Although very few Christians died a martyr’s death in the second and third centuries, the image of martyr became a key figure around which to explain the Christian worldview and its opposition to aspects of the Roman culture. It is possible that as many women were martyred as men, at the very least we could say that the torture and savagery was meted out in equal measure to men and women. What is perhaps less recognized is the place of motherhood alongside martyrdom in the stories of female martyrs. This juxtaposition of mother and life, martyr and death, makes for a compelling narrative, such as the one we find in the martyrdom account of Perpetua and Felicitas.
Lynn Cohick was recently appointed the Provost/Dean of Denver Seminary, beginning July 1, 2018. She previously served as Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College since 2000. She researches the ways Jews and Christians lived out their faith in the ancient settings of Hellenism and the Roman Empire. Lynn also explores women’s lives in the ancient world, most recently focusing on Christian women in the Early Church. Her publications include Christian Women in the Patristic World: Their Influence, Authority, and Legacy in the Second through the Fifth Centuries (co-authored with Amy Brown Hughes, Baker Academic, 2017); Philippians in the Story of God Commentary (Zondervan, 2013); Women in the World of the Earliest Christians (Baker Academic, 2009).
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