Maccabean Martyr Traditions in Paul's Theology of Atonement
Chapter 1 introduces the thesis and presents a history of research. Chapter 2 investigates selected texts from Greco-Roman literature, Leviticus 16, Isaiah 53, and the key texts in 2 and 4 Maccabees to demonstrate that 2 and 4 Maccabees speak of the deaths of the martyrs with similar language found in Greco-Roman literature, the OT cult, and Isaiah 53. I argue that the martyr texts present the Jewish martyrs as voluntary and vicarious, atoning sacrifices for Israel's sin. Chapter 3 investigates Genesis 22, Exodus 32, Numbers 25, and Isaiah 53 to see if these texts influenced the atonement theology in 2 and 4 Maccabees and in Paul: viz., a voluntary death of a human for the soteriological benefit of others. Since each of the OT texts investigated in chapter 3 mentions human sacrifice and since three of the four mention human sacrifice for the benefit of others, I limit my investigation to these specific OT texts. I argue that with the possible exception of Isaiah 53, the sort of vicarious human suffering and atoning death for sin for the soteriological benefit of others that appear in 2 and 4 Maccabees do not appear in these OT texts in the same way as the above concepts are presented in the key martyr texts or in Paul.
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