9780415941297

The Blood of Martyrs: Unintended Consequences of Ancient Violence

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780415941297

  • ISBN10:

    0415941296

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2004-04-28
  • Publisher: Routledge
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Summary

David Koresh and Jim Jones convinced their followers that suicide that would lead to an idyllic afterlife. Suicide bombers call themselves martyrs. But where did such ideas of martyrdom originate and how have the martyrs of the past shaped today's public death spectacles? InThe Blood of Martyrs, historian Joyce Salisbury chronicles the horrific displays of martyrdom during the first three centuries of the Christian era, describing the role of martyrdom in the early Church and its continuing influence on today's ideas. For the Roman rulers, the elaborately staged dismembering of the bodies of a growing religious minority was one of several futile efforts to preserve the authority of a dying state. For pagan spectators, the fearless Christians and their mysterious beliefs exerted an attraction akin to the schadenfreude that draws millions to today's "Survivor." For the Christians themselves, the martyrs' sacrifice connected elements of ancient religion--blood offerings, miracles, andfolk rituals--with the metaphysical language of their new faith. Exploring a disturbing intersection of faith and murder,The Blood of Martyrsshows how this torture led people to see the world as a struggle of good against evil, a view that haunts our cultural memory to this day, shaping our ideas of sacrifice, suicide, magic, violence, and resurrection.

Author Biography

Joyce E. Salisbury is Frankenthal Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, where she is also Associate Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1(8)
SECTION 1 THE POWER OF THE MARTYRS
1 The Struggle between Evil and Good
9(22)
2 Resurrecting the Flesh
31(24)
3 Magic and the Warrior Martyr
55(20)
4 Dreams and Visions
75(20)
5 Misplaced Anger: The Growth of Anti-Semitism
95(20)
6 How Martyrs became Mothers and Mothers became Martyrs
115(16)
7 The Blood of Sacrifice
131(22)
SECTION 2 CONTROLLING THE MARTYRS
8 Revolutionary Martyrs: Good versus Evil Again
153(20)
9 Controlling the Message: Accounts of Vincent the Martyr
173(16)
10 "You Shall Not Kill [Yourself]": Prohibiting Suicide
189(16)
APPENDIX Chart of Martyrs: Martyrs Mentioned in This Book 205(4)
Notes 209(14)
Bibliography 223(6)
Index 229

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