Sunday, August 16, 2015

Review of Honigman, Tales of High Priests and Taxes

Sylvie Honigman, Tales of High Priests and Taxes: The Books of the Maccabees and the Judean Rebellion against Antiochos IV. S. Mark Taper Foundation imprint in Jewish studies. Oakland: University of California Press, 2014. Pp. ix, 554. ISBN 9780520275584. $95.00.

Reviewed by Linda Zollschan (


Honigman presents a radical historical reconstruction of the causes of the Maccabaean revolt and a new reading of the First and Second Books of Maccabees. The book begins with a general introduction that provides an overview of the subject matter, the purpose of the authors of the First and Second Books of Maccabees and the problems with older research on the Maccabaean revolt, namely that of Bickerman and Tcherikover.1 She criticises their positivist reading of the sources, the framing of the relationship between the Jews in Judaea and the Seleucid empire in terms of a legalistic conception of institutions, and their views regarding the Hellenization of Jerusalem. She then outlines how she intends to proceed.

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