The Maccabees were traditionalists at a time when many Jews were adopting a Hellenized lifestyle. [Seth Schwartz] said it wasn't their response to assimilation that was unprecedented, but instead it was the "extreme and unprecedented" proclamation by Antiochus IV, ruler of the Syrian Greek empire, which outlawed Jewish ritual and forced Jews to practice a Pagan religion, that flew in the face of historical practice."I assure you that the Tanach, and Jewish tradition, has no problem with warfare," replied [Shmuel Jablon]. "Remember, we have mitzvot like self-defense, conquering and building Eretz Yisrael, destroying Amalek, etc.""There simply isn't enough evidence from this time - circa 165 BCE - to say conclusively what the Maccabees really were," he said. "It's possible they were fundamentalists. It's also possible that Judea was so devastated by the desecration of the Temple by the Assyrian Greeks that people were compelled to revolt. After all, their entire society was centered on Temple worship."