by Eyal Poleg
- Historical context of the source
- Discussion of the source
- Questions for discussion
- Selected bibliography
- Further reading
- Useful web resources
1. Historical context of the source
At the back row of the crowd of Christian saints and Jewish role-models stands a mother and her seven sons. Known as the Seven Brothers, or the Maccabean Martyrs, they were venerated by Jews and Christians alike, their history indicative of parallel evolution, mutual influences, and animosity. The seven brothers are not to be confused with the Maccabees proper, the sons of Matthathias, who instigated and fought in the Maccabean Revolt (168-164 BC), and whose deeds are commemorated on the feast of Hanukkah and form the backbone of the two apocryphal books of Maccabees [See the contribution of Maria Diemling]. The seven brothers and their mother are rather the protagonists of a side story in the Second Book of Maccabees (ch. 7) that takes place prior to the Maccabean Revolt. In their resolution to keep the Jewish commandments, the brothers endured the torments of the Seleucid king Antiochus; encouraged by their mother, they suffered death, one after the other, until the youngest brother gave the tyrant an elaborate refutation which led to his subsequent death and to that of the mother. The story of persecution and defiance proved popular among Jewish communities at a time when the memory of the Maccabees themselves had all but faded away. While the Books of Maccabees never became part of the Jewish Bible, and the five brothers are omitted from the Mishna and Talmud, the mother (under the name of Miriam or Hannah) and her sons appear in key Jewish texts such as the Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Gittin, 57b; as well as Pesiqta Rabbati 43 and Eicha Raba 1). Detached from its original context, the story is set at an unspecified ‘time of persecution’ in front of an unnamed caesar. The narrative incorporates a variety of biblical allusions: its most elaborate form is a midrash on the Book of Lamentations, linking the tale to the destruction of the Jewish Temple; in all three sources the mother is ascribed the biblical verse ‘joyful mother of children’ (Ps 112/3:9), in a unique, and often disturbing, link between joy and sorrow. The wars of the Maccabees were re-embraced by Jewish authors in the High Middle Ages, in dialogue with Christian narratives, but the mother and her sons remained alive in Jewish memory, as demonstrated by this case-study.
Early Christian communities saw in the torments and enduring faith of the brothers the image of their own martyrs. The brothers were recognized as martyrs before the coming of Christ, and their story led to the inclusion of the Books of Maccabees in the Christian canon due to the ‘extreme and wonderful sufferings of certain martyrs, who, before Christ had come in the flesh, contended for the law of God even unto death, and endured most grievous and horrible evils’ (Augustine of Hippo, The City of God against the Pagans 18:36). Even when martyrdom became a remote memory in medieval Europe, the brothers were venerated as saints and martyrs, the only saints of the Old Testament. Their day became August first, with a liturgy that emphasized notions of persecution and brotherhood (e.g. Ps 33/4:18 and Ps 132/3:1-2); their relics were identified and venerated in Antioch, Constantinople, Rome, and Cologne. The reality of mediaeval Christendom, however, proved more receptive for other parts of the Books of Maccabees: it was the bellicose piety of the five brothers that came to serve as a role model for a growing Christian military elite. When the theory of sacred warfare was developed in tandem with the crusading movement, the Books of Maccabees proved the perfect biblical precedents for the link between army and church. In the summer of 1095, Pope Urban II urged Christian communities in Europe to take arms for the help of Christians in the Holy Land. Accounts of his call, which ushered in the First Crusade, give a prominent place to the Maccabean zeal in Urban’s plea to purge God’s Temple and his city from Muslim hands. Chronicles written during the Crusades, or in the Latin Kingdom established in their wake, time and again equated Maccabees with crusaders; the epithet on the grave of Baldwin I (First King of Jerusalem, d. 1118) even read ‘another Judas Maccabeus’. The most elaborate crusading narrative of the Books of Maccabees was written in Jerusalem, in the imposing Muslim structure of the Dome of the Rock, which was made into a Christian church and became the centre of a monastery known as the Lord’s Temple (Templum Domini). Geoffrey, the monastery’s first abbot, compiled a long poem in which he versified the two Books of Maccabees, drawing clear parallels between biblical history and life in the Kingdom. Part of the poem is dedicated to the story of the mother and her seven sons. It follows the biblical text closely, but its subtle modifications attest to the point of view of a leading clergyman in the Latin Kingdom.
