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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom
Moss, Candida

San Francisco: HarperOne, 2013 pp. 308. $25.99


Description: 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

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Early Church Origins

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Review by N. Clayton Croy
Published 10/3/2013
Citation: N. Clayton Croy, review of Candida Moss, The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2013).


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