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Persecution in the Early Church
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Main Persecutions of the Early Church

Jewish Persecutions (described in the Book of Acts)

The Persecution of Nero (64 AD)

Domitian (c.90-96)

Trajan (98-117)

Hadrian (117-138)

Marcus Aurelius (161-181)

Septimus Severus (202-211)

Maximus the Thracian (235-251)

Decius (249-251)

Valerian (257-260)

Diocletian / Galerius (303-311)

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Primary Sources

Book or monograph Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs
Book or monograph Cyprian, Letters 11.1; 24; 55.14; 67.1; 75.10; 77-80.
Book or monograph Cyprian, To Fortunatus.
Book or monograph Cyprian, To the Lapsed 8; 25; 27
Book or monograph Eusebius, Church History 2.10, 22-23, 25; 3.12, 17-19, 32-33, 36; 4.9, 12-17; 5.1-5, 21; 6.1-2, 4-5, 28, 39-42; 7.1-4, 10-13, 15, 30; 8.1-10.5.14.
Book or monograph Eusebius, Life of Constantine 1.27-32; 2.34, 53.
Book or monograph Eusebius, Martyrs of Palestine 3.1; 4-6; 8.1.5-13; 9.2-11.31
Book or monograph Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 20.195-203.
Book or monograph Justin Martyr, 1 Apology 68.
Book or monograph Justin Martyr, 2 Apology 2.
Book or monograph Lactantius. On the Deaths of the Persecutors 6; 10-13; 15.6; 16.4; 48.2-12
Book or monograph Martydom of Polycarp.
Book or monograph H. Musurillo, editor & translator. The Acts of he Christian Martyrs. Oxford: Clarendon, 1972. pp. lxxiii + 377.
Book or monograph Origen, Exhortation to Martyrdom.
Book or monograph Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas.
Book or monograph Pliny the Younger, Letters 10.96, 97.
Book or monograph Pseudo-Cyprian, Glory of Martyrdom.
Book or monograph Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars (Claudius 25, Nero 16, Domitian 15)
Book or monograph Tacitus, Annals 15.44.
Book or monograph Tertullian, Apology 1-5.
Book or monograph Tertullian, Crown 1.1
Book or monograph Tertullian, To The Heathen 1.6-7.
Book or monograph Tertullian, To the Martyrs.

