"In a time when critics of Christianity, and religion in general, point to the practices of martyrs as examples of the inherently irrational, violent, and dangerous character of religious devotion, Whitfield challenges Christians to reconsider Christ's call to "take up one's cross" by suspending our suspicions and listening to the stories of the martyrs in conversation with contemporary theological voices such as Rowan Williams, Stanley Hauerwas, Sam Wells, and others."
--J. Warren Smith
"We are not superior or inferior to those who came before us, we are simply in the same situation as them: called to bear witness--in our lives and perhaps in our deaths--to the nonviolent truth embodied by Jesus Christ. This book, which is steeped in the patristic martyr narratives, unpacks this simple statement in skillful dialogue with contemporary thought. Its goal is to show that the hoped-for unity of Christians has no other plausible basis than peaceful imitation of Christ."
--Charles K. Bellinger
Brite Divinity School
"Joshua Whitfield has concocted a perceptive and important antidote to the secular politics of death-making. Insisting that martyrs die for love of truth armed only with the power of description, Whitfield stands against the acrimonious caricatures du jour by uncoupling Christian martyrdom from power but not from truth. This book is a clarion call to any church that has brokered an unholy trade-off in producing members who would more readily kill than die."
author of To Share in the Body: A Theology of Martyrdom for Today's Church
"In this erudite tome, Whitfield offers an account of martyrdom that refuses the shackles of liberal secular politics. Such refusal, however, is not rooted in a rejection of the world and its attempts to regulate sacred narratives; rather, Whitfield reminds us that its refusal is predicated on the eschatological promise that God will bring all creation to completion. The witness of the martyr, therefore, is not a discourse about the individual agent; it is a discourse about the saving activity of the Triune God."
author of The Purple Crown: The Politics of Martyrdom