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As a Religion and History double major I plan to explore the theological and historical phenomenon of martyrdom The formative years of Christianity in ancient history will be the primary focus for my thesis however Old Testament pre-Christianity models will be a subtopic within the larger paper in order to construct the primary image of the Christian martyr Using several historical accounts from primary documents on martyrs such as Origen Clement of Alexandria Ignatius of Antioch and Perpetua I will attempt to develop an archetype of the early Christian saint and mystic With extensive discussion on these figures and the various historical and theological influences that inspired them my thesis will prove that early Christian martyrdom played a significant role in developing primary theological foundations that enabled this fledgling offshoot from Judaism to develop the significant political and ecclesiastical prevalence of Christianity The act of Christian martyrdom is a way in which the early saints and mystics proclaimed with their bodies the faith they held deeply in Christs primary message of resurrection The Christian experience is defined most significantly by Jesus crucifixion on the cross and His supposed resurrection days after His death an act that enabled the salvation of all the faithful thereafter When the early Christian community began to face waves of persecution using Christ as their model they gave their lives as testament to this belief that life in Christ continued beyond worldly suffering The martyrs plight likewise was a biting assault against the political and polytheistic Roman society an inspiring message of faith to the surrounding Christian brethren in a divine contest with the witnessing world as spectators From the period following Christs death with the onset of persecution up to the period of Diocletian persecution in the 4th century CE Christians sought to go back examine and reinterpret Jesus suffering in the context of Scriptural tradition On Pentecost Sunday in chapter II of the Acts of the Apostles
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