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Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite
When I think about what women have had to go through over the centuries, I am amazed at their resilience and courage. Those women who gave their lives for a cause, however, are even more admirable. In the book Saint, Martyr, Virgin, Slave: Faith and Freedom Forever, Edward N. Brown presents the stories of some of the bravest women in history: the first Christian martyrs and saints. Focusing the narrative on the first three centuries of Christianity, Brown traces a detailed historical background and introduces us to the more and less famous heroines of this troubled era. The author presents both powerful women and slaves, all worthy of remembrance for their fight and sacrifice for freedom.
Saint, Martyr, Virgin, Slave is the book I had always hoped to find about the early centuries of Christianity. Although I have already studied some of the events described here, I find it innovative and stimulating that this time the women are the protagonists. What I liked most is that Edward N. Brown pointed out how Christianity was the opportunity for an alternative life. In Roman society, in fact, women had very little choice. I was struck that women considered the new religion as a way to choose a life of purity, thus challenging the customs that relegated them to the roles of brides and mothers. Also, I enjoyed reading about the lives of the saints and martyrs, especially that of Blandina and her unexpected strength. Saint, Martyr, Virgin, Slave is a book to be discovered. It reminds us of our roots and is a valid starting point for reflection on today's female condition.