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J U S T I N O F F E R S T O D E F E N D C H R I S T I A N B E L I E F c h a p t e r 9 “My friend,” I replied, “I pardon you, and may the Lord forgive you, for you don’t know what you are saying; you have been instructed by teachers who are ignorant of the meaning of the Scriptures, and, raving like an oracle, you blurt out whatever comes into your mind. If you will agree to hear our account of him, how we have not been deceived by false teachings, and how we shall not cease to profess our faith in him (even though men thereby persecute us, and the most cruel tyrant tries to force us to deny him), I will prove to you, here and now, that we do not believe in groundless myths nor in teachings not based on reason, but in doctrines that are inspired by the Divine Spirit , abundant with power, and teeming with grace.” 2. Trypho’s companions once again broke out in such loud, rude, and raucous laughter that I got up and was ready to walk away. But Trypho seized me by my cloak and said he wouldn’t let me go until I had kept my promise [to defend the Christians ]. “Then, don’t let your friends,” I insisted, “cause such a commotion , or act so insultingly. If they wish, let them listen in silence , or, if they have something more important to do, let them depart; then we can go somewhere to rest and finish our conversation.” 3. Trypho consented, and we then agreed to retire to the central space within the colonnade.1 Two of his friends, joking 17 1. See van Winden, 125 and 128. and making fun of our earnestness, went their way. When we came to that part of the stadium where there were stone seats on both sides, Trypho’s other companions went to sit on the one side and after one of them had made a remark about the war waged in Judea, they spoke of it.2 c h a p t e r 10 When they had finished, I once again addressed them as follows : “My friends, is there any accusation you have against us other than this, that we do not observe the Law, nor circumcise the flesh as your forefathers did, nor observe the Sabbath as you do? Or do you also condemn our customs and morals? This is what I say, lest you, too, believe that we eat human flesh and that after our banquets we extinguish the lights and indulge in unbridled sensuality.3 Or do you only condemn us for believing in such doctrines and holding opinions which you consider false?” 2. “This last charge is what surprises us,” replied Trypho. “Those other charges which the rabble lodge against you are not worthy of belief, for they are too repulsive to human nature . But the precepts in your so-called Gospel4 are so marvelous and great that I don’t think that anyone could possibly keep them. For I took the trouble to consult them. 3. “But this is what we are most puzzled about, that you who claim to be pious and believe yourselves to be different from the others do not segregate yourselves from them, nor do you observe a manner of life different from that of the Gentiles, for you do not keep the feasts or Sabbaths, nor do you practice the rite of circumcision. You place your hope in a crucified man, and still expect to receive favors from God when you disregard his commandments. Have you not read that the male who is not circumcised on the eighth day shall be eliminated from his people? 5 This 18 st. justin martyr 2. Van Winden’s translation, p. 125. 3. For those standard accusations against Christians see 1 Apol. 26 (Barnard, 40–41, 139 n 188); Athenagoras, The Supplication for the Christians 3, Tertullian, Apology 7; Minucius Felix, Octavius 9.6 and the translation by Clarke (cited above, Dial. 1.1 n 1), 65 and 220 n 121. 4. For “Gospel” see O. Piper, “The Nature of the Gospel according to Justin Martyr,” JourRel 41 (1961): 153–68. 5. Gn 17.14. precept was for stranger and purchased slave alike. But you, forthwith, scorn this covenant, spurn the commands that come...


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