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Centering on the first extant martyr story (2 Maccabees 7), this study explores the "autonomous value" of martyrdom. The story of a mother and her seven sons who die under the torture of the Greek king Antiochus displaces the long-problematic Temple sacrificial cult with new cultic practices, and presents a new family romance that encodes unconscious fantasies of child-bearing fathers and eternal mergers with mothers. This study places the martyr story in the historical context of the Hasmonean struggle for legitimacy in the face of Jewish civil wars, and uses psychoanalytic theories to analyze the unconscious meaning of the martyr-family story.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781138206663
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Naomi Janowitz is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California-Davis, USA.
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