Friday, June 01, 2007

Martyr Justin the Philosopher

Today, the first of June, is the feast of Justin Martyr. A famous passage from his First Apology:

But lest some should, without reason, and for the perversion of what we teach, maintain that we say that Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Cyrenius, and subsequently, in the time of Pontius Pilate, taught what we say He taught; and should cry out against us as though all men who were born before Him were irresponsible--let us anticipate and solve the difficulty. We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; and among the barbarians, Abraham, and Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and names we now decline to recount, because we know it would be tedious. So that even they who lived before Christ, and lived without reason, were wicked and hostile to Christ, and slew those who lived reasonably. But who, through the power of the Word, according to the will of God the Father and Lord of all, He was born of a virgin as a man, and was named Jesus, and was crucified, and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, an intelligent man will be able to comprehend from what has been already so largely said.


There's an interesting philosophical test implicit here: one might well wonder if modern-day 'philosophers' would be willing to die if that were the way to live according to reason, as Socrates died, as Justin himself died. I very much doubt that most would.

If this blog were to have a patron saint, I suppose it could be St. Justin. Siris was started on either the first or second of June three years ago, although the first post was definitely on June 2nd.

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