Dialogue with Trypho (Selections from the Fathers of the Church, Volume 3)

Dialogue with Trypho (Selections from the Fathers of the Church, Volume 3)

St. Justin Martyr
TRANSLATED BY THOMAS B. FALLS
REVISED AND WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY THOMAS P. HALTON
EDITED BY MICHAEL SLUSSER
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt3fgpkv
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    Dialogue with Trypho (Selections from the Fathers of the Church, Volume 3)
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    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2060-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. INTRODUCTION TO THIS EDITION
    (pp. xi-xiv)

    It is over fifty years since The Writings of Justin Martyr by Thomas B. Falls appeared in the Fathers of the Church series, as volume six, New York, 1948. The present volume offers a revision of a single work, The Dialogue with Trypho, from Falls’s translation, with an updated, select bibliography from the voluminous secondary literature of the intervening half century, sign-posting the more important items as economically as possible in the appropriate footnotes. Since the Dialogue is central to the study of how Christians and Jews related to each other in the second century C.E., it is important to...

  6. INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST EDITION
    (pp. xv-xvi)

    Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho has come down to us through the Codex Paris. gr. 450 (of the year 1364), not, however, without some lacunae: one in the introduction, the other in chapter 74. The missing part of the introduction would have probably told us of the dedication of this work to Marcus Pompeius, who is addressed in chapter 141, and alluded to in chapter 8.

    The Dialogue reports a discussion that took place at Ephesus between Justin and the Jew Trypho, shortly after the end of the war (ca. 135) instigated by Bar Kocheba, the Jewish rebel, against the Roman...

  7. DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO

    • JUSTIN MEETS TRYPHO
      (pp. 3-4)

      Early one morning as I was walking along the colonnades of the gymnasium,¹ a man, accompanied by some friends, came up to me and said, “Good morning, Philosopher.” Whereupon, he and his friends walked along beside me.

      After returning his greeting, I asked, “What is the matter? Is there anything special you wish of me?”

      2. He answered, “In Argos I was taught by Corinthus, the Socratic philosopher, never to slight or ignore those who wear that gown of yours,² but to show them every consideration and to converse with them, since from such a conversation some good might be derived...

    • HOW JUSTIN FOUND PHILOSOPHY
      (pp. 5-16)

      “I will tell you,” I replied, “my personal views on this subject. Philosophy is indeed one’s greatest possession, and is most precious in the sight of God, to whom it alone leads us and to whom it unites us, and in truth they who have applied themselves to philosophy are holy men. But, many have failed to discover the nature of philosophy, and the reason why it was sent down to men; otherwise, there would not be Platonists, or Stoics, or Peripatetics, or Theoretics,¹ or Pythagoreans, since this science is always one and the same.

      2. “Now, let me tell you...

    • JUSTIN OFFERS TO DEFEND CHRISTIAN BELIEF
      (pp. 17-19)

      “My friend,” I replied, “I pardon you, and may the Lord forgive you, for you don’t know what you are saying; you have been instructed by teachers who are ignorant of the meaning of the Scriptures, and, raving like an oracle, you blurt out whatever comes into your mind. If you will agree to hear our account of him, how we have not been deceived by false teachings, and how we shall not cease to profess our faith in him (even though men thereby persecute us, and the most cruel tyrant tries to force us to deny him), I will...

    • A NEW COVENANT, NOT A NEW GOD
      (pp. 20-30)

      And I answered him, “Trypho, there never will be, nor has there ever been from eternity, any other God except him who created and formed this universe. Furthermore, we do not claim that our God is different from yours, for he is the God who, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, led your forefathers out of the land of Egypt.¹ Nor have we placed our trust in any other (for, indeed, there is no other), but only in him whom you also have trusted, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob. But, our hope is not...

    • JEWISH RITUAL LAWS AS A REMEDY FOR IDOLATRY
      (pp. 31-36)

      “That,” interposed Trypho, “is precisely what we are puzzled about—why you endure all sorts of tortures, yet refuse to follow the [Jewish] customs now under discussion.”

      2. “As I already explained,” I answered, “it is because circumcision is not essential for all men, but only for you Jews, to mark you off for the suffering you now so deservedly endure. Nor do we approve of your useless baptism of the wells, which has no connection at all with our baptism of life. Thus has God protested that you have forsaken him, the fountain of living water, and have dug for...

