Analysis of "Dialogue with Trypho" by Justin Martyr.

Essay by elenUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, October 2005

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In his work "Dialogue with Trypho" Justin Martyr in a form of a dialogue presents the views quite contrary to what it is usually taught. A well-known idea of Jews being the chosen nation favored by God is rejected. Justin Martyr is trying to find logic underneath God's wrath, and his line of argumentation, based on analysis of the Old Testament, does emphasize the idea that Jews were punished by Mosaic rules for improper behavior. Jews are the chosen nation not because God likes them, but rather because they have to be punished for disobedience.

The starting point of Martyr's analysis is the presupposition that God is the only - both for Judaism and Christianity- God is eternal, "who created and formed the universe". The second presupposition necessary for his line of argumentation is that God has "foreknowledge of future events", however God "doesn't prepare beforehand what everyone deserves".

I find a contradiction in this interpretation of God, since if God participates in human life, He performs some actions, and being able to forecast the events - He knows ahead what He will do, since the events on earth are directly influenced by his actions, therefore God, being the just one, has to prepare what we deserve, because if not - then God is unjust and performs spontaneous actions, God is capricious - a feature usually attributed to God by Muslims, but denied by Christians. So, either God is just and active in human life, then our life is pre-determined, and the whole argumentation of Martyr falls to pieces, or God is unjust, capricious - this doesn't go together with the image of God in Christianity, or God doesn't know the future, but acts justly in the current situation - then we are responsibly for own actions, and only...