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 learn, Candida Moss deals a notably new heritage 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 exhibits, used to be now not a unmarried suggestion, theology, or perform: there have been assorted views and understandings of what it intended to die for Christ. starting with an outline of historical Greek, Roman, and Jewish rules approximately dying, Moss demonstrates that there have been many cultural contexts during which early Christian perspectives of martyrdom have been greatly at domestic. She then exhibits how special and diverging theologies of martyrdom emerged in several historical congregations. within the strategy she reexamines the authenticity of early Christian tales approximately martyrs and calls into query the dominant scholarly narrative concerning the unfold of martyrdom within the historical international.
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Extra resources for Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies and Traditions
Socrates has been called “the world’s first recorded martyr,”34 his legend was shaped by a succession of disciples and imitators, and his image was transformed by his biographers into a multifaceted figure molded by hearsay, slander, and adoration. 36 Various aspects of the trial and death of Socrates are recorded in multiple Platonic dialogues. The Apology narrates the details of the trial; the Crito relays a conversation about whether or not it is ethical for Socrates to escape prison and go into exile; and the Phaedo records the final day of Socrates’s life, his conversations and his consumption of hemlock.
Judith Perkins’s work radically alters the terms of the discussion. Rather than focusing on literary parallels, linguistic Vorlagen, or even instances of martyrdom, Perkins probes the cultural significance of suffering in the ancient world. Whereas Brox and Bowersock have posited a radical division between simply “yearning for death” and practicing martyrdom, Perkins refocuses the question on suffering itself. If, for Bowersock, “a happy ending . . 5 Perkins’s work is instrumental because she reconfigures the scholarly understanding of suffering in the ancient world.
72 This identity, however, was multifaceted. The manner in which a martyr was presented as an ideal Christian or ideal martyr was augmented by the manner in which that martyr was also portrayed as an ideal man, woman, member of the clergy, Roman, or soldier. Even if these other identities were sometimes subsumed by the portrait of the ideal Christian or martyr, their effect is subtly felt. In sum, martyrs are not incarnations of the ideology of martyrdom, and the details of their lives that shape the idiosyncrasies of their presentations affect the ideologies of martyrdom themselves.