National Geographic has a brief, pretty good, background article on Hanukkah: Hanukkah: How an ancient revolt sparked the Festival of Lights. When the days grow shorter and the nights get longer, people around the world celebrate Hanukkah. For eight days and nights, candles are lit, songs are sung, and dreidels are spun to remember a people’s revolt and holy miracle from more than 2,000 years ago (Amy Briggs). It could have mentioned that the Talmud was written many centuries after the events, which bears on the credibility of the story about the lamp that burned for eight days.
Last year's Hanukkah post is here. It links to past Hanukkah posts with additional historical background. For PaleoJudaica posts in the last year that relate to Hanukkah, see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
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