“The God of the Martyrs Refuses You”

Michael Gaddis

in There Is No Crime for Those Who Have Christ

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780520241046
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930902 | DOI:
“The God of the Martyrs Refuses You”

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  • Greek and Roman Archaeology


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This chapter investigates certain aspects of the complicated relationship between church and state in the fourth century, focusing mainly on the doctrinal and factional conflicts commonly known as the “Arian controversy”. Also the chapter discusses pagan-Christian conflict under Julian. It also explores how discourses of martyrdom and persecution came to be invoked as ideological weapons in conflicts within the Christian community. The religious conflicts of the fourth century were driven partly by theological controversy, partly by personal ambition and rivalry, but also by serious concerns over how to regulate an episcopal power that had expanded so dramatically into the secular sphere. Julian was well aware of the power inherent in Christian martyrial discourse. The discourse of martyrdom could be used to justify a stance of defiance toward power, to carve out a space in which religion could be used to articulate legitimate resistance to the emperor's will.

Keywords: religious violence; Christian martyrial discourse; Julian; Arian controversy; Christian community; persecution; religious conflicts

Chapter.  16219 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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