New Books Network

One of the first and most famous of Christian martyrs was Perpetua, who died in Carthage in the early 3rd century CE.  In her...

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.