A number of Geniza fragments were published in the 1970s and, as far as I know, there is no complete critical edition. There might be a good doctoral dissertation there.

(Via Joseph I. Lauer's list.)