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

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posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 10:08 PM

Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by adjensen

Now, here we come with a book (and a thread) called "The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom", which is a fairly condemning title. We are aware how little some people read, think and discern, so it is not unlikely that there are those who will file that title away without the slightest consideration of what it means, apart from some vague "the church lied about the Romans killing them", and then, if the subject ever comes up, they're likely to say something like "oh, I heard all those martyr stories are BS, no one really died."

That's my issue.

Fair enough.

(The thread title is the book's title).....
so, it's 'condemning' of whom?
Yes, we are aware of how little some read, think, and discern......
are you suggesting that we don't dare bring these publications to the public, because some will just accept the title as "truth" without reading it and considering the evidence?

How, my friend, is that any different than saying the Bible is "the true word of God"?

Its clear at this point that you just may have an agenda beyond a reconsideration of the extent of the martyrdoms. It looks like you are slowly creeping up on the suggestion that if the early martyer records were fabricated or hyped to a good degree then there is no reason not to believe the whole story of christianity is hyped up tall tales.

There are even suggestions already on this thread that the reasons for rome coming down on the christians had something other to due with than what the christains themselves said were causing the problems.

posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 10:13 PM
reply to post by wildtimes

I feel that the words persecuted and martyred are being too well intermingled here, and they are two distinct issues. Persecution is much more widespread worldwide over the past couple centuries than martyrdom, but it is alive and well, especially in countries where Christianity is not considered a popular practice, or even an allowed practice. There are plenty of stories of oppression, torture, and even execution out there, and also plenty of stories of miracles that took place to save such from these things, which is even better.

I do find the whole topic interesting, though, I am not closed-minded about it.

posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 10:23 PM
Christians and non christian alike miss the message of Christ entirely.

Its not about saints.

Its not about martyrs.

Its not about popes.

Its not about tradition.

Its not about condemnation.

Its very simple,

Do unto to others as you would do unto yourself.

If Christians lived by that their would be very little controversy or debate about the history, or effects the religion has had.

posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 10:26 PM
reply to post by wildtimes

Hey Wild,

What an interesting turn of event, for this book to come out now, just after the resignation of the Pope. More and Papal mischief and lies coming to forefront.

I wonder, have perused this thread?

I think you may enjoy this read.

False Flag Number Two the Burning of Rome

Yet there was a problem, what to do about the real Christians? While they were relatively small in numbers in Rome, and influential as they were all slaves, and originally came from a remote part of Britannia it would do little good to have any who could actually deny that their God Christ was not from Jerusalem or attached in any way to the Hebrews.

Ruthless campaigns against the Celts and Druids by the Roman Legions in Britannia could solve the first problem.

Silencing the real Christians in Rome would be more problematic.

So Emperor Nero set fire to Rome to kill two birds with one stone. He would place the blame squarely on the Christians and have them all rounded up and killed, and raise the religions stature for the first time to the eyes of the average Roman even while Josephus would be defining the Hebrew myths through his fabrications that would be a parent to the Christian Religion.

At the same time, Rome would benefit from some much needed remodeling in the congested city center, as far as Nero was concerned.

With almost every district of Rome touched by the fire, and many consumed completely by it and a death toll in the hundreds of thousands, the survivors wanted their pound of flesh and someone to blame.

Nero would give it to them in the form of the Christians. He would sentence them all too spectacular deaths and martyrdom and silence the roots of their religion at the same time.

They would be drugged in advance, to meet their fates stoically, in fine Roman fashion, meant to impress the average Roman of the power of their virtually unheard of and little worshiped God but for Slaves from Britannia.

posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 10:29 PM
reply to post by wildtimes

She's a scholar, with a doctorate, for crying out loud!!

