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 the poor wretches do not perceive with regard to all these things that they are nought; while every day they look upon their gods, who are eaten and destroyed by men, yea even by their own fellows; and some of them being burned, and some of them dying and putrifying and becoming refuse; and they do not understand that they are destroyed in many ways.

According to the information which he has supplied, the MS. Wherefore let all who are without the knowledge of God draw near thereto; and they will receive incorruptible words, which are from all time and from eternity. And the poor creatures do not see that all these things are nothing, although they daily witness their gods being eaten and consumed by men and also by their fellows; while some of them are cremated, and some die and decay and become dust, without their observing that they perish in many ways.

Wrath and indignation he possesses not, for there is nothing which is able to stand against him. Wherefore it is impossible that the waters should be a god, but they are a work of God and a part of the world. Such a consideration seems to be a mark of antiquity, and one would, therefore, prefer to believe, if it were possible, that the Apology was earlier than the Jewish revolt under Bar-Cochab. Within two or three years of his proconsulate he was raised to the imperial throne, and is known as Antoninus Pius.

It does not, therefore, seem as if these words in the opening of the fragment were a translator’s invention or addition.

The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher

For they suffer change and admit impurity, and are destroyed and lose their nature while they are boiled into many substances. And verily, this is a new people, and there is something divine lit: There is nothing, at first sight, to lead us to believe that this is the original heading; such a summary merely reflects the Eusebian tradition and might be immediately derived from it. Retrieved from ” https: And in calculation the sun has a part with the rest of the stars in his course, and although he is one in his nature, he is mixed with many parts, according to the advantage of the needs of men: Since the Greek version found in Barlaam and Ioasaph is widely available online, we here give the longer version preserved in Syriac.


But those who have thought concerning men of old, that some of them are gods, these have greatly erred: And great is the folly which the Greeks have brought forward in their narrative concerning him. But God is not in need, and none of these things is necessary to Him; and it is clear that men err in these things they imagine.

By her too he begot Dios, who is called Zeus. For if their laws are righteous, their gods are unrighteous, since they transgressed the law in killing one another, and practising sorcery, and committing adultery, and in robbing and stealing, and in lying with males, and by their other practises as well.

And they say of him that he assumed the sovereignty, and was king over all the gods. For that he came from Athens is deducible not only from his own statement but also from the fact to which we have already alluded that Antoninus wrote to Athens to suppress a persecution of the Christians. Wrath and anger there is not in Him, for there is not in Him blindness, but He is wholly and entirely rational, and on that account He established creation with divers wonders and entire beneficence.

And if it be otherwise, he is found to be useless. Christians are slandered by the Greeks but they are just and holy.

Apology of Aristides

But it is disgraceful that a virgin maid should roam alone upon the hills or hunt in the chase for animals. In other languages Add links.


It was used by the gnostic Heracleon and probably by the unknown writer of the Epistle to Diognetus. And verily, this is a new people, and there is something divine lit: For if they who are called their gods practised all these things which are written above, how much more should men practise them — men, who believe that their gods themselves practised them.

Now how will this conclusion react upon the companion Apology of Quadratus? This ingenious hypothesis only fails to meet our requirement on one point, viz. Great then is the error and ignominy which the Greeks have brought forward about the first of their gods, in that they have said all this about him, O King.

The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher

Let us now pass on to discuss the effect which this recovered document has upon our estimate of apopogy Eusebian statements concerning the earliest Church Apologists. But that I should make search concerning this same mover of all, as to what is his nature for it seems to me, aristids is indeed unsearchable in his natureand that I should argue as to the constancy of his government, so as to grasp it fully,–this is a vain effort for me; for it is not possible that a man should fully comprehend it.

Our copy has aristidss somewhat in the course of time from successive transcriptions, and needs aristidss the hand of the critical corrector. And they say of him, that he is lame, and a cap is set on his head, and he holds in his hands firetongs and a hammer; and he follows the craft of iron working, that thereby he may procure the necessaries of his livelihood. Let us come now, O King, to the history of the Jews also, and see what opinion they have as to God.