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Specter of the JewsEmperor Julian and the Rhetoric of Ethnicity in Syrian Antioch$
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Ari Finkelstein

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520298729

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520298729.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Creating and Maintaining Hellenic Places in Antioch

Creating and Maintaining Hellenic Places in Antioch

(p.115) 7 Creating and Maintaining Hellenic Places in Antioch
Specter of the Jews

Ari Finkelstein

University of California Press

chapter 7 explores how Julian clears the contaminating Christian contagion from the Antiochene landscape in order to facilitate Hellenic worship of the gods. The Christian cult of the martyrs and Christian daytime burial practices contaminated Hellenic worshippers who came into contact with the dead. To alleviate the growing threat, Julian employs a type of exegesis common in the city of Antioch that reads scripture in its historical context, employing grammatical acumen he learned in school to alter Christian perceptions of their martyrs. This is the only instance in which Jews are offered as a negative example for Hellenes. Julian also alludes to the recent Christian cult of the Maccabean martyrs changing the wording of Porphyry’s implied praise of the Maccabean martyrs for keeping their Jewish dietary laws to the words of the Apostolic Decree to remind Christians that these were Jews who died for their laws, laws that Peter insisted all Christians keep. By changing perceptions of the Christian cult of the martyrs, Julian redefined martyrdom as dying for one’s ancestral laws rather than belief in a “corpse.” His goal was to clear space for Hellenes to reach their temples in a state of purity and carry out efficacious sacrifice.

Keywords:   Edict Banning Daytime Funerals, Letter to Theodorus, Daphne, cult of the Maccabean martyrs, Isaiah 65:4, Eusebius of Caesarea, Porphyry of Tyre, martyrdom, pniktou

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