By Daniel R. Schwartz
2 Maccabees is a Jewish paintings composed through the 2d century BCE and preserved by way of the Church. Written in Hellenistic Greek and instructed from a Jewish-Hellenistic point of view, 2 Maccabees narrates and translates the ups and downs of occasions that came about in Jerusalem ahead of and through the Maccabean insurrection: institutionalized Hellenization and the basis of Jerusalem as a polis; the persecution of Jews via Antiochus Epiphanes, followed through well-known martyrdoms; and the uprising opposed to Seleucid rule via Judas Maccabaeus. 2 Maccabees is a crucial resource either for the occasions it describes and for the values and pursuits of the Judaism of the Hellenistic diaspora that it displays - that are frequently really varied from these represented by way of its competitor, 1 Maccabees.
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Additional info for 2 Maccabees (Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature)
6–7 were added to our book only after the appearance of Christianity, a suggestion required by his main thesis that Christian martyrdom derives from Roman precedents, not from Jewish ones. Indeed, most of Bowersock’s considerations pertain not to the date of these chapters, but, rather, to differences between them and the rest of the book; as we have seen, such considerations can point to the use of a source and not only to interpolation. His only consideration which, at first glance, might pertain to the dating of our book’s martyrologies is the fact that they do not at all mention the Temple, which suggests they were composed after its destruction in 70 CE.
40 Introduction frequently coupled with a naïve willingness to unswervingly follow 1 Maccabees, and that same year Julius Wellhausen published a detailed monograph reviewing each episode of our book and evaluating its historical worth. While his conclusions are mixed, they were so positive as to engender the striking difference between his formulations concerning our work in the 1904 and 1907 editions of his standard textbook on the period, quoted at the outset of this section, that moved the burden of proof from those who would believe 2 Maccabees to those who would doubt it.
26. But, as we see, our author shows no sign at all of believing that there were two separate campaigns;69 no attempt is made to coordinate the two narratives in any way. 70 This, in any case, seems to me to be the most reasonable explanation for the style. 72 However, it is nigh imposs- 69 70 71 72 An opinion shared by a few modern scholars, such as Mørkholm, Antiochus IV, 152–154. Against this view, see Bar-Kochva, JM, 275–276. Indeed, even if we hold there were two campaigns, as is usual on the basis of 1 Macc 4, 6, it still seems that we should resist the natural temptation to view 2 Macc 11 and 13, respectively, as accounts of each.