She is also representing the religion who have been the biggest mass murders of Christians in history and who have a track record of revisionist history to feather their own nest...the Catholic church

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 12:03 AM
I'm definitely interested in reading the book when it hits . . . it reminds me of a story my Paternal Grandfather used to tell me about his doubts about the entirety of the New Testament (He was German Lutheran and didn't like the Catholics very much and for further reference my Maternal lineage was Jewish and from Hungary . . . interesting dynamic growing up!!)

Anyway, he was from Augsburg in Bavaria (Swabia). Augsburg was founded by Tiberius at the behest of then Emperor Augustus, in order to control trade routes to the north from Italy. He was attending university there just before the NAZIs came to power and said he read an old text in one of the libraries that claimed pretty much the same thing. Apparently, he claimed, the Romans didn't actually execute or go after any Christians for actually being Christian and there was never any period or persecution for their faith . . . the Romans didn't care either way. He said the text claimed the Christians were seen as "terrorists" because they refused to follow Roman Laws or pay their taxes. Christians would only accept the rule of God . . . not the Romans. He claimed a few other things that were in these texts, as well, and as a result thought the entire New Testament was suspect and full of lies. He later became a non-believer, shortly after WWII. Which led to me being raised Jewish . . . as he and my dad didn't want to or care about "bringing me up in Christianity". I later became an atheist, myself.

I would be interested to see if any of her evidence was found in Augsburg . . . that would be kind of cool . . . as it would validate my G-Pa. Everyone in the family thought him to be quite the conspiracy theorist, as this wasn't his only wild claim. He had some pretty convincing tales about the Lost Duchman Mine, as well, and even took a job with Garrett AiResearch just to move to Arizona.
edit on 3/3/13 by solomons path because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/3/13 by solomons path because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 01:02 AM
reply to post by wildtimes

Someone named their daughter after thrush?


posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 01:06 AM
reply to post by wildtimes

What no panem et circenses?

There are deniers for the holocaust, why not deniers of other well established history?

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 01:26 AM
reply to post by wildtimes

Being thrown to gladiators and lions for sport, to the roar of the crowds, and being boiled alive in oil and burned at the stake and nicknamed by Nero a "roman candle", isn't what you call persecution? Rome always did have a tendency to downplay what they were doing. Martyrdom did happen and it still does happen in places like China and the M.E.
edit on 3-3-2013 by lonewolf19792000 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 01:35 AM

Originally posted by silo13
reply to post by wildtimes

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.

Based on what again? The records kept by those who committed the atrocities?

LOL. Enough said.



What you said.

Thats like the U.S. saying the scarlet fever laden blankets they knowingly gave native amercians in the 1800's was a myth, or that the diseases the europeans brought over that killed hundreds of thousands of native americans was a figment of our imaginations.

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 01:41 AM

Originally posted by lonewolf19792000
reply to post by wildtimes

Being thrown to gladiators and lions for sport, to the roar of the crowds, and being boiled alive in oil and burned at the stake and nicknamed by Nero a "roman candle", isn't what you call persecution? Rome always did have a tendency to downplay what they were doing. Martyrdom did happen and it still does happen in places like China and the M.E.
edit on 3-3-2013 by lonewolf19792000 because: (no reason given)

I'm not claiming to any truth of the OP, but the Romans killed all manner of people by those means, not just Christians. The same goes for cruxifiction. The Roman government was blood-thristy and barbaric, as were the citizens who enjoyed the "entertainment". Cruxifiction was common and widespread until Constantine "converted" and outlawed the practice, in reverence to Jesus. While Christians may have suffered those fates, the question is was it strickly due to being a Christian.
edit on 3/3/13 by solomons path because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 02:34 AM
reply to post by wildtimes

Perhaps you skipped the un-highlighted parts? Did you even look at the links?

Interesting that. Because I don’t agree you presume I 'skipped’ something.

Though her opinion is compelling, artfully written, delightfully accessible and all composed by a ‘prodigious scholar’?

I call it crap.

Here’s just one example amid the uncountable records and recounts of Christian martyrdom - and this one account writen by someone who was there.

