Date

2014

Department

Seminary

Degree

Master of Divinity (M.Div.)

Chair

Edward Smither

Keywords

Christianity, Church History, Lyon, Martyrdom, Patristics, Persecution

Disciplines

Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Christianity | European History | History | History of Christianity | History of Religion | History of Religions of Western Origin | Religion

Abstract

Historical research concerning the Christian persecution of Lyon in AD 177 has attempted to solve the question of relationship between the events in Lyon and the political and religious context of the Roman Empire. One such theory, the trinqui theory, posits that the Gallic aristocracy exploited Christians as sacrificial victims in an ancient Celtic ritual involving the use of criminals in gladiatorial entertainment. If true, the trinqui theory effectively shifts the responsibility for the killings from the imperial government under Marcus Aurelius to the provincial and aristocratic authorities in Gaul. This thesis will critique the trinqui theory by showing that it insufficiently correlates the revitalization of Celtic religion in second-century Gaul to the martyrdom of 177 while overlooking correlations to Roman methods of torture and execution.