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St. Justin Martyr

At a Glance
Apology
Genre:
(4/5) ****
Reliability of Dating:
(5/5) *****
Length of Text:
Greek
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Ancient Translations:
Modern Translations:

Estimated Range of Dating: 150-160 A.D.

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Information on Justin Martyr

Robert M. Grant writes (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 3, p. 1133)

Justin's first work seems to have been his treatise Against all Heresies [now lost] . . . Later he composed his Apology now divided into two parts. The work is addressed to Antoninus Pius and his two adopted sons. Its date may be given by Justin's insistence on eternal fire for the wicked, for in the year 156 Polycarp of Smyrna, favorably received at Rome the year before, was burned alive after threatening his judge with "eternal fire." Justin's essay begins with the demand to investigate accusations and explains what Christians believe and do. The so-called "second apology" looks like a continuation of the first, perhaps with more emphasis on the philosophy espoused by the future emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Justin Martyr was a second century Christian apologist. His apology is dedicated to Emperor Antoninus, who ruled from 138-161. His apology may be dated internally from the statement in chapter 6 that "Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Cyrenius." Since Quirinius entered office in the year 6 C.E. according to Josephus, the apology may be dated to the year 156 CE.

His three works are known as the First Apology, the Second Apology, and the Dialogue with Trypho. Irenaeus tells us that Justin Martyr wrote a work against Marcion, which is now lost. Some authentic materials are preserved in the fragments of Justin quoted by other writers, although some of these fragments may be suspect.

The other documents attributed to Justin Martyr listed above - the Hortatory Address to the Greeks, On the Sole Government of God, and On the Resurrection - are of dubious authenticity. They may have been written instead by another Christian author, now unknown. It has been suggested that the Discourse to the Greeks was originally a Jewish treatise.

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Kirby, Peter. "St. Justin Martyr." Early Christian Writings. <http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/justin.html>.