1.1 The text refers to itself as verbal entity (with implied or explicit boundaries).
1.1.1 The text refers to itself using a genre term, speech act term, verb or other term implying verbal constitution: the bulk of the text of 2 Maccabees, from 2:19 to the final verse 15:39, explicitly describes itself as an "epitome", a summary or abridgement of a writing originally composed in five books by Jason of Cyrene. Thus at 2:23 the governing voice declares its intention to attempt to "summarize" or "abridge", Greek epitemein, into one "volume" (syntagma; see also the very end of the text, 15:38, 39, where the governing voice describes this text as syntaxis) matters which had been expounded by Jason in five "books" (dia pente biblion). The governing voice further announces its intention to "follow the hupogrammata of the epitome" (2:28): this statement is made in the course of what may been seen as a theoretical discussion of "epitome", and the procedures it involves (2:26-32): the Greek word hupogramma in this context seems to have the sense of "model" "rule", or "template". The term "epitome" features again at verse 26; and a related verb, suntemnein, is found elsewhere, for example at 10:10, where the governing voice addresses the reader directly to indicate that what follows is a "summary" or "abridgement". At the same time, the governing voice twice refers to what is produced in this "epitome" as a "story", Greek historia (2:32), the same term that had been used earlier (2:30) to describe the work of the original author Jason of Cyrene. This same word is also used at 2:24, in all probability with reference to Jason's original writing. The term diegesis, "narrative, discourse", can also be used by the governing voice to define the text for which it is responsible: at 2:32, that voice announces: "Therefore from this point on we shall begin the narrative (arxometha tes diegeseos)". The governing voice uses this same word at 6:17, addressing the reader directly with reference to the narrative of Eleazar's martyrdom, which follows at once upon this verse. At the same time, in the same direct address to the reader, the governing voice speaks of the text as "this book" (6:12, "I beg those who read this book, teide tei biblio").
Immediately preceding this "epitome", "historia", "diegesis", "biblion", are two texts whose verbal constitution indicates that they are letters. The first of these, 1:1-9, opens with well known onventional formulae associated with letter writing such that (a) the addressees of the letter are identified (1:1, "To the brothers, the Jews who are throughout Egypt"); (b) conventional words of greeting are employed and conveyed to the addressees (1:1, "Greetings...good peace", "chairein...eirenen agathen"); and (c) the senders are named (1:1, "the brothers, the Jews who are in Jerusalem and those in the country of Judaea"). This text is dated to the 188th year (1:9), and also contains a reference to an earlier letter sent by the same Jews to the same addressees, in the words "we have written to you in the 169th year" (1:7), a staterment which indirectly confirms that the text 2 Maccabees 1:1-9 is indeed a letter. A second, much longer letter follows at 1:10-2:18. This also opens with conventional forms, such that (a) the senders are identified (1:10, "Those who are in Jerusalem and Judaea, and the Gerousia, and Judas"); (b) the addressees are named (1:10, "to Aristobulos, the teacher of Ptolemy...and to the Jews in Egypt"; and (c) the adressees are greeted in conventional manner (1:10, "greeting and health", chairein kai hugiainein). At 2:16, the governing voice of the text declares "we wrote to you". The purpose of the two letters is the same: the Jews in the homeland urge the Jews in Egypt to observe 25th Kislev as a festival day in honour of the Temple's purification.
1.1.3 The text uses expressions for characterizing itself as a bounded entity. (PROMPT: "all", "beginning", "some" referring to subject-matter in relation to text): the bulk of the text, the "epitome" (2:19-15:39), is explicitly opened by the governing voice at 2:32 with the words: "we shall begin the narrative" (arxometha tes diegeseos). The governing voice concludes the epitome's text at 15:39 with the words: "And here shall be the conclusion" (entautha de estai he teleute), having signalled the intention of doing so at 15:37, "I shall cease my discourse", (ton logon katapauso).
1.1.4 The text introduces the governing voice, thereby indirectly marking its own boundedness: The bulk of the text, the "epitome" of 2 Maccabees 2:19-15:39, opens with a statement by the governing voice, which speaks in the first person plural giving an account of topics which "we" shall abridge (2:23). This governing voice continues to speak to the reader directly, using the first person plural (2:25, 26 , 27, 29) until 2:32, when it announces: "we shall begin the narrative". The first letter which precedes the "epitome" (1:1-9) introduces its governing voice as: "The brothers, the Jews who are in Jerusalem and those in the country of Judaea" (1:1). The second letter preceding the "epitome" (1:10-2:18) introduces its governing voice as: "Those who are in Jerusalem and those who are in Judaea and the Gerousia and Judas".
1.1.5 Important text witnesses attest to a heading which is not integrated with the body of the text or with any introductory frame, implying one or more of the kinds of information under 1.1.1–4. Great uncials A and V of LXX have the heading "The second (book) of Maccabees"; while at the end of the text A* and V* have, respectively, "Epistle of acts of Judah the Maccabee", and "abridgment (=epitome) of acts of Judah the Maccabee". Eusebius, Pr. Evang. VIII.9.38 refers to this text as the second book of Maccabees,as does Jerome, Prologus Galeatus to the books of Samuel.