At the same time that stories of the Maccabees were retold by crusading chroniclers and poets, a very different community evoked the mother and her seven sons. Crusading armies, en-route to the Holy Land, passed by the prosperous Jewish communities of the Rhineland. The massacres and mass-conversions that followed in the Spring and Summer of 1096 were commemorated by Jews and Christians alike. Crusading chroniclers at times disproved of the mass-murders committed by their peers; they nevertheless abhorred stories of mothers killing their own offsprings. Jewish authors likewise recalled these acts, but as sources of communal identity and in memory of the dead; they compiled complex narratives of persecution and suicide, which gave names and faces to the victims and engaged in a subtle dialogue between the living and the dead. These chronicles and Piyyutim, with tales that still disquiet the modern reader, have been analyzed and debated by modern historians. Breaking from a dichotomous view of Jewish-Christian relations, recent scholars have examined these texts as evidence for a complex inter-religious dialogue, and applied literary techniques in their analyses. Israel Yuval’s suggested link between the stories of infanticide and blood libels caused a heated response, and served to bring these narratives, and their Christian environment, to centre-stage. Rather than evidence for actual occurrences, modern historiography reads into them the moral values of the communities that compiled and employed them; as demonstrated by Ivan Marcus and Jeremy Cohen, these narratives, commemorating those who chose death over conversion, were compiled by the less-glorious survivors and their descendants, and aimed at adding sense to these horrendous events. Beyond oppression and resistance, they demonstrate how Jewish communities engaged with the notion of martyrdom, drawing on the very same sources as their Christian counterparts, but also, as demonstrated in the echoes of the mother and her seven children in the Chronicle of Shlomo bar Shimshon, creating a counter-narrative and engaging in a heated dialogue with their Christian persecutors.
2a1. Transcription of Source in Hebrew Original
Haverkamp, Eva. (2005) Hebräische Berichte über die Judenverfolgungen während des Ersten Kreuzzugs (Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Hebräische Texte aus dem mittelalterlichen Deutschland 1). Hannover: Verlag Hahnsche Buchhandlung.
מי ראה כזאת ומי שמע, מה שעשתה זאת הצדקת אשה החסידה מרת רחל הבחורה, בת ר’ יצחק בר אשר אשת ר’ יהודה. ותאמר אל חברותיה: ארבעה ילדים יש לי, גם עליהם אל תחוסו, פן יבאו הערילים הללו ויתפשום חיים ויהיו מקויימים בתעותם. גם בהם תקדשו שם האל הקדוש. ותבוא אחת מחברותיה ותקח את המאכלת לשחוט את בנה. ויהי כאשר (ראתה) אם הבנים את המאכלת, ותצעק צעקה גדולה ומרה והיתה מכה על פניה ועל החזה ואומרת: איה חסדיך יי? ותאמר האשה אל חברותיה במרת נפשה: אל תשחטו יצחק לפני אהרון אחיו, שלא יראה במיתת אחיו ויברח ממנו. ותקח האשה את הנער ותשחט אותו, והוא היה קטון ונעים מאוד. והאם היית פורסת בתי ידיים שלה לקבל דמם, וקיבלה בכנפיה הדם תמור מזרק דם. והנער אהרון, כשראה שנשחט אחיו, והיה צועק: אימי, אימי, אל תשחטיני, והלך לו ונחבא תחת תיבה אחת. והיו לה עדיין שתי בנות, בילא ומדרונא, נוות הבית, בתולות היפות, בנות ר’ יהודה בעלה. ולקחו הנערות המאכל וחידדוה שלא היה פגום, ופשטו צוארם וזבחה אותם ליי אלהי הצבאות, אשר ציונו בלי להמיר יראתו הטהורה ולהיות תמימים עמו כדכתיב: תמים תהיה עם יי אלהיך. וכשהשלימה הצדקת לזבוח שלשת בניה לפני יוצרם, אז הרימה קולה וקראה לבנה אהרון אהרון, איפה אתה? גם עליך לא אחוס ולא ארחם. ותמשכיהו ברגלו מתחת התיבה אשר נחבא שם ותזבחהו לפני אל רם ונישא. ותשימם בשתי בתי ידיה, ב’ מכאן וב’ מכאן אצל מעיה והיו מפרפרים אצלה, עד אשר תפשו אויבים את החדר וימצאוה יושבת ומקוננת עליהם. ויאמרו אליה: הראה לנו את הממון שיש בבתי ידים שלך. ויהי כאשר ראו הילדים והנם שחוטים, ויכוה ויהרגוה עליהן, ופרחה רוחה ונפשה השלימה. ועליה נאמר: אם על בניה רוטשה. והיא (מתה) על ארבעת בניה כאשר מתה הצדקת על שבעה בניה, ועליהם נאמר: אם הבנים שמחה.
