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Between Power and Priestcraft: The Politics of Prayer in 2 Maccabees

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The aim of this study is to experiment with a prominent feature in religious texts, namely prayers, and aims to look at the political function of prayer. As an example one religious text from the Septuagint (LXX) is taken, namely the Second Book of the Maccabees, and the experiment is conducted with reference to this text. First, a cultural-systems model of Second Temple Judaism is given, and second, the literary accounts of prayers and prayer-narratives are examined. It is shown that the prayers in 2 Maccabees had two distinct functions. It firstly promoted group cohesion between Palestinian and Diaspora Jews and, second, it promoted an anti-Hellenistic sentiment and positive temple propaganda.

Affiliations: 1: Department of New Testament and Early Christian Studies, University of South Africa, P.O. Box 392, UNISA 0003, Republic of South Africa

10.1163/102308009X12561890523519
/content/journals/10.1163/102308009x12561890523519
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/content/journals/10.1163/102308009x12561890523519
2009-12-01
2016-12-03

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