Original Research - Special Collection: P.M. Venter Dedication

Ritual, rage and revenge in 2 Maccabees 6 and 7

Pierre J. Jordaan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 1 | a1271 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i1.1271 | © 2012 Pierre J. Jordaan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2012 | Published: 17 October 2012

About the author(s)

Pierre J. Jordaan, School of Ancient Languages, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


The martyrs in 2 Maccabees 6 and 7 have been explored in various ways. In their commentaries on 2 Maccabees, Jan Willem van Henten and Daniel Schwartz proposed that the deaths of the martyrs should be seen as human sacrifices to please the deity. This idea has either been challenged or supported by scholars. This article supported the idea of human sacrifice, and applied the view of Richard DeMaris of the martyr’s deaths as exit rite to the above-mentioned texts. In essence this amounts to ritual critique. The results were surprising, and proved the model of DeMaris as a useful tool to examine rituals. The conclusion was reached that 2 Maccabees 6 and 7 is indeed an exit rite.


Ritual; curative exit rite; Richard DeMaris; human sacrifice; appeasement


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