© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI 10.1163/187489108X311487 Journal of Religion in Europe 1 (2008) 227–246 www.brill.nl/jre Journal of Religion in Europe Book Reviews Paul Middleton, Radical Martyrdom and Cosmic Conﬂ ict in Early Christianity (London: T&T Clark, 2006), xv + 207 pp., ISBN: 978-0-56704164-7, $140.00. Martyrdom has become a ‘fashionable’ subject in the last decade, with many volumes being published on volitional death, some no doubt due to the emer- gence of ‘martyrdom’ in radical Islam as a religious rejection of the intrusive values of the West. Middleton’s book, happily, has a clear focus and is ﬁ rmly rooted in his investigation of those who sought to die for Christ, albeit his introduction does raise questions concerning contemporary martyrs and the diﬃ culty of constructing a cross-cultural and diachronic deﬁ nition of martyrdom. Middleton argues per- suasively that it is the narrative constructed by the martyr’s fellow cult members that makes martyrdom and martyrs, and not the persecution by the state. Yet this was a narrative which could not have been written without the clash of the Roman Imperium and Christians wedded to an extreme apocalypticism. Middleton’s book began as his dissertation, and it is chieﬂ y
Journal of Religion in Europe – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
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