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Lecture 18

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McGill University
Religious Studies
RELG 203
Sean Ross

Lecture 18 Antiakist the 4th -greek king of selucide empire -his laws instigated the rebellion of the Maccabees Alexander the great -military commander th -4 century -mentioned in chapter 1 of 1 Maccabees -created one of the largest empires in the world -campaign: helenize the territories he conquered Hellenization spread of culture to Greek culture has become a way of life for some jews in judaiah -removed the marks of circumcision Military compaign involves an aggressive Hellenization -before some jews embraces Hellenization, now all must adopt Greek customs Antiakist ordered all jews to sacrifice pigs and all animals, sons were circumcised, punishment was death Jews were forced to eat intestines of animals Every jew was put to death who refused the greek way of life Revolt 167-160 before common era Maccabees = leaders of jewish group who lead the rebellion Judas Mackabee is the son of metathias -mounted a campaign against the Hellenised jews -feared they would destroy Judaism Jewish rebels took back temple in Jerusalem -Hanukah is a celebration of this event King tries to force Maccabees to eat pork, they refuse, they are put ot death -mother of Maccabees sees each of her sons die before her and encourages them to stay strong in their refusal -her actions are celebrated -mothers death is not so much important but her actions -praised in 4 macakbees more so; doesn’t shed a tear despite all the tortures -unnamed -later tradition known as Hannah, Mariam, mother of Maccabees -received as a model of piety -active character, not passive as other females in the bible Martyr: -someone who chooses death/torture rather than renounce his or her beliefs -means witness; the person who undergoes torture gives witness to their faith and witnesses who sees what they’re going through are witnesses -public staged event -roman empire made public execution an example of the many Characters in macakbees never referred to as martyrs but interepreted as such Martyr texts Martyrs of Leon -female slave thrown into arena, tortured -Blendina acts as a mother to the martyrs -highlights parallel with mother of the Maccabees Martyrdom of st. samarium and james -two boys killed with mother -mother rejoices with sons St. somotomus and bustias -courage of the mother becomes an admirable trait by Christian martyrs Augustine -books of macakbees are canonical -due to the sufferings of martyrs Prof’s lecture: Judith: -story set in post-exilic period -historical details are confused (Judah is under Persian rule, however primary aggressors are the assyrians [but they are long gone] ruler of assyrians is nebaconezor who is dead… probably done on purpose, not by mistake… possible to make it more universal) -written around same time as mackabean texts -Pious Judith plots to save her town from destruction through deception -2 century -written by jews, no longer considered canonical by jews (just catholics and orthodox) -two parts: 1: assyrians attack Judah to punish them, athulians can’t have water 2: Judith has great beauty and is pious, lives in poverty, defends bethulia through treachery, dolls herself up to look desirable, presents herself to holofernes (greatAssyrian general) so that she can remove him from a point of difficulty. -similar story to Jael and Sisera -Holofernes wants to have sex with Judith, she goes along with as far as possible to achieve her goal -Holofernes is blind drunk, Judith chops off his head, puts it in her shopping bag and brings it out for everyone to see! -sign of the power of god, Judith is celebrated because it shows that God can use a woman to defeat a great general Artemesia’s “Judith Decapitating Holofernes” -Judith is calm, confident, no hesitation -full assurance of what she’s doing -typical of how she is represented; as a heroine Donatello “Judith and Holofernes” -symbol of republican values in Florence -controversial because the Medici were viewed as trying to coop the freedom of the Florentines -Florentine symbols produced for the Medici family -family was removed from power and the statue was relocated to public ground in Florence -viewed as symbol of Florentine liberty over the Medici's -Florentines reclaimed their image Judith is sometimes represented as a figure like Delilah -i.e. killing a man in love/lust with her -not the majority view -for the most part she is celebrated, but some are uncomfortable Allori’s “Judith” -represented mistress as Judith -blew all his money on her, she spurned him, so he made her the cold and calculating Judith -Judith’s servant is in the background but it’s really his mistresses mother Griffith’s film about Judith -serious change to the story -injects a sense of romance -Judith meets Holofernes then falls in love with him because he is attractive -she struggles with her duty to kill him, lots of resistance -horrified when she kills him, fond memories of him -total departure from the text where she does not hesitate to kill him Esther: -Canonical figure -takes place in a time earlier than when it is originally composed -during end of first stage of Persian empire -short novel -Secular piece of writing somewhat like Psalms as it makes no real reference to God or other dimensions of Jewish religious practice or belief -troubling to some parties, led to relatively late addition of the Canon -Martin Luther rejected it initially -Added God with new additions -book not concerned with Jewish religion practices, but still greatly concerned with ethnicity issues -book belongs to Diasporic literature -Diaspora means a scattering/spreading, referring to the spreading of Jews outside of Israel/Judah -Jewish communities abroad, living among other communities -any ethnic group with a shared geographic origin living in a new land -Esther is not preoccupied with resisting foreign rule -Winter headquarters of Persian queen (modern day Iran) -adapting to rule and learning how to live as a Jew in the midst of another dominant culture -adaptation NOT resistance -Esther marries a gentile king -shares a lot of common with Daniel
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