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Secondary Sources

Article in Journal or Book Timothy D. Barnes, "Legislation Against the Christians," Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 58 (1968): 32-50.
Article in Journal or Book Timothy D. Barnes, "The Pre-Decian Acta Martyrum," Journal of Theological Studies 19 (1968): 509-531.
Article in Journal or Book Carlin Barton, "The Scandal of the Arena," Representations 27 (Summer 1989): 1-36.
Article in Journal or Book N.H. Baynes, "The Great Persecution," Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. 12. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1939. pp.646-677.
Article in Journal or Book A.R. Birley, "Magnus Maximus and the Persecution of Heresy," Bulletin John Rylands Library 66.1 (1983): 13-43.
Article in Journal or Book A.R. Birley, "Voluntary Martyrs in the Early Christian Church: Heroes or Heretics?" Cristianesimo nella Storia 27.1 (2006): 99-127.
On-line Resource - website, article, monograph or book E.M. Blaiklock, The Christian in Pagan Society, 2nd edn. London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1956. Pbk. pp.30.
Book or monograph Gary A. Bisbee, Pre-Decian Acts of Martyrs and Commentary. Harvard Dissertations in Religion No. 22. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988. Pbk. ISBN: 0800670744. pp.xv + 187. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Daniel Boyarin, "Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism," Journal of Early Christian Studies 6.4 (1998): 577-627.
Article in Journal or Book Peter Brunt, "Marcus Aurelius and te Christians," C. Deroux, ed. Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History. Brussels: Collection Latomus no. 164, 1 (1979): 483-520.
Article in Journal or Book R.W. Burgess, "The Date of the Persecution of Christians in the Army," Journal of Theological Studies 47.1 (1996): 157-158.
Article in Journal or Book W.M. Calder, "Some Movements of the Great Persecution," Bulletin of the John Ryland Library 8 (1924): 345-64.
Book or monograph Leon Hardy Canfield, The Early Persecutions of the Christians. Columbia University Studies in Social Sciences 136. New York: Columbia Univesity Press, 1913. Reprint. New York: AMS, 1968. Hbk. ISBN: 0404511368. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Christian History 9:3 (1990).
Article in Journal or Book Kate M. Coleman, "Fatal Charades: Roman Executions Staged as Mythological Enactments," Journal of Roman Studies 80 (1990): 44-73.
Article in Journal or Book P.S. Davies, "The Origin and Purpose of the Persecution of AD 303," Journal of Theological Studies 40.1 (1989): 66-94.
Book or monograph Arthur Droge & J. Tabor, A Noble Death: Suicide and Martyrdom: Among Ancient Jews, Christians, Greeks and Romans. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1992. Hbk. ISBN: 0060620951. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book John Ensminger, "The Sadducean Persecution of the Christians in Rome and Jerusalem A.D. 58 to 65," Southwestern Journal of Theology 30.3 (1988): 9-13.
Article in Journal or Book A. Falcetta, "From Jesus to Polycarp: Reflections on the Origins of Christian Martyrdom," Cristianesimo nella Storia 27.1 (2006): 67-98.
Book or monograph Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians. New York: Alfred & Knopf, 1987. Pbk. Repinted: HarperCollins / Pengion Books, 1988. Pbk. ISBN: 0060628529. pp. 419-492. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book W.H.C. Frend, "The Persecutions: Some Links Between Judaism and the Early Church," The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 9.2 (1958): 141-158.
Article in Journal or Book W.H.C. Frend, "The Failure of the Persecutions in the Roman Empire," Past & Present 8 (1959): 10-27.
Book or monograph W.H.C. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church. Oxford: Blackwell, 1965. Repinted: Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pbk. ISBN: 0801035023. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book W.H.C. Frend, "Prelude to the Great Persecution: The Propaganda War," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 38.1 (1987): 118.
Book or monograph John G. Gager, Kingdom and Community: The Social World of Early Christianity. Longman Higher Education, 1975. Pbk. ISBN: 0135162033. pp.158. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Mart Galli, "Is Persecution Good for the Church?" Christianity Today 41.6 (1997): 16-19.
Book or monograph Peter Garnsey, Social Status and Legal Privilege in the Roman Empire. Oxford: Clarendon, 1970. pp. xiii + 320.
Book or monograph Robert M. Grant, The Sword and the Cross. New York: Macmillan, 1955.
Article in Journal or Book Christopher J. Haas, "Imperial Religious Policy and Valerian's Persecution of the Church, AD 257-260," Church History 52.2 (1983): 133-144.
Book or monograph Keith Hopkins, Death and Renewal: Sociological Studies in Roman History 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. ISBN: 0521249910. pp. xx + 276. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Edelhard L. Hummel, The Concept of Martyrdom according to St. Cyprian of Carthage. Catholic University of America Studies in Christian Antiquity 9. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1946. pp. xviii + 199.
Article in Journal or Book L.F. Janssen, "'Superstitio' and the Persecution of the Christians," Vigiliae Christianae 33.2 (1979): 131-59.
