Seleucus I Nicator in 4 Maccabees


This study argues, against scholarly consensus, that the mention of “Seleucus Nicanor” in 4 Macc 3:20–21 is not a historical error but a reasonably carefully constructed and accurate reference to Seleucus I Nicator. Nicanor was a commonly occurring variant of the official epithet Nicator, and comparison with the passage in 2 Maccabees, on which the author of 4 Maccabees drew, indicates that the author edited the passage to bring it into conformity with the conditions during Seleucus I Nicator’s reign. Since this passage is cited as evidence for the alleged historical unreliability of 4 Maccabees, that assessment requires adjustment.