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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versión On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versión impresa ISSN 1017-0499


VORSTER, Johannes N.. Re-membering the mother of the seven in 4 Maccabees. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2015, vol.41, n.3, pp.23-43. ISSN 2412-4265.

Few rhetorical genres so vividly demonstrate how the past can be revived for contemporary political purposes, as the epideictic or encomiastic. Dead bodies are not excluded from this genre. The comforting 'rest in peace' never really happens for the dead body when it can be deployed as site of contestation. I argue that the suffering of the mother as portrayed in 4 Maccabees functions as a strategy to demonstrate the superior masculinity of the Jewish male, in its comparison with what the Roman Empire had to offer. The problem is, however, that instead of a shift from victimhood to heroic status, the subversion is not successful owing to the powerful strategies of Graeco-Roman hegemonic masculinity. In continuity with the theme of this volume concerning 'memory' this article demonstrates how collective memory may politically perform as epideictic, not only in the making of bodies, but especially also to serve the solidarity agenda of a community.

Palabras clave : 4 Maccabees; mother in 4 Maccabees; rhetoric of body; epideictic rhetoric; masculinity; Roman female body; habituated body; gender in antiquity; collective memory; memory and politics; memory and praise.

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