This essay re-evaluates the characterization and function of Ptolemy IV Philopator in 3 Maccabees. God’s role as kingly foil to Ptolemy allows for the propagation and maintenance of Egyptian Jewish identity and cultural practice while acknowledging the earthly social order. I argue the author makes a deliberate choice not to offer a consistent earthly advocate within the narrative while emphasizing God’s direct intervention. This choice can be contextualized as a response to works such as 1 and 2 Maccabees and Greek Esther, which advocate the formation of a nation through military campaigns.
CollinsBetween Athens and Jerusalem124–129. See objections in Anderson ‘Three Maccabees’ 511; Gruen Heritage and Hellenism 225; J.M.G. Barclay Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora: From Alexander to Trajan (323 BCE–117 CE) (Edinburgh 1996) 203.
Anderson‘3 Maccabees’510. See also Hadas ed. Third and Fourth Books of the Maccabees 13–16. It has also been described as a historical novel but I find the definition to be similar to the one cited above by Anderson.