Martyrdom: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
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One person's "martyr" is another person's "terrorist," and one person's "martyrdom operation" is another's "suicide bombing." Suicide attacks around the world have raised many troubling questions about martyrdom. What is martyrdom? Why are some people drawn towards giving up their lives as martyrs? What place does religion play in inciting and creating martyrs? How are martyrs made? In order to answer such questions and to understand the contemporary debates about martyrdom, this Very Short Introduction considers martyrdom's diverse roots. Jolyon Mitchell looks at examples from a wide range of historical, religious and cultural contexts, including a mother's martyrdom in a Roman arena, the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the burning at the stake of a young Joan of Arc, the execution of a novelist in nineteenth-century Asia, and, more recently, many self-inflicted deaths in the Middle East and beyond. This wide range of examples helps to illustrate how the term martyrdom has developed and is still used differently in various contexts around the world. Each chapter draws on visual images to illustrate the topic of martyrdom.
religiously inspired journalism. Stories about recent violent events were news. They made for popular and dramatic copy. Particular deaths were given meaning and significance, which often then became bones of contention. Martyrdoms could be deeply divisive, especially as a number of public executions had taken place within living memory. In many cases they accentuated sectarian divides and became emotionally charged points of contest and debate. Once again martyrdom texts were not stable
Philippines. There are a number of reasons why this talented multilingual 35-year-old (1861–96) was executed. He was a passionate advocate for reform in the Philippines during Spanish colonial rule. He wrote many essays, poems, and letters, but is best known for his two novels, Noli Me Tangere (1887) and its sequel El Filibusterismo (1891, also known as The Reign of Greed). After reading Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery tale Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), Rizal decided to write novels as a way of
performance at what the French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926–84) described as ‘the theatre of death’ is over. Like many other executioners, Charles’s in London wore masks to preserve their anonymity, fearing for their lives from Royalist supporters, while Joan of Arc’s executioner in Rouen confessed after her burning in 1431 that he feared for his soul. Precisely what happens after death for the martyr is a point of speculation for those left behind. Some claim paradise, rebirth, or even
Bowersock, Martyrdom and Rome (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). This book examines the historical context of the early Christian martyrs in relation to everyday life and beliefs in the Roman Empire. Bowerstock also compares the Graeco-Roman background with the martyrologies of both Jews and Muslims. He argues that martyrdom emerged not out of Judaism but rather out of 2nd-century Christianity within the Graeco-Roman world, especially in Asia Minor. Michael L. Budde and Karen Scott
attempting to outlaw Jewish practices and customs, and the fierce resistance that this provoked. 2. Gustave Doré, Martyrdom of Eleazer the Scribe, woodcut, Doré’s English Bible, 1866 In 2 Maccabees 6 the reader is told how ‘the king sent out an Athenian elder to force the Jews to turn away from their ancestral laws and stop living according to God’s laws’. The temple was defiled, statues to the Olympian God Zeus were brought inside, and it was even used for sex with prostitutes. Two ‘women