Description : Martyrdom is not only a sharply contested term and act, but it has a long history of provoking controversy. One person's 'martyr' is another's 'terrorist', and one person's 'martyrdom operation' is another's 'suicide bombing'. Suicide attacks have made recurring questions about martyrdom more pertinent to current discussions. What is martyrdom? Why are some people drawn towards giving up their lives as martyrs? What place does religion play in inciting and creating martyrs? How are martyrs made? Why are some martyrs and martyrdoms remembered more than others? How helpful is the distinction between active and passive martyrdoms? In order both to answer such questions and to understand the contemporary debates about martyrdom, it is helpful to consider its diverse roots. In this Very Short Introduction, Jolyon Mitchell provides a historical analysis to shed light on how the concept and practice of martyrdom has evolved, as well as the different ways in which it is used today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Description : It can be said, almost without exaggeration, that martyrdom has become one of the most pressing theological issues facing the contemporary world. Since the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the world has had to face up to an Islamic manifestation of martyrdom. Martyrdom has a long history; as long as individuals have been dying for their faith or cause, others have been telling and more importantly, interpreting their stories. These martyrologies are essentially conflict stories. Whether a Christian confessing her faith before a bemused Roman governor, or a suicide bomber blowing himself up in a crowed cafe in Jerusalem, the way these stories are recounted - positively or negatively - reflect a wider conflict in which the narrator and his community find themselves. Martyr narratives, whether textual, oral, or even a CNN news report, do more than simply report a death; they also contain the interpretative framework by which that death is understood - again positively or negatively. When the death of a martyr is reported, the way in which that story is told places that death within a larger narrative of conflict, which may be regional, global, or even cosmic. The martyr becomes a symbol of the community's desires and hopes, or for that matter, their terrors and fears, but in either case, the martyr is representative of a larger struggle, and often martyrology contains the vision of how the community envisages final victory over their enemy. This book aims to illuminate the way these conflict stories have been told and function (principally, though not exclusively) within Christian, Jewish, and Islamic communities. Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.
Description : The importance of martyrdom for the spread of Christianity in the first centuries of the Common Era is a question of enduring interest. In this innovative new study, Candida Moss offers a radically new history of martyrdom in the first and second centuries that challenges traditional understandings of the spread of Christianity and rethinks the nature of Christian martyrdom itself. 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. Beginning with an overview of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish ideas about death, Moss demonstrates that there were many cultural contexts within which early Christian views of martyrdom were very much at home. She then shows how distinctive and diverging theologies of martyrdom emerged in different ancient congregations. In the process she reexamines the authenticity of early Christian stories about martyrs and calls into question the dominant scholarly narrative about the spread of martyrdom in the ancient world.
Description : This volume explores the fascinating phenomenon of noble death through pagan, Jewish and Christian sources. Today's society is uncomfortable with death, and willingly submitting to a violent and ostentatious death in public is seen as particularly shocking and unusual. Yet classical sources give a different view, with public self-sacrifice often being applauded. The Romans admired a heroic end in the battlefield or the arena, suicide in the tradition of Socrates was something laudable, and Christians and Jews alike faithfully commemorated their heroes who died during religious persecutions. The cross-cultural approach and wide chronological range of this study make it valuable for students and scholars of ancient history, religion and literature.
Description : Martyrdom is a controversial and disputed concept. Just as religion is often hijacked by politics, martyrdom is frequently ascribed to a narrow, partisan, and parochial foundation. This is the first book to present varied views on the topic of martyrdom, reaching beyond cliches and simplistic explanations to provoke deep consideration of the essential nature of human beings and society. The volume's authors--experts in the disciplines of psychology, theology, and politics--examine martyrdom in thoughtful and thought-provoking chapters. A closing conversation between the authors is designed to inspire further discourse and debate. Readers engaged in the exploration of social justice, conflict, psychology, religion, and the politics of memory will find this book unique and stimulating. The authors have appeared on public television and public radio, as well as ABC, CBS, and NBC news and discussion programs.
Description : Martyrdom and the Politics of Religion explores the ways that Salvadoran Catholics sought to make sense of political violence in their country in the 1970s and 1980s by constructing a theological ethics that could both explain repression in religious terms and propose specific responses to violence. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, the book highlights the ways that progressive Catholicism offered a justification and tools for political resistance in the face of extraordinary destruction. Using the case of Catholicism in El Salvador, the book explores the nature of religious responses to social crisis and the ways that ordinary believers construct and strive to live by ethical systems. By highlighting the importance of theological belief, of narrative, and of religious rationality in political mobilization, it touches questions of general interest to readers concerned with the social role of religion and ethics.
Description : The importance and centrality of the topic will make the book of interest beyond the immediate circle of students of the New Testament.
Description : The opposing views between the West and Islamic terrorists highlight the myths and motivations of martyrdom through a review of recent events, such as the suicide bombers in London and Madrid, and the West's political agenda in the Middle East in dealing with Iraq, Iran, and Israel.