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The Archparadox of Death

Martyrdom as a Philosophical Category


Dariusz Karłowicz

The book deals with martyrdom understood as a philosophical category. The main question pertains to the evidential value of the Christian witness through death. The author approaches an answer through a philosophical interpretation of the belief in the evidential role of martyrdom. Numerous historical documents confirm that ancient martyrdom might have been considered as a kind of proof also by people unaffiliated with the Church. The author observes the theology and the reality of martyrdom through the perspective of the ancient philosophy of death and radical personal transformation. He believes that the Christian stance in the face of persecutions could have been understood as the realization of the unrealized ambitions of philosophy, thereby proving indirectly the veracity of the teaching revealed by Jesus Christ.
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Part III: Perfection and Death


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Part III:  Perfection and Death

The passion and death of Jesus mean that the tie between truth, suffering and death is a fundamental aspect of Christian teaching and life. The persecutions which hit the Church in the first centuries of its history did not allow believers to forget about the gravity of this connection. The world in which Christianity matured posed a choice between Truth and all that is worldly in a perspective that eliminated any possibility of mediation and compromise. We must clearly say that it is a fact totally independent of whether Christians themselves, as they awaited the Second Coming of the Savior, showed any inclinations to make concessions. The sufferings foretold by Christ (Mt 10:17–18) came soon. The first persecutions, the result of a conflict with Judaism, began in Jerusalem with the arrest and flogging of the apostles (Acts 4:1–21; 5:17–41). In the year 36AD there were persecutions which were inaugurated by the stoning of St. Stephen (Acts 6:8–8:3). In the year 43AD James the Just was thrown from a tower and then stoned. Several years later, in the year 49AD, Christians shared the fate of Jews expelled from Rome by Claudius. Suetonius reports that Emperor made this decision because of a controversy over some Chrestus.389 The first acts of violence by the Empire aimed directly against the Christians were the events following the Great Fire of Rome in the year 64AD.390...

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