Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
2023 Miranda J Acuna
A religion of the late ancient Mediterranean, Christianity evolved at the cross-sections of the Hellenic and Hebrew legacies as it gradually gained followers across the Roman Empire. Between attracting converts and resisting prosecution from imperial authorities, the Jesus movement was compelled to juggle the pagan world with its monotheistic convictions. This paper contributes to the growing scholarship that identifies how Christianity competed with the Greco-Roman world and its enduring pagan culture. Namely, it identifies characteristic similarities between early Christian martyrdom narratives and Classical Greek tragedy. Examining one of the oldest Christian martyrdom hagiographies, the Passion of Ss. Perpetua and Felicitas (c. 203 CE) from Roman Carthage, my thesis demonstrates how the martyrdom account features allusions to the plays of Euripides, works that remained highly esteemed and popular in late antiquity. By including references to the treasured Classical works of Greco-Roman audiences, this early Christian text competed with Euripidean heroes in an era of gradual socio-religious transition.
Acuna, Miranda J., "Tragedy and Martyrdom: Greek Drama and the Passion of Ss. Perpetua and Felicitas" (2023). Scripps Senior Theses. 2218.