Here’s a clip from Candida Moss’ book: The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom
“The Sunday school narrative of a church of martyrs, of Christians huddled in catacombs out of fear, meeting in secret to avoid arrest, and mercilessly thrown to lions merely for their religious beliefs is a macabre fairy tale.”
This statement is a bald-faced lie. Without having read Ms. Moss’ book, but getting the major arguments from her refuters who quote from the book, it is obvious that the author gives no credence to the historical documents known as martyrologies. These are the records, short sketches, of the lives of saints of the early Church and into the Middle Ages, and even unto today with the addition of the newly canonized. The early martyrologies were solely devoted to the saints who shed their blood for Christ. They included that of Saint Jerome (+420) and the Greek catalogue of eastern martyrs, the Menologion. Cardinal Baronius (+1607) friend of several popes and saints and head of the Vatican Library, revised the Roman Martyrology in 1589, into which he included a list of his sources. That of the Benedictine monk Usuard was in use from the ninth century until the nineteenth. Both Christian and pagan sources were used in compiling these catalogues.
Now, however, after about nineteen centuries of being misinformed, Ms Candida Moss, an Oxford / Yale grad with a PhD in New Testament, Early Church History, has illumined the Church with a far more roseate picture of what the Christian life was like throughout its foundational years in the Roman Empire. Thanks so much Ms. Moss for setting us straight on these matters. You should tell Pope Francis, or someone in the Holy office, ASAP, so that the Church can correct its Martyrology and edit its history books. But, then again, the Vatican is run by men, and what do they know. They are a stubborn lot and it may take a number of years for the revision. By that time, maybe your book will be long forgotten for the pathetic and unholy lie that it is.
Donald McClarey of American Catholic takes Moss to task and pulverizes her asinine arguments here. This article by McClarey would be a good refresher for our readers many of whom have memorized the ten major persecutions of the early Church by Roman emperor and dates.
By the way, here is a list of the Ten Major Roman Persecutions:
- Nero (64 A.D.)
- Domitian (c.90-96)
- Trajan (98-117)
- Hadrian (117-138)
- Marcus Aurelius (161-181)
- Septimus Severus (202-211)
- Maximus the Thracian (235-251)
- Decius (249-251)
- Valerian (257-260)
- Diocletian / Galerius (303-311)