Toni Craven

Toni Craven is the I. Wiley and Elizabeth M. Briscoe Professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University. She received a B.A. from the University of Maryland, an M.A. from Andover Newton Theological School and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University.

Articles by this author

Judith: Apocrypha

The Book of Judith (second or early first century b.c.e.) is an imaginative, highly fictionalized, romance that entertains as it edifies. From a literary perspective, the book is an artistic masterpiece, constructed in two parts (1:1–7:32, 8:1–16:25), with each internally ordered by a threefold chiastic pattern. Numerous correspondences between the two halves of the story provide elegant compositional symmetries. The Book of Judith is a story of balance and counter-balance that makes the point that God’s people have all they need to survive if they rely wholeheartedly on the covenant.

Martyred Mother with seven sons (2MACC): Apocrypha

According to 2 Maccabees, in the second century b.c.e. the Seleucid king Antiochus IV outlaws temple worship, observance of Sabbaths and holy days, circumcision, and the keeping of Torah she-bi-khetav: Lit. "the written Torah." The Bible; the Pentateuch; Tanakh (the Pentateuch, Prophets and Hagiographia)Torah, and rules that the Jews who will not adopt Greek customs are to die (2 Macc 6:9). The martyrology in 2 Macc 6:7–7:42 (the first of its kind in the Bible) lists stories of those who choose death over apostasy. The last martyr is the unnamed mother who dies after witnessing each of her seven sons cruelly tortured. Her family story appears here in 7:1–42 and in a considerably expanded version in 4 Maccabees (see that entry). Exactly where the martyrdoms in 2 Maccabees take place is debated. No scene other than Jerusalem and Judea is ever established in the narrative, yet Antioch is a possible setting for chap. 7 since the king seems so thoroughly on his own turf.

Martyred mother with seven sons (4MACC): Apocrypha

4 Maccabees, a first-century c.e. work of a loyalist Jew living perhaps at Antioch in Syria, draws upon the martyrology in 1 Macc 6:7–7:42 to construct its portrayal of the martyred mother and her seven sons.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Toni Craven." (Viewed on January 28, 2020) <>.


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