Chapter

“There Is No Crime for Those Who Have Christ”

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520241046.003.0006
“There Is No Crime for Those Who Have Christ”

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This chapter concentrates on extremist violence, specifically the attacks of ascetic holy men against perceived enemies of the faith. It reviews an ideology of holy violence. It then investigates three particular strands of extremist motivation: desire for martyrdom, righteous anger against God's enemies, and determination to expose the hypocrisies of a corrupt and too-tolerant establishment. The “holy man” derived his spiritual authority from his personal connection to God, a relationship evidenced by his ascetic feats and by miracles. Attacks on paganism served to establish the holy man's authority, emphasizing his spiritual qualifications—his zeal for God, his willingness to martyrdom—and thus laying the groundwork for his status as religious leader. A quest for martyrdom seems to have been a common feature in the early stages of a holy man's career. The language of truth and falsehood defined the Christian holy man.

Keywords: extremist violence; holy violence; holy men; paganism; martyrdom; faith; anger; God's enemies

Chapter.  26997 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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