An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Justin the Martyr

(c. 100-c. 165). Leading apologist, who has been called “one of the most original thinkers Christianity produced.” He was born to Greek-speaking, pagan parents at Flavia Neapolis (Nablus), the ancient city of Shechem in Samaria. After a long search for the truth in pagan philosophies, he embraced Christianity around 130. Justin taught at Ephesus for awhile, where he disputed with Trypho the Jew. Later he moved to Rome, where he taught for the rest of his life. His First and Second Apologies were defenses of Christianity against charges of atheism, immorality, and disloyalty to the Roman Empire. He defended Christians on the basis of their superior moral lives, and he defended Christianity as the oldest monotheistic religion and the true philosophy. In his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, Justin argued that the church is the true Israel and that only Christians can interpret the OT correctly. He provides considerable information about the celebration of baptism and the eucharist in the early church. Justin and six other Christians were arrested and then condemned to die by the prefect Junius Rusticus. They confessed the Christian faith and refused to sacrifice to the gods. They were scourged and beheaded at Rome. Justin is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on June 1.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.