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Loftier Doctrine: The use of Scripture in Justin Martyr’S Second Apology

Stephen O. Presley
  • Corresponding author
  • (PhD 2012, University of St. Andrews) is Assistant Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, United States of America
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Published Online: 2014-11-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/perc-2014-0011


Over the past century many scholars have questioned integrity and composition of Justin Martyr’s Second Apology. One frequent criticism is that Justin quotes from a variety of sources in Greco- Roman philosophy, but never once quotes scripture. As a result scholars assume that the Second Apology reveals Justin’s real indebtedness to philosophy that diverges from his broader theological and scriptural concerns expressed in his other works. This article challenges these notions by arguing that scripture is essential Justin’s Second Apology and that the lack of any extended quotations of scripture is no basis to disparage his theological perspective. Careful analysis of Justin’s Second Apology demonstrates that he regularly appeals to the authority of scripture and provides numerous echoes and allusions to scriptural passages. Furthermore, in terms of his theological framework, these echoes and allusions are actually more important than mere quotations. They demonstrate that Justin does not simply quote scripture, but absorbs the scriptural content and applies it to particular theological debates and particular issues of Christian practice.

Keywords: Justin Martyr; Second Apology; Scripture; Second Century; Biblical Interpretation


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About the article

Published Online: 2014-11-25

Published in Print: 2014-10-01

Citation Information: Perichoresis, Volume 12, Issue 2, Pages 185–200, ISSN (Online) 2284-7308, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/perc-2014-0011.

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© 2014. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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