In the early church 2 Maccabees was much less valued and therefore less read than 1 Maccabees. Augustine was the only church Father to claim for it canonical rank and even he in a controversy with the Donatists who quoted 2 Maccabees, replied that this book had never been received into the Canon. Since they formed an integral part of the Vulgate, 1 and 2 Maccabees were both recognized by the Council of Trent as belonging to the Romanist Canon.
Grimm, Kurz. exeg. Handbuch, etc., to which the commentaries by Keil (1 and 2 Maccabees) and Bissel (Lange) owe very much; Kautzsch, Die Apocrypha des AT; W. Fair-weather and J.S. Black, Cambridge Bible, "1 Maccabees," and Oesterley in the Oxford Apocrypha edited by R. H. Charles (1913). Of the dict. articles those in E B (Torrey) and H D B (Fairweather) are excellent. See also E. Montet, Essai sur les origines des saduceens et des pharisiens, 1885; Wibrich, Juden und Griechen vor der mak. Erhebung, 1875, 69-76; B. Niese, Kritik der beiden Makkabderbucher, 1900. For a very full bibliography see Schurer, GJ V4, III, 198, and his article "Apocrypha" in R E3, and in Sch-Herz.
Though there is substantial overlap between 1 and 2 Maccabees (that is, the central events related in both works are the same), nevertheless the story told in 2 Maccabees both commences and concludes earlier in time than the story told in 1 Maccabees. 2 Maccabees is neither a sequel to nor a continuation of I Maccabees (unlike I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, and I and II Chronicles). It is a second book about the Maccabees, having been written somewhat later than the First Book of Maccabees.
The books of 1 and 2 Maccabees are early Jewish writings detailing the history of the Jews in the first century BC. Both books are part of the canon of Scripture in the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Coptic, and Russian Orthodox churches, but they are not recognized as canon by Protestants and Jews. The books outline the history of the Maccabees, Jewish leaders who led a rebellion of the Jews against the Seleucid Dynasty from 175 BC to 134 BC. The first book portrays the effort by the Jews to regain their cultural and religious independence from Antiochus IV Epiphanes after his desecration of the Jewish temple. ()