Book or monograph James S. Jeffers, Conflict in Rome: Social Order and Hierarchy in Early Christianity. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress, 1991. Pbk. ISBN: 0800624696. pp.215. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book P. Keresztes, "Marcus Aurelius a Persecutor?" Harvard Theological Review 61 (1968): 321-41.
Article in Journal or Book Paul Keresztes, "The Imperial Roman Government and the Christian Church, I. From Nero to the Severi," and "II. From Gallienus to the Great Persecution," H. Temporini & W. Haase, eds. Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, Vol. 2.23.1. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979. pp.247-315, 375-386.
Article in Journal or Book Paul Keresztes, "From the Great Persecution to the Peace of Galerius," Vigiliae Christianae 37.4 (1983): 379-399.
Article in Journal or Book Frederick C. Klawiter, "The Role of Matyrdom and Persecution in Developing the Priestly Authority of Women in Early Christianity: A Case Study of Montanism," Church History 49.3 (1980): 251-261.
Article in Journal or Book Ramsey MacMullen, "Judicial Savagery in the Roman Empire," Chiron 16 (1986): 147-66.
On-line Resource - website, article, monograph or book Martyrs of the Early Church
On-line Resource - website, article, monograph or book Elmer Truesdale Merrill [1860-1936], Essays in Early Christian History. London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd., 1924. Hbk. pp.334. [This material is in the Public Domain]
Article in Journal or Book Fergus Millar, "Condemnation to Hard Labour in the Roman Empire, from the Julio-Claudians to Constantine," Papers of the British School at Rome 52 (1984): 124-47.
Article in Journal or Book O. Nicholson, "Flight from Persecution as Imitation of Christ," Journal of Theological Studies 40 (1989): 48-65.
Book or monograph D.W. Riddle, The Martyrs: A Study in Social Control. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1931.
Article in Journal or Book James Rives, "The Piety of a Persecutor," Journal of Early Christian Studies 4.1 (1996): 1-25.
Book or monograph Alfred C. Rush, Death and Burial in Christian Antiquity. Catholic University of Maerica Studies in Christian Antiquity 1. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1941. pp. xxviii + 282.
On-line Resource - website, article, monograph or book Roman Persecution of the Early Church (Adrian Russell)
Book or monograph David Seeley, The Noble Death: Graco-Roman Martyrology and Paul's Concept of Salvation. .Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplements 28. Sheffield: JSOT, 1990. Hbk. ISBN: 1850751854. pp.170. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Brent D. Shaw, "The Passion of Perpetua," Past & Present 139 (1993): 3-45.
Article in Journal or Book A.N. Sherwin-White, "The Early Persecutions and Roman Law Again," Journal of Theological Studies, n.s., Vol. 3 (1952): 199-213.
Article in Journal or Book A.N. Sherwin-White, "Why were the Early Christians Persecuted? An Amendment," Past & Present 27 (1964): 23-27.
Article in Journal or Book E.M. Smallwood, "The Legislation of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius Against Circumcision," Latomus, Vol. 18 (1959): 334-347.
Article in Journal or Book Geoffrey E.M. de Ste. Croix, "Why Were the Early Christians Persecuted?" Past and Present, Vol. 26 (1963): 6-38.
Article in Journal or Book Geoffrey E.M. de Ste. Croix, "Why Were the Early Christians Persecuted? A Rejoiner," Past & Present 27 (1964): 28-33.
Article in Journal or Book W. Tabbernee, "Early Montanism and Voluntary Martyrdom," Colloqium, Vol. 17 (1985): 33-44.
Article in Journal or Book William Tabbernee, "Eusebius' Theology of Persecution: As Seen in the Various Editions of His Church History," Journal of Early Christian Studies 5.3 (1997): 319-334.
Article in Journal or Book Justin Taylor, "'The Love of Many Will Grow Cold': Matt. 24:9-13 and the Neronian Persecution," Revue Biblique 96.3 (1989): 352-357.
Article in Journal or Book U.C. von Wahlde, "The Theological Assessment of the First Christian Persecution: The Apostles' Prayer and Its Consequences in Acts 4:24-31," Biblica 76.4 (1995): 523-531.
On-line Resource - website, article, monograph or book Persecution in the Early Church (Rick Wade)
On-line Resource - website, article, monograph or book Why were the Early Christians Persecuted? (Stephen Walton)
Book or monograph William C. Weinrich, Spirit and Martyrdom: A Study of the Work of the Holy Spirit in Contexts of Persecution and Martyrdom in the New Testament and Early Christian Literature. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1981. Hbk. ISBN: 0819116556. pp.334. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book David Woods, "Two Notes on the Great Persecution," Journal of Theological Studies 43.1 (1992): 128-134.
Book or monograph Herbert Brook Workman, Persecution in the Early Church: A Chapter in the History of Renunciation, 4th edn. London: Epworth, 1923. pp.382. Reprinted: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Pbk. ISBN: 0192830252. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Andrzej Wypustek, "Magic, Montanism, Perpetua, and the Severan Persecution," Vigiliae Christianae 51.3 (1997): 276-297.

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