1.7 The text’s Inventory profile should be seen in the light of the following further information on completeness, thematic progression, aesthetic effects, etc.: The text known from antiquity as the Second Book of Maccabees opens with two letters (1:1-9; 1:10-2:18), both designed to urge Jews resident in Egypt to observe 25th Kislev as an annual festival celebrating the purification of the Jerusalem Temple following its desecration at the hands of Antiochus IV and his supporters. The bulk of the text consists of the remainder of 2 Maccabees, which follows at once upon these letters (2:19-15:39). It consists of a prose narrative explicitly described as an "epitome" (abdrigement) of five books by one Jason of Cyrene (see 2:19-32). Nothing is known of Jason's writings beyond what is preserved in this "epitome"; and attempts to reconstruct elements of Jason's original text from the "epitome", however plausible, must ultimately be judged speculative. Following the two letters immediately, as it does, the "epitome" appears to provide justification for the observance of 25th Kislev in the form of historical evidence, evidence which, at crucial points in the narrative, is supplied with clearly articulated moral and theological interpretation. Such interpretation is evident both in the overall structure of the "epitome", and in its several episodes. Beginning with a description of Jerusalem in peace and prosperity under the pious rulership of the Torah-observant high priest Onias III, the "epitome" narrates how the greed and ambition of malicious individuals brings sin upon the Jewish people; the noble Onias is first deposed, then murdered; he is replaced with venal, self-serving innovators; the arrogant Seleucid monarch Antiochus IV meddles directly in the affairs of the Jewish people; and the judgment of God falls upon Jerusalem and Judea. The Temple is desecrated; Jews are forbidden to observe the commandments, and forced to worship pagan idols. Such, broadly, is the state of affairs described in 3:1-7:42. A time of peace and tranquillity is overtaken by sin and disobedience, which call forth divine punishment on people, city, and Temple. The remainder of the "epitome" (8:1-15:39) describes the reversal of the divine punishment largely through the pious and heroic actions of Judah Maccabee and his supporters, whose hard-won military victories are aided by God and bring about first the re-consecration of the Temple (10:1-8), and finally the return of Jerusalem into Jewish hands, following the victory over Nicanor (15:26-36). God is able to grant this restoration because of the loyalty and heroism of martyrs, who have submitted to terrible tortures and death rather than apostatize: they include the aged scribe Eleazar (6:18-31); seven devout brothers and their courageous mother (7:1-41); and the elder Razis (14:37-46). The text expounds the significance of their sufferings; and records in some detail the supernatural assistance which the pious, including Judah Maccabee, elicit (see, e.g.,3:25-26, 33; 5:2-4; 10:29; 11:6-8, 10). The graphic accounts of these supernatural helps granted to the devout at this time might be regarded as providing reasons for the annual commemoration of the two major achievements of Judah Maccabee described in the text, the restoration of the Temple and the returning of Jerusalem to Jewish ownership.
Top of the Page
2.1 The information conveyed in the text defines the perspective of the governing voice in the following way:
2.1.2 The governing voice thematizes how it comes to know the text’s contents or its right to command obedience from the text’s addressee. Its perspective is presented as limited, referring either to evidence, or to personal experience (mere human knowledge): The governing voice of the "epitome", the bulk of the text of 2 Maccabees (2:19-15:39), explicitly declares itself as "summarizing" or "condensing" information contained in the writings of another individual, one Jason of Cyrene, who is reported as having written in five books on the subject matter being summarized in this "epitome" (see 2:19-32).
18.104.22.168 The governing voice appeals to the projected addressee for a particular action, projecting limited knowledge or authority: The governing voice of the first letter preceding the "epitome" (1:1-9) appeals to the Jews of Egypt to observe as a festival "of booths" the 25th Kislev, and gives as reason for this appeal the recent restoration of the Temple service in Jerusalem (1:7-9). The governing voice of the second letter preceding the "epitome" (1:10-2:18) appeals to Aristobulos, a member of a priestly family, and to the Jews who are in Egypt, to observe 25th Kislev as a feast (1:10, 18; 2:16), citing as evidence the death of Antiochus Epiphanes (1:13-16); the restoration of the altar fire in the days of Nehemiah (1:19-36); the concealment of Temple vessels by Jerremiah (2:1-7) and the mysterious connection of this act to the descent of fire from heaven in the days of Moses, and at Solomon's inauguration of the Temple service (2:8-12). This last point enables the governing voice to return to the matter of 25th Kislev, but not before it has stressed that abundant documentary evidence is avaialable to confirm all that has been written in the letter, to which the addressees may have access on demand (2:13-15).
2.1.7 The governing voice (whether first or third person) is anonymous, that is, is not presented as tied to a specific personal identity (or to personhood in general): For the bulk of the text only, the "epitome" (2:19-15:39), the governing voice is anonymous.
2.2 A first-person voice imposes its perspective on all (or almost all) knowledge or norms conveyed in the text.
2.2.2 [The first person voice identifies itself by name or uniquely identifying expression (once or repeatedly): In the case of the two letters 1:1-9 and 1:10-2:18, but not in the case of the "epitome".]
22.214.171.124 [The voice identifies itself by way of a “signature”, as at the beginning or end of a text projecting itself as letter, or other text with a salutation: The governing voice of the first letter preceding the "epitome" (1:1-9) identifies itself as "The Jews who are in Jerusalem and in the country of Judaea" (1:1); and the governing voice of the second letter preceding the "epitome" (1:10-2:18) identifies itself as "Those in Jerusalem and those in Judaea and the Gerousia and Judas" (1:10).]
2.2.3 The first-person governing voice is not identified by name or unique identifier, but speaks of himself/herself in the first person at least once: This applies only to the governing voice of the bulk of the text, the "epitome", who speaks of herself/himself on several occasions in the first person, as at 2:23, 25, 26, 29, 32; 6:12, 17; 15:37, 38.
2.2.4 The number and gender of the first-person governing voice are as follows:
126.96.36.199 The first person singular is used: In the "epitome" only, the governing voice refers to herself/himself in the first person singular at 6:12, 17; 15:37, 38. It is clear, however, that this is the same governing voice which speaks in the first person plural on other occasions, as 2:23, 25, 26, 29, 32; 10:10.
188.8.131.52 The first person plural is used: In the "epitome", the governing voice refers to himself/herself in the first person plural at 2:23, 25, 26, 29, 32; 10:10. It is clear, however, that this is the same governing voice which speaks in the first person singular at 6:12, 17; 15:37, 38. In the first letter (1:1-9) and in the second letter (1:10-2:18) preceding the "epitome", the governing voice speaks in the first person plural (see 1:7,8; 1:11, 18; 2:14, 16-18).
184.108.40.206 The first person forms are marked for gender: The governing voices of the first letter (1:1-9) and of the second letter (1:10-2:18) preceding the epitome are marked for the masculine gender. The gender of the governing voice of the "epitome" is unmarked.
