The story of Heliodorus' defeat in 2 Macc depicts God's extraordinary victory over His enemies. The defeat of Heliodorus and his troops described as a personal work of God is an event which happened without any direct human intervention. The present article analyzes this issue in light of ancient heroes' fights with a deity. These heroes paid the penalty not so much as a consequence of their fight, but because of their revelation of a supernatural power. The juxtaposition of many ancient sources, in which we find both the fights of heroes against gods and 'crime and punishment' themes, reveals the conventionality of literary forms used by hagiographers. Pseudo-Philo's LAB is one of the works in which this tradition is present. The story about Mica's idolatrous sanctuary contains some threads which are analogous to 2 Macc, and can be examined from two perspectives. The fi rst one concerns a detailed description of punishment, whereas the second one focuses on an ironic dimension of the story. The analysis proposed in this research presents the composition of 2 Macc 3 as a certain literary convention. At the same time, it connects the rules of interpretation of this text with those relating to historical legends about theomachoi.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.