The Development of the Canon of the New Testament

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Early Christian Authorities

Ignatius of Antioch
Polycarp of Smyrna
Justin Martyr
Irenaeus of Lyons
Clement of Alexandria
Tertullian of Carthage
Muratorian Canon
Eusebius of Caesarea
codex Sinaiticus
Athanasius of Alexandria
Didymus the Blind

Justin Martyr, Saint (~100 Shechem, Samaria - ~165 CE, Rome)

This icon is taken from Holy Transfiguration Monastery. A larger version is available.

Justin Martyr was one of the most important of the Greek philosopher-Apologists in the early church, whose writings represent the first positive encounter of Christian revelation with Greek philosophy and laid the basis for a theology of history. A Catholic Encyclopedia article is online at St. Justin Martyr.

A pagan reared in a Jewish environment, Justin studied Stoic and Platonic philosophy at Ephesus, near modern Selcuk, Turkey. He converted to Christianity about 130 and short time later became a Christian teacher where he engaged in a disputation with Trypho, a Jew (~ 135). After a few years he moved to Rome, where he founded a Christian school. Here he met vehement opposition in the Cynic philosopher Crescens whose antagonism made Justin determined to compose an 'Apology' or reasoned defense of the Christian faith. This was issued ~150 in the form of a petition addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius. Sometime afterward he published his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew. A shorter, Second Apology was addressed to the Senate, apparently after the accession of Marcus Aurelius (161 CE). A few years later, Justin was denounced to the Roman prefect as subversive and condemned to death. Authentic records of the martyrdom survive.

In summary, the relevant writings of Justin are:

Just Martyr does not quote by name from any New Testament writings. He does use the formulae of quotation 'it is recorded' and 'it is written', when quoting from the 'Memoirs of the apostles' or simply the 'Memoirs'. These 'Memoirs', Justin tells his non-Christian readers, were called the 'Gospels'. He mentions that in Sunday services of worship, "the Memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets [from the Old Testament] are read, for a long as time permits." In many cases the quotations show features of harmonization with passages in one specific Gospel.
There is also a clear allusion to the Revelation of John.

In summary, there is evidence that Justin Martyr considered these books of spiritual value:

For a summary of Justin's opinions see the Cross Reference Table.

Justin Martyr and the Gospel according to Matthew

Justin Matthew
Dial. 106.4 ...when a star rose in heaven at the time of his [Jesus'] birth, as is recorded in the Memoirs of his apostles, the Magi from Arabia, recognizing the sign by this, came and worshipped him. c.f. 2:1

More examples can be found in [Bellinzoni] and [Kline].

Justin Martyr and the Gospel according to Mark

Justin Mark
Dial. 106.4 (to be supplied) 3:16-17

More examples can be found in [Bellinzoni] and [Kline].

Justin Martyr and the Gospel according to Luke

Justin Luke
Dial. 103.8 the Memoirs [Gospels] which, as I have said, were drawn up by the apostles and their followers, [it is recorded] that sweat fell like drops of blood while he [Jesus] was praying, and saying, 'If it be possible, let this cup pass'. c.f. 22:44,42

More examples can be found in [Bellinzoni] and [Kline].

Justin Martyr and the Gospel according to John

Justin John
I Apol. 61.4 Christ also said 'Unless you are born again you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven'. 3:3

Furthermore, it appears that it was from the Fourth Gospel that Justin obtained these ideas:

That Christ is the firstborn of God, being the logos of which every race of people have been partakers, we have been taught and have declared. (I Apol. 46.2, c.f. John 1:1,9)
I have already shown that he was the only-begotten of the Father of the universe, having been begotten by him in a peculiar manner as his Logos and Power, and having afterward become man through the virgin, as we have learned from the Memoirs. (Dial. 105.1)

More examples can be found in [von Loewenich] (pp. 39-50) and [Osborn] (p. 137).

Justin Martyr and the Revelation of John

Justin does not quote the Revelation, but appeals to it as proof of the existence of prophetic power in the Christian Church:

Moreover also among us a man named John, one of the apostles of Christ, prophesied in a revelation made to him that those who have believed on our Christ will spend a thousand years in Jerusalem; and that hereafter the general and, in short, the eternal resurrection and judgment of all will likewise take place. (Dial. 81.4)

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