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

Language and Genre.

The Greek composition of 3 Maccabees is the work of a ‘pseudo-classicist’, combining both classical and koine forms of the language. Passages of purple prose and other rhetorical devices are employed both to entertain and to elicit strong sympathy for the heroes and villains of the story. In genre, 3 Maccabees is like a number of Hellenistic romances that embroider historical events or personalities with legendary developments characterized by their presentation in a historical framework and by narratives of the miraculous public rescue, by divine intervention, of the hero(es). In its function as an explanation for the origin of a festival, 3 Maccabees also bears some relation to Hellenistic antiquarian histories that seek to provide ‘historical’ explanations for ancient institutions.

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Oxford University Press

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