St. Justin Martyr- Biography and Online Writings
by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
Life: St. Justin Martyr was born around 120 AD in Palestine into a pagan Gentile family. He studied the wisdom of Plato, Aristotle, and other great Greek thinkers and became a professional philosopher. One day, while reading philosophy by the seashore, he was noticed by an old man who took the time to strike up a conversation about philosophy and religion. The elderly gentleman was a Christian and witnessed to Justin on how Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies in the Jewish holy books. As Justin investigated the matter, his realized that he had found the wisdom that he had been searching for all of his life.
Writings: Justin then became a Christian teacher and lived for a while in Ephesus, after which he moved to Rome, the Imperial Capital. He wrote and spoke openly about Christ, addressing two "apologies" or defenses of the Christian faith to the emperor himself. Justin Martyr became one of the most influential teachers of the 2nd century. Though contemporary writers tell us that he wrote extensively on many topics, only his two apologies and his Dialogue with Trypo, the Jew, survive today.
A rival philosopher turned Justin in to the authorities for his Christian faith, and Justin was martyred around the year 165 AD. An eyewitness account of his interrogation and martyrdom at the hands of the Roman authorities has been preserved for us and is read each year in the Church's office of Readings on June 1, St. Justin's feastday.
His first and second apologies are available below in their entirety, as well as several excerpts from his works. To our knowledge, the Dialogue with Trypho is not available online. My short TV overview of the life and teaching of St. Justin Martyr is available on the Early Church Fathers DVD and CD listed below.
The Fathers of the Church - Who They Are and Why They Matter
In a single, upbeat talk, full of examples and fascinating stories about some of the Church's most intriguing personalities, Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who people are talking about when they refer to the "Fathers of the Church" or "Early Church Fathers. Though the ranks of the fathers include a tremendous variety of cultures, locales, and personalities, there is surprising consensus that emerges from them on a variety of the most pressing questions of our day. In this dynamic talk, Marcellino makes clear just how much these figures have to teach us.