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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Martyr as Homo Sacer: Toward a New Hermeneutic of Religious Violence


Suggesting a strong, if not symbiotic relationship between religious narrative and the use of violence, Matt Recla examines this diabolical dichotomy. Engaging heavily with Sizgorich and Boyarin, Recla shows how the ambiguity of boundaries becomes useful as it provides for the experimentation with and reintegration of cultural ideas and traditions within religious groups. The study of narratives is essential to an examination of a borderland complex, as so often the establishment of borders between groups begins with and is maintained by the use of rhetoric. Focusing on the ways in which individuals and groups interacted with the narrative of martyrdom, Recla gives us an important examination of the inextricable bonds between violence and belief.

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