Acts Of Paul And Thecla Analysis

851 Words4 Pages
Jennah Durbin
The martyrdom stories of early Christianity offer a biased glimpse at Christian life and the obstacles the movement had to overcome to grow and be respected. While most martyrdom stories share attributes, such as the culturally masculine attributes of the Christians and the emphasis of opposing groups like the Jews, one story, The Acts of Paul and Thecla, stands out. It lacks a key feature commonly used to define “martyrdom”: the death of the Christians, in this case Paul and Thecla. Also, while most martyrdoms focus on an apostle, who is almost always male, or a group of Christians, The Acts of Paul and Thecla focuses on Thecla, Paul’s female convert, and not Paul himself. The Acts of Paul and Thecla differs in its purpose from other martyr stories, focusing on the culturally masculine power of God as the protector of his female convert rather than the culturally masculine attributes of
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While most other martyrdoms focused on the culturally masculine attributes of Christian martyrs, including strong rhetoric and bravery, The Acts of Paul and Thecla focused on the power of God through a show of force in which God saves Thecla from death. It also touched on Christian converts becoming preachers themselves when most martyrdoms only involved preachers as the inciting incident or the martyrs themselves. I believe that the purpose of The Acts of Paul and Thecla was to create a compelling story about Paul’s teachings and the power of God rather than to address Christian prosecution and create a masculine Christian identity. The story uses Thecla as a living testament to God’s power and the legitimacy of Paul’s teachings. While Thecla’s story inherently affects Christian identity like the other martyrdoms, it left a distinct legacy about Paul’s teachings and early Christianity in opposition to Roman values rather than the ever-changing legacies of other
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