Dionysos in Jerusalem and the Historicity of 2 Macc 6:7

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In his masterful translation and commentary on the Second Book of Maccabees, Daniel Schwartz devotes a short appendix to the historicity of the information provided in chapter 6, verse 7: And with bitter compulsion they were led each month to a banquet for the King's birthday, and as there was a Dionysia festival, they were forced to parade carrying ivy in honor of Dionysos. In the opening paragraph of his discussion of the verse, Schwartz states: This verse refers to two elements in Antiochus' persecution in Jerusalem: monthly celebrations of the king's birthday and the cult of Dionysus. Concerning both there is room to suspect that they reflect the Ptolemaic context of our author more than the realities of Seleucid Jerusalem. In other words, he doubts the historicity of the information provided in the verse, making it an imaginative creation either by Jason of Kyrene or by the anonymous redactor of 2 Macc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-279
Number of pages15
JournalHarvard Theological Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © President and Fellows of Harvard College 2017.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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