JUSTIN MARTYR 110-165
- Born of Greek parents, in Samaritan Territory. Studied Stoic philosophy in Ephesus, then
Aristotelian philosophy (with a teacher anxious about his fee), then Pythagorean, and
finally Platonic philosophy. Then converted to Christianity. Tertullian first applied the
title philosophus et martyr to him. Eusebius of Caesarea wrote: "Justin, in
philosophers garb, preached the word of God." (Ecclesiastical History,
IV, II) He was martyred at Rome under prefect Junius Rusticus.
- Early exponent of the view that Christianity is the true philosophy"the only
reliable and serviceable philosophy." To Justin, Christianity appeared as the best
answer to the questions philosophy asked. Christianity was not Justins substitute
for philosophyJustin believed that Christianity was rational, and that it was more
rational than philosophical reason had ever been. Justin called himself a philosopher even
after his conversion: "
I found this philosophy [Christian revelation] alone to
be safe and profitable. Thus and for this reason, I am a philosopher." (Dialogue,
- Thesis of the First Apology: The Logos (Word) is manifested fully in Christ; but
it enlightens every man who comes into the world; so even before the coming of Christ, all
philosophers who followed the light of reason shared in the Logos. And those who live
according to logos (reasonably) are Christians, even though they have been thought
atheists. Justin names Socrates and Heraclitus.
- In the Second Apology, Justin argues that the Logos is germinally present in
every human soul (logos spermatikos). Everyone participates in the Logos. Hence all truths
which have ever been known by all the philosophers belong to Christians: "Whatever
things were rightly said among all men, are the property of us Christians." (II
- All pagan learning is not false, but a dim glimpse of the truth; the best elements of
pagan philosophy are a preparation for Christ, the Logos incarnate. Philosophy was sent to
men to lead them to Christ and Christianity.
- Taught (1) the soul has a special kinship to God; (2) man is responsible for his
actions; (3) in the world to come there is judgment and justice.