Though considered by devotees to be perhaps the most potent expression of religious faith, dying for one's God is also one of the most difficult concepts for modern observers of religion to understand. This is especially true in the West, where martyrdom has all but disapeared 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 viewed in the world's major religions. It provides the first sustained, cross-cultural examination of this fascinating aspect of religious life. 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 understood cultural phenomenon.
Readership: Students and scholars of the psychology of religion.
Edited by Margaret Cormack, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, The College of Charleston
"These essays together offer the reader a sense of the ways in which martyrdom distinguishes religions from one another. These essays reveal how martyrdom has served and continues to serve religions in a variety of ways." - Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies