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A Noble Death: Suicide and Martyrdom Among Christians and Jews in Antiquity Hardcover – November, 1992


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Focusing primarily on the period from the death of Socrates to Augustine of Hippo, the authors investigate the Greek legacy: the six cases of voluntary death in the Hebrew Bible and later references to these; Josephus, Philo, and early Rabbinic ideas; early Christian ideas of martyrdom and the teachings of Greek Fathers of the Church and Tertullian. They emphasize the voluntariness of martyrdom and the great shift in Christian opinion of voluntary death occasioned by Augustine's absolute condemnation of it, except in the express instance of divine command. Droge and Tabor view their study as important background to today's death-with-dignity issues. This relevance makes the book important for the informed layperson as well as scholars, ethicists, and clergy. Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 252 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; 1st edition (November 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060620951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060620950
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,295,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tom j on January 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i got this book its awesome it not only talks about christian martyrdom but voluntary death in Greece and Rome
the books talks about the death of Jesus but the death wishes of old testament characters it also talks about the different school of greek philosophy the cynics the stoics the platonic's the neoplatonic and the socratic view of voluntary death
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14 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 7, 1997
Format: Hardcover
To mistake this book as a social and religious stand on suicidewould be an injustice. This book is an insightful historical accounton the act of suicide that encompasses the lofty idea quoted within its text, "Only by being grounded in the history of our own tradition will we be able to restore rationality and intelligibility to our moral attitudes and commitments." The writers waste no lines on the emotional rhetoric associated with the idea of suicide. Instead they make interesting observations such as, the distinction or lack thereof between martyrdom and suicide, the inclusion of a wide and varying amount of facts and references, and for those who find the correlation between literature and history fascinating there is a quotation by Socrates that can arguably be seen as a quote paraphrased by Shakespeare with his own delightful twist, "If it is unconsciousness, like sleep, in which a sleeper does not even dream, death would be a wonderful gain; To die, to sleep, to sleep, perchance to dream . . . " While I have a bias against suicide, finding it sad that anyone would wish to rush to an inescapable event, the issue of death is so complex and emotional that it must be debated with facts from all fronts. This text is a must read for anyone who enjoys learning about the past.
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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Some time has now passed since the sociological conditions that inspired this book, namely the euthanasia debate of the '90s with such figures as Dr. Jack. In that time, the ideological axe of the authors in their interpretations has become far more apparent than perhaps when it was initially published--though it received no more than a tepid response then. Hardly the neutral book the authors claimed to offer. It is useful for identifying the crucial players in late antiquity, but the final product is one that is very far on one side of mainstream scholarship... without sufficient justification or even very enjoyable, coherent organization.
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have to agree with the Cambridge, MA, reader. While martyrdom has once again become a topic of considerable interest in the wake of 9/11, this is not the best exploration of the topic. The book hardly seems unbiased, and it seems to lack a thorough grounding in modern reading theories and hermeneutics.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A graduate student on June 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent, well written, balanced, and richly informative. Anyone interested in an unbiased survey of the subject will be extremely satisfied with this important work.
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