'Christian Martyrdom' Never Happened
New book by Candida Moss assails an old story
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2013 7:22 PM CST
Old illustration of Saint Sebastian martyrdom. Created by Pecher, published on L'Illustration Journal Universel, Paris, 1857.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Were early Christians martyred en masse? That notion is key to Christian history, but in The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom, Candida Moss assails the idea that Christians spent centuries hiding from godless Romans who wanted them thrown to the lions, Salon reports. The book's strong point is inconsistencies Moss finds in early accounts of Christian martyrdom and surviving Roman records.

For example, Moss describes one undeniable Roman anti-Christian campaign between 303 and 306—but explains that Christians were kicked out of public offices, meaning they were respectable enough to hold public office. Moss concedes that some Christians were executed, but says that was normal in a society embracing capital punishment for even minor offenses. Moss argues that the "martyr myth" lies behind modern conservative rhetoric about the "war on Christianity": "You cannot collaborate with someone who is persecuting you,” she writes. “You have to defend yourself.”

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Showing 3 of 192 comments
barkie84
Mar 4, 2013 12:12 PM CST
This guy who wrote 'Christian Martyrdom' Never Happened is a nut. He probably believes the Holocaust never happened or Slavery in the U.S. is a hoax... All you need to do is see the news where in Africa and the Mid-East Christians are being persecuted and murdered...
DERY
Feb 28, 2013 4:46 AM CST
Straw man b.s. I believe Christian scholars themselves decades ago debunked alot of the excessive hyperbole of these persecution stories. This Moss isn't doing anything new but taking advantage of the anti-Christian sentiments in today's America.
DMacaoidhSelim
Feb 27, 2013 2:52 PM CST
This is ridiculous. Where there is religion, there is both oppression, and oppressing. Some people can't help themselves. Look up statistics in countries with majority/multiple religions, and you will find countless problems that include violence and, yes, murder. By the way... Roman Empire executions were beyond brutal. Their punishments and interrogations were brutal. Every empire/hegemony has participated in violence of this nature. Powerful people will stop at nothing to preserve their rule of law, and religion is one of the easiest ways to manipulate the masses. That includes dissenting religions, also. Does anyone really believe that over 80% of China's citizens are true atheists, for example? Come on.