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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Justin, Martyr (ca. 100 - 165)

Justin is the most important of the second century apologists (defenders of Christianity). He was born in Palestine and tried several philosophical schools before he was introduced to Christianity (probably near Ephesus). Once he studied the prophets of the Old Testament and observed the lives of the Christians, he became one of its staunchest defenders.

He wrote: “I, myself used to rejoice in the teaching of Plato and to hear evil spoken of Christians. But as I saw that they showed no fear in the face of death and of all other things which inspire horror, I reflected that they could not be vicious and pleasure-loving.” (Apology 2.12)

After some time as a travelling teacher, he ended up in Rome and taught some people who would become influential in the next generation of Christianity (most notably Tatian and Irenaeus). He earned his nickname during the reign of Marcus Aurelius when He was flogged and beheaded under the Prefect Junius Rusticus in 165, thus enjoying his own portion in the fearlessness toward death which has first inspired him to investigate the Hebrew prophets.

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