This week is a brief overview of the Books of the Maccabees, which are included in the Apocrypha.
Originally there were 5 books of the Maccabees. The first was a history of the war of independence (approximately B.C. 175) that was a series of patriotic struggles against Antiochus Epiphanes. This war ended about B.C. 135. This book became part of the Vulgate Version of the Bible, so was retained among the Apocrypha.
The second book is a history of the Maccabees' struggle from B.C. 176 to B.C. 161. Its purpose was to both encourage and admonish the Jews to be faithful to the religion of their fathers.
The third book doesn't have a place in the Apocrypha, but is read in the Greek Church. Its purpose was to comfort the Alexandrian Jews in their persecution.
The fourth book was found in the Library of Lyons, but then later burned.
The fifth book contains a history of the Jews from B.C. 184 to B.C. 86. It was written by a Jew after the destruction of Jerusalem. It is made up of ancient memoirs.
None of these books has any divine authority.
Next week we'll take a brief look at the Book of Baruch. See you then!