Christianoi

plato-and-jesus

Ἵνα δὲ μή τινες ἀλογισταίνοντες εἰς ἀποτροπὴν τῶν δεδιδαγμένων ὑφ’ ἡμῶν, εἴπωσι πρὸ ἐτῶν ἑκατὸν πεντήκοντα γεγεννῆσθαι τὸν Χριστὸν λέγειν ἡμᾶς ἐπὶ Κυρηνίου δεδιδαχέναι δὲ ἅ φαμεν διδάξαι αὐτὸν ὕστερον χρόνοις ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου, καὶ ἐγκαλῶσιν ὡς ἀνευθύνων ὄντων τῶν προγεγενημένων πάντων ἀνθρώπων, φθάσαντες τὴν ἀπορίαν λυσόμεθα. τὸν Χριστὸν πρωτότοκον τοῦ θεοῦ εἶναι ἐδιδάχθημεν καὶ προεμηνύσαμεν λόγον ὄντα οὗ πᾶν γένος ἀνθρώπων μετέσχε. καὶ οἱ μετὰ λόγου βιώσαντες Χριστιανοί εἰσι, κἂν ἄθεοι ἐνομίσθησαν, οἷον ἐν Ἕλλησι μὲν Σωκράτης καὶ Ἡράκλειτος καὶ οἱ ὅμοιοι αὐτοῖς, ἐν βαρβάροις δὲ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Ἀνανίας καὶ Ἀζαρίας καὶ Μισαὴλ καὶ Ἡλίας καὶ ἄλλοι πολλοί, ὧν τὰς πράξεις ἢ τὰ ὀνόματα καταλέγειν μακρὸν εἶναι ἐπιστάμενοι, τὰ νῦν παραιτούμεθα. ὥστε καὶ οἱ προγενόμενοι ἄνευ λόγου βιώσαντες, ἄχρηστοι καὶ ἐχθροὶ τῷ Χριστῷ ἦσαν καὶ φονεῖς τῶν μετὰ λόγου βιούντων, οἱ δὲ μετὰ λόγου βιώσαντες καὶ βιοῦντες Χριστιανοὶ καὶ ἄφοβοι καὶ ἀτάραχοι ὑπάρχουσι.
(Justin Martyr, 1 Apol. 46.1-4)

But lest, in order to dissuade from our teaching by foolish argument, some should say that we say that Christ was born 150 years ago, in the time of Quirinius, and that he taught the things we say he taught still later under Pontius Pilate, and should object that all the human beings who lived before that time were not accountable, we will anticipate and solve the difficulty. We were taught, and we mentioned before, that Christ is the first-born of God, being the Logos in which the whole race of human beings shared. And those who lived with Logos are Christians, even if they were called atheists, such as among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus and those similar to them, and among the barbarians, Abraham and Ananias and Azarias and Misael and Elijah and many others whose deeds and names, for the present, we forbear to list, thinking it to be tedious. So that even those who were before him, and who lived without Logos, were without value and enemies to Christ and murderers of those who lived with Logos. But those who lived or do live with Logos are Christians and fearless and unconfounded. (tr. Denis Minns & Paul Parvis)

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