Ra'zis ( ῾Ραζείς, Vulg. Razias), "one of the elders of Jerusalem," who killed himself under peculiarly terrible circumstances, that he might not fall "into the hands of the wicked" (2 Maccabees 14:37-46). In dying he is reported to have expressed his faith in a resurrection (ver. 46) — a belief elsewhere characteristic of the Maccabean conflict. This act of suicide, which was wholly alien to the spirit of the Jewish law and people (Joh 8:22; comp. EIwald, Alterth. p. 198; Grotius, De Jure Belli, II, 19:5), has been the subject of considerable discussion. It was quoted by the Donatists as the single fact in Scripture which supported their fanatical contempt of life (Augustine, Ep. 104, 6). Augustine denies the fitness of the model, and condemns the deed as that of a man "non cligende mortis sapiens, sed ferendae humilitatis impatiens" (Augustine, l.c.; comp. c. Gaud. i, 36-39). At a later time the favor with which the writer of 2 Maccabees views the conduct of Razis — a fact which Augustine vainly denies — was urged rightly by Protestant writers as an argument against the inspiration of the book. Indeed the whole narrative breathes the spirit of pagan heroism, or of the later zealots (comp. Josephus, War, 3:7; 4:1, 10), and the deaths of Samson and Saul offer no satisfactory parallel (comp. Grimm, ad loc.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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