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

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posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 11:37 AM
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reply to post by Malcher
 



I will throw out a softball and ask: How about the so called "witch trials" what do we even know about these events? Aside form the movie of the week etc.

We know quite a bit from original documents from that period. I myself studied those original docs, trial transcripts, diaries, and other sources for a period of two years while doing research for a novel I wrote (and completed) dealing with that subject. My research was prompted by doing a genealogy of my mother's family, and I got as far back as the 1500s by looking at parish records, etc (yes, they are available online).

The witch-hunts took place from the 15th through the 18th century. Funny you brought that up, I was just in a thread the other day discussing what we know based on writings from the time. They took place in Europe, England, and also in the colonies. My ancestors on one branch were directly involved in the Pilgrim exodus of the first half of the 17th century, right before the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell's crusades. It was a dark and highly-charged period of England's history, and had a HUGE impact on how the colonies came to be.

The original Pilgrims were Puritans who had fled England to the Netherlands, and then came here. Others came as prisoners or exiles. They brought with them the extremist thinking and superstition that was the 'witch-hunts'. It is an appalling story.




posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 12:04 PM
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Originally posted by Malcher
Now if we concentrate on the big ones, do we really have evidence that even one tenth of what we read is true?

It depends on what you're reading.

Guff on the Internet? Ten percent is likely a high estimate, lol.

Popular media? Also suspect, in large part, though they usually get most of it right.

Actual academic history? Well, we have tools that help to try and achieve a higher sense of accuracy than just taking things at face value. "History is written by the victor" is only valid in a vacuum -- through the use of multiple sources and multiple disciplines, the official story can often be verified or invalidated.

For example, archaeology can be used to verify things such as The Roman Method of Crucfixion or the existence of Herod's Tomb.



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 01:05 PM
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I'm a Christian Mystic who has traveled various parts of the world and have been threatened to varying degress by various people with varying views.

I promise you this. There are quite a large numbers of areas in the world where I can go to right now, and actually be killed for teaching about Enlightenment through Jesus.

Martyrdom has always gone on in the world through all sorts of belief systems and persecution. To say it's invented is honestly one of the stupidest theories I have ever heard and sounds like its a theory from a sheltered arm-chair self professed intellectual who is trying to sell books by stirring up controversy.



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 01:12 PM
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reply to post by dominicus
 


She's not saying it never happened to anyone. NO ONE is saying that.



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 01:13 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by Malcher
 



I will throw out a softball and ask: How about the so called "witch trials" what do we even know about these events? Aside form the movie of the week etc.

We know quite a bit from original documents from that period. I myself studied those original docs, trial transcripts, diaries, and other sources for a period of two years while doing research for a novel I wrote (and completed) dealing with that subject. My research was prompted by doing a genealogy of my mother's family, and I got as far back as the 1500s by looking at parish records, etc (yes, they are available online).

The witch-hunts took place from the 15th through the 18th century. Funny you brought that up, I was just in a thread the other day discussing what we know based on writings from the time. They took place in Europe, England, and also in the colonies. My ancestors on one branch were directly involved in the Pilgrim exodus of the first half of the 17th century, right before the English Civil War and Oliver Cromwell's crusades. It was a dark and highly-charged period of England's history, and had a HUGE impact on how the colonies came to be.

The original Pilgrims were Puritans who had fled England to the Netherlands, and then came here. Others came as prisoners or exiles. They brought with them the extremist thinking and superstition that was the 'witch-hunts'. It is an appalling story.


First you have to trust your sources and even if you do decide they are trustworthy are we getting the whole story? For all you know you could be reading from a source that has a personal interest to tell a story one way.

The reason could simply be political, like accusations against one administration against another.

Could be that they, being less sophisticated in the study of mental illness, would refer to people who showed signs of mania or even people who would be found to be criminally insane today were viewed as practicing witchcraft. I agree they were superstitious but could be that many of those cases had reasons behind them only they used the wrong terminology due to lack of awareness.

So as an example, what cases would you cite that were solely based on the accusation of being a witch but were completely innocent of any crimes?

