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The texts strongly suggest, surely, that it is the logic of sacrifice that must explain how martyrdom came to be understood as redemptive for Israel: “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days…” (Is. 53:10).

Historically, though, it was the need to withstand Antiochus’ attempts to wipe out Jewish faith and practice in Jerusalem that gave rise to the belief that the suffering of a righteous individual would save Israel from destruction—and would be rewarded by personal resurrection.

Prior to that the threat to Jewish faith had been at the national-political level, notably the Babylonian invasion and exile.

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