Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies by Candida R. Moss

By Candida R. Moss

The significance of martyrdom for the unfold of Christianity within the first centuries of the typical period is a query of putting up with curiosity. during this cutting edge new examine, Candida Moss bargains a considerably new historical past of martyrdom within the first and moment centuries that demanding situations conventional understandings of the unfold of Christianity and rethinks the character of Christian martyrdom itself. Martyrdom, Moss indicates, used to be no longer a unmarried proposal, theology, or perform: there have been different views and understandings of what it intended to die for Christ. starting with an outline of historical Greek, Roman, and Jewish principles approximately loss of life, Moss demonstrates that there have been many cultural contexts during which early Christian perspectives of martyrdom have been a great deal at domestic. She then indicates how special and diverging theologies of martyrdom emerged in numerous historical congregations. within the method she reexamines the authenticity of early Christian tales approximately martyrs and calls into query the dominant scholarly narrative in regards to the unfold of martyrdom within the historic international.

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Additional info for Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies and Traditions

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In contemporary scholarship there is a lingering unspoken commitment to traditional dating of the acts of the martyrs. The majority of texts discussed in this work were adjudged authentic eyewitness accounts by nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century scholars and were dated on the basis of the events that they purported to record. If a text was deemed authentic, it was presumed to have been composed shortly after the death of the martyr it described. In recent decades, there has been a marked shift in scholarly attention from a focus on historical martyrs (what martyrs said and did) to an interest in what early Christians thought about martyrs.

66 I do not intend to reproduce either a false sense of geographical isolation or the rigid provincial boundaries that this organization presumes. While the presence of constellations of texts, ideas, and individuals in various locations around the ancient Mediterranean prompts me to describe ancient martyrdom in this way, these martyrological types were not hermetically sealed from one another. The cartographer produces a two-dimensional representation of the world that does not always account for human interaction.

What follows is a brief survey of the variety of ways in which violent death was constructed in non-Christian texts in the period of our study. The constraints of this book do not afford the opportunity to examine at length the intricacies of the texts and practices that are merely sketched here. The distinctions drawn between Greek, Roman, and Jewish are not intended to signify cultural separation; they are merely heuristic devices that provide various points of entry into the tapestry of ancient thought.

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