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Martyrdom, Jesus' Passion And Barbarism

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Chapter Summary

The cross-cultural phenomenon of martyrdom is more than two millennia old, but, as recent events continue to demonstrate, it is still a prominent feature of contemporary culture. The martyrs not only highlight the religious and political goals that are important for the communities that support their cause, but also inspire these groups because they function as models. They also legitimate the authority of the insider community, and disqualify the sovereignty and laws of the opponents. This chapter analyzes communication process between martyrs and their opponents with the help of the literary concept of barbarism. Barbarism seems to be a promising new avenue for researching the dynamics of power that are intricately connected with the performance of martyrdom, although explicit references to barbarism are rare in martyrdom passages. The New Testament Passion Narratives have been compared with ancient martyrdoms many times.

Keywords: ancient martyrdoms; Barbarism; passion narrative

10.1163/ej.9789004180284.i-288.62
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