The neologisms in 2 Maccabees

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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This thesis investigates a hitherto under-researched topic in Septuagint studies, the Septuagint neologisms, that is, the words which are first attested in the Septuagint, taking as a case in point a deuterocanonical/apocryphal book originally written in Greek, the Second Book of Maccabees (2 Maccabees).
The thesis first examines how the neologisms have so far been treated in Septuagint studies and lexicography and proposes a method for their identification based on a thorough search of the electronic databases of ancient Greek literary and non-literary texts rather than of the existing Greek lexica. It also discusses the significance of neologisms for identifying a Septuagint book’s intertextual relationships and for determining the approximate time of its translation/composition.
The main part of the thesis consists of a detailed commentary on some sixty neologisms of various types that occur in 2 Maccabees: neologisms first attested in this book, which do not recur anywhere else in the Septuagint (Septuagint hapax legomena) or anywhere else in Greek (absolute hapax legomena); neologisms shared between 2 Maccabees and other deuterocanonical/apocryphal books, or parts of books; neologisms first attested in the canonical books of the Septuagint, which were taken up by 2 Maccabees; neologisms shared between 2 Maccabees and roughly contemporary extra-Septuagintal literary and non-literary texts; and neologisms of 2 Maccabees which recur in later Jewish and secular Greek texts.
The examination of these multifarious neologisms seeks to trace the intertextual connections that link 2 Maccabees with such texts as the Greek Pentateuch, the Greek Psalter, Old Greek Daniel, 1 Esdras, 3 and 4 Maccabees, Addition E to Esther, and the Alpha Text of Esther, and explores the possible influence on the deuterocanonical book’s diction of secular Greek literary and non-literary texts such as Polybius’ Histories and the Hellenistic honorific decrees. It also provides chronological clues that suggest a date of composition or final redaction of 2 Maccabees in the first century BCE, or around the turn of the Common Era, rather than in the last third of the second century BCE, as is commonly believed.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Centre for Languages and Literature
  • Blomqvist, Karin, Supervisor
  • Hidal, Sten, Supervisor
Award date2018 Mar 17
Place of PublicationLund
Print ISBNs978-91-7753-541-6
Electronic ISBNs978-91-7753-542-3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2018-03-17
Time: 10:15
Place: A339, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Helgonabacken 12, Lund
External reviewer(s)
Name: Aitken, James
Title: dr
Affiliation: University of Cambridge

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Humanities


  • 2 Maccabees, neologisms, hapax legomena, Septuagint lexicography, deuterocanonical/apocryphal books, Alpha Text of Esther, Polybius


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