The Ancient Jew Review interviewed Dr. John Ma of Columbia University about inscriptions and civic identity in ancient Judaea, specifically in relation to the accounts of the Maccabees. Dr. Ma is the author of the recent book Statues and Cities: Honorific Portraits and Civic Identity in the Hellenistic World (Oxford Studies in Ancient Culture and Representation).
"Why look at the Maccabees with inscriptions? There are two reasons for this. One, this is material that illuminates the period--that provides not just context but explanation for what's going on. And two, this material is constantly being renewed by new discoveries."
Dr. John Ma with Part 1 of 2: What can inscriptions tell us about the Maccabees?
"The problem of the Maccabean revolt for those of us who do Seleucid history is whether this is religious persecution because Seleucid kings don't do religious persecution.
The interesting thing is that this then does get remembered as religious persecution and plays a very important part in the Maccabean myth."
Dr. John Ma with Part 2: was the Maccabean revolt evidence of religious persecution?