2.4 The governing voice defines a horizon of knowledge as shared with the projected addressee by taking for granted the following linguistic usages or references (in selection):
2.4.1 Persons or unique objects referred to by proper name or by technical expression: the first letter names specific Temple offerings and rituals, whose significance is taken for granted (1:8); it also names the biblical characters Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (1:2), and the non-biblical characters Demetrius and Jason(1:7). The second letter names, and takes for granted, items of Temple furniture (2:4-5); Temple sacrifice (2:10-11); a library founded by Nehemiah (2:13) and a collection of items gathered by Judah Maccabee (2:14). It refers to biblical personnel such as Nehemiah (e.g., 1:20;, 33, 36); Jeremiah (e.g., 2:1, 5, 7); Moses (e.g., 1:29; 2:4, 8, 10, 11); Solomon (2:8, 10, 12); and David (2:13); and non-biblical characters such as Antiochus (Epiphanes) (2:14) and Judah (Maccabee) (2:14). The "epitome" refers very frequently to the Jerusalem Temple and its parts; and the office of High Priest.
220.127.116.11 for persons mentioned or presented in narrative usage; as characters; or topics, for example: the "epitome" of 2:19-15:39 is an abridged narrative which refers to a small number of biblical characters by name, for example Moses (7:6); Jeremiah (15:14-15); Sennacherib (e.g., 8:19; 15:22); and Joshua (12:15). Otherwise, it is replete with the names of non-biblical persons. The most frequently mentioned are Judah Maccabee; the high priest Onias III; Heliodorus; Antiochus Epiphanes; Menelaus; Timothy; Lysias; and Nicanor. The governing voice mentions in excess of 40 other individuals, as well as names of peoples (including Jews, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Ammonites). This preponderance of proper names is very striking.
18.104.22.168 for Gods/mythical figures/supernatural beings, etc., for example: the God of Israel is referred to in the first letter simply as "God" (1:2) and "the Lord" (1:8), and in the second letter as "the Lord, the Lord God creator of all things" (1:24). In the "epitome", God is referred to and addressed by many titles: for example, "Heaven" (e.g., 2:21; 3:15, 34; 7:11; 8:20; 14:34; 15:8, 21); Creator of the cosmos (7:9); Most High (3:31); Lord of spirits (3:24); lord (dunastes) of the cosmos (12:15); Lord of all things (13:35); Almighty Lord God of Israel (9:5); He who sees all things (12:22; 15:2); Pantokrator (Almighty) (8:11, 18; 5:20; 6:26). The "epitome" has several references to supernatural apparitions (e.g., 3:25-26, 33-34; 5:2-4; 10:29; 11:9-10). Occasionally, angels are specifically mentioned (11;8; 15:23). Pagan deities are named in the second letter (Nanea, 1:13, 15) and in the "epitome": Hercules ((4:19, 20); Zeus Olympius (6:2); Zeus Xenios (6:2; Bacchus (6:7; 14:33) and Atargatis (12:26).
22.214.171.124 for locations, for example: in the first letter, we hear of Jerusalem, Judaea, and Egypt (1:1) along with "the holy land and kingdom" (1:7). The second letter also mentions Jerusalem, Judaea and Egypt (1:10), as well as the Holy City (1:12 and; Persia (1:13, 19, 20, 33). In the "epitome", the most often mentioned place name is Jerusalem. Some few other places in the Land of Israel are named, such as Garizim (5:23; 6:2); Beth Zur (11:5; 13:19, 21); Jericho (12:15); Modin (13:14); and Samaria (15:1). Otherwise, most places, which are not nearly so common as personal names, are outside the Land. The most often named are Coele-Syria and Phoenicia; Tyre; Antioch; and Ptolemais. Most are named once or twice.
126.96.36.199 for times or calendar dates (specific to a language or culture), for example: in the letters and in the "epitome", both the Seleucid and Jewish calendars are employed. The Seleucid calendar is used to reckon the years, as at (first letter) 1:7 (year 169); (second letter) 1:10 (year 188); ("epitome") 11:21 (year 148, 24th day of month Dioscorinthios); 11:30 (30th day of month Xanthicus); 11:38 (year 148, 15th day of month Xanthicus); 13:1 (year 149); and 14:4 (year 151). The Jewish calendar is used to refer to Jewish festivals, as at (first letter) 1:9, "The Feast of Tabernacles in the month Kislev"; (second letter) 1:18, " purification of the Temple on the 25th day of Kislev"; ("epitome") 10:5-6, the 25th day of Kislev, like the Feast of Tabernacles;; and 15:36, the 13th day of the twelfth month which is called in the Syrian language Adar". The "epitome" frequently refers to the Sabbath (5:26; 8:26, 27, 28; 6:6; 12:38; 15:1, 3); and at 12:31, it names the Feast of Weeks, explaining it using the Greek term "Pentecost".
188.8.131.52 for documents, texts, books, etc. (identified through being referred to or quoted), for example: the second letter mentions "writings" recording actions of the prophet Jeremiah (2:1, 4); the Law (2:2); records and memoirs of Nehemiah (2:13) who founded a library containing books of the kings and prophets, and letters of kings (2:13). There is a reference to the Jewish Law at 2:18. In the "epitome", the governing voice refers to the five books of Jason of Cyrene (2:25); the "holy book", probably the Torah (8:23); and the law and the prophets (15:9).
2.4.3 The text as a whole routinely employs the following language, knowledge of which is taken for granted: Greek. The Greek of the "epitome" in particular is of high literary quality, resorting to puns and word-play, and employing well known Greek literary references such as Xerxes' attempt to subdue the sea (5:21) and the depiction of Scythian lawlessness as an example of unusual barbarity (4:47). Some commentators compare the quality of the Greek with that of Polybius' writing.