2b1. English Translation of the Source
Who has seen and who has heard the like of the deeds of that righteous woman, the pious young Mistress Rachel, the daughter of R’ Isaac bar Asher, the wife of R’ Judah. She said to her companions: ‘I have four children. Do not pity them either, lest the uncircumcised come, catch them alive, and [the children] shall live in their error. Sanctify also through them the name of the holy God.’ And one of her companions came and took the knife to slay her son [Gn 22:10] and when the mother of the children [Ps 112/3:9, Genesis Raba et al.] saw the knife, she cried a great and bitter cry, and was beating her face and chest saying ‘where are Thy mercies, O Lord’ [Ps 88/9:50]. She asked her companions in her agonies: ‘do not slay Isaac before Aaron his brother, lest he shall witness his brother’s death and run from it.’ The woman took the lad and slew him, and he was young and very pleasant. And the mother opened her arms to receive their blood, and received the blood in the edges of her garment rather than in the blood-basins [cf Zc 9:15, 14:20]. The boy Aaron, when he saw his brother slain, was shouting ‘mummy, mummy, do not slay me’ and went and hid underneath a chest. She still had two daughters, Bella and Madrona, who tarrieth at home [Ps 67/8:13], the beautiful virgins, the daughters of R’ Judah her husband. And the girls took the knife and sharpened it so that it would not have any blemish, and extended their necks and she sacrificed them to the Lord of Hosts [eg 1 Sam 4:4], who commanded us not to revert from his pure dread and to be wholehearted with him, as it is written Thou shalt be wholehearted with the Lord thy God [Deut 18:13]. When the pious woman had finished sacrificing her three children before their maker, she raised her voice to call her son: ‘Aaron, Aaron, where are you? You too I shall not spare, nor have compassion’ [Jer 13:14]. She pulled him by the leg from the chest he was hiding underneath, and sacrificed him before the high and lofty God. She then put them on her lap underneath both her arms, two on one side and two on the other, and they were trembling until the enemies occupied the room and found her sitting and lamenting them. They asked her: ‘show us the wealth that is under your arms.’ And when they saw the massacred children they beat and killed her over them, and her spirit faded and her soul expired. Of her it is said the mother was dashed in pieces with her children [Hos 10:14]. And she [died] with her four children as the righteous woman died with her seven sons, and of them it is said joyful mother of children [Ps 112/3:9].
2a2. Transcription of Source in Latin Original (Poleg 2010, ll. 281-292, 318-357)
|Cum matre septem filii||in conspectu Antiochi|
|Cruciabantur variis||tormentorum supliciis,|
|Eo quod leges patrias||zelarent plusquam regias.|
|Iratus rex Antiochus||ollas cum sartaginibus|
|Succendi iussit subito||igne grandi subposito.|
|Qui primus loqui ausus est||lingua statim privatus est;|
|Videntibusque ceteris||abstracta cute capitis|
|Precisis quoque manibus||ac pedum summitatibus|
|Corpus iam trunco simile||rex torret in sartagine.|
|Nec contristata mater est||quod filius extinctus est,|
|Sed hortatur superstites||ut fieri participes|
|Optent fraterne glorie||qui iam potitur requie.|
|Ammiratur Antiochus||de sex defunctis fratribus,|
|Quod mori non timuerint||sed gratanter obierint;|
|Sese delusum estimat||et diligenter cogitat|
|Adolescenti quomodo||reservet vitam septimo.|
|Cum iuramento denique||cepit ei promittere|
|Beatum illum facere||si vellet adquiescere.|
|Etate quidem iunior||sed ceteris ferventior|
|Tam blandimenta regia||contempsit quam suplicia.|
|Tunc rex matri locutus est||eamque deprecatus est|
|Ut de salute filio||persuaderet unico.|
|Libenter ait genitrix||‘hoc facio quod suggeris’|
|Dehinc digressa paululum||alloquitur sic filium:|
|‘Non te seducant fili mi||verba regis Antiochi;|
|Festina, ne diutius||separeris a fratribus|
|Sed transi per martyrium||ad ipsorum consortium!|
|Tyrannus iste perdere||te potest solo corpore,|
|Sed animam occidere||non poterit aut ledere.|
|Nam ille formidandus est||qui in utroque potens est,|
|Qui vitam dat hominibus||in maternis visceribus;|
|Ego quidem te genui||vitam dare non potui;|
|In ventre meo quomodo||apparuisti nescio.|
|Age fiducialiter||et morere feliciter|
|Pro eo qui creavit te,||qui animam cum corpore|
|Resuscitare poterit||cum iudicare venerit!’|
|Ut verba matris filius||intellexit velocius|
|Prosiliit in medium||et dixit ad Antiochum:|
|‘Minas tuas non timeo!||promissiones respuo!|
|Fac et michi quam totius||hoc quod fecisti fratribus!’|
|Ut se delusum comperit||Antiochus infremuit|
|Et debacatur sevius||in isto quam in fratribus.|
|Stabat mater immobilis||orbata septem filiis|
|Et quos carne pepererat||non dolet quod amiserat.|
|Premisit gaudens ante se||quos metuebat perdere.|
|Si antequam occumberet,||illos mori non cerneret.|
|Secura iam de premio||spreto rege Antiocho|
|Post filiorum obitum||perpessa est martyrium.|
|Felix mater plus nimio||que reddidisti domino|
|Martyrii tripudio||quos genuisti seculo.|
|O quam vera fraternitas,||quam hostilis crudelitas|
|Nequivit in certamine||ab invicem divellere.|
2b2. English Translation of the Source
Seven sons with their mother were tormented in various ways before Antiochus, because they were more zealous to the laws of the fathers than to those of the king. Antiochus, enraged, ordered a great fire to be lit underneath pots and frying pans. The first who dared to speak was immediately deprived of his tongue. Seen by the others, after the skin of his head was dragged and his hands and feet were hacked off, the King roasted his mutilated body in the frying pan. The mother was not saddened by the killing of the son, but urged the others to share the glory of their brother, who now acquired rest. […]
Antiochus marveled at the six dead brothers, who did not fear death but went rejoicing to their end. He considered himself deceived and pondered diligently how on the seventh time he should hold on to the life of the youth. Eventually he took an oath, promising to make him blissful [both in terms of financial wealth, as well as beatified], if he would acquiesce. But he, younger but also more zealous than the others, scorned the royal charms as if they were torture. Then the king spoke and begged the mother to persuade her only son, out of care for his safety. The mother said gladly: ‘I [will] do as you suggest’. [Moving] a bit to the side she told her son thus: ‘my son, the words of King Antiochus should not lead you astray; hurry, lest you shall be separated from your brothers, but cross by martyrdom to their partnership. That tyrant can put only your body to death, but he will not be able to kill nor wound your soul. One should fear only him who has the power over both, he who gives life to men in the abdomen of mothers. I gave birth to you. I was not able to give you life, nor know how you appeared in my womb. Act in faith and die blessedly for him who created you, who will be able to resurrect soul and body when he will come to judge.’ When the son had understood his mother’s words, he leaped to the centre and told Antiochus: ‘I do not fear your threats! I spit on your promises! Do to me all you have done to my brothers!’ As Antiochus understood he had been deceived, he roared and raged savagely at him as at his brothers.
Bereaved of the seven sons, the mother stood motionless. She did not grieve but parted with those to whom she had given birth. Joyous, she sent ahead those she was afraid to lose. Had she met death earlier, she would have not seen them in death. Having scorned King Antiochus, secure in the reward, she endured martyrdom after the death of her sons. Blessed mother, what you have rendered to the Lord [is] by far the greater: the joy of the martyrs you had brought into this world. O such a true brotherhood, o such a hostile cruelty that was unable to tear away one from the other in the battle.
3. Discussion of the source
The death of mother and sons serves as the backbone of both accounts. The two authors draw on the same narrative of death and defiance to endow their own reality with meaning, creating a complex link between past and present; both sources subtly modify the biblical text to reveal the ideals of the communities that produced them. A close link between biblical past and crusading present underpins the entire structure of Geoffrey’s poem. While the plot enfolds like the biblical narrative, in which each brother professes his faith and receives his death in horrid tortures, a subtle warfare motif is foreign to the biblical story. The end of the section describes the confrontation between brothers and king as a battle, while the following section of the poem suggests that the blood of the martyrs enabled the success of the Maccabean Revolt. Such link between martyrdom and warfare concurs with crusading ideals. The notion of sacred warfare is revealed in a vocabulary often reserved for saints and martyrs. The link between biblical past and Christian present extends to the ideal of martyrdom, which permeates the narrative. Much like any other Christian martyr, the brothers and mother go willingly and joyously to their deaths. They defy the king in elaborate speeches and anticipate their future salvation. Death in the hands of an oppressor is seen as noble and desirable, the ideal and its fulfillment.
