Barbara K. Gold
Athlete of God
Oxford University Press 2018
New Books in BiographyNew Books in Christian StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Italian StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network May 29, 2019 Mark Klobas
One of the first and most famous of Christian martyrs was Perpetua, who died in Carthage in the early 3rd century CE. In her book Perpetua: Athlete of God (Oxford University Press, 2018), Barbara K. Gold analyzes the account of her sacrifice and draws upon the dual contexts of the Christian and Roman worlds of that time to provide a framework for understanding her. Central to this effort is the “Passio Sanctarum Perpetuae et Felicitatis,” one of the earliest Christian texts and one which presents an incomplete and often confusing picture of Perpetua as a woman. As Gold explains, the gendering of her depiction reveals much about the complexities of her portrayal in the work, which posed a number of challenges for subsequent generations of male authors and Christian leaders in terms of the example she set with the martyrdom described within it.