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Historical Fictions and Hellenistic Jewish IdentityThird Maccabees in Its Cultural Context$
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Sara Raup Johnson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520233072

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520233072.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Date, Literary Context, Authorship, and Audience

Date, Literary Context, Authorship, and Audience

(p.129) 4 Date, Literary Context, Authorship, and Audience
Historical Fictions and Hellenistic Jewish Identity

Sara Raup Johnson

University of California Press

The unusual historical distortions that abound in Jewish fictions are in no way random but are deliberately employed for rhetorical purposes. Third Maccabees has often been misunderstood. Because it recounts a persecution (albeit one miraculously averted at the last moment), it has been seen primarily as a confrontational text rejecting assimilation and interaction with gentiles. The principal subject of Third Maccabees is a persecution of the Jews of Alexandria that apparently took place under Ptolemy IV Philopator not long after the battle of Raphia in 217 bce However, it has long been recognized that the text as it stands cannot possibly have been composed before the end of the second century bce, nearly a century after the events it purports to describe. The terminus post quem is fixed by a clear allusion in Third Maccabees to the Greek translation of Daniel together with the additions now considered apocryphal.

Keywords:   Maccabees, gentiles, Raphia, quem, Philopator

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