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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter VI.—Charge of atheism...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VI.—Charge of atheism refuted.

Hence are we called atheists. And we confess that we are atheists, so far as gods of this sort are concerned, but not with respect to the most true God, the Father of righteousness and temperance and the other virtues, who is free from all impurity. But both Him, and the Son (who came forth from Him and taught us these things, and the host of the other good angels who follow and are made like to Him), 1776 and the prophetic Spirit, we worship and adore, knowing them in reason and truth, and declaring without grudging to every one who wishes to learn, as we have been taught.


Footnotes

164:1776

This is the literal and obvious translation of Justin’s words. But from c. 13, 16, and 61, it is evident that he did not desire to inculcate the worship of angels. We are therefore driven to adopt another translation of this passage, even though it be somewhat harsh. Two such translations have been proposed: the first connecting “us” and “the host of the other good angels” as the common object of the verb “taught;” the second connecting “these things” with “the host of,” etc., and making these two together the subject taught. In the first case the translation would stand, “taught these things to us and to the host,” etc.; in the second case the translation would be, “taught us about these things, and about the host of the others who follow Him, viz. the good angels.” [I have ventured to insert parenthetic marks in the text, an obvious and simple resource to suggest the manifest intent of the author. Grabe’s note in loc. gives another and very ingenious exegesis, but the simplest is best.]


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