Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library)

October 31, 2020
Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library)

The importance of martyrdom for the spread of Christianity inthe first centuries of the Common Era is a question of enduringinterest. In this innovative new study, Candida Moss offers aradically new history of martyrdom in the first and secondcenturies that challenges traditional understandings of the spreadof Christianity and rethinks the nature of Christian martyrdomitself. Martyrdom, Moss shows, was not a single idea, theology, orpractice: there were diverse perspectives and understandings ofwhat it meant to die for Christ.Beginning with an overview of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewishideas about death, Moss demonstrates that there were many culturalcontexts within which early Christian views of martyrdom were verymuch at home. She then shows how distinctive and divergingtheologies of martyrdom emerged in different ancient congregations.In the process she reexamines the authenticity of early Christianstories about martyrs and calls into question the dominantscholarly narrative about the spread of martyrdom in the ancientworld.