Martyrs: Contemporary Writers on Modern Lives of Faith

Susan Bergman, Editor, Carolyn Forche, With, Ron Hansen, With
Susan Bergman, Editor, Carolyn Forche, With, Ron Hansen, With HarperOne $23 (332p) ISBN 978-0-06-061120-0
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-57075-161-5
Paperback - 978-0-06-061121-7
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Many religions are rich with the narratives of individuals who have sacrificed their lives for their religious traditions. Since early Christianity found itself persecuted by outsiders who were suspicious of its religious claims, its history is replete with accounts of the life and work of martyrs who willingly died for their faith. While Foxe's Book of Martyrs (Baker Book House, 1983) is a popular volume of the stories of these early martyrs, there have been few collections of the stories of contemporary religious people who have suffered on behalf of their faith. Bergman's arresting compendium combines the stories of ""modern lives of faith"" with the narrative power of such contemporary writers as Ron Hansen and Marilynne Robinson to provide a powerful glimpse into the lives of modern martyrs. Paul Elie, editor of A Tremor of Bliss: Contemporary Writers on the Saints, offers a portrait of the martyrdom of South African anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko, while poet Carolyn Forche tells the story of her own encounter with El Salvador's archbishop Oscar Romero in the week just before he was assassinated. The modern martyrs whose inspirational and challenging stories we hear range from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Simone Weil to Edith Stein and Maximillian Kolbe. All of the stories demonstrate the uncompromising conviction with which these martyrs held their beliefs as well as the ways that their stories continue to affect our lives. (Aug.)
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