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This volume provides the first full commentary to Book 15 of Josephus' Judean Antiquities, with a new English translation. In Antiquities 15 Josephus offers an account of the Judean kingdom ruled by Herod the Great (37–4 BCE). The commentary interprets his narrative in detail and identifies historical considerations that arise in the course of such analysis. Interpretation of the text requires attention to manuscript variants, vocabulary, use of sources, parallel accounts, relevant archaeology, and Josephus' Jewish, Roman, and Greek historiographical contexts. The overall approach is narratological, concerned ultimately with the way in which Josephus tells his story.
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.