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MacCARTHY, D. F.—M‘CARTHY, J.


commands executed, things had reached a crisis. The Jews prayed to the Lord for mercy, and two angels appeared from heaven, to the confusion of the royal troops, who were trampled down by the elephants. Ptolemy now vented his wrath upon his counsellors, liberated the Jews, and feasted them for seven days. They determined that these should be kept as festal days henceforth in commemoration of their deliverance. The provincial governors were enjoined to take the Jews under their protection, and leave was given to the latter to slay those of their kinsmen who had deserted the faith. They further celebrated their deliverance at Ptolemais, where they built a synagogue, and they reached their various abodes to find themselves not only reinstated in their possessions, but raised in the esteem of the Egyptians.

4 Maccabees differs essentially from the other books of this name. While it does not itself aim at being a history, it makes striking use of Jewish history for purposes of edification. It bears, moreover, a distinctly philosophical character, and takes the form of a “tractate” or discourse, addressed to Jews only,[1] upon “the supremacy of pious reason over the passions.”[2] The material is well arranged and systematically handled. In the prologue (i. 1–12) the writer explains the aim and scope of his work. Then follows the first main division (i. 13–iii. 18), in which he treats philosophically the proposition that reason is the mistress of the passions, inquiring what is meant by “reason” and what by “passion,” as well as how many kinds of passion there are, and whether reason rules them all. The conclusion reached is that with the exception of forgetfulness and ignorance all the affections are under the lordship of reason, or at all events of pious reason. To follow the dictates of pious reason in opposition to natural inclination is to have learned the secret of victory over the passions. In the second part of the book (iii. 19–xviii. 5) the writer goes on to prove his thesis from Jewish history, dwelling in particular upon the noble stand made against the tyranny of Antiochus IV. Epiphanes by the priest Eleazar, the seven brothers and their mother-all of whom chose torture and death rather than apostatize from the faith. Finally he appeals to his readers to emulate these acts of piety (xvii. 7–xviii. 24). In his gruesome descriptions of physical sufferings the author offends against good taste even more than the writer of 2 Macc., while both contrast very unfavourably in this respect with the sober reserve of the gospel narratives.

The book is written in a cultured, if somewhat rhetorical, Greek style, and is unmistakably coloured by the Stoic philosophy. The four cardinal virtues are represented as forms of wisdom, which again is inseparable from the Mosaic law. That the writer owes no slavish adherence to any philosophical system is plain from his independent treatment of- the affections. Although influenced by Hellenism, he is a loyal Jew, earnestly desirous that all who profess the same faith should adhere to it in spite of either Greek allurements or barbaric persecution. It is not to reason as such, but only to pious reason (i.e. to reason enlightened and controlled by the divine law), that he attributes lordship over the passions. While in his zeal for legalism he virtually adopts the standpoint of Pharisaism, he is at one with Jewish Hellenism in substituting belief in the soul's immortality for the doctrine of a bodily resurrection.

The name of the author is unknown. He was, however, clearly a Hellenistic Jew, probably resident in Alexandria or Asia Minor. In the early Church the work was commonly ascribed to Josephus and incorporated with his writings. But apart from the fact that it is found also in several MSS. of the Septuagint, the language and style of the book are incompatible with his authorship. So also is the circumstance that 2 Macc., which forms the basis of 4 Macc., was unknown to Josephus. Moreover, several unhistorical statements (such as, e.g. that Seleucus was succeeded by his son Antiochus Epiphanes, iv. 15) militate against the view that Josephus was the author. The date of composition cannot be definitely fixed. It is, however, safe to say that the book must have been written later than 2 Macc., and (in view of the acceptance it met with in the Christian Church) prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. Most likely it is a product of the Herodian period.

5 Maccabees. Writing in 1566 Sixtus Senensis mentions having seen at Lyons a manuscript of a so-called “Fifth Book of Maccabees” in the library of Santas Pagninus, which was soon afterwards destroyed by fire. It began with the words: “ After the murder of Simon, John his son became high priest in his stead.” Sixtus conjectures that it may have' been a Greek translation of the “ chronicles ” of John Hyrcanus, alluded to in 1 Macc. xvi. 24. He acknowledges that it is a history of Hyrcanus practically on the lines of Josephus, but concludes from its Hebraistic style that it was not from that writer’s pen. The probability, however, is that it was “simply a reproduction of Josephus, the style being changed perhaps for a purpose” (Schürer).

