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H O W J U S T I N F O U N D P H I L O S O P H Y c h a p t e r 2 “I will tell you,” I replied, “my personal views on this subject. Philosophy is indeed one’s greatest possession, and is most precious in the sight of God, to whom it alone leads us and to whom it unites us, and in truth they who have applied themselves to philosophy are holy men. But, many have failed to discover the nature of philosophy, and the reason why it was sent down to men; otherwise, there would not be Platonists, or Stoics , or Peripatetics, or Theoretics,1 or Pythagoreans, since this science is always one and the same. 2. “Now, let me tell you why it has at length become so diversified . They who first turned to philosophy, and, as a result, were deemed illustrious men were succeeded by men who gave no time to the investigation of truth, but, amazed at the courage and self-control of their teachers as well as with the novelty of their teachings, held that to be the truth which each had learned from his own teacher. And they in turn transmitted to their successors such opinions, and others like them, and so they became known by the name of him who was considered the father of the doctrine. When I first desired to contact one of these philosophers, [3.] I placed myself under the tutelage of a certain Stoic.2 After spending some time with him and learning nothing new about God (for my instructor had no knowledge of God, nor did he consider such knowledge necessary), I left 5 1. No satisfactory explanation as yet of the identity of the Theoretic group; see van Winden, 47; Hyldahl (cited in new Introduction, n 7), 113. 2. On Stoicism in the Apologies see P. Montini, “Elementi di filosofia stoica in S. Giustino,” Aquinas (Roma) 28 (1985): 457–76. him and turned to a Peripatetic who considered himself an astute teacher. After a few days with him, he demanded that we settle the matter of my tuition fee in such a way that our association would not be unprofitable to him. Accordingly, I left him, because I did not consider him a real philosopher. 4. “Since my spirit still yearned to hear the specific and excellent meaning of philosophy, I approached a very famous Pythagorean, who took great pride in his own wisdom. In my interview with him, when I expressed a desire to become his pupil, he asked me, ‘What? Do you know music, astronomy, and geometry? How do you expect to comprehend any of those things that are conducive to happiness, if you are not first well acquainted with those studies which draw your mind away from objects of the senses and render it fit for the intellectual, in order that it may contemplate what is good and beautiful?’ 5. “He continued to speak at great length in praise of those sciences, and of the necessity of knowing them, until I admitted that I knew nothing about them; then he dismissed me. As was to be expected, I was downcast to see my hopes shattered, especially since I respected him as a man of considerable knowledge . But, when I reflected on the length of time that I would have to spend on those sciences, I could not make up my mind to wait such a long time. 6. “At my wit’s end,3 it occurred to me to consult the Platonists ,4 whose reputation was great. Thus it happened that I spent as much time as possible in the company of a wise man who was highly esteemed by the Platonists and who had but recently arrived in our city.5 Under him I forged ahead in philosophy and day by day I improved. The perception of incorporeal things quite overwhelmed me and the Platonic theory of ideas added wings to my mind,6 so that in a short time I imagined myself a 6 st. justin martyr 3. Van Winden’s felicitous translation of ejn ajmhcaniva/ dev mou o[nto". 4. On Platonism see new Introduction, n 5. 5. Probably Ephesus. Others think it might be Flavia Neapolis (Nablus), the city of his birth, or even the city of Alexandria. For Nablus see Jerome MurphyO ’Connor, The Holy Land, 4th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 372–73. 6. A...


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