Heroes and Villains in 2 Maccabees 8:1-36: a rhetorical analysis
In recent years, scholarly contributions to the study of 2 Maccabees have shifted towards a focus on larger themes and rhetorical elements. This, in turn, allowed for a deeper understanding of the narrative aim and the persuasive nature of the text. This article builds on traditional rhetorical analysis and adds to the discussion by investigating a neglected aspect namely the communicative strategy. It further explores an otherwise unnoted concept: a contract of trust between the implicit reader and a group or individual within the text. The vindication and legitimisation of the group of heroes within the text is shown to be a fundamental element in a strategy which presents the heroes as fully authoritative and their actions as unquestionable. Such a communicative strategy proves to be ideal for moving the reader to adopt the main proposition: the fate of the Jews is intimately connected to the scale of God's wrath and mercy.
- Faculty of Theology