Antecedents to Hanukkah in the Biblical dedications of the Desert Tabernacle (“Mishkan”) and the Solomonic First Temple in Jerusalem. The story of Hanukkah according to “The Books of the Maccabees” and the writings of Josephus.
With Hanukkah not mentioned in the Bible, the series begins with a brief survey of Scriptural antecedents to the holiday and its historical context in Second Temple Times. This leads to a summary of the Books of the Maccabees, the leaders of the Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid Empire (312–64 BCE) that were preserved in Christian sources. We continue with a survey of Hanukkah in Rabbinic Literature, focusing on the Torah Readings and Haftarot for Hanukkah as reflected in Liturgy and Midrash. We conclude with a look at the medieval Jewish retellings of the story of the Maccabees and a more recent “Sicha” (discourse) in the Chabad tradition based on a Rabbinic Hanukkah midrash.