How many were the result of spurned lovers in high positions getting a little revenge from the mere accusation that "so and so is a witch" or say a jealous wife could have made the accusation and the person accused being poor or a free spirited had no means of defending themselves so basically the charges are bogus.

Do you have evidence that would stand up in court?



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 01:20 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Hi, for the past few years i have been very critical of the written word. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I read a lot of books that people refer to and ask - so where is the evidence?

If you think some old letter with someones name on it from 1562 is evidence then could have been anyone who wrote the letter. Could be financial interest or hundreds of other reasons, yet we accept such weak evidence which is fine except it is to the detriment of another.

So what if we know that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" only the squeaky wheel is a liar or sociopath.



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by dominicus
 


She's not saying it never happened to anyone. NO ONE is saying that.





Moss, however, exposes that the “Age of Martyrs” is a fiction—there was no sustained 300-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 get Christians and, rather, embrace the consolation, moral instruction, and spiritual guidance that these martyrdom stories provide.

Sounds like it to me.



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 01:29 PM
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reply to post by Malcher
 


So as an example, what cases would you cite that were solely based on the accusation of being a witch but were completely innocent of any crimes?

How many were the result of spurned lovers in high positions getting a little revenge from the mere accusation that "so and so is a witch" or say a jealous wife could have made the accusation and the person accused being poor or a free spirited had no means of defending themselves so basically the charges are bogus.

Do you have evidence that would stand up in court?

I'd have to dig it all out, but yes, I do.
There are numerous cases that are recorded in documents of trial transcripts that show exactly that.
Some of it was, indeed, invented... if a person, usually a woman who lived off by herself and was eccentric. There were midwives when a baby died, and many, many innocents who were accused of causing cattle to die, or other disasters like earthquakes, but mostly it was ignorant revenge for imagined wrongdoing that was brought to court.

In Venice, for example, Veronica Franco, a courtesan, was accused by the Inquisition of being a witch. She was put on trial and nearly executed, I highly recommend reading her works. She wrote an autobiography called "The Honest Courtesan" Veronica Franco This was in the 16th century in Venice. She was extremely well-educated, politically active and respected, and was accused during a plague outbreak.



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 01:33 PM
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reply to post by dominicus
 


She is saying

there was no sustained 300-year-long effort


Knee-jerk reactions to dismiss her is willful ignorance. Read the whole thread, or at least look at the provided links, before you condemn her work. Just because you don't agree with her doesn't make her wrong.

It "sounds like it to you" because you didn't look deeper than those first two paragraphs.



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 01:50 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Do you really think that the case you cited supports the "witch-hunt" hypothesis?

Could "witch-hunt" have actually been a figure of speech, even back then?

It sounds like she may have been unfairly judged for minor crimes. But let me ask you something, would someone take action if a prostitute was operating next door to their home and bringing drunk, possibly degenerate clients under your nose.

I just read the wiki article and sounds to me to be more like what i described transpiring in my previous post.

I believe this paragraph sums things up for us:


Renaissance Venetian society recognized two different classes of courtesans: the cortigiana onesta, the intellectual courtesan, and the cortigiana di lume, lower-class prostitutes who tended to live and practise their trade near the Rialto Bridge.[1] Veronica Franco was perhaps the most celebrated member of the former category, although she was hardly the only onesta in 16th-century Venice who could boast of a fine education and considerable literary and artistic accomplishments.


What i think may have happened is that through the years the witch craft angle was the juicier story - BUT are we getting an accurate perspective or satiating our own imaginations?

Edit: Whoops i made an error in the part where it states former category from the quoted part of the article. I am still confused where this case is an example of what were are discussing.

Still would be nice for someone to show examples where an actual "witch-hunt" took place. All we get are stories with characters that we dont even know if they even existed. LOL...

edit on 9-4-2013 by Malcher because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 02:04 PM
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reply to post by Malcher
 


If you are going to disregard all of the first-hand accounts that have been preserved and can be read today, then there's nothing I can do about that. The witch-hunts were real. Veronica was real.

I saw where you said you don't believe anything that is 'written word' at face value. I commend you for that, but there is overwhelming evidence, including admission by the Roman Catholic Church, that the Inquisition happened.

