Are Christian Martyrs Abuse Victims, Neurotics, or Suicidal? Comments on the Psychological Study of Christian Martyrdom

Volume
Volume 25
Issue
Winter 1997
Title
Are Christian Martyrs Abuse Victims, Neurotics, or Suicidal? Comments on the Psychological Study of Christian Martyrdom
Abstract

In Christian tradition the martyr, man or woman, was honored for holding the faith as being of higher value than life itself. However, in the field of psychology, martyrs may not be seen as models for modern people. Some psychologically oriented studies on Christian martyrdom suggest that the underlying motivations of early martyrs are more complicated than previously thought. Some authors argue that early martyrs were people with psychological problems, and that they might be abuse victims, neurotics, or suicidal. But how true is this picture? This article critically reviews literature on Christian martyrdom, comments on approaches and presuppositions, and suggests that research methodology on martyrdom should (a) consider psychology in context, (b) incorporate psychology of meaning, and (c) adopt a new model of psychology of religion. Christian scholars are urged to do research on this topic so as to retrieve the legacy of Christian faith.

Author
E.P.C. Tam
Pages
458 - 467
Price
Add to Cart $5.00