JASON OF CYRENE (c. middle of second century B.C.E.), Jewish historian who wrote a work in five books on the Maccabean revolt. The work is not extant and is known only from II Maccabees, which claims to be an epitome of it (II Macc. 2:23). It opened with events in the days of Onias III and may have concluded with Judah Maccabee's victory over Nicanor or continued to a later period. From the literary character of the work, Jason was presumably a hellenized though pious Jew, who was anxious to propagate moral values and to glorify his people and God. It is difficult to assume that he was a Pharisee, and his identification with Jason, Judah Maccabee's emissary to Rome (I Macc. 8:17), is doubtful.
For further details about the work and its relation to II Maccabees, as well as for bibliography, see *Maccabees, Books of.