Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Most scholars trace the roots of the early Christian concepts of martyrdom to Greco-Roman noble death traditions and Jewish examples. The story of Socrates in particular provided an example of someone who refused to compromise on his convictions even at the cost of his life. Justin Martyr, for example, praises Socrates for his resolve and his attempt to lead the Greeks away from the worship of their false gods, which Justin considers demons (Just. 1 Apol. 5; D…

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Eastman, David L., “Martyrs”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 27 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2021

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