Justin & Justin: Introduction
As I begin this journey with Justin Martyr, it may be helpful for us all if I introduce him.
It can be hard to put together a history of Justin. What we do know is gathered from his writings and from the writings of the first Christian historian, Eusibius. And yet even Eusibius’ writings date back to 150 years after Justin’s death.
Justin was one of the first great Christian authors. He was born in Samaria to Roman parents around the year 110 AD. His family seemed to be affluent or at least from the upper class. Justin was very well educated and studied philosophy prior to his conversion. He was well versed in Plato and frequently quotes other philosophers.
After his conversion, Justin continued to wear his philosophers robe, a garment showing the prestige of his education. What changed however was his outlook and worldview. Justin did not run away from the philosophical establishment. Instead we see him engaging philosophers on their own turf. We know from his writings that he spent time in Ephesus and eventually moved to Rome. In Rome, his confrontation with the Cynics eventually led them to plot against him. The plot and intrigue of these philosophers would spell his execution/martyrdom.
Justin’s writings focused on bringing others into a relationship with Christ. He was the first great apologist and Philip Schaff says that he [Justin] “was the bright star in the west, seeking to lead the Wise Men to the Bethlehem Manger”.