The Present: The conferenceBut the conference also covered ancient history:
A friendship was renewed in the heat of early September between the Byzantine ruins at Mount Taygetos and Ancient Sparta.
“Sparta-Israel Conference: Renewing an Ancient Friendship” was attended by members of B’nai B’rith’s “Philon” lodge of Athens, B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem, the Municipality of Sparta and the Greek-Israeli Cooperation Institute. The main objectives of the September 4-6 conference were analyzing “historical and cultural aspects of the ancient friendship between the Spartan kings and the high priests of Israel” and “promoting future cooperation between Greece and Israel on development, tourism and cultural issues.”
The Past: The lettersThe correspondence in question is in 1 Maccabees 12, not 2 Maccabees. You can read it at the link. Really, how hard would it have been to check that and give a correct reference?
A far more ancient dispute arose during the conference – the letters from First and Second Maccabees, non-canonical Jewish books written in the Hasmonean period. This correspondence between Jews and Sparta was used as the inspiration for the conference in the hope of creating a narrative that can serve as a basis for future Israeli and Greek cooperation. However, the letters’ authenticity was and still is disputed.
I'm pretty sure the only reference to Sparta ("The Lacedaemonians") in 2 Maccabees is in 5:9, also mentioned in the article.
I don't have a view either way on the question of the authenticity of the letters. But at minimum the letters, even if they aren't authentic, show concern for Greek-Jewish relations in the Hellenistic period.
Cross-file under Old Testament Apocrypha Watch.
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