Saturday, February 8, 2014

Justin Martyr debates Greeks

Justin finally finished his discourse with the Jewish Trypho and his friends.  Now he does the same thing with the Greeks but in only 5 sections.

He explains to the Greeks why he no longer participates in their customs.  "I found in them nothing that is holy or acceptable to God."  He counts the contributions of the poets as monuments of madness and intemperance.

Agamemnon aided his brother's lust, sacrificed his daughter, and troubled all of Greece to rescue Helen.  Justin does not envy the myths of Homer.  He feels like the Iliad and the Odyssey are both over a woman.

Justin then pans the theogony, or the genealogy of the gods.  The Greeks try to have an ordered society, but the very Jupiter that they worship has killed his father, committed adultery, and loved young boys.  They have laws against all of that.  Also, men dress as women and participate in bacchanalian parties.

He then talks of Hercules who did many impressive things to make himself seem awesome, but he was stunned by satyr cymbals, loved too many women, and eventually burned himself in his own funeral pile without even trying.

The Greeks are known for their excessive banquets, sensual music, silly anointings, and orgies.  Justin asks a man: Why are you mad at your son when he imitates Jupiter and steals your wife?  Their gods do all these terrible things, and they get mad when the people do the same.

Justin Martyr's last plea is for them to not recognize men as heroes who slaughter whole nations, but look to Jesus, the Divine Word.  He does not desire strength, beauty, or nobility.  Jesus loves a pure soul, dedicated to holiness and loving God.

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