AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractMany studies of early Christian martyrdom have noted the phenomenon of voluntary martyrdom. However, most scholars, drawing on criticism of the practice found in the Martyrdom of Polycarp and Clement of Alexandria, dismiss those who provoked their own arrest and death as deviant, heretical, or numerically insignificant. This article argues instead that the earliest Christian martyrologies celebrate voluntary martyrdom as a valid mainstream Christian practice, which faced only isolated challenge in the first three centuries. Furthermore, pagan sources support the view that voluntary martyrdom was a significant historical as well as literary phenomenon. As there is no reason to conclude voluntary martyrdom was anything other than a valid subset of proto-orthodox Christian martyrdom, more attention should be paid to this phenomenon by early Christian historians.
CitationJournal of Theological Studies, 2013, 64(2), pp. 556-573
PublisherOxford University Press
JournalJournal of Theological Studies
DescriptionThis is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Theological Studies following peer review. The version of record, 2013, 64(2), 556-573 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jts/flt123
SponsorsThis article was submitted to the RAE2014 for the University of Chester - Theology & Religious Studies.
CollectionsTheology and Religious Studies
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