author yonaton adler just published his book the origins of judaism: an archeological-historical reappraisal. the book used archeology and ancient texts to search as to the beginning of when torah based judaism was practiced. academia.edu in an interview, he made an interesting observation. mr. adler commented upon the hasmonean dynasty. this dynasty which is the subject of the chanukah holiday. it celebrates the hasmoneans’ defeat the greeks. after they establishing their government, the leaders minted currency.
minting currency is a propaganda opportunity for a governments. the united states’ currency has many political or historical figures placed on coins and bills. the money is educates and reminds the populace concerning some aspect of the country. bicentennial coins and quarters celebrating the fifty states are examples.
mr. adler, in an interview, pointed out that hasmonean coins that were unique. unlike other countries, at the time, which printed leaders faces, gods or animals, the hasmonean coins did not have images upon them of leaders. rather, they simply had the names of the individuals. thus, coins with hebrew inscriptions include names such as “yehochanan kohen gadol chever hayehudim” (yehochanan the high priest, council of the jews); yehochanan kohen gadol rosh chever hayehudim” (yehochanan the high priest, head of the council of the jews); “yehochanan kohen gadol rosh chever hayehudim” (yehochanan the high priest, head of the council of the jews); and “matityahu kohen gadol chever hayehudim” (matityahu the high priest, council of the jews) on them. wikipedia.org this practice may have been in line with their interpretation of the ten commandments and the prohibition against graven images.
mr. adler research suggests that the formalized practice of judaism widespread may have occurred post the jewish revolt which celebrated chanukah. the first book of macabees, which may have been written contemporaneously in time with the events, documents the driving force behind the rebellion. matathias, the priest, in sparking the revolt declare: ” let everyone who is zealous for the law and who stands by the covenant follow me!” macabees 1:2:17. was the law referred to the torah and ten commandments? was the covenant circumcision and the sabbath?
in sum, it is quite possible that archeology supports the practice of the ten commandments within the hasmonean dynasty. this information contributes to mr. adlers theory that tt chanukah may mark a watershed moment in the practice of judaism and the ten commandments.
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