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|All Authors / Contributors:||
Candida R Moss
|Description:||308 pages ; 25 cm|
|Contents:||Martyrdom before Christianity --
Christian borrowing of Jewish and pagan martyrdom traditions --
Inventing martyrs in early Christianity --
How persecuted were the early Christians? --
Why did the Romans dislike Christians? --
Myths about martyrs --
The invention of the persecuted church --
The dangerous legacy of a martyrdom complex.
|Responsibility:||Candida R. Moss.|
Moss, however, exposes that the "Age of Martyrs" is a fiction - there was no sustained 300-year-long effort by the Romans to persecute Christians. Instead, these stories were pious exaggerations; highly stylized rewritings of Jewish, Greek, and Roman noble death traditions; and even forgeries designed to marginalize heretics, inspire the faithful, and fund churches. The traditional story of persecution is still taught in Sunday school classes, celebrated in sermons, and employed by church leaders, politicians, and media pundits who insist that Christians were - and always will be - persecuted by a hostile, secular world. While violence against Christians does occur in select parts of the world today, the rhetoric of persecution is both misleading and rooted in an inaccurate history of the early church. Moss urges modern Christians to abandon the conspiratorial assumption that the world is out to get Christians and, rather, embrace the consolation, moral instruction, and spiritual guidance that these martyrdom stories provide.