2.4.4 Special linguistic usages occur pervasively or prominently: Although Greek is used through out all parts of this text,the "epitome" indicates that the language of Judah and his fellow Jews was not Greek. Thus the mother of the seven martyrs uttered exhortation in her own language (7:21), and Judah is said to sing Psalms "in his own language" (12:37). The victorious Jews praised God in their own language (15:29); and the governing voice notes that the month Adar is so-called "in the Syrian language" (15:36)
184.108.40.206 Technical expressions for a particular subject matter: In all parts of the text, technical words relating to the Temple and sacrifice are used without explanation. In the second letter, the curious word "nephthar" is explained as meaning "purification", and its alternative form "nephthai", said to be used by most people, is mentioned (1:36)
220.127.116.11 Technical expressions for the meta-linguistic presentation of another text (see 6.9.4): In the second letter, at 1:29 the formula "As Moses said" is used to introduce a citation of part of Exod. 15:17; and the formula "And Moses said" is used to introduce a Scriptural verse (Lev. 10:16; compare also Lev. 9:24) to furnish proof of an immediately preceding statement, to the effect that Solomon had prayed, and fire came down and consumed the sacrifice (2:11). In the "epitome", the mother of the seven martyrs declares that God watches over them and has compassion on them, "as Moses declared in his song...when he said, And He will have compassion on His servants" (7:6), a quotation of Deut. 32:36. At 10:26, a quotation of Exod. 23:22 is followed by the formula "as the Law makes plain".
18.104.22.168 Other special linguistic usages: [FOR ORIENTATION: normative force through use of the indicative in the Mishnah; repeated or prominent use of unexplained loan words; translational calques [e.g., kyrios], etc.] The Greek word kurios, "Lord", is used frequently in the two letters and in the "epitome" as a designation for God, following the LXX's use of this term very commonly to represent the Hebrew Tetragram.
2.4.5 The meaning of some linguistic usage or reference is addressed explicitly, marking it as not being part of the shared horizon of knowledge: in the second letter, the meaning of the word "nephthar" is reported; and in the "epitome", the Feast of Weeks mentioned at 12:31 seems to be explained in the following verse (12:32) as "the feast called Pentecost".
2.5 The text contains deictic or other expressions referring to the governing voice’s time or place, or place it after/before some key event:
2.5.1 as part of the words of the governing voice. The governing voice of the first letter explicitly dates the text to year 188 of the Seleucid Era (1:9), and refers to an ealier letter dispatched in year 169 of the Seleucid Era (1:7); it locates itself in "Jerusalem and the country of Judaea" (1:1). The governing voice of the second letter refers to the collection by Judah Maccabee of books lost "because of the war that had come upon us", a reference to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (2:14); and it situates itself in Jerusalem and Judaea (1:10). The governing voice of the "epitome" explicitly locates itself in the period following the death of the general Nicanor (15:28-36).
2.6 The text presents itself as speaking to certain persons, groups or entities, explicitly projecting a certain image of its addressee.
2.6.1 The governing voice uses apostrophe, second-person grammatical forms or first-person exclusive or inclusive “we”: The governing voice of the "epitome" directly addresses the readers (whom it has identified from the outset (2:25) in very general terms as "those who wish to read...those who are inclined to commit to memory...and those who happen to read") at 6:12-17 using the first person singular to "exhort" those who read this book ("I exhort those who read this book"): these readers are further defined in the same verse as "our nation", a group which the governing voice proceeds to set over against "the other nations" (6:14). In this indirect manner, the addressees are defined as the Jews, who in this segment of the text are being directly admonished by the governing voice, who assures them that the disasters s/he has described are intended (sc. by God) not to destroy, but to discipline "our people". The exhortation continues by insisting that God does not withdraw His mercy "from us", but disciplines "us" without forsaking "His own people". In the following and final verse of this segment (6:17), the governing voice explicitly associates him/her self with the addressees, describing the matters mentioned earlier in the "epitome" as "a warning for us" (6:17).
22.214.171.124 An audience is identified as the intended receiver of a text projecting itself as a letter: The text of 1:1-9 projects itself as a letter addressed to "the brothers, the Jews throughout Egypt" (1:1); and the text of 1:10-2:18 projects itself as a second letter, addressed to one "Aristobulus, who is of the family of the anointed priests, teacher of King Ptolemy, and to the Judaeans in Egypt" (1:10).
2.6.2 The projected addressee is characterized as having a certain moral or epistemic stance, or as standing in contrast to another group’s moral or epistemic stance: The projected adressees of the two letters are implicitly characterised as Egyptian Jews who are expected to have an epistemic and religious stance in conformity with Jews resident in Jerusalem and Judaea who celebrate the purification of the Temple by Judah Maccabee and his followers. The projected adressees of the "epitome" are Jews, whose moral and epistemic stance is implicitly understood to agree with the actions and objectives of Judah Maccabee in his purifcation of the Temple: see 2.6.1, and comments there on 2 Macc. 6:12-17.
2.6.3 The governing voice uses verbs of epistemic or moral exhortation or employs a “focus marker". For the "epitome", see 6:12, where a verb of admonition and exhortation (parakalo) is employed by the governing voice. The governing voice of the first letter urges the addressees to keep the feast of the purification of Temple with the words "And now (take care) that you observe the days..." (1:9); the governing voice of the second letter exhorts the addressees by stating "Therefore you shall do well, by observing the days..." (2:16).
2.6.5 The governing voice employs exclamatory or declamatory modes of speech (cf. 8.1.13): The "epitome" uses declamatory modes of speech particularly at 4:16-17 and 6:12-17.
Top of the Page
4.1 The text narrates events which are strongly emplotted, making reference to interlocking happenings, characters, motivations, causes, times or locations: The entries in this section of the Inventory apply only to the "epitome" of the books of Jason of Cyrene supplied in 2 Maccabees 2:19-15:39.
4.1.1 The text narrates a complex series of events not presented as leading towards only one crisis and solution, nor as contributing to only one person's tale: The bulk of the text of 2 Maccabees, the "epitome" (2:19-15:39), narrates events from the time of Seleucus IV and the high priest Onias III (from around 180 BCE) down to the victory of Judah Maccabee over the Seleucid general Nicanor (161 BCE). These events include the foiled attempts of the Seleucid envoy Heliodorus to appropriate funds from the Temple in Jerusalem; the murder of Oniss III; the beginnings of the Hellenistic crisis promoted by Antiochus IV; the resistance to the latter, involving the martyrdom of pious Jews; the military campaigns of Judah Maccabee; and Jewish victories gained with divine assistance.
4.1.3 The narrative provides a clear closure, or dwells on the closure: The closure of the epitome is marked with reference to the decisive victory of Judah Maccabee over Nicanor (2 Macc. 15:25-35), and the promulgation of an annual festival on 13th Adar to commemorate the victory, which ensured that Jerusalem henceforth remained in Jewish hands (2 Macc. 15:36-37). At this point, the governing voice explicitly declares that this is the end of the "epitome" (15:37-39).
