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"You know very well that Jerusalem was laid waste just as it was prophesied. That it would be destroyed, and no one allowed to live there, was promised through the prophet Isaiah in this way: "Your land is desolate." Indeed you are aware that it is guarded and no one is in it." (First Apology, 47.4-6)
(On the Fall of Jerusalem in
(On the Fulfillment of Prophecy)
Significance of A.D.70)
'Millennial Reign' of Christ)
"I admitted to you formerly, that I and many others are of this opinion (temporal 1000 years), and [believe] that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware; but, on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise." (Trypho, 80)
(On the fulfillment of Isaiah 2:4)
(On The Power of the Jews in the First Century)
Identity of Israel
under the New Covenant
 What larger measure of grace, then, did Christ bestow on Abraham? This, namely, that He called him with His voice by the like calling, telling him to quit the land wherein he dwelt. And He has called all of us by that voice, and we have left already the way of living in which we used to spend our days, passing our time in evil after the fashions of the other inhabitants of the earth; and along with Abraham we shall inherit the holy land, when we shall receive the inheritance for an endless eternity, being children of Abraham through the like faith. For as he believed the voice of God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, in like manner we having believed God’s voice spoken by the apostles of Christ, and promulgated to us by the prophets, have renounced even to death all the things of the world. Accordingly, He promises to him a nation of similar faith, God-fearing, righteous, and delighting the Father; but it is not you, ‘in whom is no faith.’ (21 Ibid, 527)
(On The Israel of God')
INTRODUCTORY NOTE TO THE FIRST APOLOGY OF JUSTIN MARTYR.
[a.d. 110-165.] Justin was a Gentile, but born in Samaria, near Jacob's well. He must have been well educated: he had traveled extensively, and he seems to have been a person enjoying at least a competence. After trying all other systems, his elevated tastes and refined perceptions made him a disciple of Socrates and Plato. So he climbed towards Christ. As he himself narrates the story of his conversion, it need not be anticipated here. What Plato was feeling after, he found in Jesus of Nazareth. The conversion of such a man marks a new era in the gospel history. The subapostolic age begins with the first Christian author,-the founder of theological literature. It introduced to mankind, as the mother of true philosophy, the despised teaching of those Galileans to whom their Master had said, "Ye are the light of the world."
And this is the epoch which forced this great truth upon the attention of contemplative minds. It was more than a hundred years since the angels had sung "Good-will to men; "and that song had now been heard for successive generations, breaking forth from the lips of sufferers on the cross, among lions, and amid blazing faggots. Here was a nobler Stoicism that needed interpretation. Not only choice spirits, despising the herd and boasting of a loftier intellectual sphere, were its professors; but thousands of men, women, and children, withdrawing themselves not at all from the ordinary and humble lot of the people, were inspired by it to live and die heroically and sublimely,-exhibiting a superiority to revenge and hate entirely unaccountable, praying for their enemies, and seeking to glorify their God by love to their fellow-men.
And in spite of Gallios and Neros alike, the gospel was dispelling the gross darkness. Of this, Pliny's letter to Trajan is decisive evidence. Even in Seneca we detect reflections of the daybreak. Plutarch writes as never a Gentile could have written until now. Plato is practically surpassed by him in his thoughts upon the "delays1 of the Divine Justice." Hadrian's address to his soul, in his dying moments, is a tribute to the new ideas which had been sown in the popular mind. And now the Antonines, impelled by something in the age, came forward to reign as "philosophers." At this moment, Justin Martyr confronts them like a Daniel. The "little stone" smites the imperial image in the face, not yet "in the toes." He tells the professional philosophers on a throne how false and hollow is all wisdom that is not meant for all humanity, and that is not capable of leavening the masses. He exposes the impotency of even Socratic philosophy: he shows, in contrast, the force that works in the words of Jesus; he points out their regenerating power. It is the mission of Justin to be a star in the West, leading its Wise Men to the cradle of Bethlehem.
The writings of Justin are deficient in charms of style; and, for us, there is something the reverse of attractive in the forms of thought which he had learned from the philosophers. If Plato had left us nothing but the Timaeus, a Renan would doubtless have reproached him as of feeble intellectual power. So a dancing-master might criticize the movements of an athlete, or the writhings of St. Sebastian shot with arrows. The practical wisdom of Justin using the rhetoric of his times, and discomfiting false philosophy with its own weapons, is not appreciated by the fastidious Parisian. But the manly and heroic pleadings of the man, for a despised people with whom he had boldly identified himself; the intrepidity with which he defends them before despots, whose mere caprice might punish him with death; above all, the undaunted spirit with which he exposes the shame and absurdity of their inveterate superstition and reproaches the memory of Hadrian whom Antoninus had deified, as he had deified Antinous of loathsome history, -these are characteristics which every instinct of the unvitiated soul delights to honour. Justin cannot be refuted by a sneer.
He wore his philosopher's gown after his conversion, as a token that he had attained the only true philosophy. And seeing, that, after the conflicts and tests of ages, it is the only philosophy that lasts and lives and triumphs, its discoverer deserves the homage of mankind. Of the philosophic gown we shall hear again when we come to Tertullian.
The residue of Justin's history may be found in The Martyrdom and other pages soon to follow, as well as in the following Introductory Note of the able translators, Messrs. Dods and Reith:-
Justin Martyr was born in Flavia Neapolis, a city of Samaria, the modern Nablous. The date of his birth is uncertain, but may be fixed about a.d. 114. His father and grandfather were probably of Roman origin. Before his conversion to Christianity he studied in the schools of the philosophers, searching after some knowledge which should satisfy the cravings of his soul. At last he became acquainted with Christianity, being at once impressed with the extraordinary fearlessness which the Christians displayed in the presence of death, and with the grandeur, stability, and truth of the teachings of the Old Testament. From this time he acted as an evangelist, taking every opportunity to proclaim the gospel as the only safe and certain philosophy, the only way to salvation. It is probable that he traveled much. We know that he was some time in Ephesus, and he must have lived for a considerable period in Rome. Probably he settled in Rome as a Christian teacher. While he was there, the philosophers, especially the Cynics, plotted against him, and he sealed his testimony to the truth by martyrdom.
The principal facts of Justin's life are gathered from his own writings. There is little clue to dates. It is agreed on all hands that he lived in the reign of Antoninus Pius, and the testimony of Eusebius and most credible historians renders it nearly certain that he suffered martyrdom in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The Chronicon Paschale gives as the date 165 a.d.
The writings of Justin Martyr are among the most important that have come down to us from the second century. He was not the first that wrote an Apology in behalf of the Christians, but his Apologies are the earliest extant. They are characterized by intense Christian fervour, and they give us an insight into the relations existing between heathens and Christians in those days. His other principal writing, the Dialogue with Trypho, is the first elaborate exposition of the reasons for regarding Christ as the Messiah of the Old Testament, and the first systematic attempt to exhibit the false position of the Jews in regard to Christianity.
Many of Justin's writings have perished. Those works which have come to us bearing his name have been divided into three classes.
The first class embraces those which are unquestionably genuine, viz. the two Apologies, and the Dialogue with Trypho. Some critics have urged objections against Justin's authorship of the Dialogue; but the objections are regarded now as possessing no weight.
The second class consists of those works which are regarded by some critics as Justin's, and by others as not his. They are: 1. An Address to the Greeks; 2. A Hortatory Address to the Greeks; 3. On the Sole Government of God; 4. An Epistle to Diognetus; 5. Fragments from a work on the Resurrection; 6. And other Fragments. Whatever difficulty there may be in settling the authorship of these treatises, there is but one opinion as to their earliness. The latest of them, in all probability, was not written later than the third century.
The third class consists of those that are unquestionably not the works of Justin. These are: 1. An Exposition of the True Faith; 2. Replies to the Orthodox; 3. Christian Questions to Gentiles; 4. Gentile Questions to Christians; 5. Epistle to Zenas and Serenus; and 6. A Refutation of certain Doctrines of Aristotle. There is no clue to the date of the two last. There can be no doubt that the others were written after the Council of Nicaea, though, immediately after the Reformation, Calvin and others appealed to the first as a genuine writing of Justin's.
There is a curious question connected with the Apologies of Justin which have come down to us. Eusebius mentions two Apologies,-one written in the reign of Antoninus Pius, the other in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Critics have disputed much whether we have these two Apologies in those now extant. Some have maintained, that what is now called the Second Apology was the preface of the first, and that the second is lost. Others have tried to show, that the so called Second Apology is the continuation of the first, and that the second is lost. Others have supposed that the two Apologies which we have are Justin's two Apologies, but that Eusebius was wrong in affirming that the second was addressed to Marcus Aurelius; and others maintain, that we have in our two Apologies the two Apologies mentioned by Eusebius, and that our first is his first, and our second his second.
PHILOSOPHER, APOLOGIST, AND MARTYR
Justin was born around 100 (both his birth and death dates are approximate) at Flavia Neapolis (ancient Shechem, modern Nablus) in Samaria (the middle portion of Israel, between Galilee and Judea) of pagan Greek parents. He was brought up with a good education in rhetoric, poetry, and history. He studied various schools of philosophy in Alexandria and Ephesus , joining himself first to Stoicism, then Pythagoreanism, then Platonism, looking for answers to his questions. While at Ephesus, he was impressed by the steadfastness of the Christian martyrs, and by the personality of an aged Christian man whom he met by chance while walking on the seashore. This man spoke to him about Jesus as the fulfilment of the promises made through the Jewish prophets. Justin was overwhelmed. "Straightway a flame was kindled in my soul," he writes, "and a love of the prophets and those who are friends of Christ possessed me." Justin became a Christian, but he continued to wear the cloak that was the characteristic uniform of the professional teacher of philosophy. His position was that pagan philosophy, especially Platonism, is not simply wrong, but is a partial grasp of the truth, and serves as "a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ." He engaged in debates and disputations with non-Christians of all varieties, pagans, Jews, and heretics. He opened a school of Christian philosophy and accepted students, first at Ephesus and then later at Rome. There he engaged the Cynic philosopher Crescens in debate, and soon after was arrested on the charge of practicing an anauthorized religion. (It is suggested that Crescens lost the debate and denounced Justin to the authorities out of spite.) He was tried before the Roman prefect Rusticus, refused to renounce Christianity, and was put to death by beheading along with six of his students, one of them a woman. A record of the trial, probably authentic, is preserved, known as THE ACTS OF JUSTIN THE MARTYR.
