What is the Historical Evidence for the Deaths and Sufferings of Early Christians?

Bishop's Encyclopedia of Religion, Society and Philosophy


It is true that some legendary traditions exist referring to the deaths of the disciples, but not for all of them and their associates. We have some evidence for other early Christians who never recanted their faith in Jesus even in the face of death. We will briefly acknowledge the evidence we have for this claim.

In chapter 5 of a Letter to the Corinthians composed by the early church father Clement of Rome (35-99 CE), writing around 95-97 CE, he speaks of the ApostlePaul’s martyrdom. According to Clement, Paul “suffered martyrdom under the prefects.” Such a detail is not inconsistent with what we find in Paul’s own letters in which he refers to himself suffering willingly for Jesus. Paul faced death several times in his journeys (2 Cor. 6:5). Clement is knowledgeable of the events of the early Church and there is little reason to distrust his testimony…

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