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Category Archives: Martyrdom

The martyrdom of Stephen and narrative theology

In the last few weeks I’ve spent a good bit of time in Acts, and more than a little of it on the story of the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 6-7). The more I read it, the more I’m struck by its profoundly explosive nature, and especially how it stands as a witness against what […]

Martyrdom without Fetishization

Daniel Izuzquiza’s Rooted in Jesus Christ is a very stirring addition to contemporary theology, and in particular is a helpful engagement with and extension of the project of liberation theology. The book focuses on four central features of liberation theology: method, God as liberator, the martyrs, and the poor. Some of his statements about martyrdom […]

Remembering Romero

Dave Horstkoetter offers a good reminder that today marks the anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Óscar Romero. Romero is one of only two bishops who have ever been assassinated while performing the Mass, the other being Thomas Beckett. Both of these men were instituted into their positions on the assumption that they would be […]

The Martyr versus the Fighter

“The pathology of a martyr complex is often a heavy-handed attempt to escape the vulnerability of speaking the turth without the means of convincing others that it is true. It signifies impatience with the freedom of others not to believe. It betrays an insecurity that cannot bear its own knowledge without compulsion for everyone else. […]

Martyrdom and Self-Denial

“Self-denial does not kill the martyr. The martyr does not die of neglect or self-mastery, which we would more accurately speak of as suicide. Rather, self-denial enables the martyr to face with courage the situation that calls for death, though that death is inflicted by someone else. In this way, the martyr is freed from […]

The Purple Crown: A Review

The Purple Crown: The Politics of Martyrdom is the second book in Herald Press’s excellent new series, “Polyglossia: Radical Reformation Theologies.” Chris Huebner’s book, A Precarious Peace opened up the series with a book of supreme quality, erudition, and sophistication. Tripp York’s The Purple Crown proves to be a solid addition to the series and a […]

Martyrdom and Narrative Closure

A further thought on the nature of martyrdom: It seems that what makes martyrdom what it is is determined by the community of memory to which the martyr belongs and who narrate that memory. That a person’s death is a martyrdom is a hermeneutic statement about the whole shape of that person’s life and death. […]

Martyrological Epistemology

In his superb book, A Precarious Peace, Chris Huebner explores the connection between epistemology and martyrdom: “Martyrdom names and approach to knowledge and a way of life more generally which assumes that the truth of Christ cannot somehow be secured, but is rather a gift received and lived out in vulnerable yet hopeful giving in […]

Bonhoeffer as Martyr

In his book, Bonhoeffer as Martyr, Craig Slane makes the following argument: “Martyrdom is a circumlocution of sorts for the quite personal and fatal consequences of the ontological collision between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world. As a collision of kingdoms, martyrdom is, and always has been, rife with political overtones. […]

What is Persecution?

There has been a ridiculously long discussion on a post from a while back on persecution, specifically on whether or not Christians in the West should be considered as a persecuted group.  This opens up the question what it is that really constitutes persecution.  Is persecution just any curtailment of our ability as Christians to do […]

Moral Certitude, Martyrdom, and Hope

I sometimes wonder about the statements of conviction we make.  I’m firm believer in making very few commitments quickly while making damn sure you always keep the ones you do make.  But absolute statements, declarations, and manifestos are some of the most easy things to say.  They role right off the tongue and theological books […]

The Gift of the Martyrs

“Christ crucified must thus remain ‘metahermenutical’; he stands outside modernity, outside the market, outside every human order of power, as a real and visible beauty.  Nor can worldly power ever overcome him in his mystical body, because, again, the very gesture of the rhetoric of his form is one of donation, of martyrdom, and one […]

Martyrdom: The Refusal to Ontologize Evil

“Martyrdom denies tragedy and refused to ontologize evil by physically accepting the others’ lack of good.  Participation in the Eucharist creates martyrs, not victims.  It positions us in the divine economy, which, while it is lived out in the temporal city, resists the categories of tragedy and sacrifice, and envisions an apocalyptic hope in the […]

Death, Martyrdom and the End of Words

I like words.  No, I love words.  I confess that I especially love theological words that I can often italicize, either because I like to emphasize them or (even better), because they are Greek or Latin words, the mere transcribing of which lends credibility to any argument.  Ekstasis, perichoresis, hypostasis, circumincessio, logos incarnandus, unio mystica, […]

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