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Imitatio Christi: Copying The Death Of The Founder And Gaining Paradise

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on key figures who gain their highest status as martyrs in imitating the passion and death of Jesus. Five stories of martyrdom of Stephen, James the Just, Polycarp, Perpetua, and Mani have been chosen from traditions in which Jesus is a central figure, including Gnostic Christian groups and Manichaeism. The five stories are divided into two groups that approach the idea of imitation in two different ways. The first grouping comprises stories that exhibit imitation of the spirit and context of the death of the founder rather than of the physical detail of that death; the second grouping demonstrates imitation of the death of the founder by mirror imaging. The chapter focuses on death, the context of a disciple's life up to the point of death, lived in imitation of the founder, as much for the canonical as non-canonical traditions.

Keywords: Imitatio Christi; James the Just; Manichaeism; Perpetua; Polycarp; Stephen



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