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Justin, Martyr

Justin Martyr (100 - 165), born in modern day Palestine, was an early Christian apologist and martyr. He claimed to have been raised a Gentile, and in his search for truth he studied with the Stoics, Aristotelians, Pythagoreans, and Platonists. Impressed by the devotion of Christian martyrs, he was eventually converted to Christianity by an old Christian who taught him about the Hebrew prophets.

According to Justin, Christianity filled the highest aspirations of Platonic philosophy and was, therefore, the 'true philosophy.' He was one of the first to consistently use Greek philosophy (especially Platonism) to explain Christian doctrine, in dramatic opposition to Tertullian, who would ask "what does Athens [representing the philosophy] have to do with Jerusalem [representing the church]?"

In the writings of the early church we have three documents from Justin Martyr—The First Apology; The Second Apology; and The Dialogue with Trypho. In his First Apology, Justin argued that there were traces of Christian truth (logos spermatikis) that could be found in pagan writings. In both apologies, he seeks to defend the position of the Christians in the kingdom against unfair persecution and misconceptions. Justin seeks to dispel the myths surrounding Christians such as cannibalism or licentious sex but to prove these he goes on to write vastly on the Christian faith.

With fraternal affection,

Fr. Homero C.


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