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Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) Hardcover – June 26, 2012


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Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) + The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom + The Other Christs: Imitating Jesus in Ancient Christian Ideologies of Martyrdom
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Product Details

  • Series: The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300154658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300154658
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Candida Moss' well written book puts the study of ancient martyrdom on a completely new footing by her questioning of received datings and persuasive insistence on the diversity of the sources, practices, and ideologies of martyrdom. It is a milestone in the field."--Jan Bremmer, University of Groningen

"This is a valuable study on a very important topic...by a brilliant young scholar who has taken the trouble to gain mastery of the scholarship...going back to the early modern period, and who is not afraid to go back to the first principles to re-assess the date and context of the sources."--Kate Cooper, University of Manchester

"Ancient Christian Martyrdom shows that we didn't know what we thought we knew--but we now know more thanks to her striking illumination of the varied discourses of martyrdom in relation to ancient attitudes about death, suffering, power, and order."--Brad S. Gregory

"An insightful new history of early Christian martyrdoms and the social realities that shaped them. Tertullian's famous line that the blood of martyrs was the foundation of the Church takes on new dimensions as Professor Moss carefully traces the complex history of the death of Christian witnesses."--Harold Attridge, Yale University

“Intriguing, fresh, and thought-provoking”—Diane Fruchtman, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 
(Diane Fruchtman Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

“Insightful and important”—W. Brian Shelton, Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism
(W. Brian Shelton Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism)

About the Author

Candida Moss is professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame.


More About the Author

Candida Moss is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. A graduate of Oxford University, she earned her doctorate from Yale University. Moss has received awards and fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Catholic Biblical Association, and the John Templeton Foundation. A frequent contributor to the National Geographic Channel, Moss is the award-winning author of several scholarly works on martyrdom, including The Other Christs and Ancient Christian Martyrdom. She lives in South Bend, Indiana.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Marcus_Aurelius12 on January 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Candida R. Moss' most recent monograph is an astonishingly impressive, extraordinarily necessary, and genuinely enjoyable contribution to scholarship on early Christianity. With hermeneutical savvy and considerable aplomb, she shepherds the reader through decades of (often) dull and divisive scholarship to diagnose where the field strayed and to tread a new, more promising path forward. As she astutely acknowledges in her introduction: "In the study of ancient Christianity, no figure polarizes the scholarly world as effectively as the martyr. Study of the martyrs is as often a disdainful preoccupation as it is a preoccupying delight. The martyr commands attention, fascinates the skeptic, and confounds the rationalist" (1). As our modern sensibilities do not see being fed to a lion an exciting Friday night, it's easy to psychologize the mental instability of the martyrs and dismiss them as needlessly suicidal. Or, confessional investment claims the martyrs as the precious progenitors of Christianity and leads to unquestioned acceptance of these accounts as journalistic pericope. In many ways, the goal of Moss' text is to demonstrate the failure of such approaches to fully appreciate the complexities and sophistication of these ancient accounts.

Through her tremendous scholarship she pays witness to the dynamic/devastating discourses of martyrdom and their intricate incorporation (and interpretation) of diverse contextual traditions about death, suffering, and hegemony. As she describes: "This book treats martyrdom as a set of discursive practices that shaped early Christian identities, mediated ecclesiastical and dogmatic claims, and provided meaning to the experience described by early Christians as persecution, and in doing so produced a new economy of action.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Wesley Weber on May 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Modern histories of martyrdom have tended to take one of two approaches: 1) they attempt to reconstruct the history of martyrdom genealogically, tracing it from its modern definition backward into antiquity in an attempt to find the origin of the idea and practice; 2) they attempt to explain the existence of martyrdom in spite of the seeming irrationality of the act, flying in the face of the assumption that human beings naturally seek a long, healthy life, and will generally do anything to avoid death.

In her book, Candida Moss questions and problematizes both of these approaches, arguing that they both rely on the presupposition of a single, monolithic notion of martyrdom that can be tracked back to a single origin. She argues that attempts to reconstruct the linguistic evolution of the term μαρτύς have been weighted too heavily, and give a false sense of uniformity of thought on the practice. On the contrary, the idea of martyrdom is not synonymous with any specific linguistic term. Furthermore, identification of the origin of martyrdom with the birth of the linguistic term privileges Christianity, and assumes martyrs could not have existed before the existence of the term for martyr--this would exclude classic examples such as the Maccabees, Daniel, and Socrates.

...read the whole review at ryanwesleyweber.wordpress...

This book makes significant contributions to our understanding of early Christian thought about martyrdom. Far from the homogenous ideological history that many scholars have attempted to narrate, Moss demonstrates conclusively that there existed a wide variety of practices and beliefs surrounding martyrdom in antiquity, which varied from region to region and even from one text to another.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tommy on May 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The book is a predecessor to her more popular "Myth of Persecution" The book is very compelling in looking at Marytrdom through out the Roman Empire. It's also a university press so there's a lot detail in examining the original texts.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Baden on May 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As a sane reviewer (as opposed to, say, a crazy person who hasn't read the book), it is a pleasure to recommend this work. It is perhaps the single most important recent work on ancient Christian martyrdom, a tour de force of historical and philological expertise, which illuminates in great detail the various diverse manifestations of early Christian ideas about living and dying for faith. For anyone interested in the complicated origins of Christianity, or the many ways Christian belief was expressed in its scattered locales, this book is both a fund of information and an aesthetic joy to read.
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