In this innovative new study, Candida Moss offers a radically new history of martyrdom in the first and second centuries that challenges traditional perspectives on the spread of Christianity and rethinks the nature of Christian martyrdom. Martyrdom, Moss shows, was not a single idea, theology, or practice: there were diverse perspectives and understandings of what it meant to die for Christ.
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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 N. Bremmer, professor of religious studies, 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 in both English and German 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, professor of ancient history, University of Manchester
Moss successfully overturns longstanding assumptions in reconfiguring our picture of pre-Decian Christian martyrdom, combining erudite awareness of divergent contexts with sophisticated analysis of important texts. Ancient Christian Martyrdom shows that we didn’t know what we thought we knew—but we now know more and see with fresh insight, thanks to her striking illumination of the vibrant, varied discourses of martyrdom in relationship to ancient Mediterranean attitudes about death, suffering, power, and order.
—Brad S. Gregory, author, Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe