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NEW BOOK COORDINATED BY CRISTINA OSSWALD AND JOSÉ EDUARDO FRANCO – Martyrdom and massacres under the magnifying glass

admin / January 8, 2021

Marco Carvalho

A multidisciplinary work that brings together varied approaches and very different perspectives on martyrdom. This is how Cristina Osswald, a professor and researcher at the Polytechnic Institute of Macau, defines the book Martírios e Massacres – Fazer da Morte uma Vitória (Martyrdoms and Massacres – Turning Death into Victory), a document that aims to address the importance of martyrdom, bearing in mind various religious traditions and even more varied geographical backgrounds.

Coordinated by Mrs. Osswald and by Portuguese historian José Eduardo Franco, the book has a  preface by Bishop Carlos Moreira de Azevedo, the current head of the Pontifical Council for Culture and brings together 18 articles written by scholars from higher education institutions in Macau Portugal, Brazil, Germany and France. Pierre-Antoine Fabre, from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, signs the afterword: “The work analyzes the issue of martyrdom leading to death from the classical era – more precisely from the 4th century – until the 20th century,”  Cristina Osswald told O Clarim. “This collection of articles covers, likewise, a vast geographic arc, extending from Europe (Portugal, France, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Great Britain) to the Americas (Brazil, Mexico, Peru) and Asia, where the examples of India and Japan are addressed,” the researcher adds.

But the book doesn’t distinguish itself uniquely by the breadth of the covered historical period or by the varied geography that it analyzes. The volume, Mrs. Osswald stresses, is multidisciplinary in nature and delves into the issue of martyrdom in the light of different spiritual approaches, taking into account different religious traditions: “The approach is multidisciplinary. Different authors  have attempted different approaches, which were mainly theological, literary,  liturgical, poetic or artistic. From a religious point of view, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and also Jewish perspectives were dissected, meaning we have looked at the Holocaust also,” the researcher sustains.

With a doctorate in history and civilization from the European University Institute, in Florence, Cristina Osswald believes that martyrdom is far from prefiguring itself as a phenomenon of the past: “Pope Francis defined the 21st century as the century of martyrs. According to the Holy Father, today there are ten times more martyrs than in Paleo-Christian times. Martyrs are ubiquitous. They are not saints, but men and women of flesh and bone, from the woman who sacrifices herself for her family or the on that sacrifices her life in order not to have an abortion,” the researcher – a specialist in the history of the Society of Jesus – claims

Martírios e Massacres – Fazer da Morte Uma Vitória should be formally launched in on a date yet to be determined, at the Casa de Portugal premises in Macau, Cristina Osswald told O Clarim.