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Martyrdom and the History of Christianity

October 3, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

On Tuesday, October 3, CLS and Buxton Books presents an evening for lovers of history and theology.

In Cult of the Dead, Kyle Smith dives into the origins of Christianity and its history of memoralizing the legacies of martyrs. Smith’s sweeping historical account adopts a fascinating approach to the evolution of religion and the phenomena of death and martyrdom.  Smith will be joined in conversation by the Reverend Dr. Adam J Shoemaker

Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for the public. 

To purchase tickets, click here or call 843-723-9912 during box office hours.

About the Book:
A cultural history of how Christianity was born from its martyrs.

Though it promises eternal life, Christianity was forged in death. Christianity is built upon the legacies of the apostles and martyrs who chose to die rather than renounce the name of their lord. In this innovative cultural history, Kyle Smith shows how a devotion to death has shaped Christianity for two thousand years.

For centuries, Christians have cared for their saints, curating their deaths as examples of holiness. Martyrs’ stories, lurid legends of torture, have been told and retold, translated and rewritten. Martyrs’ bones are alive in the world, relics pulsing with wonder. Martyrs’ shrines are still visited by pilgrims, many in search of a miracle. Martyrs have even shaped the Christian conception of time, with each day of the year celebrating the death of a saint. From Roman antiquity to the present, by way of medieval England and the Protestant Reformation, Cult of the Dead tells the fascinating story of how the world’s most widespread religion is steeped in the memory of its martyrs.

About Kyle Smith: Kyle Smith is Associate Professor and Director of the History of Religions Program at the University of Toronto. An award-winning teacher, he is the author or co-author of five books about Christian saints and martyrs.

About Reverend Dr. Adam J. Shoemaker: Adam received a bachelor’s degree from Boston University, a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, a Diploma in Anglican Studies from the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, and has completed the Doctor of Ministry program at Duke Divinity School. His dissertation addresses a pivotal moment in the unique history of St. Stephen’s. The title of his dissertation is “Building Community Across Walls: A History of an Integrated Church amid a Gentrifying Neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina.”


Charleston Library Society
164 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401 United States
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