UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Judaeo-Stoicism of 4 Maccabees Tucker, Samuel Benjamin


Hellenistic philosophy in general, and Stoicism in particular, exerted a profound influence on the pseudepigraphal Jewish work 4 Maccabees. This thesis is devoted to a broad discussion of this influence, exploring the philosophical underpinnings of 4 Maccabees and its background in Jewish law and tradition. We conclude that Stoicism, though not the only element in the background of 4 Maccabees, was the dominant element, and that the work may therefore justifiably be called Judaeo-Stoic. Chapter 1 consists of an overview of the history of the Stoic school and its ethical system so as to provide a baseline against which to measure 4 Maccabees. Chapter 2 introduces 4 Maccabees, attempting to shed some light on questions such as the work’s authorship and audience. Ultimately, the work should be regarded as a "successful failure" in light of its internal success but its lack of any substantial influence on subsequent Jewish thought. Chapter 3 is devoted to a new translation of the first three chapters of 4 Maccabees and a detailed commentary on the same.

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