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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

4 Maccabees

David J. Elliott

A. Introduction.

4 Maccabees is a Jewish book vehemently opposed to the oppression and suppression of Jews in the Graeco-Roman world whilst simultaneously exhibiting some of the latter's most distinctive features. The work was well established in Christian circles some time before Eusebius wrote his Church History, where he refers to it under the title ‘On the Supremacy of Reason’ (Hist. eccl. 3.10.6). It can be divided into three main sections: a prologue ( 1:1–3:19 ), a narrative of the martyrdoms of the priest Eleazar and the seven brothers and their mother, and finally a third section from 17:2 that is a eulogy for the martyrs. This last section ends at 17:22 , and the remainder of the book appears to be an addition to the original.

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Oxford University Press

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