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Christian Persecution, Martyrdom, and Orthodoxy$
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Geoffrey de Ste. Croix, Michael Whitby, and Joseph Streeter

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199278121

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278121.001.0001

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Voluntary Martyrdom in the Early Church *

Voluntary Martyrdom in the Early Church *

(p.153) 4 Voluntary Martyrdom in the Early Church*
Christian Persecution, Martyrdom, and Orthodoxy

G. E. M. De Ste. Croix

Oxford University Press

Ste. Croix's published studies of the early Church advanced the thesis that volunteers for martyrdom constituted a significant element in the evidence for the persecution of Christians by Roman imperial governors. To underpin this thesis, Ste. Croix collected and analysed the evidence for volunteers in order to demonstrate the prevalence of such individuals among the wider body of martyrs, and to suggest that these enthusiasts actually contributed to the wider implementation of persecution by antagonizing Roman governors, most of whom were predisposed to be tolerant, and local populations who had clearly been able to co-exist with Christians before being disrupted by the antics of a minority of perfectionists. The largest single body of evidence concerns persecution in Palestine and was composed by the church historian Eusebius of Caesarea.

Keywords:   martyrs, volunteers, evidence, Eusebius

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