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Biblical Archaeology Review 47:4, Winter 2021

Epistles: Clip Art

Biblical Archaeology Review

Do you recognize this famous scene?

1. Joshua’s Triumph over the Amalekites
by Nicolas Poussin
2. David Slaying Goliath
by Peter Paul Rubens
3. Samson Captured by the Philistines
by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri
4. Leonidas at Thermopylae
by Jacques-Louis David
5. The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus
by Peter Paul Rubens

Answer: (5)

Painted by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus was commissioned around 1635 by Maximilien Vilain, Bishop of Tournai in Belgium. Originally displayed in Tournai Cathedral, the artwork was financed by local residents. In 1794 the painting was stolen by French troops occupying the country. Subsequently Napoleon sent the painting to Nantes, where it currently resides in the Musée d’Arts de Nantes.

Judas (who earned the name “the Hammer”) was the central leader in the Maccabean revolt against Seleucid rule—and their Hellenistic influence. He proved to be an exceptional general, his tenure culminating with the liberation and cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple in 164 B.C.E. While he did not live to see political freedom for his people, his younger brothers continued the fight against the Seleucids and gained Judean independence in 160, shortly after Judas’s death that same year.

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