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Noble death in Josephus: Just rhetoric?

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Chapter Summary

Josephus is an important source for noble death in Second Temple Judaism. There are about fifty-one relevant passages on noble death as a literary phenomenon based on three criteria: 1) focus on a violent death, 2) a positive assessment of this death, and 3) vocabulary and/or motifs typical for noble death passages. This chapter presents a survey of all noble death passages, attempting to point out some trends in them and shamelessly simplifying Josephus' materials. It talks about three reasons for the need to have a fresh look at the noble death passages in Josephus. A full list of relevant passages in Josephus' works with brief descriptions of their content, with the numbers of passages that match all three criteria of the noble death definition, is provided.

Keywords: Josephus; martyrdom; noble death; Second Temple Judaism



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