The following account was written by the Roman historian Tacitus in his book Annals published a few years after the event. Tacitus was a young boy living in Rome during the time of the persecutions.

Not a scholar, probably his works are not even considered ‘artfully written’ but credentials and flowery words can’t stand against those who lived the history.

"Therefore, to stop the rumor [that he had set Rome on fire], he [Emperor Nero] falsely charged with guilt, and punished with the most fearful tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were [generally] hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius, but the pernicious superstition - repressed for a time, broke out yet again, not only through Judea, - where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and disgraceful flow from all quarters, as to a common receptacle, and where they are encouraged. Accordingly first those were arrested who confessed they were Christians; next on their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the charge of burning the city, as of "hating the human race."

I'm of the opinion we’re witnessing history revisited in this new rise of culling out and attacking Christians.

A movement loosely come together (the internet, television, etc) and though my conspirators mind says there’s more too it than coincidence - more than likely a movement without specific agenda or itinerary to demonize modern day Christians - but it’s happening none the less.

It’s also my belief this so called ’scholar’ is trying at nothing but joining those already atop the bandwagon - and in my opinion failing miserably in doing so. Not only do I find her composition pedantic and inane leaving me with nothing but a uneasy pity for those who fall for her ’well articulated’ bs.

edit on 3-3-2013 by silo13 because: link fix and spelling

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 02:49 AM
I wonder what she has to say about...

Saint Stephen, Protomartyr, was stoned c. 34 AD.
Saint James the Great (Son of Zebedee) was beheaded in 44 AD.
Saint Philip the Apostle was crucified in 54 AD.
Saint Matthew the Evangelist killed with a halberd battle axe and spear in 60 AD.
Saint James the Just, beaten to death with a club after being crucified and stoned.
Saint Matthias was stoned and beheaded.
Saint Andrew, St. Peter's brother, was crucified.
Saint Mark the Evangelist, was dragged in the streets of Alexandria then beheaded
Saint Peter, crucified upside-down.
Saint Paul, beheaded in Rome.
Saint Jude
Saint Bartholomew flayed alive and crucified.
Saint Thomas the Apostle was killed by a spear in Mylapore, Madras, India in AD 72.
Saint Luke the Evangelist was hanged.
Saint Simon the Zealot was crucified in 74 AD.
Saint Antipas of Pergamum, according to tradition, roasted to death in a brazen bull during the persecutions of Emperor Domitian, c. 92 A. D.
John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod.

I suppose they’re all just fibbing a bit right? Or they’re just ancient history too old to be believed?

And let's not forget the ‘modern day’ Martyrs? Or is she only concerened with the martyrs with no voice?

