The Battle of Beth Zechariah in Light of a Literary Study of 1 Maccabees 6:32-47

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Abstract

The famous description of Eleazar's heroic death under an elephant at the battle of Beth Zechariah is told in only one near-contemporary source, i.e., 1 Maccabees. 2 Maccabees relates a similar story and some later sources, including Josephus, Megillat Antiochus, and Josippon, retell the story. On the basis of one or more of these sources, scholars have recently proposed bold claims regarding the topography of the battle site, the historicity of a similar battle at Modein, and the credibility of a late source's account of Eleazar's drowning in feces. With the help of a close reading of the sources, I critique these claims, arguing that the sources teach much about the construction of the battle, but little about the battle itself. [Adapted from published abstract: Christopher T. Begg]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalHebrew Union College Annual
Volume88
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • History and Geography
  • Maccabees, 1st 6:32-47
  • Maccabees, 2nd

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