Thursday, May 28, 2020

Christian Sahner: Martyrdom and Conversion

Christian Sahner, author of the excellent monograph Christian Martyrs under Islam: Religious Violence and the Making of the Muslim World, has posted on an article summarizing the findings in his book. 


Despite the steady pace of Islamisation, the conversion of the Christian population was not inevitable, especially at the beginning of the Islamic period. Indeed, history furnishes numerous examples of the process unfolding in reverse, in which instead of conversion to Islam,  we find Muslim conversion to Christianity. Along with this, we also find examples of Christians challenging the Islamic social and political order through acts of blasphemy. Christians sometimes recorded these episodes in the form of martyrdom narratives, that is, stylised hagiographical accounts of violence, often but not exclusively at the hands of Muslim officials. The subjects of these narratives were revered as saints, with annual feasts and pilgrimages held and churches built in their honour.

Read the whole article here.

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