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.
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