Three works of Justin have been preserved.
His FIRST APOLOGY (in the sense of "defense" or "vindication") was addressed (around 155) to the Emperor Antoninus Pius and his adopted sons. (It is perhaps worth noting that some of the fiercest persecutors of the Christians were precisely the emperors who had a strong sense of duty, who were fighting to maintain the traditional Roman values, including respect for the gods, which they felt had made Rome great and were her only hope of survival.) He defends Christianity as the only rational creed, and he includes an account of current Christian ceremonies of Baptism and the Eucharist (probably to counteract distorted accounts from anti-Christian sources).
The SECOND APOLOGY is addressed to the Roman Senate. It is chiefly concerned to rebut specific charges of immorality and the like that had been made against the Christians. He argues that good Christians make good citizens, and that the notion that Christianity undermines the foundations of a good society is based on slander or misunderstanding.
The DIALOG WITH TRYPHO THE JEW is an account of a dialog between Justin and a Jewish rabbi named Trypho(n) (probably a real conversation with a real rabbi, although it may be suspected that Justin in editing it later gave himself a few good lines that he wished he had thought of at the time), whom he met while promenading at Ephesus shortly after the sack of Jerusalem in 135. Trypho had fled from Israel, and the two men talked about the Jewish people and their place in history, and then about Jesus and whether he was the promised Messiah. A principal question is whether the Christian belief in the deity of Christ can be reconciled with the uncompromising monotheism of the Scriptures. The dialogue is a valuable source of information about early Christian thought concerning Judaism and the relation between Israel and the Church as communities having a covenant relation with God. Toward the end of the dialog, Trypho asks, "Suppose that I were to become a Christian. Would I be required to give up keeping kosher and other parts of the Jewish law?" Justin replies: "Christians are not agreed on this. Some would say that you must give them up. Others, such as myself, would say that it would be quite all right for you, as a Jewish convert to Christianity, to keep kosher and otherwise observe the Law of Moses, provided that you did not try to compel other converts to do likewise, and provided that you clearly understand that keeping kosher will not save you. It is only Christ who saves you." They finally part friends, with Trypho saying, "You have given me food for thought. I must consider this further."
An interesting feature is the dispute about texts. Justin would quote a passage from the Septuagint (LXX), the standard Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures, and Trypho would reply, "That is not an accurate translation of the Hebrew. You Christians have been tampering with the text!" He never (at least as reportd by Justin) denies that Justin is correctly quoting the Greek manuscripts as they existed at the time, never brings forward an uncorrupted translation that has been preserved by Greek-speaking Jews.
The subsequent history of this dispute about translations is that the Jews, who had produced the LXX translation between 285 and 132 BC, repudiated it as unreliable and produced several subsequent translations, chiefly that of Aquila (around 140), which were close literal translations of the received Hebrew text -- what we may by an anachronism call the Masoretic Text (MT). Many Christians, on the other hand, noted that the LXX is the version usually quoted in the New Testament, even when it differs from the Hebrew. They recalled a Jewish story to the effect that the translation had been produced by 70 (or 72) scholars (hence the name), each working separately, and that their results when compared agreed perfectly; and they took this story as an indication that the LXX was an inspired translation, and that when it disagreed with the Hebrew, so much the worse for the Hebrew! The earliest Latin versions of the Bible (known collectively as the Old Latin (OL)) are translated from the LXX. However, when Jerome was called to produce a new version of the Latin Bible, he translated directly from the Hebrew (except for the Psalms, where he produced two versions), and this reduced the prestige of the LXX in the West. For many years scholars, noting the differences between the LXX and the MT, supposed that the LXX was simply a sloppy translation. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls included many Hebrew manuscripts of portions of Old Testament books (Samuel is the outstanding example) that had readings that agreed with the LXX against the MT. Accordingly, it is now widely held that the LXX is an accurate translation of Hebrew manuscripts representing one of several versions, but not always the version that ultimately prevailed in Hebrew circles and came to be what we call the MT. As for why it happened that the LXX was so often better suited to Christian purposes in proof-texting than the MT, several explanations come to mind:
From the FIRST APOLOGY:
Justin's works are found in the multi-volumed set called THE ANTE-NICENE FATHERS, and in various other collections of early Christian writings.
Refs: L W Bernard, JUSTIN MARTYR, HIS LIFE AND THOUGHT (Camb UP, 1967); Hans von Campenhausen, THE FATHERS OF THE GREEK CHURCH, tr Stanley Godman (NY, Pantheon, 1959); H Chadwick, "Justin Martyr's Defense of Christianity," BULLETIN OF THE JOHN RYLANDS LIBRARY, XLVII (1965) 275-297; Justin Martyr, THE DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO, tr A L Williams (NY, MacM, 1931).
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