The Myth of Persecution
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The Myth of Persecution : How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom

3.83 (307 ratings by Goodreads)
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In The Myth of Persecution, Candida Moss, a leading expert on early Christianity, reveals how the early church exaggerated, invented, and forged stories of Christian martyrs and how the dangerous legacy of a martyrdom complex is employed today to silence dissent and galvanize a new generation of culture warriors.

According to cherished church tradition and popular belief, before the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal in the fourth century, early Christians were systematically persecuted by a brutal Roman Empire intent on their destruction. As the story goes, vast numbers of believers were thrown to the lions, tortured, or burned alive because they refused to renounce Christ. These saints, Christianity's inspirational heroes, are still venerated today.

Moss, however, exposes that the "Age of Martyrs" is a fiction--there was no sustained 300-year-long effort by the Romans to persecute Christians. Instead, these stories were pious exaggerations; highly stylized rewritings of Jewish, Greek, and Roman noble death traditions; and even forgeries designed to marginalize heretics, inspire the faithful, and fund churches.

The traditional story of persecution is still taught in Sunday school classes, celebrated in sermons, and employed by church leaders, politicians, and media pundits who insist that Christians were--and always will be--persecuted by a hostile, secular world. While violence against Christians does occur in select parts of the world today, the rhetoric of persecution is both misleading and rooted in an inaccurate history of the early church. Moss urges modern Christians to abandon the conspiratorial assumption that the world is out to get Christians and, rather, embrace the consolation, moral instruction, and spiritual guidance that these martyrdom stories provide.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 160 x 232 x 32mm | 459.99g
  • HarperOne
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0062104527
  • 9780062104526
  • 315,781

Review quote

Not only has Candida Moss reminded us that much of what we accept uncritically is pious legend, but that such myths poison the religious and political rhetoric of our time. There is something here to offend everyone, which is the first sign of groundbreaking work. ----Rev. Dr. Robin R. Meyers, UCC Minister and author of "The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus""
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Rating details

307 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 27% (84)
4 41% (125)
3 24% (75)
2 3% (10)
1 4% (13)
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