Originally published in French in 2000, The Spirituality of Martyrdom is a brief and accessible yet sweeping study of the spiritual significance attached to martyrdom in the early centuries of the Christian Church. Although studies of early Christian martyrdom have proliferated in recent decades, this book stands out by conveying to a wider audience the essence of this spirituality in its relevance to both theology and the life of every astute Christian today.
Pinckaers looks at the period from the New Testament through Augustine, with a concluding chapter tying in the theology of Thomas Aquinas. The volume is generally arranged chronologically, but also includes chapters on the 'Definition of Martyrdom,' 'Martyrdom as Eucharist' and 'Martyrdom and Eschatology' as well as more author-focused studies of the theologies of martyrdom of Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Tertullian, and Augustine. An up-to-date bibliography on the topic is also provided by the translators to supplement the original citations.
This book aims to illuminate the intelligibility of the Church's veneration of martyrs in relation to its fundamental beliefs and practices, and seeks to relate this intelligibility to the broader Catholic moral tradition. The introduction by Patrick Clark highlights how this volume is specifically oriented towards the fields of moral theology and Thomistic ethics in light of the other key contributions that the late Fr. Pinckaers has made to those disciplines.
""Pinckaers masterfully outlines the definition of Christian martyrdom, showing how it springs from the gospel of Jesus Christ…Pinckaers speaks with purpose, clarity and great insight. As in much ressourcement theology, there is a deep engagement with the text of Holy Scripture. His chapter on martyrdom in Augustine is an outstanding account - both comprehensive and brief. Above all, Fr. Pinchaers is a wonderfully wise exegete and pastor.""~Studies in Christian Ethics