• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: HarperOne (March 5, 2013)
According to Cherished Church tradition and popular belief, before the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal in the fourth century, early Christians were systematically persecuted by a brutal Roman Empire intent on their destruction. As the story goes, vast numbers of believers were thrown to the lions, tortured, or burned alive because they refused to renounce Christ. These saints, Christianity’s inspirational heroes, are still venerated today.
In The Myth of Persecution, Candida Moss reveals that the “Age of Martyrs” is a fiction—there was no sustained three-hundred-year-long effort by the Romans to persecute Christians. Instead, these stories were pious exaggerations; highly stylized rewritings of Jewish, Greek, and Roman noble death traditions; and even forgeries designed to marginalize heretics, inspire the faithful, and fund churches.
The traditional story of persecution is still taught in Sunday school classes, celebrated in sermons, and employed by church leaders, politicians, and media pundits who insist that Christians were—and always will be—persecuted by a hostile, secular world. Moss urges modern Christians to abandon the conspiratorial assumption that the world is out to destroy the church and, rather, embrace the consolation, moral instruction, and spiritual guidance that these martyrdom stories provide.
Candida Moss is professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. A graduate of Oxford University, she earned her doctorate from Yale University. A frequent contributor to the National Geographic Channel, Moss is the award-winning author of several scholarly works on martyrdom, including The Other Christs and Ancient Christian Martyrdom. She lives in South Bend, Indiana.
Candida’s Tour Stops
Wednesday, March 6th: A Philosopher’s Blog
Thursday, March 7th: A Book Geek
Saturday, March 9th: The Musings of Thomas Verenna
Sunday, March 10th: RMP
Monday, March 11th: Aspire2
Tuesday, March 12th: Earliest Christianity
Wednesday, March 13th: 50 Books Project
Thursday, March 14th: Do You Ever Think About Things You Do Think About?
Monday, March 18th: The Way Forward
Tuesday, March 19th: The Dubious Disciple
Wednesday, March 20th: Exploring Our Matrix
Thursday, March 21st: The Gods Are Bored
Monday, March 25th: Broken Teepee