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Seleucus I Nicator in 4 Maccabees

From: Journal of Biblical Literature
Volume 133, Number 1, 2014
pp. 133-140 | 10.1353/jbl.2014.0004



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.

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