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God as Kingly Foil in 3 Maccabees

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This essay re-evaluates the characterization and function of Ptolemy IV Philopator in 3 Maccabees. God’s role as kingly foil to Ptolemy allows for the propagation and maintenance of Egyptian Jewish identity and cultural practice while acknowledging the earthly social order. I argue the author makes a deliberate choice not to offer a consistent earthly advocate within the narrative while emphasizing God’s direct intervention. This choice can be contextualized as a response to works such as 1 and 2 Maccabees and Greek Esther, which advocate the formation of a nation through military campaigns.

Affiliations: 1: Graduate Theological UnionBerkeley, ca


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