Revisionismo storico: le persecuzioni contro i Cristiani non sono mai esistite

The Myth of PersecutionSi intitola “Il Mito della persecuzione. Come i primi cristiani inventarono la leggenda del martirio” ed è uno studio che sminuisce fino a smentire le politiche repressive dei Romani contro i cristiani.
Secondo l’interpretazione della sua autrice, Candida Moss, “
i racconti di migliaia di martiri individuali o di massa hanno solo un minimo riscontro su base storica, e in molti casi sono pura invenzione”. Con lo sguardo di oggi, prosegue la Moss, molti cristiani sarebbero “simili a terroristi, che attaccano o uccidono altri cristiani che non sono d’accordo con loro, altri sembrano francamente dei suicidi, alcuni sono andati incontro alla morte profetizzando tormenti infernali per i loro persecutori”.
In realtà, il mito si sarebbe affermato nel IV secolo, dopo l’Editto di Costantino, “soprattutto perché è stato un buon affare. Essere associati ad un martire ha dato lustro a città, chiese o diocesi”.

La Moss, ovviamente, non si ferma qui. Smentire o eliminare le persecuzioni ha uno scopo ben preciso. Secondo lei, la “persecuzione” è usata oggi per inasprire i dibattiti, quindi propone che il martirio cristiano sia tolto dai discorsi pubblici. Conclusione: astenendosi dal farne menzione, saranno finalmente neutralizzati i conflitti politici e religiosi, e i dibatti come quello sull’aborto.

Quella della Moss è una visione della storia molto pericolosa, come tutti i negazionismi. Innanzitutto è un errore di metodo basare le prove storiche sulle fonti della cultura dominante che sta discriminando. Senza andare tanto lontano, la letteratura “afrikaner” del Sud Africa ha sempre sminuito costantemente l’Apartheid. Se basassimo le nostre conoscenze sulla segregazione su quello che veniva detto nelle Università boere o sull’Official Yearbook of the Repubblic of South Africa di Johannesburg, bisognerebbe rimettere in galera Mandela in quanto impostore. Eppure la segregazione razziale esisteva, eccome.
Inoltre, se volessimo cancellare le “persecuzioni” dal dibattito pubblico, dovremmo farlo per tutti.
E l’argomentazione omofobica, ad esempio, dovrebbe non essere mai più utilizzata per sostenere l’esigenza di una legge sui matrimoni omosessuali.

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4 giugno 2013

The Tablet publishes a book review that dismisses and ridicules the early Christian martyrs

By Deacon Nick Donnelly, on June 4th, 2013

The Tablet, ‘The International Catholic Weekly’, has published a book review that dismisses and ridicules the early Christian martyrs. Teresa Morgan, a fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, where she teaches ancient history, reviewed Candida Moss’ ‘The Myth of Persecution: how early Christians invented a story of persecution.’

Teresa Morgan writes:

‘On the contrary, the claim at the heart of this book has been carefully researched by several generations of scholars and is orthodox in academic circles, if not beyond. Christians under the Roman Empire were neither constantly persecuted nor martyred in huge numbers for their faith. They were prosecuted from time to time for alleged sedition, holding illegal meetings or refusing to sacrifice to the emperor. They were, like other convicts, sometimes tortured and executed in horrible ways. They seem to have been regarded by many Romans with distaste as a particularly silly superstition. But Christian stories of thousands of individual and mass martyrdoms over centuries have at best a limited basis in historical fact, and in many cases are sheer fiction. […]

She does not gloss over the negative aspects of martyrdom, showing that some Christian martyrs look, in our terms, very like terrorists, attacking and killing other Christians who disagreed with their views; others look frankly suicidal, while a few went to their deaths prophesying eschatological torments for their persecutors with disturbing relish.

The myth of persecution, Moss argues, really established itself in the fourth century, mainly because it was good business. To be associated with a martyr gave status to a city, church or bishopric. Tombs and shrines attracted pilgrims, who needed places to stay, food, drink and souvenirs, all of which helped to boost local economies. In addition, as Moss suggests, stories of martyrdom were, and remain, popular because they are exciting, providing the faithful with strong, colourful narratives of good and evil in which good always wins in the end.

Moss begins and ends by describing occasions in recent history when individuals have been hailed in the media as Christian martyrs, or when the claim that Christians were being persecuted has been used to sharpen public debate. She proposes that Christian martyrdom should cease to be invoked in public discourse, and concludes that if we refrain from mentioning it, political and religious conflicts over everything from terrorism to abortion will be neutralised. People will learn to discuss their differences calmly and reasonably, discover common ground and solve their problems in peace.’

Protect the Pope comment: A quote from the Divine Office: ‘In the first persecution against the Church, that of the Emperor Nero, after the City of Rome had been burnt in the year 64, many of the faithful suffered death after terrible tortures. Testimony to their deaths is found in the writings of the pagan Tacitus (Annales, 15, 44) as well as in the letter to the Corinthians of Pope Saint Clement (cap.5-6).’

At secular universities where scepticism, doubt and suspicion are fundamental preconceptions it is unsurprising that academics would seek to de-construct the Church’s testimony to the sufferings of the early Christian martyrs. However, scepticism, doubt and suspicion naturally create a stunted, distorted view of history and human behaviour, which we clearly see in this book review. With God and the working of grace excluded a priori, both author and book reviewer are only capable of offering mundane or self-serving motives for the cult of martyrs.

Sadly, it is also unsurprising that The Tablet would publish a review of a book that both equally seek to dismiss and ridicule the memory of our early Christian martyrs. This after all is the Tablet’s stock-in-trade now, rubbishing the sacred Traditions of the Catholic Church all in the name of ‘the spirit of Vatican II’.

Fonte: Protect the Pope

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