Evil and the Body of Antiochus IV Epiphanes: Disability, Disgust and Tropes of Monstrosity in 2 Maccabees 9:1−12
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Through a hermeneutical lens structured on the intersections of disability, disgust, and tropes of monstrosity, here I will probe the discursive and bodily act of expelling evil through the narration of the body of a notorious villain of the Second Temple period, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, as it is told in 2 Maccabees 9:1─12. This narrative has long been seen to number among “death of tyrant type scenes” in which tormentors are brought to account for offending the divine, informing so-called “de mortibus persecutorum literature.” Relatively few commentators have, however, probed Antiochus’s actual embodied performance here. This is surprising given that 2 Macc 9 seems (in contrast to other narrations of Antiochus’s death) to intentionally to foreground bodily materiality and invoke sensory stimuli to intrude as macabre spectacles from which the audience physically recoils. As will be seen, this passage ultimately vomits out Antiochus’s liminal body and the ontological, ideological, and spatial crises it represents as an abhorrent, foul, and repugnant embodiment of evil.
Evil and the Body of Antiochus IV Epiphanes: Disability, Disgust and Tropes of Monstrosity in 2 Maccabees 9:1−12, in Keith C, Stuckenbruck L (eds) Evil in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity, Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016
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