The death of a martyr or the value attributed to it is called martyrdom.The early Christians who first began to use the term martyr in its new sense saw Jesus as the first and greatest martyr, on account of his crucifixion.

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Analyses of the Gospel passion narratives have led many scholars to conclude that they are martyrdom accounts in terms of genre and style.

In the context of church history, from the time of the persecution of early Christians in the Roman Empire, it developed that a martyr was one who was killed for maintaining a religious belief, knowing that this will almost certainly result in imminent death (though without intentionally seeking death).

The process of bearing witness was not intended to lead to the death of the witness, although it is known from ancient writers (e.g.

Josephus) and from the New Testament that witnesses often died for their testimonies.

This is where Krishna instructs Arjuna how to carry out his duty as a righteous warrior and fight.

Martyrdom in Judaism is one of the main examples of Kiddush Hashem, meaning "sanctification of God's name" through public dedication to Jewish practice. Frend, "Judaism was itself a religion of martyrdom" and it was this "Jewish psychology of martyrdom" that inspired Christian martyrdom.

In Christianity, a martyr, in accordance with the meaning of the original Greek martys in the New Testament, is one who brings a testimony, usually written or verbal.

In particular, the testimony is that of the Christian Gospel, or more generally, the Word of God.

A Christian witness is a biblical witness whether or not death follows.