    • A CHRISTIAN INTERPRETATION OF RITUAL LAWS
      (pp. 37-46)

      “If we do not accept this conclusion, then we shall fall into absurd ideas, as the nonsense either that our God is not the same God who existed in the days of Enoch and all the others who were not circumcised in the flesh, and did not observe the Sabbaths and the other rites, since Moses only imposed them later; or that God does not wish each succeeding generation of humanity always to perform the same acts of righteousness. Either supposition is ridiculous and preposterous.

      2. “Therefore, we must conclude that God, who is immutable, ordered these and similar things to...

    • THE MESSIAH: ALREADY HERE OR STILL TO COME?
      (pp. 47-53)

      “If such power is shown to have accompanied, and even now accompanies, the economy of his Passion, just think how great shall be his power at his glorious coming! For, as Daniel foretold, He shall come on the clouds as the Son of Man, accompanied by his angels.

      2. “These are his words: I watched till the thrones were set, and the Ancient of days sat, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like clean wool. His throne was like the flames of fire, his wheels like a burning fire. A swift stream of fire issued...

    • DIVISIONS AMONG CHRISTIANS
      (pp. 54-55)

      At this point, Trypho interrupted me by saying, “Indeed I know that there are many who profess their faith in Jesus and are considered to be Christians, yet they claim there is no harm in their eating meats sacrificed to idols.”

      2. “The fact that there are such men,” I replied, “who pretend to be Christians and confess the crucified Jesus as their Lord and Christ, yet profess not his doctrines, but those of the spirits of error,¹ only tends to make us adherents of the true and pure Christian doctrine more ardent in our faith and more firm in the...

    • THE DIVINITY OF THE MESSIAH
      (pp. 56-64)

      Trypho then said, “It may also be admitted that this is exactly as you say, and that the prophets predicted that Christ was to suffer, that he was to be called a Stone, that his first coming in which he was proclaimed to appear in suffering would be followed by another in glory, and that he would thenceforth be the Judge of all men, and the Eternal King and Priest. But prove to us that Jesus Christ is the one about whom these prophecies were spoken.”

      2. “At the proper time,” I replied, “I will supply the proofs you wish, but...

    • SCRIPTURAL TYPES OF JESUS
      (pp. 65-67)

      “As circumcision, then, originated with Abraham, and the Sabbath, sacrifices, oblations, and festivals with Moses (and it has already been shown that your people were commanded to observe these things because of their hardness of heart), so it was expedient that, in accordance with the will of the Father, these things should have their end in him who was born of the Virgin, of the race of Abraham and the tribe of Judah, and of the family of David: namely, in Christ, the Son of God, who was proclaimed as the future Eternal Law and new covenant for the whole...

    • THOSE WHO LIVE BY THE LAW OF MOSES
      (pp. 68-72)

      Trypho then interjected, “Although you insist that your arguments must be lined up in the order predetermined by yourself, permit me to interrupt you at this point to ask a very urgent question.”

      “Ask me,” I replied, “whatever you please. Then, after such questions and answers have been disposed of, I will resume my discussion and try to complete it.”

      2. “Then tell me,” he went on, “whether or not those who have regulated their lives according to the Mosaic Law shall live again together with Jacob, Enoch, and Noah in the resurrection of the dead?”

      3. “My good man,” I answered...

    • THE MESSIAH MUST BE JESUS
      (pp. 73-81)

      “We have now heard your opinion on these matters,” interposed Trypho. “Resume your discourse where you left off, and bring it to an end, for it seems to me to be entirely absurd and utterly incapable of proof. Your statement that this Christ existed as God before all ages, and then that he consented to be born and become man, yet that he is not of human origin, appears to me to be not only paradoxical, but preposterous.”

      2. “I am aware,” I replied, “that my assertion must seem paradoxical, especially to you Jews, who were never in the least interested...

    • THE UNITY OF GOD AND THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST
      (pp. 82-96)

      “We shall keep this interpretation of yours in mind,” Trypho replied, “if you can reinforce your point with other arguments as well. But now, return to the original topic and prove to us that the prophetic Spirit ever admits the existence of another God, besides the Creator of all things; and do be careful not to mention the sun and moon, which, Scripture tells us, God permitted the Gentiles to worship as gods.¹ Even prophets often misuse the word in this sense, when they say, Your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, often adding, the great and...

    • THE VIRGINAL BIRTH
      (pp. 97-110)

      “My friend,” said Trypho, “you have proved your point forcibly and with many arguments. Now prove to us that he condescended to become man by a virgin, in accordance with his Father’s will, and to be crucified, and to die; show us, too, that after rising from the dead he ascended into heaven.”

