Justin Martyr

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    Found a weird quote by Justin Martyr:

    Anyone know the historical background here? Supposedly this was written in 150AD? lol Why would Justin Martyr be talking about baptists? Is this just a bad translation?
     
  2. Crabtownboy

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  3. ReformedBaptist

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  4. Zenas

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    This is just a wild guess. It seems that John the Baptist had followers long after his death. See Acts 19. Maybe the "Baptists" spoken of by Justin were some of these people. Justin (b. 100, d. 165) lived close enough to the time of John that this sect could have still been around.
     
  5. ReformedBaptist

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    That's a good guess, that's what I was thinking too...
     
  6. Johnv

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    I remember readins something of this in college. Baptist fellowships as we understand them today did not exist at the time of this writing. IIRC, Justin Martyr was referring to loose adherents to John the Baptist, often consisting of Jews still waiting for the Messiah, or of those who thought of John the Baptist as the return of Elijah or other OT prophet. They would have been seen by Justin Martyr in a similar manner that we might view Mormons or Jehovahs' Witinesses today.
     
  7. rsr

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    Justin is describing sects related to Judaism, not Christianity. His argument is that one would not "admit that the Sadducees, or similar sects of Genist, Meristae, Gelilaeans, Hellenists, Pharisees, Baptists, are Jews ... but are [only] called Jews and children of Abraham, worshipping God with the lips, as God Himself declared, but the heart was far from Him."

    So it appears that, whatever Baptists Justin is talking about, they are not Christians.

    In addition, there are differences in translating this particular passage. Thomas B. Falls and others render it as "Baptist Pharisees," not as "Baptists, Pharisees."

    This makes a good deal of sense. Pharisees, far from being on the fringe of Jewish life at the time of Justin (as were the Sadducees, who had lost their power base and reason for existence with the destruction of the Second Temple) their practices would have been considered the norm.

    However, if the term is indeed Baptist Pharisees, then their inclusion in a list of Jewish heretics would be reasonable; that is, they had departed from orthodox Phariseeism by their peculiar beliefs and practices.

    Epiphanius of Salamis describes a sect of Hemerobaptists.

    — Epiphanius, The Panarion, translated by Frank Williams.

    Williams, like others, sees a link with the Essenes, and perhaps with John the Baptist, but it is very difficult to prove.

    J.B. Lightfoot (1875) thinks the Hemerobaptists (or Baptists) probably arose from a late first century sect of Judaism, some of whose adherents appropriated John's name for their religion but were not in fact followers of John. (Unlike the disciples mentioned in Acts, perhaps.)

     
    #7 rsr, Nov 20, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2009

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