4 Maccabees 5:20
16 "We, O Antiochus, who have been persuaded to govern our lives by the divine law, think that there is no compulsion more powerful than our obedience to the law. 17 Therefore we consider that we should not transgress it in any respect. 18 Even if, as you suppose, our law were not truly divine and we had wrongly held it to be divine, not even so would it be right for us to invalidate our reputation for piety. 19 Therefore do not suppose that it would be a petty sin if we were to eat defiling food; 20 to transgress the law in matters either small or great is of equal seriousness, 21 for in either case the law is equally despised. 22 You scoff at our philosophy as though living by it were irrational, 23 but it teaches us self-control, so that we master all pleasures and desires, and it also trains us in courage, so that we endure any suffering willingly;
8 But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show prejudice, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as violators. 10 For the one who obeys the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a violator of the law. 12 Speak and act as those who will be judged by a law that gives freedom. 13 For judgment is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But mercy triumphs over judgment.
Notes and References
"... Circumcision alone did not constitute being a Jew and circumcision as an initiatory rite for male proselytes was the end result of a long process of conversion and study.360 Furthermore, in most forms of Judaism during this period, the Law was perceived to be an indivisible whole. This is indicated by the Mishnah, which stresses that one must heed the light as well as the heavy commandments (m. ‘Abot., 2:1; 4:2). Closer to Paul’s own time, the author of 4 Maccabees (5:20-21) proclaims that transgressions of the Law in either small or large things is equally indictable, since both demonstrate that the transgressor despises the Law. Finally, we might quote Sirach (7:3) who suggests that any sin renders one guilty of violating the Law, not just a law. Apparently, therefore, a person or community was not at liberty to pick and choose their practices, or discriminate about which legal regulations were binding – a sentiment shared by some Christians as well. Thus, we find that the author of the letter of James (2:10) decrees that “whoever keeps the whole Law, yet stumbles at one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (cf. Matt 5:18-19) ..."
Elmer, Ian J Paul, Jerusalem, and the Judaisers: The Galatian Crisis in Its Broadest Historical Context (p. 159) Mohr Siebeck, 2009
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