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J E W I S H R I T U A L L AW S A S A R E M E D Y F O R I D O L A T R Y c h a p t e r 19 “That,” interposed Trypho, “is precisely what we are puzzled about—why you endure all sorts of tortures, yet refuse to follow the [Jewish] customs now under discussion.” 2. “As I already explained,” I answered, “it is because circumcision is not essential for all men, but only for you Jews, to mark you off for the suffering you now so deservedly endure. Nor do we approve of your useless baptism of the wells, which has no connection at all with our baptism of life. Thus has God protested that you have forsaken him, the fountain of living water, and have dug for yourselves broken cisterns which can hold no water.1 3. “You Jews, who have the circumcision of the flesh, are in great need of our circumcision, whereas we, since we have our circumcision, do not need yours. For if, as you claim, circumcision had been necessary for salvation, God would not have created Adam uncircumcised; nor would he have looked with favor upon the sacrifice of the uncircumcised Abel, nor would he have been pleased with the uncircumcised Enoch, who was seen no more, because God took him.2 4. “The Lord and his angels led Lot out of Sodom; thus was he saved without circumcision. Noah, the uncircumcised father of our race, was safe with his children in the ark. Melchisedek, 31 1. Jer 2.13. See Skarsaune, 70, 173, 378. On the baptism of the wells see Shaye J. D. Cohen, “The Rabbinic Conversion Ceremony,” Journal of Jewish Studies 41 (1990): 177–203, reprinted in The Beginnings of Jewishness (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 198–238. 2. Gn 5.24. See Smit Sibinga, 60; Skarsaune, 127. the priest of the Most High, was not circumcised, yet Abraham, the first to accept circumcision of the flesh, paid tithes to him and was blessed by him; indeed, God, through David, announced that he would make him a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedek.3 5. “Circumcision, therefore, is necessary only for you Jews, in order that, as Hosea, one of the twelve prophets, says, your people should not be a people, and your nation not a nation.4 Furthermore , all these men were just and pleasing in the sight of God, yet they kept no Sabbaths. The same can be said of Abraham and his descendants down to the time of Moses, when your people showed itself wicked and ungrateful to God by molding a golden calf as an idol in the desert. 6. “Therefore, God, adapting his laws to that weak people, ordered you to offer sacrifices to his name, in order to save you from idolatry, but you did not obey even then, for you did not hesitate to sacrifice your children to the demons. Moreover, the observance of the Sabbaths was imposed upon you by God so that you would be forced to remember him, as he himself said, That you may know that I am God your Savior.5 c h a p t e r 20 “You were likewise ordered to abstain from eating certain kinds of meat, so that while eating and drinking you would keep God before your eyes, for you have always been disposed to forget him, as Moses himself testifies: The people ate and drank, and rose up to play.6 And in another passage, Jacob ate and was filled, and grew fat; my beloved kicked, he grew fat and gross and broad, and forsook God who made him.7 Indeed, Moses in the Book of Genesis makes known to you how God allowed the righteous Noah to eat every kind of meat, except flesh with its blood still in it, that is, strangled.”8 32 st. justin martyr 3. Ps 109 (110).4. See J. L. Marshall, “Melchizedek in Hebrews, Philo and Justin Martyr,” Studia Evangelica VII, 9 (= TU 126; 1982), 339–42. 4. Hos 1.9. 5. Ezek 20.12, 20. 6. Ex 32.6, taken from the golden calf episode. See Smit Sibinga, 138; Skarsaune, 171. 7. Dt 32.15. See Smit Sibinga, 144; Skarsaune, 446. 8. See Gn 9.3–4. Marcovich, 102, notes the emendation of H. Stephanus: 2. As Trypho was just ready to add, “as the green...


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