The Arabic “Book of Maccabees” contained in the Paris and London Polyglotts, and purporting to be a history of the Jews from the affair of Heliodorus (186 B.C.) to the close of Herod's reign, is historically worthless, being nothing but a compilation from 1 and 2 Macc. and Josephus. In the one chapter (xii.) where the writer ventures to detach himself from these works he commits glaring historical blunders. The book was written in somewhat Hebraistic Greek subsequent to A.D. 70. In Cotton's English translation of The Five Books of Maccabees it is this book that is reckoned the “Fifth.”

The best modern editions of the Greek text of the four books of Maccabees are those of O. F. Fritzsche (1871) and H. B. Swete (Cambridge Septuagint, vol. iii., 1894). C. J. Ball's The Variorum Apocrypha will be found specially useful by those who cannot conveniently consult the Greek. The best modern commentary is that of C. L. W. Grimm (1853–1857). C. F. Keil’s commentary on 1 and 2 Macc. is very largely indebted to Grimm. More recently there have appeared commentaries by E. C. Bissell on 1, 2 and 3 Macc. in Lange-Schaff’s commentary, 1880—the whole Apocrypha being embraced in one volume, an much of the material being transferred from Grimm; G. Rawlinson on 1 and 2 Macc. in the Speakers Commentary 1888 (containing much useful matter, but marred by too frequent inaccuracy); O. Zöckler, on 1, 2 and 3 Macc., 1891 (slight and unsatisfactory); W. Fairweather and J. S. Black on 1 Macc. in the Cambridge Bible for Schools (1897); E. Kautzsch on 1 and 3 Macc., A. Kamphausen on 2 Macc. and A. Deissmann on 4 Macc. in Die Apok. u. Pseudepigr. des Alt. Test., 1898 (a most serviceable work for the student of apocryphal literature). Brief but useful introductions to all the four books of Maccabees are given in E. Schürer’s Geschichte des Jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi (3rd ed., 1898–1901; Eng. tr. of earlier edition, 1886–1890).  (W. F.*) 


MACCARTHY, DENIS FLORENCE (1817–1882), Irish poet, was born in Dublin on the 26th of May 1817, and educated there and at Maynooth. His earlier verses appeared in The Dublin Satirist, and in 1843 he became a regular contributor of political verse to the recently founded Nation. He also took an active part in the Irish political associations. In 1846 he edited The Poets and Dramatists of Ireland and the Book of Irish Ballads. His collected Ballads, Poems and Lyrics (1850), including translations from nearly all the modern languages, took immensely with his countrymen on account of their patriotic ring. This was followed by The Bellfounder (1857), Under-glimpses and other poems (1857) and The Early Life of Shelley (1871). In 1853 he began a number of translations from the Spanish of Calderon's dramas, which won for him a medal from the Royal Spanish Academy. He had already been granted a civil list pension for his literary services. He died in Ireland on the 7th of April 1882.


M‘CARTHY, JUSTIN (1830–), Irish politician, historian and novelist, was born in Cork on the 22nd of November 1830, and was educated at a school in that town. He began his career as a journalist, at the age of eighteen, in Cork. From 1853 to 1859 he was in Liverpool, on the staff of the Northern Daily Times, during which period he married (in March 1855) Miss Charlotte Allman. In 1860 he removed to London, as parliamentary reporter. to the Morning Star, of which he became editor in 1864.

  1. Even if with Freudenthal we regard the work as a homily actually delivered to a Jewish congregation-and there are difficulties in the way of this theory, particularly the absence of a Biblical text—it was clearly intended for publication. It is essentially a book in the form of a discourse, whether it was ever orally delivered or not. So Deissmann in Kautzsch, Die Apok. u. Pseudepigr. des A. T. ii. 151.
  2. Hence the title sometimes given to it: αὐτοκράτορος λογισμοῦ (“On the supremacy of reason”). It is also styled Μακκαβαίων δ’, Μακκαβαἴκόν, εἰς τοὺς Μακκαβαίους.