Martyrs: Contemporary Writers on Modern Lives of Faith

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9780060611200: Martyrs: Contemporary Writers on Modern Lives of Faith

Twenty acclaimed writers, including Julia Alvarez, Ron Hansen, and Kathleen Norris, offer a thoughful meditation of what it means to live and die in the name of faith, profiling such modern martyrs as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Archbishop Oscar Romero, and Steven Biko. 12,500 first printing.

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From the Publisher:

Twenty original essays by distinguished contemporary writers trace an indelible portrait of the martyrs of our century, documenting a struggle that has played out across the boundaries of nations and between the realm of culture and the province of the sacred. The stories of these remarkable individuals who chose faith at the cost of life demonstrate that what remains, after the drama of their agonizing deaths, is a legacy of inspiring faith.

"Now in this century, which has produced more martyrs than all other centuries combined, the time has come to honor the newly fallen. I find the lineup in this book, both of subjects and authors, simply stunning." --Philip Yancey, author of The Jesus I Never Knew

"Unsentimental, critical, and penetrating, this book most directly confronts me with the question: 'Who are you willing to die for?' With its gripping stories about contemporary martyrs it exposes the immense challenge of a committed life."
--Henri Nouwen

"This book offers both fact and insight concerning one of the deepest mysteries in human experience: Why would a person willingly give up his or her own life for reasons of faith or for social justice?...What seems to emerge in these accounts is the truth that love, the greatest commandment, sometimes requires of God's faithful the ultimate sacrifice, one that love enables them willingly to make." --Alfred Corn, editor of Incarnation: Contemporary Writers on the New Testament

"This book belongs in every Christian's arsenal." --David Neff, executive editor, Christianity Today

"The stories...are the pounding heart of this luminous book." --Mark A. Noll, professor of history, Wheaton College

Susan Bergman is an award-winning essayist and poet. She is the author of a memoir, Anonymity, which was published in 1994 to wide critical acclaim, and a novel, The Buried Life, forthcoming in 1997.

The impressive list of contributors include:

  • Susan Bergman on modern martyrdom
  • Larry Woiwode on Aleksandr Men
  • Ron Hansen on the Jesuits of El Salvador
  • Carolyn Forch on Oscar Romero
  • Nancy Mairs on Janani Luwum
  • Paul Elie on Steven Biko
  • Gerald Early on Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Julia Alvarez on the Mirabals
  • Steve Saint on Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully and Peter Fleming
  • Marilynne Robinson on Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Calvin Bedient on Etty Hillesum
  • Anthony Walton on Simone Weil
  • Patricia Hampl on Edith Stein
  • Paul Mariani on Maximilian Kolbe
  • Mark Rudman on Osip Mandelstam
  • Peggy O'Brien on Patrick Pearse
  • Robert Ellsberg on Charles de Foucauld
  • Kathleen Norris on Maria Goretti
  • Barbara Lazear Ascher on the Boxer Rebellion
  • Dana Gioia, Afterword

From Publishers Weekly:

Many religions are rich with the narratives of individuals who have sacrificed their lives for their religious traditions. Since early Christianity found itself persecuted by outsiders who were suspicious of its religious claims, its history is replete with accounts of the life and work of martyrs who willingly died for their faith. While Foxe's Book of Martyrs (Baker Book House, 1983) is a popular volume of the stories of these early martyrs, there have been few collections of the stories of contemporary religious people who have suffered on behalf of their faith. Bergman's arresting compendium combines the stories of "modern lives of faith" with the narrative power of such contemporary writers as Ron Hansen and Marilynne Robinson to provide a powerful glimpse into the lives of modern martyrs. Paul Elie, editor of A Tremor of Bliss: Contemporary Writers on the Saints, offers a portrait of the martyrdom of South African anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko, while poet Carolyn Forche tells the story of her own encounter with El Salvador's archbishop Oscar Romero in the week just before he was assassinated. The modern martyrs whose inspirational and challenging stories we hear range from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Simone Weil to Edith Stein and Maximillian Kolbe. All of the stories demonstrate the uncompromising conviction with which these martyrs held their beliefs as well as the ways that their stories continue to affect our lives.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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