Cover image for Sacrificing the self : perspectives on martyrdom and religion
Sacrificing the self : perspectives on martyrdom and religion
Cormack, Margaret (Margaret Jean)
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xv, 156 pages ; 22 cm.
Is there martydom in the Hebrew bible? / Marc Brettler -- Honor and sacredness in the Roman and Christian worlds / Carlin Barton -- Very special death / Carole Straw -- Murder and martyrs in Anglo-Saxon England / Margaret Cormack -- Revaluation of martyrdom in early Islam / Keith Lewinstein -- Contemplative death in Jewish mystical tradition / Lawrence Fine -- Martyrdom in Sunni revivalist thought / Daniel Brown -- Truth and sacrifice / Lindsey Harlan -- Self-sacrifice as truth in India / D. Dennis Hudson.
Reading Level:
1440 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL626.5 .S23 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Acts of martyrdom have been found in nearly all the worlds major religious traditions. Though considered by devotees to be perhaps the most potent expression of religious faith, dying for ones god is also one of the most difficult concepts for modern observers of religion to understand. Thisis especially true in the West, where martyrdom has all but disappeared and martyrs in other cultures are often viewed skeptically and dismissed as fanatics. This book seeks to foster a greater understanding of these acts of religious devotion by explaining how martyrdom has historically been viewedin the worlds major religions. It provides the first sustained, cross-cultural examination of this fascinating aspect of religious life. Margaret Cormack begins with an introduction that sets out a definition of martyrdom that serves as the point of departure for the rest of the volume. Then,scholars of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam examine martyrdom in specific religious cultures. Spanning 4000 years of history and ranging from Saul in the Hebrew Bible to Sati immolations in present-day India, this book provides a wealth of insight into an often noted but rarely understoodcultural phenomenon.

Author Notes

Margaret Cormack is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at The College of Charleston

Table of Contents

Marc BrettlerCarlin BartonCarole StrawMargaret CormackKeith LewinsteinLawrence FineDaniel BrownLindsey HarlanD. Dennis Hudson
Contributorsp. vii
Introductionp. xi
1 Is There Martyrdom in the Hebrew Bible?p. 3
2 Honor and Sacredness in the Roman and Christian Worldsp. 23
3 "A Very Special Death": Christian Martyrdom in Its Classical Contextp. 39
4 Murder and Martyrs in Anglo-Saxon Englandp. 58
5 The Revaluation of Martyrdom in Early Islamp. 78
6 Contemplative Death in Jewish Mystical Traditionp. 92
7 Martyrdom in Sunni Revivalist Thoughtp. 107
8 Truth and Sacrifice: Sati Immolations in Indiap. 118
9 Self-Sacrifice as Truth in Indiap. 132
Indexp. 153