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T H E P R O B L E M O F T H E C R U C I F I X I O N c h a p t e r 89 “You know very well,” said Trypho, “that we Jews all look forward to the coming of the Christ, and we admit that all your Scriptural quotations refer to him. I also admit that the name Jesus [Joshua], which was given to the son of Nun, has prompted me to incline to this opinion. 2. “But we doubt whether the Christ should be so shamefully crucified, for the Law declares that he who is crucified is to be accursed .1 Consequently, you will find it very difficult to convince me on this point. It is indeed evident that the Scriptures state that Christ was to suffer, but you will have to show us, if you can, whether it was to be the form of suffering cursed by the Law.” 3. “If, indeed, Christ was not to suffer,” I answered him, “and if the prophets did not predict that because of the sins of the people he would be put to death and be dishonored and scourged, and be numbered among sinners, and be led as a sheep to the slaughter, whose birth the prophet declares no one can describe,2 your feelings of astonishment would be justified . But, if these things are marks which reveal him to all, how can we do otherwise than confidently believe in him? And all who have grasped the meaning of the prophets’ words, as soon as they hear that he was crucified, will affirm that he is the Christ and no other.” 139 1. Dt 21.23; Gal 3.13. See Smit Sibinga, 99, 140–41; W. C. van Unnik, “Der Fluch der Gekreuzigten. Deuteronomium 21.23 in der Deutung Justinus des Märtyrers,” in Theologia Crucis, Signum crucis: Festschrift für Erich Dinkler zum 70 Geburtstag, ed. C. Andresen and G. Klein (Tübingen: Mohr, 1979), 483–99. 2. See Is 54.3–12. 140 st. justin martyr c h a p t e r 90 “Lead us forward, then, from the Scriptures,” said Trypho, “that we too may believe you. We are indeed aware that he was to endure suffering, and to be led as a sheep to the slaughter. But what we want you to prove to us is that he was to be crucified and subjected to so disgraceful and shameful a death (which even in the Law is cursed).3 We find it impossible to think that this could be so.” 2. “You know,” I said, “in fact, you already admitted to us, that what the prophets said or did they often expressed in parables and types, thus concealing the truth they held. As a result, it is not easy for the multitude to understand most of what they taught, but only those who take the trouble to find out and learn.” “We never doubted it,” they replied. 3. “Then, please listen,” I said, “to what I am going to say. Moses was the first to make known this apparent curse of Christ by the symbolic acts which he performed.” “What acts do you mean?” asked Trypho. 4. “When your people,” I answered, “waged war with Amalek,4 and the son of Nun, Jesus [Joshua], was leader of the battle, Moses himself, stretching out both hands, prayed to God for help. Now, Hur and Aaron held up his hands all day long, lest he should become tired and let them drop to his sides. For, if Moses relaxed from that figure which was a figure of the cross, the people were defeated (as Moses himself testifies); but as long as he remained in that position Amalek was defeated, and the people5 drew their strength from the cross. 5. “In truth, it was not because Moses prayed that his people were victorious, but because, while the name of Jesus was at the battle front, Moses formed the sign of the cross. Who among you does not know that that prayer is the most pleasing to God which is uttered with lamentation and tears, with prostrate 3. Dt 21.23. 4. See Ex 17.9–12; Daniélou, 270–72; Otranto (cited above, Dial. 77.4 n 20); Fédou, 46–47. 5. See Marcovich, 226. body or bended knees? But on this occasion Moses, or any after him, did not pray in such a manner; he was...


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