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This book examines the historical context of the earliest Christian martyrs, and anchors their grisly and often willful self-sacrifice to the everyday life and outlook of the cities (mostly Greek) of the Roman empire. By exploring the remains of contemporary documents of martyrdoms in the centuries before Constantine, it provides a historical explanation of why martyrdom occurred when and as it did, and thereby tries to expose the fundamental assumptions of a radical new form of religious and political dissidence that has been a powerful influence down to our own times.Read more
- Examines the historical context for the earliest Christian martyrs in a concise series of four chapters
- Interprets the concept of martyrdom as distinct from other forms of self-sacrifice, such as suicide
- The work of an internationally-renowned historian of the ancient world
Reviews & endorsements
"...an interesting book with numerous insightful details....vital for any discussion of early Christian martyrdom." The Journal of ReligionSee more reviews
"...a significant contribution to the reawakened interest in the political and social dimensions of Christian martyrdom, as well as in the martyrological narratives themselves....argued with the clarity and magisterial command of the original sources that is characteristic of the author....a pivotal work in the impending debates over the meaning of Christian martyrdom." Brent D. Shaw, Catholic Historical Review
"This is a succinct yet engrossing study, appropriate for both general and specialist audiences." Craig L. Hanson, Church History
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- Date Published: October 2002
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521530491
- length: 120 pages
- dimensions: 217 x 140 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.163kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. The making of martyrdom
2. The written record
3. The civic role of martyrs
4. Martyrdom and suicide
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