4.1.4 The narrative foregrounds apparently exact information on the absolute and relative timing of events: The "epitome" dates events with reference both to the official Seleucid calendar (particularly for absolute chronology) and to the Jewish calendar (principally for relative chronology). The chronology of the reigns of Seleucid monarchs and of Jewish high priests of the period ca. 180-161 BCE is in the background of narrative events throughout the "epitome". For the use of the Seleucid calendar, see (e.g.,) 11:21, 30, 33, 38; 13:1; 14:4; and for the Jewish calendar see (e.g.,) 10:25; 15:36).
4.1.5 The narrative foregrounds quantifiable non-temporal information: Such information is pervasive in the "epitome", and includes (a) information relating to sums of money: see 3:11 (400 talents of silver, 200 of gold); 4:8-9 (360 talents of silver, and a further 80, followed by another 150); 4:19 (300 drachmae of silver); 4:24 (300 talents of silver); 8:10 (2,000 talents); 8:11 (90 slaves for 1 talent each); 10:20 (70,000 drachmae); 12:43 (2.000 drachmae of silver); (b) extensive information about troop numbers: see, for example, 4:40 (3,000 armed men); 5:5 (1,000 men); 5:24 (22,000 armed men; 8:9 (20,000 troops); 8:16 (8,000 troops); 8:20 (a list of troops of Macedonians and Galatians); 10:31 (20,500 infantry and 600 cavalry); 11:2 (around 80,000 troops); 11:4 (myriad footsoldiers, thousands of cavalry, and 80 elephants); 11:11 (11,000 footsoldiers and 1,600 horse); 12:20 (120,000 footsoldiers and 8,500 horse); 13:2 (list of 110,000 foot, 5,300 horse, 22 elephants, 300 chariots); and 14:39 (500 soldiers); (c) numbers of persons killed in battle: see, for example, 5:14 (40,000 dead in war); 8:24 (9,000 dead); 8:30 (20,000 killed); 10:23 (more than 22,000 killed); 10:31 (20,500 infantry and 600 cavalry killed); 12:4 (200 dead); 12:26, 28 (two groups of 25,000 dead); 15:27 (35,000 killed); and (d) precise measures of distance: see, for example 12:9 (240 stades); 12:10 (9 stades); 12:16 (2 stades); 12:17 (750 stades); 12:29 (600 stades); and compare 13:5, referring to a tower 50 cubits high.
4.2 The event sequence is projected as related to the sequence of text parts as follows:
4.2.1 The report sequence mirrors the projected chronological sequence of events mostly or wholly, not precluding 4.2.2–5.
4.2.2 There is use of prolepsis or analepsis: See, for example, 4:1, "Simon, of whom we spoke before...".
4.2.3 There are chronological gaps which are explicitly managed or signposted: See, for example, 4:23, "After a period of three years..."; 5:2, "And then it happened for the space of almost forty days..."; 10:3, "after a period of two years...".
4.2.4 There are chronological gaps which are merely implied, or indicated but left vague: These are occasional: an example is 11:1, "Not long after this...".
4.6 There are meta-narrative explanations occurring in the narrative (editorial comments by narrator): The "epitome" includes editorial comments by the narrator: note that there is no evidence available to determine whether these comments were provided originally by Jason of Cyrene, or were created by the composer of the "epitome". See, for example, 4:15-17, where disaster is said to have overtaken the Jews because they followed Greek customs, which the narrator regards as impiety towards divine laws; 4:38, the deserved punishment of Andronicus for the murder of Onias III was divinely instigated; 5:17-20, theological comment on the desecration of the sanctuary by Antiochus; 6:12-17, exhortation to addressees to heed warnings of divine chastisement illustrated by events described in the narrative up to this point; 6:31, editorial comment on Eleazar's death; 9:28, editorial comment on death of Antiochus IV; 12:44-45, editorial comment on Judah Maccabee's reasons for offering sacrifices on behalf of the dead.
4.8 The text provides scene-setting information, other than the introduction of an I-narration.
4.8.1 There is an explicit introduction of the chronological and/or spatial setting of the action: The "epitome" sets the scene of the narrative in Jerusalem, "the holy city" (3:1), where the bulk of the narrative will take place: in the same verse, the narrative begins with reference to the time when Onias III was high priest.
4.8.2 There is an explicit introduction of the main characters: Onias III is explicitly introduced in 3:1, as are Apollonius (3:5), Heliodorus (3:7) and others. Antiochus Epiphanes is introduced at 4:7. Judah Maccabee is first mentioned at 5:27, but unlike many other characters, he is is not furnished with an introduction.
4.9 There is prominent or sustained characterization of key figures in the narrative.
4.9.2 All characterization is achieved only through reporting the actions, speech or thoughts of the characters ("dramatic"): While the governing voice offers comments on characters mentioned in the narrative (see 4.6), characterization itself arises from reports of the characters' actions (for example, Onias as a pious priest, 3:23; Jason as a brutal tyrant, 5:6; Antichus IV as a murderer and sacrilegious plunderer, 5:14-15; Judah as a noble warrior, from chapter 6 onwards), and speeches (for example, the nobility of the martyr Eleazar, 6:24-28a; the courage of the seven martyrs noted throughout chapter 7; and the piety of Judah Maccabee, 15:22-24).
4.9.3 A figure is characterized by her or his moral or religious traits: Such is the case with Onias III, who is a devout observer of the Law (3:1); the martyr Eleazar (6:18-31), the seven martyrs (7:1-19; 30-40), and the mother of the seven martyrs (7:20-29), all of whom are exemplars of fidelity and loyalty to the Torah; the martyr Razis (14:37-46); and throughout the "epitome", the leader Judah Maccabee: for a parade example of his moral and religious traits, see 12:36-45.
126.96.36.199 Moral/religious traits are manifestly linked to the ethnicity and/or gender of the figure: The strong moral and religious traits attributed to the characters listed under 4.9.3 are explicitly associated with the loyalty of those characters to traditional Judaism. Thus all those characters are Jews; most are men; but a woman, the mother of the seven martyrs, is singled out for exceptional mention.
