I realize this thesis has never been proposed before so bear with me… In reading through what Jarvis Williams calls “martyrdom theology” I come across Eleazar of 2 Maccabees: Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes, a man advanced in age and of noble appearance, was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork. 19 But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement, he went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture, 20 spitting out the meat as they should do who have the courage to reject food unlawful to taste even for love of life.
notes, not done. shoot, not even edited. going through the OT/Jewish writings looking for self-inflicted deaths. Another suicide is found in 2 Maccabees, this time at 14.37–46, in which Razis, a loyal Jew who was soon to be arrested, killed himself because, “εὐγενῶς θέλων ἀποθανεῖν, ἤπερ τοῖς ἀλιτηρίοις ὑποχείριος γενέσθαι, καὶ τῆς ἰδίας εὐγενείας ἀναξίως ὑβρισθῆναι.” The phrase “εὐγενῶς θέλων ἀποθανεῖν” is immediately noticeable especially because of the praise it gives the suicidal Jew. The details of the story must be examined almost minutely. Razis is a title, rather than a name, possible derived derived from Isaiah 14.16–18 or
Not done. Just notes. And notes make good blog posts. As we will see below, the Maccabean books provides the early Christians with a great wealth of material for theological reflection as well as understanding the role of martyrdom. The first self-inflicted death in this series of books occurs when Eleazar rushes into a crowd of elephants to assassinate king Antiochus V (1 Maccabees 6.43–44): “καὶ εἶδεν Ἐλεαζὰρ ὁ Σαυαρὰν ἓν τῶν θηρίων τεθωρακισμένον θώραξιν βασιλικοῖς, καὶ ἦν ὑπεράγον πάντα τὰ θηρία, καὶ ὤφθη ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐστιν ὁ βασιλεύς. καὶ ἔδωκεν ἑαυτὸν τοῦ σῶσαι τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ
I think this may just one of the most fitting quotes I’ve read in a long time.
According to James Charlesworth (who used John Vicker’s data) he did. This is taken from James Charlesworth paper for the Charles Wesley society (PDF). He concludes that both Wesleys, while some differences of use, still used and cherished the hidden books. He concludes by saying, For John Wesley the most revered apocryphal document may have been the Wisdom of Solomon, followed by Sirach. The Wisdom of Solomon and the Fourth Book of Ezra seem to be the most attractive apocryphal books to Charles Wesley. I note that John Wesley’s Articles of Religion, which was geared to the American Methodists (1784), says, In the
Since he-who-must-not-be-named is reviewing the “normal books,” I wanted to take some time and focus on the books you good Protestants are missing due to the drunk who threw them out. Frankly, they are among my favorites. Yes, you Wesleyans like James and you Calvinists like the Institutes, but for those of us who love Jesus, there are books (used by Christians since the beginning) like Wisdom of Solomon and the (Greek) Additions to Esther. Admittedly, the former of these two is my favorite. The introduction to the entire section (split off as as they do in Protestant bibles)
This doesn’t really apply to the entire book, but the ability of the person to see and know what it happening above his grave serves as the connection. Plus, I really like the song.