Second Maccabees Martyrdom

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As mentioned above, the martyrdom of Eleazar is described in length in Second Maccabees, and will be utilized as a case study. The narrative of the martyrdom of Eleazar is by far the strongest piece of evidence that will be analyzed within this argument, hence its use above. The reason being is that Eleazar is being tempted to not eat swine, but to pretend to eat it. Eleazar does not agree with this at all and views this as deceptive and just as destructive as physically consuming swine. Rather than be deceptive, and pretend to go against Kashrut, Eleazar demands to be sent to Hades, and declares: Such pretense is not worthy of our time if life, for many of the young might suppose that Eleazar in his ninetieth year had gone over to an alien religion, and through my pretense, for the sake of living a brief moment longer, they would be led astray because of me, while I defile and disgrace my old age. Even if for the present I would avoid the punishment of mortals, yet whether I live or die I will not escape the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, by bravely giving up my life now, I will show myself worthy of …show more content…

As described in detail above, the books of Maccabees are eliciting Judean manliness through the lens of Roman virtus, and Eleazar’s speech only further cement this notion. His speech parallels the oratory in what would be seen in Roman oratory. First of all, Eleazar is an old, battle-scarred man. To the Romans, virtus was embodied by the older, battle-scarred man, like Eleazar. This is in drastic contrast to Hellenic areté which focuses on youth and the perfect male physique. To further cement this evidence, when comparing Greek statues of men with Roman statues of men (who co-opted and subverted Greek statue techniques), it can be observed that Roman manliness was embodied within a man described as Eleazar: Elderly and

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