Chanukah scroll: Megillat Antiochus

While it isn’t widely known, there is a “Megillah” (scroll) for Chanukah. The history and authorship of Megillat Antiochus, the Scroll of Antiochus, are uncertain, which may account for it not having become part of the Canon or the Chanukah liturgy.

However, its account of the struggle against Greek oppression, and the miracle of the oil burning for eight days, closely parallels other historic accounts. There is an English translation of a Hebrew text which appears in the famed Siddur Otzar haTfilos, where the editor cites an old Italian prayer book printed in Salonica as his source. He notes that the Hebrew text is a translation from the original Aramaic text, which was lost until a 19th century scholar found a manuscript copy in the British Museum. The Scroll of Antiochus was read publicly in Italian synagogues during the 13th century, and it is read in some congregations to this day.

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