Witches in Colonial America
This is a genealogical professional site that lists dozens upon dozens of the victims and accused. With outcomes.
Have a peek at it.
Is it fiction? I wasn't there, but I don't think so.

Sources

Hundreds of books and articles have been written about witchcraft in early America, but a few have been particularly helpful in compiling this list, as they provide summary biographical information and/or reasonably thorough lists of the accused witches covered. Treatment of witches in the literature tends to divide into two parts:The Salem era (1692) is the most popular in literature and has the most accusations. Witchcraft prior to Salem is generally covered separately, and occurred throughout southern New England, with a couple of cases in what is now New York (but then in towns under Connecticut’s influence). Limited court action was taken in states further south.


If you're wanting DNA evidence or graves, that would be a whole 'nuther path to follow.
edit on 9-4-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by Malcher
 



Could "witch-hunt" have actually been a figure of speech, even back then?

No. It became a figure of speech because it happened. It was real. Veronica's case is well documented. Are you saying that court reporters and trial transcripts are lies also? People were accused of witchcraft when bad things happened, and they were taken to court for it. Some were executed, some imprisoned, some exonerated.



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 02:21 PM
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reply to post by Malcher
 

Christian serial killers: Murder in the name of God
This is just a link to another forum, but the post has some good info in it.

But you know what? I'm derailing my own thread! gha.....
Feel free to start one of your own to talk more about witch-hunts and the written word. I understand the relevance, but we're drifting here. Let's keep this thread focused on the early Christian martyr stories. obkb?


edit on 9-4-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 02:45 PM
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Originally posted by Malcher
If you think some old letter with someones name on it from 1562 is evidence then could have been anyone who wrote the letter. Could be financial interest or hundreds of other reasons, yet we accept such weak evidence which is fine except it is to the detriment of another.

Again, you're approaching this from the standpoint of a non-academic. You would be hard pressed to find a scholarly historian who would take one letter as being rock-solid proof that something happened. The letter would be introduced as historical evidence, but in and of itself, it is only "proof" that there is such a letter. In the face of conflicting evidence, the letter might be dismissed; in the face of supporting evidence, it might be seen as being part of a body of proof. If there is no other evidence, it would be seen as being indicative of what might have happened.

But, as I said, history rarely occurs in a vacuum. Taking your witch trials as an example, there is plenty of evidence that they took place (though I think your argument to Wildtimes is not that they didn't happen, but what the cause was,) and the evidence takes a number of forms, whether official documents, diaries, letters and physical evidence. The amount, variety and complimentary nature of the evidence leads any competent historian to conclude that these trials did take place.

In the case of the OP, as I pointed out weeks ago, and is also noted in the article that WT posted today, there is nothing new here. Some peoples' perception may be that there was a constant persecution, and it might be in the church's best interests over the centuries for that perception to continue to exist, but it has never been a secret that Roman persecution of Christianity came in waves over the course of 300 years, and anyone who is familiar with early church and/or Roman history (including, of course, the author of this "sensationalizing" book, who is a New Testament professor,) is well aware of it.

Hence the conclusion, on my part, that this book, or at least the promotion of it, belies some sort of agenda.



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 03:47 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by Malcher
 

Christian serial killers: Murder in the name of God
This is just a link to another forum, but the post has some good info in it.

But you know what? I'm derailing my own thread! gha.....
Feel free to start one of your own to talk more about witch-hunts and the written word. I understand the relevance, but we're drifting here. Let's keep this thread focused on the early Christian martyr stories. obkb?


edit on 9-4-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)


Son of Sam was a Christian serial killer?

This is a quote to that monstrosity (thread) you refer to as proof:


David Berkowitz (Corbis) called the SON OF SAM, murdered more than 10 women. The newspaper said "He called himself a born again Christian" Berwid The article in the Flint Journal quotes him "I was searching the bible and soul searching and I decided God wanted me to do that."


David Berkowitz did not become a Christian until many years after the murders. He was raised Jewish prior to that. I dont see the point that thread is making except a profound lack of knowledge.

And the old testament quotes mean nothing to me. I never read the book, but if it advocates atrocities then what can i say? What people choose to believe beyond that is none of my business.

This is not derailing the thread because all i asked is that as the thread title states:

"The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom"

Then what else we consider to be truthful was invented?

