Details of Thesis

Title The Appropriateness of the Apologetical Arguments of Justin Martyr
Author Haddad, Robert Michael
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2008
Abstract AIM The purpose of this study is to assess the appropriateness of Justin Martyr‘s apologetical arguments as contained in his genuine works, namely First and Second Apologies and Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, in response to the so-called  “five-fold attack” against Christianity in the second century AD. Methodologically, by  ‘appropriate‘ in this study is meant  ‘suitable‘ or  ‘proper,‘ taking into account the rhetorical and literary conventions of second-century Graeco-Roman culture, the contemporary social situation, Justin‘s rhetorical and/or intended audience and his purpose. Would Justin‘s arguments from the point of view of second-century standards have been reasonable, possessing at least a potential for effectiveness, or would they have been either ignored, dismissed without serious consideration, or even worsened the plight for Christians? I believe this work fills a significant gap in our knowledge of Justin, being the first time a comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness, or otherwise, of Justin‘s arguments has been made in one single study. SCOPE This Thesis is divided into six major chapters, plus a Conclusion: (i) In Chapter One I provide a brief introduction discussing how and why the Apologists emerged during the second century AD to meet the challenges of the day, as well as outlining the aim and scope of this study. (ii) In Chapter Two I discuss the nature of Christian Apology, its relationship to petitions to the Roman emperors, and how it compares to other (non-Christian) apologetic, protreptic, educational and missionary discourses. I also examine the rhetorical and literary conventions of the second century Graeco-Roman world and outline how Justin employed rhetoric in his three known works. (iii) In Chapter Three I outline in detail the particular attacks experienced by the Christians in Justin‘s time. (iv) In Chapter Four I examine the questions of intended destination, structure and purposes of Justin‘s apologetical works. (v) In Chapter Five I analyse the appropriateness of Justin‘s apologetical arguments in 1 and 2 Apologies. (vi) In Chapter Six I analyse the appropriateness of Justin‘s apologetical arguments in Dialogue. In all, eight distinct arguments from the Apologies (Behaviour, Beliefs, Due Process, Threat, Similitude, Dependence/Source, Antiquity/Prophecy, Miracles) and four distinct arguments from Dialogue (Superiority, Fulfilled Prophecy, Miracles, True Israel) are outlined in detail and then analysed giving the reasons for and against their appropriateness. CONCLUSIONS In my Conclusion, I argue that all of Justin‘s arguments were appropriate for one or more reasons, with only the argument of Threat in the Apologies being largely inappropriate. At the same time, all his arguments contained notable weaknesses, except for the argument of Similitude. The following table is provided, listing each of Justin‘s apologetical arguments and the number of reasons I give for their respective appropriateness/inappropriateness, together with a yes/no/mixed conclusion in the final column: [Table not shown]. This table is simplistic, nevertheless it does illustrate that the question of appropriateness is rarely a simple one, as more often than not there exist simultaneous reasons for and against the appropriateness of any particular argument. How has this study furthered our knowledge and understanding of Justin and his apologetical works? What can we conclude about Justin and his works based on the appropriateness or inappropriateness of his arguments? It is clear that for both the Apologies and Dialogue the strengths of Justin‘s arguments outweigh their weaknesses. The strengths generally pertain to philosophical, religious, or ethical aspects of the works that are presented logically and cogently while the weaknesses, by and large, result from Justin‘s tendency towards arrogance and abuse. Justin wrote very much the way he lived. As a philosopher and skilled debater Justin was not above offending and demeaning those with whom he did not agree if he thought this would increase the reception of his message. His brilliance and arrogance proved to be a lethal combination and led to his ultimate silencing. It perhaps also curtailed the effectiveness of his writings for no change of policy was ever effected during his lifetime, or at least universally implemented.
Thesis 01front.pdf  161KB
02whole.pdf 1,164KB

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