Geoffrey’s Christianization of the biblical story is most evident in the role the mother assumes. Overshadowed by her sons in the biblical narrative, as in the liturgy of the day, in the poem she is active, contemplative, and central. The key to understanding her role in the poem lies in its biblical and liturgical allusions. Describing the mother as Stabat mater or Felix mater (the mother stood | Blessed mother) constitutes a clear allusion to the Virgin Mary: the former is taken from the Passion narrative in the Gospel of John (20:11), later made into one of the most famous church hymns (Stabat mater dolorosa); the latter is a common Marian attribute in the liturgy. The combination of the two presents the mother as a prefiguration of Mary. Just as Mary stood by Christ in his Crucifixion, so did the mother stand by her sons in their torments; just as Mary ascended to heaven, so did the mother die in joy and hopes of salvation. The strong Marian undertone of the narrative concurs with the situation of its compilation: it was written in the church of the Templum Domini, which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary herself.
In the chronicle of Shlomo bar Shimshon, the mother also takes a prominent position. The comparison between Rachel and the mother of the seven brothers structures the entire story: in the beginning Rachel is described as ‘the mother of the sons’, the biblical term employed to describe the mother in other Jewish narratives, and at its end the link between the two stories is made by a direct quotation and comparison. The details of the event, the mother’s activities and her sons’ reactions, differ considerably from the Books of Maccabees, as from its Christian reading. Unlike the joy and anticipation experienced by the Christian martyrs, the readers are appalled by the narrative of massacres and infanticide, and are made to question the mother’s actions. The brothers no longer embrace death and actively confess their faith, but rather attempt to run away from it; it is not the king or his henchman that perform the killing, but rather the mother herself. The narrator’s shock at these occurrences and his unease with the solution found by the mother to the problem of forced-conversion is evident in the use of the biblical quotation. Attributing the verse ‘joyful mother of children’ to a mother who had just killed her own children, and died in the hands of the Crusaders, demonstrates a certain unease of the author with the events. This follows an earlier version of the tale, in Eicha Raba, in which the presence of this joyous attribute discords with a mother who had lost her mind after the death of her children and committed suicide. Although drawing on the same narratives, Jewish and Christian attitudes to martyrdom differ considerably.
The link between the Jewish and Christian narratives takes an important turn as we follow Cohen’s reading of Marian attributes in the story of Rachel (2004, pp. 120-7). Images of Mary as the Mother of Sorrows (Mater dolorosa), with Christ on her lap, or the personified church receiving Christ’s blood with a chalice, echo the author’s description of Rachel holding her dying children on her lap, or receiving her son’s blood in her garments, rather than in the sacrificial blood-basins. Her name itself renders the scene with an additional layer of meaning: in the New Testament Rachel witnesses (through the prophecy of Jeremiah) the massacre of the innocent children in Bethlehem (Mt 2:16-8), seen as a prefiguration of Mary by church exegetes. The centrality of Mary in both narratives might attest to a hidden controversy. In earlier Jewish and Christian sources, the mother is seen as admonishing Abraham, the biblical patriarch. She announces that he had sacrificed only one son (i.e. the sacrifice of Isaac, Genesis 22), and that only in theory; she, on the other hand, sacrificed all her seven sons, and in practice too. Such an argument is visible in the allusions to the Binding of Isaac in Shlomo bar Shimshon’s Chronicle, where Rachel’s son is called Isaac, and a direct biblical quotation is taken from the Book of Genesis. The intricate comparison between Rachel and Mary can be seen to fulfill a similar function, demonstrating the supremacy of the former through the ordeal she undertook to protect her faith. The details of the story, however, suggest that the Marian attributes were also employed in confrontation with a cult of martyrs, which runs through the length of Christian thought and dogma.
The two case studies were compiled a generation after the First Crusade, by authors for whom the events were an established reality. The link between Maccabees and crusaders was evident for Geoffrey, and serves as the basis for his links between martyrdom and warfare, and between Mary and the mother. Shlomo bar Shimshon, on the other side, still wrestled with the memory of the events. He employed the story of the mother and seven children, with its Christian undertones, in an attempt to make sense of a horrid story set in an environment which endows the term inter-religious dialogue with a new meaning.
