Between Power and Priestcraft: Th e Politics of Prayer in 2 Maccabees Chris L. de Wet Department of New Testament and Early Christian Studies, University of South Africa, P.O. Box 392, UNISA 0003, Republic of South Africa firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract Th e aim of this study is to experiment with a prominent feature in religious texts, namely prayers, and aims to look at the political function of prayer. As an example one religious text from the Septuagint (LXX) is taken, namely the Second Book of the Maccabees, and the experiment is conducted with reference to this text. First, a cultural-systems model of Second Temple Judaism is given, and second, the literary accounts of prayers and prayer-narratives are examined. It is shown that the prayers in 2 Maccabees had two distinct functions. It ﬁ rstly promoted group cohesion between Palestinian and Diaspora Jews and, second, it promoted an anti-Hellenistic sentiment and positive temple propaganda. Keywords 2 Maccabees, Septuagint, prayer, politics, cultural systems, temple propaganda, group cohesion, anti-Hellenism 1. Introduction Religion has never been solely about God. Jonathan Z. Smith masterfully illustrates how subtly religion and politics are interwoven in some letters between John Adams and Th omas Jeﬀ erson. 1
Religion and Theology – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2009
Keywords: ANTI-HELLENISM; 2 MACCABEES; GROUP COHESION; POLITICS; PRAYER; SEPTUAGINT; CULTURAL SYSTEMS; TEMPLE PROPAGANDA
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