The Other Christs : Imitating Jesus in Ancient Christian Ideologies of Martyrdom: Imitating Jesus in Ancient Christian Ideologies of Martyrdom
Oxford University Press, USA, Apr 26, 2010 - Religion - 336 pages
The martyrs in early Christian texts are consistently portrayed as Christ figures. Their words, actions, and deaths are modeled on the person and work of Jesus. As such they provide us with insights into the interpretation and use of scripture in geographically diverse locations and a variety of social settings in a period for which there are lamentably few sources. Moss begins by tracing out the theme of imitating Jesus through suffering in the literature of the Jesus movement and early church and its application in martyrdom literature. She demonstrates the importance of imitating the sufferings of Christ as a practice and ethos in the Jesus movement. She then proceeds to the interpretations of the martyr's death and afterlife. Moss argues against the dominant theory that the martyr's death was viewed as a sacrifice, finding that in their post-mortem existence martyrs continue to be assimilated to Christ, closely resembling the exalted Christ as intercessors, judges, enthroned monarchs and banqueters. The characterization of the martyr as "another Christ" ultimately conflicted with emerging theological commitments to Christ's uniqueness and the egalitarian nature of post-mortem existence for his followers. But for a brief period, Moss finds, the martyr's imitation was viewed as a way in which he or she shared in the status of the exalted Christ.
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