Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity: Militant Devotion in Christianity and Islam

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University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009 - History - 398 pages
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In Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity, Thomas Sizgorich seeks to understand why and how violent expressions of religious devotion became central to the self-understandings of both Christian and Muslim communities between the fourth and ninth centuries. Sizgorich argues that the cultivation of violent martyrdom as a path to holiness was in no way particular to Islam; rather, it emerged from a matrix put into place by the Christians of late antiquity. Paying close attention to the role of memory and narrative in the formation of individual and communal selves, Sizgorich identifies a common pool of late ancient narrative forms upon which both Christian and Muslim communities drew.

In the process of recollecting the past, Sizgorich explains, Christian and Muslim communities alike elaborated iterations of Christianity or Islam that demanded of each believer a willingness to endure or inflict violence on God's behalf and thereby created militant local pieties that claimed to represent the one "real" Christianity or the only "pure" form of Islam. These militant communities used a shared system of signs, symbols, and stories, stories in which the faithful manifested their purity in conflict with the imperial powers of the world.

 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
CHAPTER
21
CHAPTER
46
CHAPTER THREE
81
CHAPTER FOUR
108
CHAPTER FIVE
144
CHAPTER
168
CHAPTER SEVEN
196
CHAPTER EIGHT
231
CONCLUSION
272
NOTES
285
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
367
INDEX
383
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
397
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Thomas Sizgorich was Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.

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