Foils or Heroes? On Martyrdom in First and Second Maccabees

By Daniel R. Schwartz

Association for Jewish Studies (AJS), Spring 2009

The author examines the treatment of martyrdom in 1 Maccabees in comparison to 2 Maccabees, in order to explore subsequent Jewish attitudes toward martyrdom. The two books tell the story from very different perspectives, the author explains, and this difference in ideology manifests in the portrayal of martyrdom. Martyrs are pivotal in 2 Maccabees, says the author, with martyrdom serving to appease God and atone for past sins. In 1 Maccabees, by contrast, martyrs serve only to highlight the evil of the invaders, and as foils for the real heroes, the Hasmoneans.

Topic: Literature, Judaic Studies, Jewish Text, Jewish Studies, Religion

Name of Publication: AJS Perspectives: The Magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies

Volume/Issue: Spring 2009

Page Number(s): 10-11

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Genre: Report

Language: English

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Schwartz, Daniel R. Foils or Heroes? On Martyrdom in First and Second Maccabees. AJS Perspectives: The Magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies. Association for Jewish Studies (AJS). Spring 2009: 10-11. http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=2672


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