Justin Martyr (Flavius Justinus), the earliest of the church fathers after the apostolic age, born at Flavia Neapolis (the modern Na-blus), in Samaria, about 105, died in Rome about 165. His parents were Greeks who had joined the colony sent by Vespasian to the desolated city of Shechem, which was now called after him Flavia. He appears to have been educated in the schools of Asia Minor, Greece, and Egypt, and to have, studied first under a Stoic, whose teaching on the nature of God left him unsatisfied. He then attached himself to a Peripatetic, who disgusted him by his greed for money; and, unwilling to undergo the mathematical course exacted by the Pythagoreans, he finally embraced the Platonic philosophy. The objections raised by an aged Christian against its doctrines led him to study the Old Testament writings, and the heroism of the Christian confessors and martyrs induced him to profess Christianity (about 132). He appears to have continued to wear his philosopher's mantle after his conversion. About 145 he composed a polemical work against heretics, particularly against Marcion. During the persecution of Antoninus Pius he addressed a first plea for the Christian cause to that emperor and the Roman people. About 150 he met, probably at Ephe-sus, but according to some at Corinth, with a learned Jew named Tryphon, who was attracted by Justin's philosophical garb, and had a discussion with him on the divinity of the Christian religion, which was soon afterward published. The persecution of the Christians being renewed under Marcus Aurelius, Justin addressed to that emperor a second and supplementary plea. At this time his usual residence appears to have been at Rome; and his zeal in unmasking the hypocrisy of one Crescentius, a prominent persecutor of the Christians, is thought by Eusebius to have been the occasion of his imprisonment and death. Besides the two "Apologies" and the "Dialogue with Tryphon," the authenticity of which is generally acknowledged, three other works have been attributed to him, an "Address to the Greeks," an "Admonition to the Greeks," and a "Letter to Diognetus" on the characteristics of the Christian worship compared with paganism and with Judaism. His feast is celebrated by both the Latin and Greek churches.
The principal editions of his works are those of Robert Stephens (Paris, 1551, completed by Henry Stephens, 1592 and 1595); Friedrich Sylburg, with a Latin translation (Basel, 1565); and Prudent Maran (Paris, 1742). The best modern collection of all his works, with the acts of his martyrdom, is found in the first five volumes of Otto's Corpus Apologetarum Christianorum Sceculi Secundi (Jena, 1842; 2d ed., 1847-'50). His apologies were translated into English by William Reeves ("The Apologies of the Christian Fathers," London, 1709), and they are also included in a collection of translations published at Cambridge (2d ed., 1851); his "Dialogue with Trypho " by Henry Brown (London, 1755; new ed., Cambridge, 1846). - See Justin der Martyrer, by Karl Semisch (2 vols., Breslau, 1840-'42; translated into English by J. E. Ryland, Edinburgh, 1843); "Some Account of the Life and Writings of Justin Martyr," by Bishop Kaye (London, 1836); and St. Justin, phi-losophe et martyr, by L. Aube (Paris, 1861).