4.9.5 A figure is characterized by physical prowess or beauty, or their opposites: Judah Maccabee, from the moment of his introduction (5:37), is characterized by his bravery and physical courage.
4.10 A character’s relations to her/his community are foregrounded, including any two-fold social environment (e.g. a diaspora setting).
4.10.4 A main character is portrayed as in conflict with his/her environment (or as being an “Other”), whether the environment is single or doubled: Onias III, the martyr Eleazar, the seven martyr brothers and their mother, and Judah Maccabee are all in conflict with their environment as it has come to be constituted by the decrees and actions of the royal overlord Antiochus IV.
4.11 Supernatural characters appear in the narrative, whether introduced casually, or accounted for elaborately: Such characters are a remarkable feature of the "epitome", and include a heavenly horse with a terrifying rider accompanied by two supernatural young men (3:25-26); an apparition of supernatural horsemen and hosts of cavalry (5:2-4); five men from heaven on horses, two of whom lead the Jews in battle (10:29); a heavenly being on horseback (11:8), described as "a helper from Heaven" (11:10); and a divine apparition (15:27).
4.12 The narrative pace is slowed down or changed by the occasional or regular occurrence of extended descriptions: Many of the appearances of supernatural characters noted at 4.11 are accompanied by descriptions. Thus the two young men accompanying the heavenly horsemen are described (3:26); as are the weapons of the celestial soldiery (5:3) and the accoutrements of the heavenly horserider (11:8; see also 10:29-30).
4.12.1 There is extended description of one or more static objects: This is not common; but there is some limited description of a tower containing ashes at 13:5-6; of the Temple, desecrated by Antiochus (6:4); and again of the Temple as restored and purified by Judah and his troops (10:1-3).
4.12.2 There is extended description of the outward appearance of persons or other animated beings: There is limited, but rather detailed description of some of the supernatural beings noted at 4.11, such that the two young men accompanying the heavely horsemen are carefully delineated (3:26); and there is description in Judah's dream-vision of Onias III (15:12) and of the prophet Jeremiah (15:13).
4.13 The narrative pace is slowed down or changed by frequent or prominent quotation of speech, thought or text.
4.13.1 The quotation constitutes a plot-driving event in its own right: See 3:33-34 and 3:35-39, recording the effects of the supernatural events on Heliodorus and his reporting of this to the king; the speech of Eleazar (6:24-28a) advancing the narrative's concern with martyrdom, and the speeches of the seven martyrs in chapter 7, which build up the significance of martyrdom and contextualize the graphic speech of the mother (7:22-23, 27-29). These martyrdoms occur at a pivotal point in the narrative, for it is following these that the Jews begin to get the advantage of their enemies. The climax of the "epitome", the account of the victory of Nicanor, is preceded by speeches relating to the sanctity of the Sabbath (15:2-5).
4.13.3 Quoted wording is presented as a message (written or oral) sent from one character to another: Several letters are quoted in the "epitome", representing messages: for example, we are provided with letters from Antiochus IV to the Jews (9:19-27); from Lysias to the Jews (11:16-21); from Antiochus V to Lysias (11:22-26); from Antiochus V to the Jews (11:27-33); the Romans Quintus Mennius and Titus Manius to the Jews (11:34-38). The dream-vision of Judah Maccabee (15:11) may be included here, which reports speeches of Onias III (15:14) and of Jeremiah (15:16) heard in the course of the dream conveying messages to Judah.
Top of the Page
5.9 The text’s governing voice projects the accuracy or validity of its statements as:
5.9.3 Pervasively in need of support by arguments, or open to discussion: What follows applies only to the two letters contained in 1:1-9 and 1:10-2:18. The two letters preceding the "epitome" are concerned to persuade their addressees to observe a feast of the purification of the Temple on 25 Kiselv, and adduce arguments designed to convince their readers that observance of such a feast is right and proper.
5.9.4 The following argument types occur:
188.8.131.52 Predominantly or exclusively conceptual arguments (e.g. inferences, analogies, or references to evidence): Both letters provide evidence for the course of action they seek to promote. The first letter refers to another letter sent earlier to the addressees, containing historical information which should properly lead those addressees to observe 25th Kislev (1:7-9). The second letter sets out a series of mini-narratives (1:11-16, 19-22, 31-36; 2:1-3, 4-9; see further 5.12) presenting historical information constituting evidence that the festival of 25th Kislev, which the letter seeks to promote (1:18; 2:16), is properly to be observed as a commemoration in accordance with God's will.
184.108.40.206 Predominantly or exclusively arguments from the quoted wording of another text (e.g. paraphrases, interpretation units, proof-texts): In the case of the second letter only, Scripture is explicitly quoted in support of the argument advanced by the governing voice: see 2 Maccabees 1:29; 2:11.
5.12 The text thematizes the meaning of historical or narrative events and summarizes, alludes to or refers to events as evidence, but does not create sustained emplotment (contrast 4.7): The two letters 1:1-9 and 1:10-2:18 which precede the "epitome" adduce and summarize historical and narrative events as evidence, without creating emplotment. They present historical and narrative material thematized in such a way as to support the letters' request to the addressees to observe the feast of the purification of the Temple on 25th Kislev. Thus the first letter begins with a greeting (1:1), followed by a brief, formal prayer for the addressees (1:2-5). The governing voice reports that the senders of the letter are praying for the addressees (1:6). Historical evidence said to have been previously communicated to the addressees is then set before them in the form of a brief note (1:7-8); and the letter concludes with an exhortation to the addressees to keep the festival (1:9): this exhortation has the appearance of a command to observe what is in effect an unconditional norm. The second letter opens with a formal greeting (1:10), and then introduces a mini-narrative relating the history of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes and his companions (1:11-16), which is concluded with a formal blessing (1:17). The addressees are then encouraged to observe 25th Kislev as a festival (1:18): reasons for this observance are provided in a series of mini-narratives of historical-theological character. The first of these (1:19-22) tells of Nehemiah and the altar-fire, whose miraculous appearing evokes a formal prayer uttered by the priests (quoted 1:23-29) and psalms (1:30). A second mini-narrative gives further historico-aetiological details about the "nephthar" which had produced this fire (1:31-36). A third mini-narrative is then supplied, citing records concerning Jeremiah, who had preserved the altar-fire and had issued commands about avoiding idolatry (2:1-3): this is supplemented by a further mini-narrative about Jeremiah's concealment of sacred objects on the mountain which Moses had ascended to see the Land, with a note that Jeremiah himself had offered sacrifice for the dedication of the Temple (2:4-9). This final mini-narrative contrives to mention both Moses and Solomon, whose association with "fire from heaven" is then proved by reference to Scripture (2:10-12) and linked to the dedication of the sanctuary. The letter draws together the themes of these mini-narratives by declaring that these matters are all reported in the records of Nehemiah, who had collected writings of many different kinds into a library (2:13). Judah Maccabee had done something similar, and all these texts are in the possession of the senders of the letter (2:14). The addressees are informed that they may have sight of these writings on demand (2:15). A strong exhortation to the addressees, amounting to a positive command, to observe the feast of 25th Kislev follows (2:16); and the letter then concludes by emphasising the divine activity at work in the events described in the preceding mini-narratives, and an expression of hope for further divine blessings in the future (2:17-18).
