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«My Share of God’s Reward»

Exploring the Roles and Formulations of the Afterlife in Early Christian Martyrdom

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L. Arik Greenberg

«My Share of God’s Reward» refers to a quote from Ignatius of Antioch, speaking of the desired compensation for his impending martyrdom. The author investigates the roles and widely varying conceptions of the afterlife presented in early Christian martyrdom accounts and concludes that personal immortality is integral to the functioning of these texts, as the anticipated reward for a martyr’s death. Accordingly, the very diverse conceptions of the afterlife presented in them are indicative of the frequently ignored theological diversity and experimental spirit prevalent in both early Christianity and late Second Temple Judaism. The discussion also incorporates a unique definition of martyrdom that recognizes the genealogical and developmental connections between Christian martyrdom and its antecedents.