The Apologetic and Literary Value of the Acts of Justin

The Apologetic and Literary Value of the Acts of Justin

Chris Baghos
University of Sydney
 
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to outline the consistent apologetic function and literary value of the acta describing the trial and execution of St Justin Martyr and his disciples in Rome (aspects which have largely been overlooked by scholarship hitherto). To this end, it will examine whether the most authentic recensions echo the apologist’s understanding of the rapports between Christianity and pagan philosophy. Moreover, it will discuss the editors’ articulation of Christian identity through their representation of Justin and his disciples, including the influence of the New Testament in this regard. It will also highlight the editors’ censure of paganism via their negative depiction of Quintus Junius Rusticus (a descendant of a Stoic martyr, an influential philosopher himself, and the urban prefect who served as Justin’s judge).