Top of the Page
7.2 Narrative or thematic correspondences, or overlap of specific wording, occur between the non-biblical text under discussion and other non-biblical texts in a manner that is prominent or pervasive: There is narrative and thematic correspondence between parts of the "epitome" section of 2 Maccabees (2:19-15:39) and 1 Maccabees 1:1-7:50, the latter narrating events in Jerusalem and Judaea up to the death of Nicanor (with which 2 Maccabees concludes). The two texts report a number of narrative episodes which are either identical or very similar in character.
7.2.1 There is a correspondence of characters (which may include the persona projected as the governing voice of the current text): Both texts have as (non-biblical) characters in their narratives Judah Maccabee; Antiochus IV Epiphanes; Jason; the high priest Alcimus; the Asideans; the commanders Gorgias, Lysias, and Nicanor; Demetrius; Antiochus V; the commander Timothy; Apollonius; and a number of other minor characters.
7.2.2 The overall chronological and spatial framework of the narrative, as well as certain events, are substantially or prominently co-extensive with that of a non-biblical narrative or with some extended part of it: 2 Maccabees 2:19-15:39 (the "epitome") covers events in Jerusalem, Judaea and the surrounding country in the period ca.180-161 BCE, while 1 Maccabees 1:1-7:50 deals with many of the same events in the same places and time period (although the sequence of these events and the detailed accounts of them may differ in the two texts), including the beginnings of the "Hellenistic Crisis"; the activities of Jason; Antiochus IV and his desecration of the Temple; the rise of Judah Maccabee and his supporters; their recapture of the Temple and its purification; Judah's further victories, and his defeat of the general Nicanor.
220.127.116.11 The narrative is located at a particular point (“niche”) in a chronological-spatial framework also known from another non-biblical text, but there is no overlap in the narrative substance: The narratives concerning Onias III, his enemies and eventual murder, and other events before the rise of Antiochus IV Epiphanes as told in 2 Maccabees 3:1-4:10 are not represented in 1 Maccabees; but the first chapter of that text indicates a "pre-history" to the activities of Antiochus IV and Jason which 2 Maccabees appears to supply.
7.2.6 There is extensive tacit overlap with the wording of a non-biblical partner text, whether in narrative or in non-narrative texts: See, for example, the account of the building of the gymnasium in Jerusalem (4:9-10//1 Macc. 1:14); the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus (5:1, 11-26//1 Macc. 1:16-40); the flight of Jews from Jerusalem (5:27//1 Macc, 2:28); and activities of Judah Maccabee (8:1-7//1 Macc. 3:1-9).
Top of the Page
8.1 Standard forms or contents formulated in set phrases, set sentence formats, or clauses in a standard syntactic connection.
8.1.2 Unconditional norm: in the two thematic discourses represented by the letters preceding the epitome, the recommendations to the addressees (1:9; 1:1 and 2:16) to keep 25th Kislev as a feast have the force of unconditional norms viewed from the stance of the governing voices of those letters. In the "epitome", observance of the same feast is presented as an unconditional norm, as is the observance of the festival commemorating the defeat of Nicanor (15:36).
8.1.3 Sentence with theme anticipated to the beginning and repeated in a pronoun or by ellipsis: this form is utilised at the opening of the "epitome" to introduce its contents, 2:19-23.
8.1.4 Unit of a biblical quotation together with a hermeneutically dependent formulation; midrashic unit: this occurs in governing voice in the second letter, at 1:29 and 2:11, and in the "epitome" at 7:6 and 10:26.
18.104.22.168 The expressive use of unmarked biblical wording whose function in the text’s discourse is enhanced or achieved by it being recognised as coming from a Scripture: in the two letters, ths is common. See, for the first letter, 1:3-4; and for the second, 1:24-25; 2:2-3, 17. It is proportionately less common in the "epitome", but does occur: see, for example, 3:1 (the holy city, cf. Neh. 11:1); 5:17 (cf. Isa.54:7-8); 6:14 (cf. Gen. 15:16); 6:23 (cf. Prov. 16:31); 8:3 (cf. Gen. 4:10); 9:8 (cf. Isa. 40:12); 10:26 (cf. Exod. 23:22); and 12:38 (cf. Numb. 31:19).
8.1.6 Speech reports: these are common in the second letter and in the "epitome".
8.1.10 List sentence enumerating items by words or phrases: lists are not represented in the letters, but are found occasionally in the "epitome", as, for example, at 13:2.
8.1.12 Explicit claim that in a particular formulation other information in the immediate co-text is being summarized or generalized: this is found occasionally in the "epitome" only (in addition to the initial description of the epitomist's activities in 2:19-32). See 6:17; 10:10.
8.1.13 Declamatory sentence, confession, proclamation or affirmation: for confession of God's actions, see in the second letter 2:17; and for declamatory statements, see the "epitome", 4:16-17; 6:12-17.
8.1.14 Prayer, doxology, valediction or blessing: in the governing voice of the second letter, see the blessing in 1:17.
8.1.16 Descriptive sentence of a static (ocular) structure or "scientific" descriptive sentence: in the "epitome", see the description of the tower in 15:5-6, and descriptions of the Temple at 6:4 and 10:1-3.
