The flames of speculation
In the tractate Horayos (or Horayot, for those of you allergic to Ashkenazic pronunciation), page 11b, there is an extensive discussion, one among many in the Talmud, of the ingredients and fabrication of the oil used to anoint the high priests. R' Yehudah is quoted as saying: "A certain miracle occured [נס אחד נעשה] with regard to the anointing oil: there were only 12 login, yet from that oil was anointed the Tabernacle and its vessels, and Aaron and his sons, through all the seven days of priestly initiation."
Does that story remind you of any other miraculous oil? Could it be that the Hanukkah tale (in Shabbos 21b), which includes the similar phrase "יום אחד נעשה בו נס" (on a certain day a miracle occured), was itself based on the story on Horayos, so that the Rabbis could forge a connection between Hanukkah and other holidays of Temple dedication (e.g. Sukkos)?
This is unfounded speculation, but for the life of me I can't figure out why it's wrong.
Maybe, if I get my gumption up, I can ask Daniel Boyarin. That's right, he of Carnal Israel is speaking tomorrow at 3 pm in the City of All Sins, at the 6th St. Synagogue.
(Whoops, I suppose tomorrow is today already. Yes, he's speaking on Sunday: Hayom hayom hayom.)