This volume deals with the presentation of the so-called Maccabean martyrs and the elder Razis in 2 and 4 Maccabees, discussing the religious, the political as well as the philosophical aspects of noble death in these writings. It argues that the theme of martyrdom is a very important part of the self-image of the Jews as presented by the authors of both works. Eleazar, the anonymous mother with her seven sons and Razis should, therefore, be considered heroes of the Jewish people.
The first part of the book discusses the sources and the second part deals with the descriptions of noble death. This section of the book also offers extensive discussions of related non-Jewish traditions which highlight the political-patriotic dimension of noble death as described in 2 and 4 Maccabees.
Jan Willem van Henten, Ph.D., (1986) in Theology, Leiden University, is Professor of New Testament, Early Christian, and Hellenistic Jewish Literature at the University of Amsterdam.
This is a most valuable contribution to Judaeo-Greek studies.' William Horbury,
bulletin of Judaeo-Greek Studies, 1998/1999. '
...a careful piece of historical and lieterary scholarship...a welcome contribution to understanding the cultural dynamics of Judaism in the Greco-Roman world.' John W. Wright,
The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 1999. '
...this is an impressive study, full of valuable detail and well-supported argument, and a landmark in Maccabean studies.' J.R. Bartlett. '
… a highly rewarding book, and an important contribution to the study of the Maccabean period and of Judeo-Greek literature.' Gideon Bohak,
Journal of Jewish Studies.
All those interested in the historiography and self-definition of the Jewish people in the Second Temple period, as well as ancient historians and theologians.