Guide The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom

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  2. CANDIDA MOSS / THE MYTH OF PERSECUTION: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom
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The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom

True martyrs are apparently defined by their disinterestedness. Step Four: Move the goalposts.

Conversations w/Great Minds P1 - is the Christian belief in persecution just a myth?

Moss emphasizes many times that hostility is not persecution. Neither is violence. As you might expect, Roman prosecution under mos maiorum , by this definition, was not persecution. Moss has knowingly and anachronistically stacked the deck. Roman civil action against Christians had a variety of motives, all of them more evidently social and political than theological.


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Did Romans even really distinguish the political from the religious such that we could tease out of our few ancient sources a purely religious reason for violence against Christians? Such distinction of Caesar from God sounds very. Even modern mass murders of Christians while worshipping are not persecution unless we know the precise motivations of the attackers from their own mouths.

Moss excels at such distinctions without a difference. Finally: Distract. As you might expect, there is no comparable effort to acknowledge where martyrdom has inspired salutary self-sacrifice. Did Dietrich Bonhoeffer have martyrs as his inspiration? He was not executed just because of his Christian faith, after all. And what about those who have martyrs in mind each day as they strive to feed, educate, mend, and defend broken lives—those whose sacrifice will never be known by us in this life?

Michael Bird rightly points to contemporary persecution and asks if this is indeed a myth. But, as Radner retorts,. To argue this is to try to change the subject. Moss is right to encourage reexamination of Church history. Politically motivated, persecution always aims not simply to destroy something offensive but to make room for something else. His persecutor will presume neither to know nor to care what the Cardinal believes or why he believes it.

But he will know what the Cardinal does not believe , and that all such resistance must be eliminated to make way for something better.

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CANDIDA MOSS / THE MYTH OF PERSECUTION: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom

The current financial crisis may provide an opportunity to build stronger families and communities. Neither the New Testament nor the writings of early Christians support the idea that material….

Book Reviews , Religion and the Public Square. May 29, September 10, By Glenn Moots.

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Related Posts. Forward to the Past The current financial crisis may provide an opportunity to build stronger families and communities. Keep up with the conversation! Subscribe to Public Discourse today. Moss, however, exposes that the "Age of Martyrs" is a fiction—there was no sustained 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. A decent look at the way in which the stories of Christian martyrs arose, and become standard fare for Christians seeking to prove something. The author, a Christian herself, feels that these Scholarly and closely argued presentation of the history of the idea of Christian martyrdom, how it functioned in bolstering the power of the orthodox and feeding the cult of relics.

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