Sunday, March 27
by Peter Combes on Sun 27 Mar 2011 11:47 PM BST
March 27, 2011 – “Plato, Student of Moses” -- led by John Weicher
Justin Martyr, First
Justin finally finishes with prophecies from the Hebrew Bible, which is a relief. But instead he reverts to parallels between Christianity to paganism, arguing that pagans took their myths from Jewish prophecy:
But the pagans have said nothing about the cross, because they don’t understand it, and the cross is the centerpiece of Christianity. By this time, however, the Emperor or his censors and advisers might be pardoned if they’d given up taking any of Justin’s arguments and analogies seriously.
Sunday, March 20
by Peter Combes on Sun 20 Mar 2011 11:40 PM GMT
March 20, 2011 – “Socrates the Christian”
Justin Martyr, First
In chapters 44-50 Justin continues to quote Isaiah, ten times from various chapters including the first and last, prophesying the coming of the Messiah. By this time he has out-Matthewed Matthew in culling fulfilled prophecies from the Hebrew Bible. Matthew has a dozen, possibly one or two more; Justin has more than twice that many. One has to wonder yet again why he thinks the Roman Emperor would be persuaded by Jewish scripture.
He then invites the emperor to worry about the loyalty of the Christians with a reference to the oracles of Hystaspes, foretelling the fall of the
In chapter 46 he refers to Socrates and Heraclitus as Christians because they “lived reasonably,” and adds Abraham, Elijah, and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego on the same basis. This calls to mind C.S. Lewis’ comments in Reflections on the Psalms concerning Vergil as very nearly anticipating Christianity and perhaps coming to know the full truth after his death
Monday, March 14
by Peter Combes on Sun 13 Mar 2011 10:04 PM EDT
In chapters 36-41 Justin continues to quote prophecies of the coming Messiah from the Hebrew Bible, mainly from Isaiah and Psalms – seven from the former and five from the latter, including all of Psalms 1 and 2, as a single quote. Chapter 41 ends with a quotation from Psalm 96, most of the first ten verses. The last sentence (10a) is “the Lord reigneth from the tree.” Neither the Septuagint nor the Masoretic text have anything like “from the tree,” but both Tertullian and Augustine have it, as well as Justin. The Epistle of Barnabas talks about “the tree” also (chapter 8). It appears that the early church fathers believed that the original psalm included those words, but the rabbis deleted it, ostensibly to discourage anyone from concluding that David foresaw Jesus and his crucifixion.
We remain puzzled why Justin would expect a Roman emperor to be persuaded by Jewish prophecies that Jesus was the Son of God and Christianity was the only true religion.
Chapter 42 reminded us of “
In chapter 43, Justin proves he is no Protestant, and especially no Presbyterian. He scorns the idea of predestination, rips it up, down and sideways, and he doesn’t believe in justification by faith alone, either.
Sunday, March 6
by Peter Combes on Sun 06 Mar 2011 09:41 PM GMT
After reading the schedule section aloud to myself (
In these chapters Justin develops an argument from Hebrew Bible prophecy to prove that Jesus was the Son of God, quoting not only the common passages from Isaiah, Zephaniah, and Micah, but several other passages from Isaiah, and also Genesis (Ch. 49) and Psalms (16). He knows how the Septuagint was produced, without mentioning the notion that all 70 translators independently wrote exactly the same words; and he knows better than Matthew that Jewish writers often employed “parallelism” in poetry and prose – he doesn’t follow Matthew into the absurdity that Jesus rode two animals at once into