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J U S T I N M E E T S T R Y P H O c h a p t e r 1 Early one morning as I was walking along the colonnades of the gymnasium,1 a man, accompanied by some friends, came up to me and said, “Good morning, Philosopher.” Whereupon, he and his friends walked along beside me. After returning his greeting, I asked, “What is the matter? Is there anything special you wish of me?” 2. He answered, “In Argos I was taught by Corinthus, the Socratic philosopher, never to slight or ignore those who wear that gown of yours,2 but to show them every consideration and to converse with them, since from such a conversation some good might be derived by them or myself. It would be to the advantage of both if either should benefit from this meeting. Accordingly , whenever I see anyone wearing such a gown, I gladly accost him. So, for this same reason, it has been a pleasure to greet you. These friends of mine share my hope of hearing something profitable from you.” 3. “Which mortal man are you, my fine fellow?” 3 I asked with a smile. He did not hesitate to tell me his name and background. 3 1. In the city of Ephesus, according to Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4.18, but more likely Caesarea. See new Introduction, n 6. For a similar mise-en-scène see G. W. Clarke, trans., The Octavius of Marcus Minucius Felix, ACW 39 (1974), 52 and 172–74 n 17. For an acute stylistic analysis of this opening chapter, see H. F. Stander (cited in new Introduction, n 13). 2. Philosophers wore a cloak (trivbwn, a shabby sort of gown). See J. C. M. van Winden, An Early Christian Philosopher: Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho, Chapters One to Nine. (Leiden: Brill, 1971), 23–25. 3. Homer, The Iliad 6.123, trans. M. Reck (New York: Icon Editions, 1995). “Trypho,” he said, “is my name.4 I am a Hebrew of the circumcision , a refugee from the recent war,5 and at present a resident of Greece, mostly in Corinth.” “How,” I asked, “can you gain as much from philosophy as from your own lawgiver and prophets?” “Why not,” he replied, “for do not the philosophers speak always about God? Do they not constantly propose questions about his unity and providence? Is this not the task of philosophy , to inquire about the Divine?” 4. “Yes, indeed,” I said, “we, too, are of the same opinion. But the majority of the philosophers have simply neglected to inquire whether there is one or even several gods, and whether or not a divine providence takes care of us, as if this knowledge were unnecessary to our happiness. Moreover, they try to convince us that God takes care of the universe with its genera and species, but not of me and you and of each individual, for otherwise there would be no need of our praying to him night and day. 5. “It is not difficult to see where such reasoning leads them. It imparts a certain immunity and freedom of speech to those who hold these opinions, permitting them to do and to say whatever they please, without any fear of punishment or hope of reward from God. How could it be otherwise, when they claim that things will always be as they are now, and that you and I shall live in the next life just as we are now, neither better nor worse. But there are others6 who think that the soul is immortal and incorporeal, and therefore conclude that they will not be punished even if they are guilty of sin; for, if the soul is incorporeal, it cannot suffer; if it is immortal, it needs nothing further from God.” 6. Then, with a subdued smile, he said, “Explain to us just what is your opinion of these matters, and what is your idea of God, and what is your philosophy.” 4 st. justin martyr 4. Some have identified, probably erroneously, this Trypho with Tarphon, a famous fanatical Rabbi of Palestine. See new Introduction, p. xii. 5. The revolutionary war instigated by Bar Kochba in Palestine. It lasted from C.E. 132 to 135, during which time Hadrian captured Jerusalem and slew thousands of Jews. See L. W. Barnard in Justin Martyr, The First and Second Apologies , ACW 56 (1997), 147 n 214. 6. I.e., the Platonists...


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