In The Blood of Martyrs - which, as Tertullian wrote, is 'the seed of Christians' - Joyce E. Salisbury chronicles the many spectacles of violent martyrdom that took place during the first three centuries of the Christian era, describing the role of martyrdom in the development of the early Church, as well as its continuing influence on many of today's ideas. The very public display of ancient violence, horrifically entertaining to Roman pagans, was deeply influential on early Christianity. Blood-rites and sacrifice allowed Christians to connect elements of ancient religions with the metaphysical language of their new faith. The power of the martyrs also shaped ideas as varied as magic, motherhood and virginity, sacrifice, suicide, and resurrection of the flesh. And, as Salisbury shows through the engaging stories of the martyrs introduced in each chapter, their legacy continues to shape contemporary ideas. Salisbury concludes with a discussion of modern martyrdom, eliciting deep lessons for the present from the ancient past and outlining the possibility of a religious future without violence.In The Blood of Martyrs, Salisbury brings to life this tumultuous time in late antiquity and sheds invaluable light on religious violence, modern martyrs, and self-sacrifice.

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