Hanukkah may be one of the best-known Jewish holidays, but its status is anomalous if not marginal. The two books of Maccabees were excluded from the Hebrew Bible, and the holiday appears in the Talmud almost as an afterthought. The 1st-century Jewish historian Josephus describes Hanukkah, but says he does not know why it is called the “festival of lights.” Medieval rabbis questioned the exact nature of the Hanukkah miracle. Rabbi Hayyim Angel sorts through these difficulties and concludes with a provocative thesis about the holiday’s origins. (Audio, about 1 hour; talk starts at 14:15).
Read more on YU Torah: http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/800716/Rabbi_Hayyim_Angel/The_Books_of_the_Maccabees_&_Rabbinic_Thought:_Getting_to_the_Roots_of_Hanukkah