The Apology of St. Aristides of Athens (translation by M. R. James). On Early Christian Writings. Aristides also, a believer earnestly devoted to our religion, left, like Quadratus, an apology for the faith, addressed to Adrian. His work, too, has been preserved. Here follows the defense which Aristides the philosopher made before Hadrian the King on behalf of reverence for God. All-powerful Cæsar Titus Hadrianus.

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And whenever one of their poor passes from the world, each one of them according to his ability gives heed to him and carefully sees fo his burial. And after him they introduce another god, Asclepius; and they say that he is a physician and prepares medicines and bandages in order that he may satisfy his need of sustenance.

Now when I say that he is “perfect,” this means that there is not in him any defect, and he is not in need of anything but all things are in need of him.

And they search about as if in darkness because they will not recognize the truth; and like drunken men they reel and jostle one another and fall. To our astonishment this is not Hadrian, but his successor Antoninus Pius, who bears the name of Hadrian by adoption from Publius Aelius Hadrianus. Accordingly Lightfoot frames, with some hesitation, the following hypothesis: Nevertheless they too erred from true knowledge.

It will also suggest that it was the ethical character of the Apology of Aristides that secured its incorporation with the volume. And hence it is knownO King, that it is a mistake when they reckon and bring the natures of their gods under a single nature.

Now of course we do not mean to suggest that Aristides invented the argument from Providence or that Celsus was the first to heap easy scorn upon it.

Apology of Aristides

But the rest of the nations err and cause error in wallowing before the elements of the world, since beyond these their mental vision will not pass.


This was a great gain. While his edition was passing through the press, it was observed that the work had been extant in Greek the whole time, though in a slightly abbreviated ot, since it had been embedded as a speech in a religious novel written about the 6th century entitled The Life of Barlaam and Josaphat.

And it is manifest that that which arisrides motion is more powerful than that which is moved. The language and thought of the writer are, however, so simple and straightforward that the limits of error are much narrower than they would be in a document where the structure was more highly complicated; the unintelligible sentences which accumulate in a translation so much more fo than in the copying of an original document, are almost entirely absent.

Apology of Aristides

Now how will this conclusion react upon the companion Apology of Quadratus? But these nature-poems, even if they be made as they say, still those are not gods who do such things and suffer and endure such things. Adversary he has none, for there exists not any stronger than he.

If then Aphrodite is a apologh and was unable to help her lover at his death, how will she find it possible to help others? And they say that he took to him among his wives Rhea, and begot many children by her. Let us turn further to the Greeks also, that we may know what opinion they hold as to the true God.

Ego, O Rex, Dei providentia creatus, hunc mundum ingressus sum, et caelis, terra ac mari, sole, luna et stellis, caeterisque omnibus creaturis conspectis, huius mundi constitutionem admirans miratus sum, atque conscius factus sum mihi, quoniam omnia quae sunt in mundo necessitate ac vi diriguntur, omnium creatorem et rectorem esse Deum: And after him they bring forward as another god Asklepios.

After a reference to their descent from Abraham and their sojourn in Egypt, Aristides praises them for their worship of the one God, the Almighty creator; but blames them as worshipping angels, and observing all sabbaths and new moons, and apolohy unleavened bread, and fasting, and circumcisionand cleanness of meats.


For it, too, was created for the service of men, apologh is subject to them in many ways: At the same time it is quenched and extinguished in many ways. Euscbius does not actually quote the letter which Dionysius wrote to the church at Athens, but he tells us its scope and makes it easy to divine its contents: They have a second-century ring about them. A single essence is proper to Him, since He is uniform in His nature and His essence ; and He is not afraid of Himself.

And after Kronos they bring forward another god Zeus.

And of Osiris also they say that he is a serviceable god. I also by reflection learned that the world and all that is therein is by necessity and force guided and moved and of the whole God is controuler and orderer: But that a god should be an adulterer or a hunter or should die by violence is impossible.

Is then this god in want? And arietides also those of the present day who believe that preaching are called Christiansand they have become famous.

The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher

The expression is the more remarkable, because Aristides affects to reason throughout as the 23 philosopher rather than the Christian, arid he forgets himself and introduces the angels without even an explanation to the emperor, as to what beings are intended.

Part of a series on the. Aristides is engaged in a real contest; he strikes hard blows, and gives no quarter.

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