How can we question this and not question other persecutions where we really dont know what happened?

You have not provided any credible evidence for us to say with 100% or even 75% certainty that there were cases where the accused was simply called a witch and put to death based on them being a witch. All you say is akin to "it happened". And the person (Victoria) was alive and well...IOW's never accused or found guilty of witch craft, no burning at the stake etc. She wrote a book and took the money and ran.

I cant see how anyone can say this is irrelevant unless the idea is that history is what we would like it to be.
edit on 9-4-2013 by Malcher because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 04:07 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen

Originally posted by Malcher
If you think some old letter with someones name on it from 1562 is evidence then could have been anyone who wrote the letter. Could be financial interest or hundreds of other reasons, yet we accept such weak evidence which is fine except it is to the detriment of another.

Again, you're approaching this from the standpoint of a non-academic. You would be hard pressed to find a scholarly historian who would take one letter as being rock-solid proof that something happened. The letter would be introduced as historical evidence, but in and of itself, it is only "proof" that there is such a letter. In the face of conflicting evidence, the letter might be dismissed; in the face of supporting evidence, it might be seen as being part of a body of proof. If there is no other evidence, it would be seen as being indicative of what might have happened.


I agree and that is my point, but I think that many do consider an old letter as proof that what it states is genuine and not a complete fabrication or gross exaggeration. Never mind that anything official would need to be written in the presence of a large number of witnesses AND preferably notarized to be truthful.

The only real requirement for many people is that it agrees with their perspective or satisfies their desires...sadly it is usually very negative.

WildTimes stated:

"The witch-hunts took place from the 15th through the 18th century."

That is three centuries and yet i have not seen him give one example aside from that woman and this charge does not even apply to her case as far as i have read in his linked to wiki page.

Based on the thread title I have no other conclusion to come to.
edit on 9-4-2013 by Malcher because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 05:21 PM
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Originally posted by Malcher
The only real requirement for many people is that it agrees with their perspective or satisfies their desires...sadly it is usually very negative.

Unfortunately, yes, that is often the case outside of academic circles and, appallingly, occasionally the case within those circles (see the aforementioned Jesus Seminar, historians who declare history to be what they want it to be, irrespective of what it actually was.)



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 05:41 PM
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Could it be possible that the Romans were persecuted then? Even if it iswas posthumously.

After all, we only have to go on second hand accounts. Look at the post i made regarding Caligula. I have read that he was a very giving and caring leader and then suddenly he turned into a raving lunatic? What if he was actually too good to the commoner?

Most people dont even know that when the Roman Empire fell that their capital or where they were based from was inundated with people from all over Europe and beyond, but those people are not from the Roman Empire or at least only a small percentage have any ancestors who were actually part of the Roman Empire.

Just seems like they were so much more advanced than everyone else when we consider the contributions they made to our civilization and are too numerous to even list here. Just in law alone we see their influence on what occurs in courtrooms across the world - i think their concepts gave us modern law and also modern governance.

We first learned about the concept of "a man must be considered innocent until proven guilty" ("Presumption of innocence") from the Roman Empire and that is only a miniscule snippet.


edit on 9-4-2013 by Malcher because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 10:46 PM
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reply to post by Malcher
 



Just seems like they were so much more advanced than everyone else when we consider the contributions they made to our civilization and are too numerous to even list here. Just in law alone we see their influence on what occurs in courtrooms across the world - i think their concepts gave us modern law and also modern governance.

We first learned about the concept of "a man must be considered innocent until proven guilty" ("Presumption of innocence") from the Roman Empire and that is only a miniscule snippet.

I am in NO WAY dismissing what the Greeks and Romans gave us. They were fabulous philosophers, artists and thinkers. I'm not sure why you think I am vilifying them.


Oh, and I'm a 'she'. Just so you know.



edit on 9-4-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2013 @ 10:51 PM
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reply to post by Malcher
 


This is a quote to that monstrosity (thread) you refer to as proof:

'Monstrosity'? Really?
Oh my. I'm a scholar and seeker. I just don't trust what Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh have to say.....nor do I trust what the extremist liberals have to say. Are you familiar with NPR? Do you ever listen to their programs?




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