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Igor Pochoshajew

Martyrs, madmen or criminals : Christian selfsacrifications in 9th century Cordoba from the prospective of different historiographical traditions

Universität Rostock, 2008

Abstract: The current violence and killings in the name of Islam cannot be regarded as historically unparalleled. Several interesting examples come from the 9th century Muslim dominated Cordoba. In these cases, some Christians intentionally sought to destroy their own lives through execution by insulting Islam. Their acts were viewed as theologically legitmate in the Bible and within the Christian tradition. The Cordovan selfsacrifications, or voluntary deaths, have been regarded as very controversial in different scholarly traditions. They have been considered martyrs, madmen, and even criminals. The publications on these events, which this article analyzes, show that the past, and largely its interpretation, affect our view of current political and social realities. The phenomenon of violence or intolerance cannot be labeled to a particular religion, as the justification to seek martyrdom is largely based on the interpretation of religious meanings by those considered as authorities.

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