Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hypocrisy in Luke 12 and 2 Maccabees 6

Richard once asked me, regarding hypocrites and hypocrisy as they relate to Luke 12:

"In 2nd Macc, the Jewish people are ordered to eat meat that has been sacrificed to the idols and Eleazar is offered 'kosher' meat to eat to make it appear he is in compliance with the order of the king but he refuses saying it would be hypocrisy to do so (and misleading) to the Jewish people. In his refusal, he becomes a Jewish martyr. Is Jesus [in Luke 12] in saying, 'beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy' somehow alluding to Eleazar and contrasting the behavior and conduct of the Pharisees with Eleazar?"

Richard was considering Jesus' admonition as an allusion to the sory of Eleazar as told in 2 Maccabees 6. I responded:

1. Hypocrisy in Luke 12.1ff. is defined as saying something in secret or hiding something (12.1-3; the hidden thing will be revealed); not confessing before men (12.8ff.). This is essentially the same phenomenon expected from Eleazar [the refusal of which led to his martyrdom].

2. More importantly, there is a deeper parallel involving the two texts:

In Luke 12.4ff., [we find the] admonition to not fear (me phobethete; cf. 12.7) those who can kill the body (soma); "fear (phobethete) him who can destroy body (soma) in hell".

2Macc6.30: Eleazar suffers in his body (soma); Eleazar says, "I will suffer these things because I fear (phobov) him [the Almighty]; 2Macc6.26 = Eleazar says, "Whether I live or die, I shall not not escape the hands of hte Almighty".


I have not studied this line further since these remarks. Perhaps time will permit it soon. In the meantime, if you find this line of inquiry interesting or have something to contribute here, please leave a note. I'm interested in others' thoughts.

Copyright 2007

No comments: