chapter  9
27 Pages

Persecution or the end of it?

ByJeremiah W. Cataldo

For modern Christians, stories of martyrs and persecutions are popular, so much so that historical narratives are often re-appropriated within ritualistic calls to obedience, which may sometimes take on fictionalized aspects. Clement suggests that the "persecution" or death of martyrs was due more specifically to the in-fighting between Jews and Christians over the nature of the messiah. Most Judeo-Christian retellings of Nero, limited in understanding of Roman history, favor that of Tacitus, whether consciously or not. Under Domitian, when any group, such as Christians and Jews, refused to participate in festivals and rituals that celebrated the deification of the emperor, the refusal was seen as an act of sedition. One traditional interpretation of the event of Trajan's interaction with Christians is that the emperor was offended by Christian religion. However, in the first decades of the second century the mutual interference between Judaism and Christianity seems to have become a mutual rivalry that depended on Hadrian's desired order.