I read that the Books of Maccabees have only been conveyed in Greek (LXX) through Christians. Have they - in spite of not being canonical - been conveyed in Hebrew, too?


According to the Jewish Virtual Library there are those of the opinion that the first book was originally in Hebrew but the second book wasn't.

It writes about the first book here:

The First Book of Maccabees (I Maccabees) is historical work extant in Greek, covering the period of 40 years from the accession of Antiochus Epiphanes (175 B.C.E.) to the death of Simeon the Hasmonean (135 B.C.E.). Its name in the Septuagint and in the writings of the Church Fathers (Eusebius and Clement) is Τα Μακκαβαïκά, i.e., “Maccabean matters” or “the Book of the Maccabees.” The original Hebrew name of the book is unknown. According to Origin it was “Sarbeth Sabaniel.” Different hypotheses have been suggested to explain these words, which should perhaps read: סֵפֶר בֵּית סָרְבָנֵי אֵל (Sefer Beit Sarevanei El), the words Sarevanei El (“who strive for God”) being a translation into contemporary (mishnaic) Hebrew of Jehoiarib, the name of the priestly order (see I Chron. 24:7; Neh. 12:6, 19) to which the Hasmonean family belonged. In support of this conjecture is the fact that in later times, after the glamor of the Hasmonean dynasty had become tarnished, the name Jehoiarib is found translated by the above word in its Aramaic form מסרבי (mesarevei; TJ, Ta’an. 4:8, 68d) though it is there used in a pejorative sense as “rebellious,” “fractious.”....The many expressions in the Greek version which occur only in biblical Hebrew (e.g., from the hands of the gentiles: mi-yad ha-goyim; and his heart was raised: va-yarom libbo; before his face: al panav; and the matter found favor in their eyes: va-yitav ha-davar be-eineihem) clearly confirm the testimony of the Church Fathers that the original language of the book was Hebrew. The style was biblical Hebrew (including use of the vav conversive), and particularly that of the historical books of the Bible. Like Joshua and Judges, it begins with the vav conversive, but reflects the style of Ezra and Nehemiah in including historical documents and similar testimony.

And it writes here about the second book:

The Second Book of Maccabees, known in Greek as Τά Μακκαβαïκά, that is, the narratives about (Judah called) the Maccabee. It was this title which gave the title to the other books of the Apocrypha bearing the same name. It is an abridgment of a larger work of five books written by a *Jason of Cyrene who is otherwise unknown (see 2:23–28). Traces of the original division may be preserved in the similar conclusions in several chapters (3:40; 7:42; 10:9; 13:26; 15:37–39). Unlike I Maccabees which was written in Hebrew, the original language of this book was Greek; and unlike the former, which begins with an account of the revolt of Mattathias and tells of the wars of his sons the Hasmoneans up to the days of John Hyrcanus, this book deals solely with the deeds of *Judah Maccabee, and only until his victory over Nicanor on 13 Adar II, 164 B.C.E.

Although if helpful there do exist translations into Hebrew. For example, you can find it on Sefaria here:

Book I

Book II

  • 2
    That's a translation to Hebrew from Greek IINM
    – Double AA
    Jul 20 '21 at 20:28
  • @DoubleAA It is. The original book I was lost and book II was not originally in Hebrew.
    – Harel13
    Jul 20 '21 at 20:45
  • The letters at the beginning of II were plausibly originally Hebrew/Aramaic.
    – magicker72
    Jul 21 '21 at 1:07

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