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Martyrdom: A Guide for the Perplexed, 1st edition

  • Paul Middleton
  • Paul Middleton
Martyrdom: A Guide for the Perplexed

ISBN-13:  9780567032171

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Overview

It can be said, almost without exaggeration, that martyrdom has become one of the most pressing theological issues facing the contemporary world. Since the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the world has had to face up to an Islamic manifestation of martyrdom. Martyrdom has a long history; as long as individuals have been dying for their faith or cause, others have been telling and more importantly, interpreting their stories. These martyrologies are essentially conflict stories. Whether a Christian confessing her faith before a bemused Roman governor, or a suicide bomber blowing himself up in a crowed cafe in Jerusalem, the way these stories are recounted - positively or negatively - reflect a wider conflict in which the narrator and his community find themselves. Martyr narratives, whether textual, oral, or even a CNN news report, do more than simply report a death; they also contain the interpretative framework by which that death is understood - again positively or negatively. When the death of a martyr is reported, the way in which that story is told places that death within a larger narrative of conflict, which may be regional, global, or even cosmic. The martyr becomes a symbol of the community's desires and hopes, or for that matter, their terrors and fears, but in either case, the martyr is representative of a larger struggle, and often martyrology contains the vision of how the community envisages final victory over their enemy. This book aims to illuminate the way these conflict stories have been told and function (principally, though not exclusively) within Christian, Jewish, and Islamic communities. Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.

Table of contents

List of Abbreviations\Preface\Chapter One: Making Martyrs\Chapter Two: Persecution and Martyrdom in Early Christianity\Chapter Three: The Theology of Martyrdom in Early Christianity\Chapter Four: Christian Martyrdom in an Era of Christendom\Chapter Five: Martyrdom in Judaism\Chapter Six: Martyrdom in Islam\Postscript: Narrating Martyrdom

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Published by T & T Clark International (August 4th 2011) - Copyright © 2011