The Blood of Martyrs: Unintended Consequences of Ancient by Joyce E. Salisbury

By Joyce E. Salisbury

Within the Blood of Martyrs Joyce E. Salisbury chronicles the various spectacles of violent martyrdom that happened in the course of the first 3 centuries of the Christian period, describing the function of martyrdom within the improvement of the early Church, in addition to its carrying on with impact on lots of contemporary principles. Salisbury indicates in the course of the enticing tales of the martyrs brought in every one bankruptcy, how their legacy maintains to form modern rules. Discussing smooth martyrdom the publication elicits deep classes for the current from the traditional earlier and outlining the potential for a non secular destiny with no violence. within the Blood of Martyrs, Salisbury brings to lifestyles this tumultuous time in past due antiquity and sheds useful mild on spiritual violence, glossy martyrs, and self-sacrifice.

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When the martyr’s soul went quickly to its reward, his or her body remained on earth waiting for the final judgment when its soul would reclaim it, but during this sojourn, people believed the flesh retained the power that God had given it during its ordeal. This caused Christians to treasure bodily remnants in ways that caused pagans much disgust. ”58 Perhaps a mother could be forgiven for this extravagant display, but this behavior extended to people unrelated to a martyr. For example, a wealthy Carthaginian woman, Lucilla, had purchased a bone of a mar tyr.

Why would people save bones if they did not know what martyr’s deeds they recalled? ”24 Thus, if the name and deeds were forgotten, it was more difficult to venerate the relics—but it was not impossible. That people had forgotten the deeds, even the name of the martyr, was a human flaw, a failure of human memory. It did not mean that the sacred bones were any less powerful, for that was a divine matter. Braulio could happily send anonymous relics to his parish priests because his faith in the bones was secure even if human memory could no longer identify them.

Why did it matter? Why couldn’t Christianity simply accept the belief held by ancient Greco-Romans (and frankly most modern people) that the soul departs at death and goes on to its reward? The answer turns on the issues of identity and justice. Most people believed as Plato did that the soul is immortal and imperishable: “When death approaches a man, the mortal in him dies, as it seems, but the immortal part goes away undestroyed, giving place to death…. ”16 If the soul is immortal, then it preexisted the body and entered it at some point.

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