4. Questions for discussion
- Both sources narrate episodes of hallowed deaths. Can you discern a difference between Jewish and Christian treatment of this topic?
- What emotional response does the Jewish chronicle evoke? And the Christian poem?
- Would you describe the Chronicle of Shlomo bar Shimshon as a martyrology?
- The phrase ‘happy mother of children’ is affixed to the mother in Shlomo bar Shimshon’s account. Can you think of the reasons for such attribution? What can we learn from it about the author’s understanding of the events?
- The day of commemorating the mother and seven sons in Judaism (the ninth of Av) and in Christianity (August first) often occur within a fortnight; the relics of the Maccabean martyrs were housed in Cologne, in close proximity to the Jewish communities massacred in the First Crusade. Do you think the two narratives engage in dialogue with one another? Can you detect mutual influences? Hidden polemics?
5. Selected bibliography
- Augustine of Hippo. (1957-1972) The City of God against the Pagans. Trans. William C. Greene. Cambridge MA:Harvard University.
- Cohen, Jeremy. (2004) Sanctifying the Name of God: Jewish Martyrs and Jewish Memories of the First Crusade (Jewish Culture and Contexts). Philadelphia: UPenn.
- Haverkamp, Eva. (2005) Hebräische Berichte über die Judenverfolgungen während des Ersten Kreuzzugs (Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Hebräische Texte aus dem mittelalterlichen Deutschland 1). Hannover: Verlag Hahnsche Buchhandlung.
- Poleg, Eyal. (2010) ‘On the Books of Maccabees: An Unpublished Poem by Geoffrey, Prior of the Templum Domini’, Crusades 9, pp. 13-56.
- Schatkin, Margaret. (1974) The Maccabean Martyrs’, Vigiliae Christiana 28, pp. 97-113.
6. Further Reading
The Jewish Chronicles of 1096 and their Context
- Boyarin, Daniel. (1999) Dying for God, Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism. Stanford: Stanford University.
- Chazan, Robert. (2000) ‘Christian and Jewish perceptions of 1096: a case study of Trier’,Jewish History 13:2, pp. 9-22.
- Chazan, Robert. (2004) ‘Latin and Hebrew crusade chronicles: some shared themes’, The Medieval Crusade. Ed. Susan J. Ridyard. Woodbridge: Boydell, pp. 15-32.
- Marcus, Ivan G. (1982) ‘From Politics to Martyrdom, Shifting Paradigms in the Hebrew Narratives of the 1096 Crusade Riots’, Prooftexts 2, pp. 40-52.
- Nirenberg, David. (2002) ‘The Rhineland Massacres of Jews in the First Crusade: Memories Medieval and Modern’, in Medieval Concepts of the Past: Ritual, Memory, Historiography. Ed. Gerd Althoff, Johannes Fried and Patrick J. Geary. Washington, D.C.: German Historical Institute., pp. 279-309.
- Signer, Michael A. and John van Engen (eds.) (2001). Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe (Notre Dame Conferences in Medieval Studies, 10). Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
- Kedar, Benjamin Z. (1998) ‘Crusade historians and the massacres of 1096’, Jewish History12:2, pp. 11-31.
- Yom Tov Assis et al. (eds.) (2000), Facing the Cross: The Persecutions of 1096 in History and Historiography (in Hebrew, English Summaries), Jerusalem: Magnes.
- Zion 58, 59 (1993, 1994, in Hebrew)
The Maccabees in Christianity
- Auffarth, Christoph. (2002) Irdische Wege und himmlischer Lohn: Kreuzzug, Jerusalem und Fegefeuer in religionswissenschaftlicher Perspektive (Veröffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts für Geschichte). Göttingen: Vandehoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 123-150.
- Dunbabin, Jean. (1985) ‘The Maccabees as an Exemplars in the 10th and 11th Centuries’, in:The Bible in the Medieval World: Essays in Memory of Beryl Smalley (Studies in Church History: Subsidia 4). Ed. Katherin Walsh and Diana Wood. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 31-41.
- Fischer, Mary. (2005) ;The Books of the Maccabees and the Teutonic Order’, Crusades 4, pp. 59-71.
- Vinson, Martha. (1994) ‘Gregory Nazianzen’s Homily 15 and the Genesis of the Christian Cult of the Maccabean Martyrs’, Byzantium 61:1, pp. 166-192.
- Morrison, Toni. (1987) Beloved, NY: Alfred Knopf (and many subsequent reprints).
7. Useful web resources
- A podcast on the Mother and Seven Children in Judaism
- Accompanying handout