Abraham in Justin Martyr's Dialogue

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In this article I have attempted to put Justin’s theology in its own historical context. I would like to see Justin’s theology as a development from intra-Jewish theological discussions which took place in the Jewish-Christian confrontations where the borderlines between Judaism and Christianity were not at all clear in the first century and at the beginning of the second CE. Justin’s way of dealing with the promise given to Abraham mainly follows the Jewish apostle’s Paul’s interpretation of the Abrahamic faith in Romans 4 and Galatians 3-4. He has used Paul’s way of treating Abrahamic faith and Jesus’ saying in Mt 8:11-12, and developed more clearly a theological idea that the promise given to Abraham concerned the Christian Church from the very beginning. However, it is difficult to say that Justin represented pure supersessionistic theology because his interpretation does not nullify the intra-Jewish discussion still present in the New Testament. According to this intra-Jewish discussion, the promise of Abraham is related to Abraham’s physical descendants, the Jews who continue to practice the Mosaic Law (as expressed by Paul, the Jew, in Rom 9:1-5). The central debate in this intra-Jewish discussion concerned the question whether Jesus from Nazareth should be regarded as Messiah/Christ.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligious Polemics and Encounters in Late Antiquity
Subtitle of host publicationBoundaries, Conversions, and Persuasion
EditorsTimo Nisula, Anni Maria Laato, Pablo Irizar
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-46684-5
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-46683-8
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameStudies on the Children of Abraham
ISSN (Print)2210-4721


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