ANF – Second Apology of Justin

This is another of Justin’s defense of Christians facing persecutions including torture and death at the hands of Roman authorities.  It is much shorter and far less complete than his better known (and longer) First Apology.  Here, as there, he points out the ideological inconsistencies with persecuting and prosecuting Christians as somehow degenerate when they live lives far more upright and moral than many of the philosophers and orators in Greek and Roman history who are admired and even fostered followings still extant in Justin’s time.  One of the common accusations levied against Christians is that they practiced cannibalism, through a misunderstanding/misinterpretation of the Eucharist/Holy Communion, wherein the bread and wine are also the body and blood of Christ himself.  Justin mocks such ridiculous assertions, indicating that anybody who so enjoyed any sort of sensuality or intemperateness would be quick to save their life so they could continue enjoying it, rather than welcoming martyrdom as so many Christians had and were doing.

Another benefit of reading the Ante-Nicene Fathers is to remember the context in which they lived and wrote – a culture that was polytheistic to some degree, and so I am constantly being presented with both philosophical figures as well as mythological references that I’ve either forgotten or never run across before.  In this case, the fact that Greek mythology has a flood narrative as well.  Deucalion, the son of Prometheus, as well as his wife survived a flood caused by an angry Zeus by building a floating chest.  I don’t remember reading this particular story when I was into Greek mythology as a teen-ager.  Never too late to learn something more, is it?

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