Journals Higher Education



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Published: 28 October 2010

240 Pages


ISBN: 9780195393323

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Perfect Martyr

The Stoning of Stephen and the Construction of Christian Identity

Shelly Matthews

  • Brings the story of the stoning of Stephen into conversation with recent important work on martyrdom and collective Christian consciousness
  • Calls into question reigning orthodoxies about the usefulness of the historical-critical method in recovering historical kernels of truth from the Acts' narrative, exposes the circularity in widely held scholarly arguments that the stoning of Stephen reflects "indubitable historical reality," and argues for reframing historical narrative in terms of rhetoric and ethic
  • Unmasks the violence imbedded in early Christian rhetorics of superlative mercy as contained in the Sermon on the Mount and the dying forgiveness prayers
  • Through comparison with related traditions of the martyrdom of James, this book disrupts the singularity of the canonical version of "the parting" of Christians from Jews
  • Calls into question reigning orthodoxies concerning Luke as a Gospel of Peace by noting this Gospel's usefulness in refuting the marcionite view that vengeance lies in the realm of the Old Testament God alone
  • Refines the hypothesis that both the introduction to Luke and the canonical Acts were written to address the Marcionite heresy

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