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St Justin Martyr

(c. 100—165) Christian philosopher


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(c.100–c.165),

Apologist. Born of pagan parents, he was converted to Christianity c.130. He continued as a philosopher, now teaching Christianity, first at Ephesus and later in Rome. His ‘First Apology’ (c.155) was addressed to the Emp. Antonius Pius and his adopted sons; the ‘Second Apology’, apparently written soon after the accession of Marcus Aurelius (161), was addressed to the Senate. Justin and some of his disciples were denounced as Christians c.165 and on refusing to sacrifice were beheaded.

Besides rebutting the charges of atheism and immorality, Justin and the other Apologists argued that Christianity was a true philosophy, in comparison with which other philosophies were either false or shadows of the truth fulfilled in Christ. In support of this argument Justin developed his doctrine of the ‘generative’ or ‘germinative’ Word, who had sown the seed of truth in everyone and had become incarnate in Christ, to teach people the whole truth and to redeem them from the power of the demons. Justin used his doctrine of the Logos to explain why Christians, while remaining monotheists, worshipped Jesus Christ, regarding Him as an incarnation of the Logos, ‘in second place’ to God. The ‘Dialogue with Trypho the Jew’ argues that the fulfilment of the OT prophecies in Christ proves the transitoriness of the Old Covenant and the vocation of the Gentiles to take the place of Israel. A number of other works have circulated under Justin's name, all spurious. Feast day, 1 June; in the W. formerly 14 Apr.

Subjects: Christianity.


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