By Athenagoras the Athenian: Philosopher and Christian. To the Emperors Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus, conquerors of Armenia. Plea for the Christians, also called "Embassy for the Christians" or simply " Athenagoras' Apology", translated by Benjamin Plummer Pratten in. Athenagoras was a Father of the Church, an Ante-Nicene Christian apologist who lived during . II — Writings of Athenagoras — A Plea For the Christians — Chapter XXXV – The Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
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Athenagoras was a late 2nd century Christian apologist who wrote a defense of Christianity called _A Plea for the Christians_. It's contents are revealing of what. Athenagoras, A Plea Regarding Christians. Late Athenagoras, On the Resurrection of the Dead. Justin, First Apology, Dialogue with Trypho. Muratorian Canon. ANF Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of By Athenagoras the Athenian: Philosopher and Christian.
The Apology, the date of which is fixed by internal evidence as or , was not, as the title Embassy presbeia suggests, an oral defense of Christianity, but a carefully written plea for justice to the Christians made by a philosopher, on philosophical grounds, to the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus , whom he flatters as conquerors, "but above all, philosophers".
He first complains of the illogical and unjust discrimination against the Christians and of the calumnies they suffered, and then addresses the charge of atheism. It should be noted that a major complaint directed at the Christians of his day was that by not believing in the Roman gods, Christians were showing themselves to be atheists. He established the principle of monotheism, citing pagan poets and philosophers in support of the very doctrines for which Christians are condemned, and argues for the superiority of the Christian belief in God to that of pagans.
This first strongly-reasoned argument for the unity of God in Christian literature is supplemented by an able exposition of the Trinity. Then, taking the defensive, he justifies the Christian abstention from worship of the national deities on grounds of its absurdity and indecency, quoting at length the pagan poets and philosophers in support of his contention.
Finally, he addresses the charges of immorality by explaining the Christian ideal of purity, even in thought, and the inviolable sanctity of the marriage bond.
The charge of cannibalism is refuted by showing the high regard for human life that leads the Christian to detest the crime of abortion. They do not rehearse speeches, but exhibit good works; when struck, they do not strike again; when robbed, they do not go to law; they give to those that ask of them, and love their neighbors as themselves.
Athenagoras is not mentioned by early historians. He is mentioned by Methodius about a century after he wrote A Plea for the Christians, and he is not mentioned again until the 5th century. Statue of Athenagoras I, patriarch of Constantinople; d. There are no pictures of the unknown, 2nd-century apologist, so the best I can do is a modern namesake.
Philip Schaff says that "all historians put a high estimate on Athenagoras" History of the Church, vol. II, sec. He also quotes Sir James Donaldson, a 19th-century Scottish scholar, as saying: Always he has his main object distinctly before his mind, and he neither makes a useless exhibition of his own powers, nor distracts the reader by digressions.
Chapter 2. Claim to Be Treated as Others are When Accused.
His Apology is the best defence of the Christians produced in that age. This fixes the time to a very narrow window. Though honored as eloquent and skilled in his defense of the Christian faith, he is sometimes accused of Montanist leanings because he refers to the remarriage of a widower as "a cloaked adultery.
Athenagoras also comments that the old covenant prophets gave their prophesies in a state of ecstasy, their minds overcome, and the Spirit of God speaking through them like a flute player plays a flute.
Montanists loved ecstatic prophecy, but ecstatic prophecy was not rejected by the apostolic churches, either. Also, despite how excellent Athenagoras' apology was, it was certainly never read by Marcus Aurelius, who acknowledges in his own writing that he had received such letters, but he simply mocks them.
It begins by asking that Christians not be punished for a mere name, but on the basis of actual crimes, if any have been done.
But he also affirmed the necessity of love, obedience and living a life of holiness. This is seen when Polycarp quotes St. Let us remember that Polycarp conversed with the apostles, sat at the feet of St.
John as Irenaeus tells us, and that the apostles obviously thought him to be a man of outstanding repute since they did appoint him Bishop of Smyrna. Faith without meeting these moral demands will not be enough. Polycarp argued that anyone occupied in these three things: growing in the faith, accompanied by hope, and led by love, has fulfilled the commandment of righteousness ch.
Justin would also say that Each man goes to everlasting punishment or salvation according to the value of his actions The First Apology of Justin, ch. The matters of our religion lie in works, not in words Hortatory Address to the Greeks, ch. Yet Justin also proves himself consistent with the other Fathers in affirming the necessity of faith: For Abraham was declared by God to be righteous, not on account of circumcision, but on account of faith Dialogue with Trypho, ch.
Athenagoras of Athens
Athenagoras 2nd Century AD Athenagoras, an Eastern Father, argues that Christians must live in a strict moral manner, because they must give an appropriate account of all their life in order to receive the reward of salvation: But since we are persuaded that we must give an account of all our life here to God who made us and the world, we adopt a temperate, generous, despised way of life.
For we think that, even if we lose our lives, we shall suffer here no evil to be compared with the reward we shall receive from the great Judge for a gentle, generous, and modest life A Plea Regarding Christians by Athenagoras, ch. It is the entire gamut of the Christian moral life, according to Irenaeus, that brings salvation. IV, ch.
That means more is required if we are to reach the goal of salvation: We have discovered faith to be the first movement towards salvation. After faith, fear, hope, and repentance accompanied by temperance and patience lead us to love and knowledge The Stromata, Bk. II, ch. VI, ch, VI. Clement is simply teaching what he received from the earlier Christians, that salvation will require faith and conversion. Inner conversion will show itself externally in a life of holiness; without that, faith is barren.
V, ch. And he also writes: We make petition, then, that He supply us with the substance of His will and the capacity to do it—so that we may be saved both in the heaven and on earth On Prayer, part III, ch. Theophilus approx. I, ch.
So, by obeying the will of God, he who wants to can procure for himself life everlasting Bk. Origin AD , another Easter Father, would speak about having communion and friendship with God only if, along with faith, we lived our life according to the teaching of Jesus: It is those who not only believe, but also enter upon the life that Jesus taught Against Celcus, Bk.
III, ch. Cyprian d. From where will he attain the reward of faith, if he will not keep the faith of the commandment? Lactantius AD , a Western Father, continues this same thought: Labors that are endured and overcome all the way up until death, cannot fail to obtain a reward…. And this reward can be nothing else but immortality The Divine Institutes, Bk. And again: The spirit must earn immortality by the works of righteousness Bk.
Speaking on penance, Basil believed that simply renouncing sins was not enough for salvation; rather, an act of penance was necessary as well: Mere renouncement of sin is not sufficient for the salvation of penitents, but fruits worthy of penance are also required of them The Morals, 1, 3.
Ambrose AD The writings of St. Ambrose, a Latin Father, would be very much akin to St.The early Fathers of the Church lived during the height of Roman power.
Because the multitude, who cannot distinguish between matter and God , or see how great is the interval which lies between them, pray to idols made of matter, are we therefore, who do distinguish and separate the uncreated and the created, that which is and that which is not, that which is apprehended by the understanding and that which is perceived by the senses, and who give the fitting name to each of them — are we to come and worship images?
In addition, she has the face of an animal on the back part of her neck, and horns as well. It is there that the whole multitude, both of men and women , many thousands in number, beat themselves at the close of the sacrifice in honour of a god whose name a religious scruple forbids me to mention.
There is a lake there, which is beautifully encircled with a stone edging. And Neryllinus, and Proteus, and Alexander, what good are they to the sick?
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