Today, the word “martyr” conjures up a variety of images and ideas,…

Today, the word “martyr” conjures up a variety of images and ideas,…

Today, the word “martyr” conjures up a variety of images and ideas,…

Today, the word “martyr” conjures up a variety of images and ideas, but in the ancient world, the word “martyr” came from the Greek word meaning “witness”. From your reading of these early Christian martyrdom accounts, how were the Christians who died at the hands of the Romans “witnesses”? Just what were they “witnesses” of (or to whom)?

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2. What were these martyrdom texts trying to say to surviving Christians who would read these accounts? That is, what’s the purpose of such accounts, and how might they relate to Jesus’ own death?

3. How do you think the experience of persecution and martyrdom would have shaped early Christian self-identity and self-understanding?

4. What significance do you think the dreams and visions have in these accounts?

5. What personal questions and/or reflections do you have from these readings?