      2. “Gentlemen,” I replied, “I have already demonstrated this from the prophecies previously quoted, but, in order to convince you on this point also, I will repeat and explain those passages for you. Do not these words of Isaiah, Who shall declare his generation? For his life is...

    • CORRECTIONS TO THE TEXT OF SCRIPTURE
      (pp. 111-115)

      “But I certainly do not trust your teachers when they refuse to admit that the translation of the Scriptures made by the seventy elders at the court of King Ptolemy of Egypt is a correct one, but attempt to make their own translation.¹

      2. “I would also have you know that from the version composed by those elders at the court of Ptolemy, they have deleted entire passages in which it is clearly indicated that the crucified one was foretold as God and man, and as about to suffer death on the cross. But, since I know that all you Jews...

    • [THE SECOND DAY’S DISCUSSION]
      (pp. 116-116)

      4. [“And the Lord said to Moses: See, soon you will be at rest with your fathers. And then this people will take to wantonly worshipping the strange godsamong whom they will live in the land they are about to enter. They will forsake me and break the covenant which I have made with them. At that time my anger will flare up against them; I will forsake them and hide my face from them so that they will become a prey to be devoured and many evils and troubles will befall them. At that time they will indeed say,...

    • MORE ON THE BIRTH OF JESUS
      (pp. 117-124)

      “We know too that in the book of Exodus Moses likewise indicated in a mysterious manner that the name of God himself (which he says was not revealed to Abraham or to Jacob) was also Jesus. For it is written thus: And the Lord said to Moses, say to this people: Behold, I send my angel before your face, to guard you in your journey, and bring you into the place that I have prepared for you. Take notice of him, and obey his voice; do not disobey him, for he will not pardon you, because my name is in...

    • MILLENNIUM AT THE END OF THE WORLD
      (pp. 125-127)

      “Sir,” replied Trypho, “as I already remarked, you steadfastly cling to the Scriptures in all your statements. But, tell me truthfully, do you really believe that this place Jerusalem shall be rebuilt, and do you actually expect that you Christians will one day congregate there to live joyfully with Christ,¹ together with the patriarchs, the prophets, the saints of our race, or even those who became proselytes before your Christ arrived? Or did you come to this admission only so that you might seem to prevail over us in the investigations?”

      2. And I replied, “Trypho, I am not such a...

    • INTERPRETING SCRIPTURE ABOUT CHRIST
      (pp. 128-138)

      “You should realize from the fact that among us Christians the charisms of prophecy exist down to the present day that the gifts that previously resided among your people have now been transferred to us. And, just as there were false prophets among you at the time your holy prophets lived, so now there also are in our midst many [false prophets] and false teachers, against whom we had been warned by our Lord himself, so that we should be prepared for anything, since we are aware that he foreknew what would befall us after his resurrection from the dead...

    • THE PROBLEM OF THE CRUCIFIXION
      (pp. 139-147)

      “You know very well,” said Trypho, “that we Jews all look forward to the coming of the Christ, and we admit that all your Scriptural quotations refer to him. I also admit that the name Jesus [Joshua], which was given to the son of Nun, has prompted me to incline to this opinion.

      2. “But we doubt whether the Christ should be so shamefully crucified, for the Law declares that he who is crucified is to be accursed.¹ Consequently, you will find it very difficult to convince me on this point. It is indeed evident that the Scriptures state that Christ...

    • HOW CHRISTIANS READ PSALM 22
      (pp. 148-160)

      “Besides, the fact that the prophet Moses remained until evening in the form of the cross, when his hands were held up by Aaron and Hur, did not happen without purpose. For the Lord also remained upon the cross almost until evening, and they buried him toward evening.¹ Then he arose from the dead on the third day, as David foretold when he said: I have cried to the Lord with my voice, and he has heard me from his holy hill. I have slept and have taken my rest; and I have risen up, because the Lord has sustained...

    • THE SIGN OF JONAH
      (pp. 161-163)

      “And these Memoirs also testify to the fact of his resurrection from the dead on the third day after the crucifixion, for it is there recorded that, in answer to the contentious Jews who said to him, ‘Show us a sign,’ he answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign and no sign shall be given it but the sign of Jonah.’¹ Though these words were veiled in mystery, his listeners could understand that he would arise from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.

      2. “And he showed that your generation was more evil and adulterous...

