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The Myth of Persecution Paperback – 28 Mar 2014

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The Myth of Persecution + Martyrdom and Memory: Early Christian Culture Making (Gender, Theory, and Religion)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (28 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062104551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062104557
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 388,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Candida Moss is professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. A graduate of Oxford University, she earned her doctorate from Yale University. A frequent contributor to the National Geographic Channel, Moss is the award-winning author of several scholarly works on martyrdom, including The Other Christs and Ancient Christian Martyrdom. She lives in South Bend, Indiana.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Romulus on 17 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book I noticed is getting a lot of 'one-star' reviews from christians on amazon.com - naturally i guess as its questions the martyr stories but I found it well researched and definitely worth a read whether you're a christian or not and are open minded

A good and systematic analysis into the Christian mythology of persecution by the Romans and the various embellishments and half truths manufactured later to promote the new faith through the use of supposed martyrs. A considerable number of the martyr stories it seems were 'borrowed' from other religions of the time with little or no change. Others don't stand the test of logic while others obviously don't fit the period of history they're supposed to be from.

The Romans were actually very tolerant of other beliefs and the author analyzes why some (not most) early Christians got into trouble not because they were hated or feared as a community but because of their disdain and disrespect for their laws and practices.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. K. C. Mann on 5 July 2013
Format: Hardcover
A well written book giving insight into how persecution stories developed, creating a stereotype that persists into the present. I was previously unfamiliar with philosopher death stories as a genre, and I am now surprised that I did not recognise them for the myths they so clearly are in retrospect. A sobering read, particular in the current context when disagreement is so easily labelled as persecution.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BW on 28 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent, scholarly and well written, dispelling some of our myths
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6 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Bradbury VINE VOICE on 22 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
Within the body of comments by those who support the notion that the persecution of early Christians is a myth it is not uncommon to find claims like this:

"The Romans were actually very tolerant of other beliefs and the author analyzes why some (not most) early Christians got into trouble not because they were hated or feared as a community but because of their disdain and disrespect for their laws and practices."

In reality this is an invalid conclusion based on a true, but CRUCIALLY INCOMPLETE piece of information.

It is true that the cults of both the Romans and the Greeks tended to be tolerant of other cults. and citizens might worship[ a variety of major gods as well as their household gods.

But the case against the Christian was not which god they DID worship, but the one god they WOULDN'T worship - the emperor. Likewise, and on this point the author is almost correct, based on they choice to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ, and the "12 Commandments" of Judaism, they believed in ONLY ONE GOD, albeit in three "persons." Which was correctly interpreted as implying that the entire hierarchy of Roman gods, including the emperor, were invalid.

As long as that kind of thinking was confined to the Roman empire in the Middle East it could be tolerated just as Judaism, another very exclusive religion, had been tolerated up until then. But when Christianity spread to Rome and began to attract a significant number of followers it became intolerable - coupled with the growing unrest amongst Jews in Israel - something had to give, and the Romans didn't tyhink it should be them.

Thereafter rather different conditions existed. The Jews had physical boundaries that could be dictated by the invaders.
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Format: Paperback
My research coincides with Professor Moss' research in many areas, but the professor hasn't penetrated the literature as deeply as it is possible to do, thereby failing to notice the huge elephant standing in the middle of the living room. In fact, Professor Moss alludes to the elephant standing in the middle of the room, but it goes right over her head (and others too since the fall of the Western Roman Empire):

"If we give any credence to the apocryphal acts and believe that the apostles attracted large crowds, then we have to concede that the apostles might have been viewed as revolutionaries. If they were arrested, then the charges levied against them may have been insurgency or inciting unrest among the people. As the death of Jesus shows, Romans had no problems executing people who caused trouble or could potentially start a rebellion. They were taking elementary precautions." (p. 137).

The above quote is affirmed by New Testament professors for the PBS Frontline documentary "From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians", who unanimously agree that Roman governors in Judea immediately executed charismatic persons that attracted large crowds (go to the comments section to this review below, where the first posting provides yet another New Testament professor's account of how Roman governors of Judea immediately behaved towards the various "Messiahs/prophets" they met up with)...

"Jesus would have represented a kind of activist and resister in Pontius Pilate's experience that he had been dealing with for years, and with varying degrees of success and effectiveness, obviously.
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