Martyrs of Japan
Francis Taylor, 1621
Vietnamese Martyrs 1625 - 1886
Magdalene of Nagasaki 1634
Lorenzo Ruiz, 1637
Canadian Martyrs, North American Martyrs, 1642–1649
Arthur Bell, 1643
Isaac Jogues, 1646 (French Jesuit in New York killed by Indians)
John de Britto, 1647-1693, born in Portugal and beheaded in India
Francis Ferdinand de Capillas (Dominican missionary to China), 1648
King Charles I, beheaded after the Second Civil War - 1649
Diego Luis de San Vitores and Pedro Calungsod, 1672
Feodosia Morozova (Old Believer), 1675
Oliver Plunkett, 1681
Felipe Songsong, 1685
Devasahayam Pillai, 1712-1752, Indian martyr.
Constantin Brâncoveanu, 1714
Lorenzo Carranco, Spanish missionary to Baja California, 1734
Nicolás Tamarál, Spanish missionary to Baja California, 1734
Vicente Liem de la Paz (Tonkinese Dominican), 1773
Luís Jayme, Spanish missionary to Alta California, 1775
Cosmas of Aetolia, 1779
Francisco Garcés, Spanish missionary to Alta California, 1781
Martyrs of Compiegne, 1794
Andrés Quintana, Spanish missionary to Alta California, 1812
Chinese Martyrs (various Christian denominations), 19th and 20th centuries
Andrew Dung-Lac (Vietnamese Catholic), 1839
Hyrum Smith, 1844
Joseph Smith, Jr., 1844
Korean Martyrs 1839, 1846, 1866
Peter Chanel (Catholic priest), 1841
Andrew Kim Taegon, 1846
Marcus Whitman, 1847
Narcissa Whitman, 1847
Martyrs of India 1857
Lucy Yi Zhenmei, one of the 19th century Chinese Catholic Martyrs, 1862
Thomas Baker, 1867, English missionary killed and eaten, Fiji
Martyrs of Uganda, 1885–1887
Esther John 1929-1960, Found Killed in Chichawatni commemorated at Westminster Abbey.
Maria Goretti (virgin martyr), 1902
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna, 1918
Nun Barbara (Yakovleva), 1918
Saints of the Cristero War 1926-1927
Miguel Pro, 1927
Toribio Romo González, 1928
Manche Masemola, (1913–1928)
José Sánchez del Río 1928
Innocencio of Mary Immaculate 1934
Bartolome Blanco Marquez, 1936
Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War 1934, 1936–1939
Paul Schneider (pastor)1939
Maximilian Kolbe (Polish Franciscan, died at Auschwitz), 1941
Edith Stein (Carmelite nun, died at Auschwitz), 1942
Lucian Tapiedi (1942)
Franz Jägerstätter, 1943
Dusty Miller (Martyr), 1945, a Methodist layman killed as a P.O.W. of the Japanese in Thailand during WWII.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (April 9, 1945) Lutheran Pastor and member of the German Resistance
Theodore Romzha, 1947
Beda Chang, 1951
Zdenka Cecilia Schelingová, 1955
Jim Elliot, 1956
Nate Saint, 1956, killed while attempting to evangelize the Waodani people
Ed McCully 1956
Pete Fleming 1956
Roger Youderian 1956
Alan Castillo, March 34, 1956
Wang Zhiming (1907 - December 29, 1973) Chinese pastor, publicly executed
Janani Jakaliya Luwum (1922 – 17 February 1977), Archbishop of Uganda.
Óscar Romero (August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980), Archbishop of San Salvador
Martyrs of Atlas, 1996
Kosheh Martyrs, Egypt 1998–2000
Ri Hyon Ok, Executed in June 2009 in North Korea for distributing bibles.[1]
Nag Hammadi martyrs, Egypt 2010
Alufunzi Ziwa, 2011

Go to the link - every name appearing above has a link.

But I’m sure the above, and their families and loved ones are just - what - blowing their torture and death all out of proportion too?


posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 03:07 AM
reply to post by silo13

did you include the 50,000,000 christians, jews, muslims and pagans of various types (mostly christians though), killed by stalin?

edit on 3-3-2013 by undo because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 03:22 AM
reply to post by undo

did you include the 50,000,000 christians, jews, muslims and pagans of various types (mostly christians though), killed by stalin?

No, I didn't.

If I included every account of Christians - and others - who’ve been and are currently being persecuted for their religion I'd use up all ATS bandwidth in a post!

Thank you -


posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 07:53 AM
reply to post by Logarock

Its clear at this point that you just may have an agenda beyond a reconsideration of the extent of the martyrdoms. It looks like you are slowly creeping up on the suggestion that if the early martyer records were fabricated or hyped to a good degree then there is no reason not to believe the whole story of christianity is hyped up tall tales.

My agenda is this: deny ignorance.

Keep learning, keep listening, keep thinking and digging. I want to know the truth, and I don't really care what it turns out to be, as long as I know what it is.

Please don't put words in my mouth. (I shoot it off enough as it is.
) My opinion about matters of faith are not fixed; they change and are very fluid. I'm studying the phenomenon of faith/belief AS A SUBJECT as objectively as I can; I, too, have been shown or seen book titles that I chose not to read.
To each his own library.

