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Bibil Identifier bibil:202189
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) Christian Martyrdom and the "Dialect of the Holy Scriptures": The Literal, the Allegorical, the Martyrological
Author Mitchell, Margaret M.
Journal Biblical Interpretation (Volume: 17, Issue: 1-2)
Year (Publication) 2009
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2009
Year (Copyright) 2009
Year (Reference) 2009
Year (Second publication) 2009
Language English
Pages 177-206 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract This paper seeks to test a venerable scholarly and popular commonplace: that the ideology of religious martyrdom is based upon and further reflects a literal or even hyper-literal interpretation of Scriptures. Through two test-cases from late antique Christian writings, Tertullian's scorpiace and Origen's exhortatio ad martyrium, I seek to demonstrate the inadequacy of the literal/allegorical dichotomy to comprise and comprehend the complex, ingenious ways in which "the dialect of the holy Scriptures" (Origen's phrase) is claimed to speak in one unambiguous voice that instructs the Christian to accept martyrdom under persecution through confession. Self- and other-characterizations using the labels of "literal" and "allegorical" readings abound in these writings, but are not confined to one side or another. Via such "fighting words," the lexicon of hermeneutical claims of fidelity to or apostasy from the Scriptures is pressed into service by authors who, like Tertullian in Carthage and Origen in Caesarea, craft careful apologetic and protreptic arguments to support the claim that for Christians "it is better to prefer a religious death to an irreligious life."
DOI 10.1163/156851508X383430
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Themes : Martyrdom
Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Ancient Christian Literature : Texts and Authors (Church Fathers) : Texts and Authors : Tertullian
Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Ancient Christian Literature : Texts and Authors (Church Fathers) : Texts and Authors : Origen
Last modification 2017-10-27