Sunday, April 30, 2017

Old Testament Block III: The Miracle of the Oil

This story was our final one for the Old Testament and initially I found it a little confusing to teach.

One of our resources said that the Jews were under the rule of the Syrians, but the other said that they were under the rule of the Greeks. One source said Judah of Maccabee, one said Judas of Maccabee. So I had to go looking. According to Wikipedia, it was the Seleucid Empire against which the Maccabees declared their indpendence. This empire formed after Alexander the Great died and his lands broke up; that would be chapter 29 of V.M. Hillyer's A Child's History of the World (1951), "A Boy King." Nowadays we would consider them as "Hellenistic," i.e. part of Ancient Greece, but their leaders referred to themselves as Kings of Syria. Ok, so both are correct. That clears up that.

The volume from the World Mythology Series -- these books are AWESOME and I strongly feel every homeschooling family and Waldorf teacher should acquire every single volume -- for Angels, Prophets, Rabbis and Kings: Stories of the Jewish People covers Hanukkah on pages 117-121 and helpfully explains that Antiochus was "the ruler of the Syrian Greeks." Nice! That's a good way of phrasing it. And this retelling gives you a very clear sense of who Antiochus was, and what keen ambition was driving him. "'I too will conquer the world like the great Alexander of Macedon,' he boasted."


Angels, Prophets, Rabbis and Kings:
Stories of the Jewish People

by Jose Patterson


The second question, Judah vs. Judas, took me back to Wikipedia and its Maccabees article. They are going with Judah. So is Angels, Prophets, Rabbis and Kings. I originally got the term "Judas Maccabeus" from the chapter in We Will Build a Temple by Jakob Streit, but he seems to be outnumbered.

So, all in all, we did two stories and I am reasonably happy with the interaction between the pair of them. The first gives a simple history of the holiday and the second better explains the tradition of lighting the menorah (although in an indirect way). Between the two, I think it worked out.


Tomorrow, before we add this story to our MLBs and finish the table of contents and front and back covers, we will spin the dreidel and play the game (with raisins) and do a watercolor painting of a menorah.

Some ideas from Pinterest:


By the way, there is a class play script for "The Maccabees" in Hawthorne Valley Harvest: A Collection of Plays for the Elementary Grades by William Ward. This is available free online as a PDF from the Online Waldorf Library!


I'd like to say one final thing about the Old Testament Stories. I recently had a woman write to me to say that she was concerned about this block for her daughter because she found the stories overall to be extremely patriarchal and she was looking for something more balanced. If you have this concern, consider using Daughters of Fire: Heroines of the Bible as your primary text. Unfortunately, this lovely book (illustrated by Uri Shulevitz) is out of print, but that does mean that used copies are available and are inexpensive. The author is Fran Manushkin. We also loved her book about the story of Moses: Miriam's Cup: A Passover Story. One final fantastic book featuring a Biblical heroine is, of course, Queen Esther the Morning Star by Mordecai Gerstein.


Daughters of the Fire: Heroines of the Bible

by Fran Manushkin



Miriam's Cup: A Passover Story

by Fran Manushkin



Queen Esther the Morning Star

by Mordecai Gerstein


Please feel free to post a comment with any other thoughts or book ideas.

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

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