8.1.21 Statement describing a reality (nature, creation, human nature) in a “wisdom” or similar formulation: see the concluding words of the governing voice of the "epitome" at 15:39.
8.2 Non-narrative small literary forms that impose on their components a standard functional relationship to each other, while grammar and syntax may vary:
8.2.5 The summary exposition, in a number of sentences, of theological ideas: These are common in the "epitome", and include the notion of "measure for measure", as in 5:8-10; 9:5-6; 13:8; in invincibility of the Hebrews, because God helps them in battle (11:13); impiety towards God's laws brings disaster (4:16-17); God did not choose the Jews for the sake of the Temple, but the Temple for the sake of the Jews (5:19).
Top of the Page
10.1 The text consist of the juxtaposition of constituent part-texts, each of which has its own thematic, lemmatic or narrative structure (e.g., for thematic part-texts, one of 1.1–3, 5.2–6, or 5.7.1–2 apply).
10.1.2 The text juxtaposes one narrative and two thematic part-text: The text known from antiquity as "2 Maccabees" consists of the juxtaposition of a short thematic discourse in the form of a brief letter (2 Maccabees 1:1-9), followed immediately by a second thematic discourse in the form of a longer letter (2 Maccabees 1:10-2:18), and an extended narrative explicitly described as an "epitome" (2:28), an abridgement of five books by Jason of Cyrene (2:23).
10.1.2.1 Their sequential relationship suggests that they complement each other, at least weakly (e.g., as “biography –utterances”): Both thematic discourses contained in the letters (1:1-9; 1:10-2:18) are concerned to promote the observance of the feast of the purification of the Temple, with special reference to the achievements of Judah Maccabee in regaining possession of the desecrated Temple and his subsequent purification of it and the re-instatement of its divine service (see 1:7-8; 1:10-11, 14-16). The "epitome" narrates in some detail the heroic actions of Judah leading both to the reconsecration of the sanctuary and the Jewish reconquest of the city of Jerusalem (15:37), the "holy city" (3:1), which was accomplished with divine help and angelic support (5:2-4; 10:29; 11:6; 11:8-10; 15:23 (as in the days of King Hezekiah, 15:22). Thus the "epitome" furnishes evidence that the request made in the two letters is not only reasonable, but something of a religious obligation.
Top of the Page
11.1 The non-narrative text projects its thematic concern as being mainly one or more of the following: Of the two letters 1:1-9 and 1:10-2:18:
11.1.3 Law, commandments or norms of behaviour: The two letters 1:1-9 and 1:10-2:18 preceding the "epitome" are concerned to inculcate the observance of 25th Kislev as a annual festival of the purification of the Temple.
11.2 The text is dominated by the reporting of emplotted events, whether or not in an overarching narrative format (4).
11.2.2 The reported events are not biblical, but are related to a biblical past/future: This is in the "epitome" 2:19-15:39.
Top of the Page
12.1 Sampling of genre labels applied to the text in secondary literature: pathetic history; didactic historiography; festival scroll for Hanukkah.
Top of the Page
Text; R. Hanhart, Maccabaeorum libri I-IV, 2: Maccabaeorum liber II, copiis usus quas reliquit Werner Kappler edidit Robert Hanhart (Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum Auctoritate Societatis Litterarum Goettingensis editum IX (2nd ed.; Goettingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1976); F.M. Abel, Les Livres des Maccabees (Paris: Gabalda, 1949); A. Rahlfs, Septuaginta, vol. I (Stuttgart: Wuettembergische Bibelanstalt, 1935), pp. 1099-1139; H. Swete, The Old Testament in Greek, According to the Septuagint, vol. 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1912).
Translations: English. J. Moffatt, "2 Maccabees, in R. H. Charles (ed.), The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Tesament, vol. 1 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), pp. 125-154; "Joachim Schaper, "2 Makkabees", in A. Pietersma and B. G. Wright (eds.), A New English Translation of the Septuagint (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 503-520; D. R. Schwartz, "2 Maccabees", in L. H. Feldman, J. L. Kugel and L. H. Schiffman (eds.), Outside the Bible. Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society/University of Nebraska Press, 2013), pp. 2832–2887. French. F.-M. Abel and J. Starcky, Les Livres des Maccabees, in La Bible de Jerusalem (Paris: Cerf, 1961). German. Chr. Habicht, 2 Makkabaeerbuch, Juedische Schriften aus hellenistisch-roemischer Zeit I/3 (2nd ed., Guetersloh: Mohn, 1979), with commentary.
Selected Studies: C. C. Torrey, "The Letters Prefixed to Second Maccabees", JAOS 60 (1940), pp. 119-150; B. Z. Wacholder, "The Letter from Judah Maccabee to Aristobulus: Is 2 Maccabees 1:10-2:18 Authentic?", HUCA 49 (1978), pp. 89-133; E. J. Bickerman, "Heliodore au temple de Jerusalem", Annuaire de l'Institut de Philologie et d'Histoire Orientale 7 (1939-1944), pp. 18-40; A. Momigliano, "The Second Book of Maccabees", Classical Philology 70 (1975), pp. 81-88; Chr. Habicht, "Royal Documents in Maccabees II", Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 80 (1976), pp. 1-18; R. Doran, "2 Maccabees and 'Tragic History'", HUCA 50 (1979), pp. 107-114; R. Doran, Temple Propaganda: The Purpose and Character of 2 Maccabees (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1981); J. A. Goldstein, II Maccabees, Anchor Bible 41 (New York: Doubleday, 1983); J. W. van Henten, The Maccabean Martyrs as Saviours of the Jewish People: A Study of 2 and 4 Maccabees (Leiden: Brill, 1997); M. Himmelfarb, "Judaism and Hellenism in 2 Maccabees", Poetics Today 19 (1998), pp. 19-40; D. S. Williams, "Recent Research in 2 Maccabees", Currents in Biblical Research 2 (2003), pp. 69-83; D. R. Schwartz, 2 Maccabees, Commentaries on Early Jewish Christian Literature (Berlin, de Gruyter, 2008)
Top of the Page