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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: 23 July 2021

Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.217) Conclusion
Source:
Historical Fictions and Hellenistic Jewish Identity
Author(s):

Sara Raup Johnson

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520233072.003.0006

This learning set out to understand the seemingly paradoxical juxtaposition of history and fiction, combining historical verisimilitude with a remarkable disregard for historical accuracy, characteristic of a wide variety of Jewish Hellenistic texts. The Third Maccabees, a late Hellenistic text often seen as confrontational, was not designed to nurture the Jews of Alexandria to separate themselves from their fundamentally hostile surroundings, for all its awareness that confrontation could occur. On the contrary, through the fictional story of a persecution happily averted, it sought to construct a model of identity allowing the preservation of traditional Jewish piety while at the same time making possible Jewish involvement in the wider Greek world. Historical accuracy is appealed so far as it supports the didactic purpose of the story, but the author does not hesitate to alter the facts if it serves his purpose, or to forge documents in whatever style will best favor the illusion of authenticity.

Keywords:   history, fiction, Jews, authencity, Greek world

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