“Notre Dame professor tackles ‘myth’ of Christian martyrdom”

Liz Goodwin of Yahoo! News writes of Candida Moss, at professor at the renowned University of Notre Dame. I’ll quote a bit and you can go read the whole story on Yahoo!.

Candida Moss, a


professor of early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame [Notre Shame –  the university distinguished for anointing the Emperor in Chief] and a practicing [what does “practicing” mean? Daily, weekly or C & E] Catholic, wants to shatter  what she calls the “myth” of martyrdom in the Christian faith. [I wonder what the Apostles would say about that, since all but John were martyred. Maybe St. Stephen would like a few words. And I don’t want to leave out the deacon, St. Lawrence. How about the saints of the Roman Canon? The list just goes on and on and…]

Sunday school tales of early Christians [The early Christians really had nothing better to do than sit around and make up stories of terrible persecutions and martyrdoms! Is that why so many joined the Church?] being rounded up at their secret catacomb meetings and thrown to the lions by evil Romans [Soon it may be other evil empires doing the same!] are mere fairy tales, Moss writes in a new book. In fact, in the first 250 years of Christianity, Romans mostly regarded the religion’s practitioners as meddlesome members of a superstitious cult.

The government actively persecuted Christians for only about 10 years,  Moss suggests, and even then intermittently. [Maybe intermittently, but until the Edict of Milan in 313.] And, she says, many of the best known early stories of brave Christian martyrs were entirely fabricated. [How old is this woman?]

The controversial thesis, laid out in “The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom,” has earned her a lot of hate mail [I wonder why?] and a few sidelong looks from fellow faculty members. [A few “sidlong looks,” why not show her to the door? Oh, that’s right they reward apostates and persecuters of the Church!] But Moss maintains that the Roman Catholic Church and historians have known for centuries that most early Christian martyr stories were exaggerated or invented.

I wonder what she has to say about the many martyrs of the 20th century. Is she one of those who denies the Holocaust? This is rubbish, not scholarship. Mrs. Moss has nothing to worry about. When the HS office comes ringing her bell, it wont be to persecute her, they’ll be giving her an award for helping their cause.

Read the whole story here.

7 thoughts on ““Notre Dame professor tackles ‘myth’ of Christian martyrdom”

  1. I think your negative view of Notre Dame, and this professor is a bit excessive, Father. After reading the full article, it seems as if the sensationalized language was mostly inserted by Yahoo, and not Professor Moss. Moss’ main point is to differentiate between Christians being persecuted solely for being Christian, and Christians being prosecuted for not following Roman Laws. She is a history professor researching history, and there is no need to question the legitimacy of her Catholicism (nor that of her institution) as a result of her research.

    ps. It’s the University of Notre Dame, not Notre Dame University, and “emperor” is spelled incorrectly.

    • It may have been persecution for not following the Roman law, precisely because it contradicted Christ’s. As it will soon be here in the USA. (Spelling error corrected)

      • Definitely, and I think that is actually the point Professor Moss was making. The fault is on Yahoo for using such inflammatory language to attract readers.

        • Jackson, did you read the title of her book? This is another tired re-hash of the mythicism gambit that still gets played by second and third rate “scholars” despite its being long past its early twentieth century “best before” date. Try Bart D.Ehrman’s book on the existence of Jesus for a treatment of mythicism by a real, actual scholar (an atheist dissenting one, I might add). Candida Moss is not “researching’ history, she is attempting to re-write it for personal gain.

          • Simon, yes I read the title of the book. Also, thank you for the book suggestion. It is a bit presumptuous to assume that Professor Moss’ is work is simply for personal gain, and most likely an assertion one cannot accurately make without knowing her personally. That said, my initial purpose in commenting was to express my discontent with Fr. Finelli questioning Professor Ross’ Catholicism, and his juvenile word play in labeling the greatest Catholic university in the world as “Notre Shame”.

          • I guess I hit a little nerve there Jackson! Just do a little research, I’m not the first and won’t be the last to call the University, “Notre Shame”. I would dare to say that Our Lady herself is ashamed of some of the recent decisions and atrocities that have come out of this “Catholic” University.

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