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Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions

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The importance of martyrdom for the spread of Christianity in the first centuries of the Common Era is a question of enduring interest. In this innovative new study, Candida Moss offers a radically new history of martyrdom in the first and second centuries that challenges traditional understandings of the spread of Christianity and rethinks the nature of Christian martyrdo The importance of martyrdom for the spread of Christianity in the first centuries of the Common Era is a question of enduring interest. In this innovative new study, Candida Moss offers a radically new history of martyrdom in the first and second centuries that challenges traditional understandings of the spread of Christianity and rethinks the nature of Christian martyrdom itself. Martyrdom, Moss shows, was not a single idea, theology, or practice: there were diverse perspectives and understandings of what it meant to die for Christ. Beginning with an overview of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish ideas about death, Moss demonstrates that there were many cultural contexts within which early Christian views of martyrdom were very much at home. She then shows how distinctive and diverging theologies of martyrdom emerged in different ancient congregations. In the process she reexamines the authenticity of early Christian stories about martyrs and calls into question the dominant scholarly narrative about the spread of martyrdom in the ancient world.


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The importance of martyrdom for the spread of Christianity in the first centuries of the Common Era is a question of enduring interest. In this innovative new study, Candida Moss offers a radically new history of martyrdom in the first and second centuries that challenges traditional understandings of the spread of Christianity and rethinks the nature of Christian martyrdo The importance of martyrdom for the spread of Christianity in the first centuries of the Common Era is a question of enduring interest. In this innovative new study, Candida Moss offers a radically new history of martyrdom in the first and second centuries that challenges traditional understandings of the spread of Christianity and rethinks the nature of Christian martyrdom itself. Martyrdom, Moss shows, was not a single idea, theology, or practice: there were diverse perspectives and understandings of what it meant to die for Christ. Beginning with an overview of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish ideas about death, Moss demonstrates that there were many cultural contexts within which early Christian views of martyrdom were very much at home. She then shows how distinctive and diverging theologies of martyrdom emerged in different ancient congregations. In the process she reexamines the authenticity of early Christian stories about martyrs and calls into question the dominant scholarly narrative about the spread of martyrdom in the ancient world.

44 review for Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This is an essential read for those interested in the development of ancient Christianities and Christian ideas of martyrom. Moss' writing is lucid and clear, her engagement with the ancient authors is insightful. This is an essential read for those interested in the development of ancient Christianities and Christian ideas of martyrom. Moss' writing is lucid and clear, her engagement with the ancient authors is insightful.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brian Bigelow

    This book shows how martyrdom became an integral part of Christian belief by the second century of the current era. It seems that for many Christian writers death was something that was preferable to life as I reading through the book. The primary allusion I gathered is that becoming a martyr had its own special allure. That allure drew more to become Christian so that they could become a part too. One thing that also became clear was that martyrdom was rather sporadic in reality except during th This book shows how martyrdom became an integral part of Christian belief by the second century of the current era. It seems that for many Christian writers death was something that was preferable to life as I reading through the book. The primary allusion I gathered is that becoming a martyr had its own special allure. That allure drew more to become Christian so that they could become a part too. One thing that also became clear was that martyrdom was rather sporadic in reality except during the reign of Diocletian when active persecution occurred. What surprised me most about this book is the great esteem Socrates's death held for many. It was the epitome of a good death his calmly accepting his fate.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  4. 5 out of 5

    Samuel J.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zachary

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marci

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Smith

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Recla

  9. 5 out of 5

    Austin Wilson

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Wilhite

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joel

  12. 5 out of 5

    Galina Krasskova

    rather tepid. Author spends a significant amount of time discussing the dating of manuscripts when there are so many more interesting things to discuss with respect to martyrdom. a very tepid and disappointing text. Doesn't really go into diverse practices or theologies with any depth. on the plus side, it is a cogent analysis of the textual evidence for martyrdom and the way in which this shaped Christian views. rather tepid. Author spends a significant amount of time discussing the dating of manuscripts when there are so many more interesting things to discuss with respect to martyrdom. a very tepid and disappointing text. Doesn't really go into diverse practices or theologies with any depth. on the plus side, it is a cogent analysis of the textual evidence for martyrdom and the way in which this shaped Christian views.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Artur Olczyk

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michele Davis

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Potter

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cyril Hovorun

  17. 5 out of 5

    Minato

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rick Stuckwisch

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Timothy

  21. 4 out of 5

    K.M.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jay

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Alexander

  25. 5 out of 5

    Reed

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

  27. 5 out of 5

    C.J.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Baccho

  29. 5 out of 5

    peter

  30. 5 out of 5

    Paul Andrews

  31. 5 out of 5

    thecolorofnight

  32. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Davis

  33. 4 out of 5

    Ayman Fadel

  34. 4 out of 5

    aleph

  35. 4 out of 5

    Steve Walker

  36. 5 out of 5

    Mark Barnes

  37. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  38. 5 out of 5

    Katie Knorr

  39. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

  40. 5 out of 5

    Andy Mickelson

  41. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  42. 4 out of 5

    Dr. Chad Newton, PhD-HRD

  43. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Marone

  44. 5 out of 5

    John Rich

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