Martyr witness grew out of and fed into apocalyptic expectations of the

Martyr witness grew out of and fed into apocalyptic

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Martyr → “witness”- grew out of and fed into apocalyptic expectations of the community Imitatio Christi - the imitation of Christ - notion that part of the Christian soteriology is the idea that jesus assumed a human form because it was necessary to redeem the humans - Also thought we should imitate Christ and the truest way to do so was by dying for ones Christian belief [Stephen speaking to the Council]“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers. You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it.”(Acts 7: 51-53) - Uncircumcised in heart and ears- significant because the circumcision was a sign of membership in the community of god - It says your living up to the letter of the law but not keeping up with the spirit When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died. (Acts 7: 54-60) - Stephen saw the heavens in real life and the community chooses not to look - Important that he says receive my spirit because that is one of the last things jesus said when he was dying - Early martyr is following to such an extent that he is imitating Jesus last words as he also dies Martyrdom in Early Christianity The martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity (~200 CE) (assigned reading) Narrative: Perpetua’s jailhouse vision of her deceased brother
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- Arrested for her belief in Christianity and her father asks her to renounce being a Christian so she will not be arrested and killed- she says no and is put in prison to await her execution - While she is waiting she has a vision of her brother - Relationship between living and the dead- imply there was a belief in society that god could allow for a connection between the living and the dead- and since she knew she was ready to die for her faith she can connect with her dead brother - Brothers fate is that he is in the land of punishment and still has the physical disfigurement he had when he was alive - She prayed for her brother in hopes it would relieve his suffering – the leaving can pray for the deceased and it has have beneficial effect (the thing on the brothers face was
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