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Martyrdom, Self-Sacrifice, and Self-Immolation – Religious Perspectives on Suicide - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Martyrdom, Self-Sacrifice, and Self-Immolation: Religious Perspectives on Suicide

Margo Kitts


Suicide in the forms of martyrdom, self-sacrifice, and self-immolation is mired in controversies regarding religious roots, nomenclature, motives, and valor. Although the admiration ebbs and flows, at least some idealization of such elective deaths is discernible in every religious tradition treated in this volume. Traditional support ranges from tales of ascetic heroes who conquer personal passions to save others by dying, to tales of righteous warriors who suffer and die valiantly while challenging the status quo. While the lionization of elective death is a persistent theme in world religio ... More

Keywords: martyrdom, suicide, sacrifice, ascetic death, heroic death, self-immolation, altruism, religion, imagination, memorialization

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190656485
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190656485.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Margo Kitts, editor
Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies, Coordinator, Religious Studies and East-West Classical Studies,, Hawai'i Pacific University