Today is the first night of Hanukkah, that minor historical commemoration that American Jews have transformed into a non-Christian Xmas, just to get into the holiday spirit. David Brooks, the muddle-headed conservative columnist I used to love to hate (I stopped reading him, so now I don’t care what he writes.) actually had a decent column about the history of the day – maybe his niche is really popular historical writing. Anything but present-day affairs.
Just a remembrance of a revolt of religious fanatics, Jewish ones (fundamentalists?) against those lovable, rational, cultured, Hellenizers who were ruling Judea at the time. Lots of Jew-honchos thought the way to go was to get with the Greco-civilization program, but Judas Maccabeus disagreed. He and his terrorist crew decided to kill off the collaborators and make things hot for the Greeks. Well, that’s my reading of it, and I tend to side with the moderates.
Miracles and God, and candles burning on despite the lack of oil, that was all embroidered on later.