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Must do’s: What to watch and read this weekend


Laura Miller dug into Candida Moss' scholarly work on Christianity's obsession with martyrdom, titled "The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom." She writes:

"Moss is thorough, strives for clarity and is genuinely fired up in her concern for the influence of the myth of martyrdom on Western societies. 'The idea of the persecuted church is almost entirely the invention of the 4th century and later,' she writes. This was, significantly, a period during which the church had become 'politically secure,' thanks to Constantine. Yet, instead of providing a truthful account of Christianity’s early years, the scholars and clerics of the fourth century cranked out tales of horrific, systemic violence. These stories were subtly (and not so subtly) used as propaganda against heretical ideas or sects. They also made appealingly gruesome entertainment for believers who were, personally, fairly safe; Moss likens this to contemporary suburbanites reveling in a horror film."

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