First Maccabees and Afghanistan????

This is a question. Consider the first few chapters of First Maccabees and and tell me if you think that they have anything to say about our adventures in Afghanistan. What do you think? All other things aside, do you think the tribal leaders and Taliban in Afghanistan have anything in common with the Maccabeans? Do we have anything in common with the Seleucid army presence? The first thing I would object to is comparing the Taliban or Opium war lords to righteous Jews desiring to follow the laws of the only true God, and I would be unhappy being compared to the arrogant, pagan and cruelly violent Hellenists. How about bracketing all of that? Then what? What might the Maccabeans teach us about America and Afghanistan?

4 thoughts on “First Maccabees and Afghanistan????”

  1. SS and Allan,I'm thinking with you. I was struck by the ferocity of the Maccabean rebellion, their willingness to succeed or die at any cost in the name of their tribal identity, religion and cultural values. And I wondered; are the Afghans in a similar place? If so, what does that tell us about our own policies, strategies and tactics? I imagine that there are people wondering the same thing at the various war colleges. CP

  2. You have raised an intriguing topic: the Jewish rebels of the Maccabaean time were, indeed, very much like the Taliban. They seemed (to themselves) to be in rebellion against religious persecution from a hateful and idolatrous Greek tyrant, King Antiochus IV of Syria. Actually they were fighting against the secular Humanism of Hellenism: the naked males in the gymnasia, the half-naked statues in the pagan temples, the scepticism if the Greek philosophy schools, the blatant hedonism of the Greek banquets, with the guests lying down at the table, sometimes with men and women (!) lying side by side together! The modern Taliban fought against the Soviet secularists (armed and suppoeted by the American CIA!), and now against the American, Canadian, and European secularists (with women soldiers alongside males! Horror, horror!) To them, they are fighting for God and Country, like the Hasmonaeans who purified their Temple at Jerusalem, finally, from the pollution of the idolaters, at the first Hannukah! Long after the Vietnam War, Viet Cong General Giap was interviewed, and said, \”We just kept fighting, and losing our lives, waiting until you Americans got tired of losing your lives, and quit.\” The Maccabees fought the Gentiles, and finally won. To the Greeks, it probably seemed like the historian of the Roman Empire, Gibbon, said of his work, \”I have described the triumph of barbarism and superstition\”. In the long run, of course, when the Jews rebelled against the Roman occupation, as they had against the Greek-Syrian one two centuries before, the outcome was different.

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