Dying to be a martyr essay

Whether considering the young war volunteers in Iran of the mids, who willingly threw themselves into Iraqi machine-gun fire and minefields, or a young Palestinian blowing himself in front of a Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem, the recent developments signal a major transformation in the Islamic notion of martyrdom, with an added combination of modern warfare technology and radical militancy. For the most part, the wave of Islamist ideologies that has engulfed the Middle East since the late 70s has dramatically shifted the classical Islamic conception of martyrdom or shahadat for a new description. In the classical view, martyrdom identified the exemplary ethical model of moral action in a show of struggle jihad for the sacred, manifested in the ultimate act of self-sacrifice.

Dying to be a martyr essay

The establishment of these Orders coincides well with the periods in which the Memento Mori was reaching its zenith as an expression of Christian belief concerning death and dying.

Dying to be a martyr essay

This paper will examine the evolution of the Memento Mori, its historic representations of death in the Christian belief system, and its adoption and use by Freemasonry.

The reader is asked to be keenly aware that I am writing this strictly within the context of the Christian tradition; I am of course aware that many Masons are not themselves Christians, and I do this not out of religious conceit, but rather out of a need to narrow the scope of my investigation to that which is manageable in a paper of this type.

I respectfully ask that my perspective not be construed as bigoted or intolerant. Memento Mori in Art and Literature The skull, the skull and crossbones, and the skeleton were all used extensively in early artwork to symbolize death.

One particular representation of the skull in artwork which might be of interest to Freemasons is that found in a tile mosaic from a tabletop which was retrieved from the ashes of Pompei [iii] ; this mosaic includes a skull crowned by an ancient plumb-line, illustrating death as the great leveler Figure 1.


Of course, not every use of the skull in artwork is related to the symbolism of Memento Mori. The artistic theme of Memento Mori seems to be coincident with the onset of the Black Death in Europe circa [iv] in which images of death and references to the certainty of human mortality begin to appear in mainstream as well as funereal artwork.

It is during this period and the subsequent period extending well into the late 18th century [v] that an entire genre of tombstone art evolved which came to be known as cadaver tombs.

The bottom level image usually showed the deceased en transi decayed in the grave, complete with worms, rot, skeletal remains, and shroud. Many of these tombs bear inscriptions epitaphs which provoke the reader to consider his or her mortality [vi]: Peters circa A. It is said that the great Michelangelo A.

Caravaggio circa in his St. Jerome Writing notably includes a Death Head in his painting. InGuercino, in Arcadian Shepherds re-expresses the theme of Poussin on canvas using the less subtle image of a skull. In Pieter Claesz, created Vanitas. By this time the use of the Skull as the prevalent symbol of Memento Mori had become more or less standard.

Representations of Memento Mori appear in very early Classical literature. The Ars Moriendi, or "Art of Dying," is a body of Christian literature developed by the Church which appeared in Europe during the early fifteenth century, and which underwent extensive revision up until the eighteenth century.

The Ars Moriendi offered guidance for the dying and those attending to them concerning what to expect, and specified prayers, behaviors, and attitudes that would lead to a "good death" and subsequent salvation.

More will be discussed concerning the extremely important Ars Moriendi and its profound influence upon Christian doctrine and belief. Literary works of a somewhat later period frequently included reference to Memento Mori. Both phrases are attributed to the poet Horace circa B. The phrase Memento Mori developed with the growth of Renaissance Christianity, which emphasized Heaven, Hell, and salvation of the soul in the afterlife.

For Christians, thoughts of death were associated with the transience of earthly pleasures, luxuries, possessions, and achievements, which are of no value in the afterlife. A Biblical reference more closely associated with the concept of Memento Mori is that taken from Ecclesiasticus 7: As discussed, the Black Death had devastated Europe in the period followingand its recurrences along with other diseases continued to claim victims.

These dire conditions coincided with an important theological shift. In the early Middle Ages the Church was primarily concerned with humanity's collective judgment at the end of time; by the fifteenth century however this changed to a focus upon individual judgment immediately after death.

One's individual death and judgment thus became an urgent matter which required guidance. The Ars Moriendi figured prominently in this change in theological focus. This work became the basis for the Ars Moriendi. From the Council of Constance the Ars Moriendi was rapidly spread by the established networks of the Dominicans and Franciscans.

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The evolution of the Ars Moriendi is pivotal to the development of the Memento Mori. As the Ars Moriendi was revised it became a sort of illustrated book of morality and death with individual salvation as its central theme.- The Female Martyr of Nineteenth Century Literature The literature of the nineteenth century is abundant with stories about children dying, partially because it was common for people to die young.

One of the most popular forms of the dying child in literature is the martyr, who is almost always female. Subsection. All of the Bible Commentaries of the Scottish Covenanters.. Order of Contents. Why Read the Scottish Covenanters? About this Collection.

Tom died about , but of him came many sons, and one, Jack, who helped in the War of Of Jack and his wife, Violet, was born a mighty family, splendidly named: Harlow and Ira, Cloë, Lucinda, Maria, and Othello!

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