Matthew Recla, lecturer and associate director of University Foundations, has published a new book, Rethinking Christian Martyrdom: The Blood or the Seed?
According to the book’s publisher, Bloomsbury, “This book argues that we have been mistaken about the fundamental assumption that Christianity is the key to understanding the ‘Christian’ martyr. Examining martyrdom in early Christian history, Matt Recla argues that the violent deaths of martyrs, real and imagined, were appropriated for Christian institutional life. Through deconstructing martyrdom and appreciating the complexity of the martyr, we recognize martyrdom not as a socio-historical phenomenon inherent to particular ideologies, and not as a religious ‘identity’ but as the institutional co-optation of violence. The Christian apologist Tertullian argued that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church, but while the seed may be the key to martyrdom, the blood is the key to the martyr.”