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Re: orion Code-words and Hanukkah

   I heard that the use of the "miracle" was an attempt to down play the
role of the Hasmonians, due to their later Hellenization. Due to such
the early Rabbinic authorities may have disliked the Maccabean position in
Hanukkah, and concentrated upon the resanctification of the Temple and the
revitalization of Judaism. How true this is is hard to say.  
   The earliest mention of Hanukkah I can think of is in the NT, where
Jesus turned the tables over in the Temple. This was said to have been
the "Day of the rededication of the Temple" and has been interprited by
some to have been Hanukkah. The role of Hanukkah can be seen also in the
development of the appearence of the mennorah within Jewish iconography
as a symbol of Jewish nationalism, independance and identity. The use of
the mennorah in the iconography does steadily increase upon coins, walls
and so on into the Roman Period and later.
   Plus again we are placing a much higher meaning upon a day that was at
best a minor celebration that developed into a much more important
celebration due to its competition with Christmas. The development of
Christianity had a greater impact upon the development of Hanukkah, than
early Rabbinic Judaism. I also believe even the most religious of the
Jewish faith will agree with me on this point. Hanukkah was a very minor
celebration at first, if at all. 


On Sun, 16 Nov 1997, Judith Romney Wegner wrote:

> >
> >2) Re Hanukkah. Since Maccabees does not mention the miracle of the
> >menorah, is it possible sectarians recognized the Hasmonean victory as a
> >day of celebration while rejecting the "Pharisaic" injunction to light the
> >candles in recognition of the menorah?
> Since the miracle of the oil isn't  mentioned in any literature until
> centuries later (not in the Mishnah nor in the Yerushalmi, first mentioned
> in Babylonian Talmud!  nor is there a tractate on Hanukkah to correspond
> with tractate Megillah for Purim!),  most modern scholars have concluded
> (in my view, correctly) that no such ritual was officially instituted at or
> even close to the time of the historical events nor is it attested for
> centuries thereafter.   Yes, I know that some people get very upset upon
> hearing this, but in the interests of intellectual honesty these facts and
> their implications need to be confronted.
> Judith Romney Wegner
> jrw@brown.edu