By D. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski
This e-book examines texts and fabrics, starting from the japanese Mediterranean to northwestern Europe, relating to the Maccabean martyrs. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski demonstrates that Christian thinkers developed stories of the Maccabean martyrs that concurrently appropriated Jewish traditions and obscured the Jewish origins of Christianity.
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Extra info for Christian Memories of the Maccabean Martyrs
28 By the example of these martyrs Ambrose meant to reinforce his audience’s commitment to Catholic Christianity over the state-endorsed Arian party. In book 2 of On Jacob, Ambrose continued to Christianize the memory of the Maccabean martyrs to further his efforts to cement an antiArian stance among his competentes. Ambrose portrayed the sufferings of Eleazar and the seven sons as models of the Christian life guided by reason, temperance, and equanimity. Regarding the priest Eleazar’s speech to Antiochus, Ambrose followed 4 Maccabees in portraying death for the sake of dietary laws as directed to a higher purpose: “Moreover, our abstinence is a training in restraint.
This debate was sparked by the question of whether this cult was established originally by Jews or by Christians in Antioch. A group of scholars has argued that a basilica dedicated to the Maccabean martyrs in the Kerateion of Antioch, the Jewish quarter of the city, was built over the site of a synagogue that housed the remains of the Maccabean martyrs. Supporters of this thesis argued for Antioch as the original site of this martyrdom. 38 Others, notably Martha Vinson, argue that Jewish veneration never occurred within a synagogue because of Jewish purity laws restricting contact with human remains.
17; cf. 25). The text memorialized the martyrdom of these brothers as continuous with a long tradition of devotion to God and Torah that culminated in death. The comparison of these brothers with Isaac’s willing submission to death and the certainty of welcome by the patriarchs indicated that the author understood their deaths as an assertion of Jewish identity against the threat of the loss of that identity by complete assimilation to Hellenism. In the act of urging his audience to resist the pressure to fully assimilate, the author of 4 Maccabees employed Hellenistic thought and rhetoric by portraying the path of Torah, and death for it, as the paragon of reason.