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Contextualising Early Christian Martyrdom

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Jakob Engberg, Uffe Holmsgaard Eriksen and Anders Klostergaard Petersen

This collection of essays examines Christian martyrdom by locating it in different historical, cultural and social contexts. Chronologically, the book analyses traditions predating the Christian martyr literature and ideology proper, and studies an example of how this ideology was transformed in the post-Constantinian era. Within this chronological span the following contextual themes are discussed: the arena and the values represented by gladiatorial combat and executions; the reaction of ‘others’ to Christian martyrdom and martyr ideology; how Christians differentiated suicide from martyrdom; the relationship between Christian apologetic literature and martyr literature; and the conceptions of gender and sexuality in Jewish and Christian martyr literature in their Greco-Roman setting.
The three editors work together at the Centre for the Study of Antiquity and Christianity, Faculty of Theology, Aarhus University.
Jakob Engberg is Associate Professor of Early Church History and coordinator of the MA programme The Religious Roots of Europe.
Uffe Holmsgaard Eriksen is a PhD fellow working on dramatic elements in the hymns of Romanos Melodos.
Anders Klostergaard Petersen is Associate Professor and Head of the Department for the Study of Religion & Arab and Islamic Studies.