Maybe the book is "crap", and maybe it isn't. Should it be burned? Banned? Should the author be thrown in prison or exiled or assassinated for suggesting what she thinks is the truth? Is that a reason for me to be attacked and browbeaten by ATS members who also, like me, haven't read it yet?

Why should I be persecuted for linking it here? How anyone can know it's "crap" yet, or whether her writing is "good" or "pedestrian", as it hasn't even been released, is beyond me.

edit on 3-3-2013 by wildtimes because: fix code

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 08:00 AM
reply to post by JesuitGarlic

Representing the Catholic Church? No, she's not.

Candida Moss teaches New Testament and Christian Origins in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.

Specializing in Biblical studies and early Christian history, she holds an undergraduate degree in Theology from Oxford University, a Masters degree in Biblical Studies from Yale Divinity School and a doctorate in Religious Studies from Yale University. She currently serves as co-chair of the Healthcare and Disability in the Ancient Near East section of the international and national meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and as a consultant and presenter for National Geographic Television.

She is the author or editor of three books and over twenty articles. Her first book, The Other Christs: Imitating Jesus in Ancient Christian Ideologies of Martyrdom (Oxford, 2010) was awarded the 2011 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise. The recipient of grants and awards from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, she has published numerous articles on various aspects of Biblical and early Christian literature, history, and thought.

She is currently working on a book on the resurrection of the body entitled "Heavenly Bodies: Resurrecting Perfection in Early Christianity" for Yale University Press, a popular book on early Christian martyrdom for HarperOne, and a commentary on Second Century Martyrdom Accounts for the Hermeneia Commentary series.

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 08:33 AM
simcha jacobovici(host of naked archeology amount other programs) did a show showing how Roman soldiers actually spread Christianity. Not sure when he did the show, or the title, but he did one

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 09:04 AM
reply to post by wildtimes

you want to see something interesting watch the video i've linked here in this post. but before you do, consider that she makes several mistakes. the overall premise is sound. just the directions she goes with it afterwards, is not.

posted on Mar, 3 2013 @ 09:37 AM
if the information in the link in my previous post is basically correct,
consider the implications:

that would've made jesus heir to the thrones of the roman empire, egypt and israel.
he would've been a huge target for assassination.
the power behind the murder of julius caesar was the same power behind the crucifixion of jesus, likely a huge
organization involved in manipulating the political arena of various countries under the auspices of the roman empire. (the more things change, the more they stay the same)

since the arrival of jesus was foretold millenia before, during the days of the prophet daniel and since daniel had taught the astrologers and astronomers of babylon, how the hebrews used the sky for foretelling future events (which was based on the position of celestial bodies) the information was hoarded and passed down in persian schools for astronomers and etc. the wisemen of persia were able to recognize the celestial alignments as a result, and follow them to the location of his birth.

so into this backdrop, cleopatra's son, the dude who should've inherited the entire planet, shows up, still very much alive, on the ground from where he is supposed to rule the planet -- jerusalem. people who were his devoted followers and servants, stayed with him. people who recognized him, stayed with him. his teachings and miracles, grew his fame, his fame, gained him converts. he was going to have a kingdom, whether rome wanted it or not. pretty soon good old herod was realizing the seriousness of his situation as well.

after jesus' death, it's no small wonder that his supporters were villified. the corrupt system of babylons could not continue if people followed the teachings of jesus. the powers that be, would be dethroned. women would be treated as equals. slaves would be set free. gentiles would be just as important as non gentiles. can't very well run a corrupt empire if everyone is treated fairly.

they had so many reasons to stop the spread of christianity. so when killing people didn't work, constantine adopted it as the state religion, confiscated all the texts and letters, hid them away, translated them in only one language that most of the known world couldn't read, and refused to let anyone else read it.

edit on 3-3-2013 by undo because: (no reason given)

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