    • REPRISE OF POINTS FROM THE FIRST DAY
      (pp. 164-171)

      When I had concluded this quotation, I added, “Gentlemen, I am aware that your teachers admit that this whole pericope refers to Christ; I also know that they affirm that Christ has not yet come. But they say that even if he has come, it is not known who he is, until he shall become manifest and glorious; then, they say, he shall be known.

      2. “They further state, everything foretold in the above-quoted pericope will be verified, as if not a word of the prophecy had yet been fulfilled. What irrational beings!¹ For they have missed the point of all...

    • JESUS AS HIGH PRIEST
      (pp. 172-177)

      “But you should believe Zechariah when he thus describes the mystery of Christ in parable, proclaiming it with hidden meaning.¹ These are his words: Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I come, and I will dwell in your midst, says the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord on that day, and they shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst, and they shall know that the Lord of Hosts has sent me unto you.

      2. “And the Lord shall possess Judah, his portion in the holy land, and shall again...

    • THE GENTILES AS GOD’S NEW PEOPLE
      (pp. 178-188)

      “Do you, gentlemen, suppose,” I continued, “that we could have grasped these things in the Scriptures without a special grace from him who willed them, so that the words spoken by Moses might be fulfilled? Here they are:

      2. “They provoked me with strange gods; they stirred me up to anger with their abominations. They sacrificed to devils whom they knew not; new gods that came recently, whom their fathers knew not. You have forsaken the God that begot you, and have forgotten the God that nourished you. And the Lord saw, and was jealous, and was moved to wrath by...

    • THE NAMES OF CHRIST IN SCRIPTURE
      (pp. 189-192)

      “But, Trypho,” I continued, “if you had known who he is who at one time is called angel of great counsel,¹ and Man by Ezekiel,² and the Son of Man by Daniel,³ and a child by Isaiah,⁴ and Christ and God [and] who is to be adored by David,⁵ and Christ and Stone by many prophets,⁶ and Wisdom by Solomon and Joseph and Judah,⁷ and a Star by Moses,⁸ and Dawn by Zechariah,⁹ and the Suffering One and Jacob and Israel again by Isaiah,10 and a Rod and Flower and Cornerstone and Son of God11 you would not have blasphemed...

    • THE UNITY OF GOD AND THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST: REPRISE
      (pp. 193-195)

      “I have shown in many previous statements that Christ is the Lord, and God the Son, that in times gone by he appeared by his power as man and angel, and in the glory of fire as in the bush, and that he was present to execute the judgment against Sodom.” Then I repeated all that I had already quoted from Exodus concerning the vision in the bush, and the imposition of the name Jesus [Joshua], and continued, [2.] “Do not consider, you people, that I am verbose or repetitious in my explanations. My remarks are rather lengthy because I...

    • THE ELECTION OF THE JEWS AND GENTILES
      (pp. 196-205)

      When they all assented, I continued, “Permit me to quote now some passages of Scripture which I have not mentioned earlier. They were spoken in parable by that faithful servant, Moses, and go as follows: Rejoice, you heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him.”¹ Then I quoted the rest of the passage as follows: “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people; and let all the angels of God be strengthened in him; for he avenges, and will avenge, the blood of his sons; and will render vengeance to his enemies, and will reward these who hate...

    • A FINAL APPEAL
      (pp. 206-211)

      “My brothers, do not speak anything evil against the crucified one, nor scoff at his wounds, by which every one may be healed, as we have been healed.¹ For it would be wonderful if you in obedience to the Scriptures would be circumcised from the hardness of your heart,² not with the circumcision which you have according to your deep-rooted idea, for the Scriptures convince us that such a circumcision was given as a sign and not as a work of righteousness.³

      2. “Act in accord with us, therefore, and do not insult the Son of God; ignore your Pharisaic teachers...

  8. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 212-212)

    After a brief pause, Trypho continued, “You see that it was not by any deliberate design that we began the discussion of these matters, but I confess that I have derived great pleasure from our association, and I think that they too are of a similar disposition. We have heard more than we expected and beyond what could be expected. If we could meet more frequently and continue our study of the Scriptures, we certainly would profit even more by it. But, since you are about to leave the city, and expect to set sail any day now, do not...

  9. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 213-216)
  10. GENERAL INDEX References are to chapter and section.
    (pp. 219-222)
  11. INDEX OF HOLY SCRIPTURE
    (pp. 223-230)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 231-232)