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Re: orion Hanukkah a civil holiday?

RGmyrken@aol.com wrote:
> dimension.  The problem is that the blurring of the distinction between
> religious and civil holidays allows imprecise thinking to creep in, e.g. the
> idea that Hanukkah, having a religious dimension, should appear in Qumran
> lists alongside the Biblical festivals.  I would be delighted if someone could
> suggest a more technically precise terminology that would convey a real sense
> of the distinctions involved.

3 Maccabees likewise ends with a festival instituted by a local
community to remember a deliverance from persecution (I don't recall its
mention in this thread although I could be wrong).  Perhaps we should
say that we have popular celebrations observed by local communities,
some of which become mainstream eventually alongside the older festivals
mandated by Torah.  The celebration in 3 Maccabees is clearly religious
in that it includes the establishment of a place for prayer in
conjunction with the festival, but it seems to involve only Egyptian
Judaism.  Hanukkah would thus be in origin a local festival realted to a
specific event observed by the segment of the community that it
initially affected.

David Suter

David W. Suter, Ph.D.
Professor of Religious Studies
Saint Martin's College, Lacey, WA 98503