Marcianus Aristides

Marcianus Aristides was Greek philosopher of the 2nd century A.D., who was considered to be the first Christian apologist. His name is also spelled Aristeides. He was known as Aristides of Athens. Nothing is known about his life except that he taught philosophy at Athens and composed the earliest extant defense of Christianity, the Apology of Aristides. Written in Greek, the Apology may have been written to Emperor Antoninus Pius about 139.

The Apology was long considered lost, but in 1878 an edition of an Armenian fragment appeared at Venice. This was followed in 1889 by James Rendel Harris' discovery of a complete Syriac version in a monastery on Mount Sinai. Publication of this translation at Cambridge, England, in 1891 led to the discovery that a Greek text of the treatise had existed for centuries in the religious romance Barlaam and Josaphat. Two portions of the Greek text were published in London in 1922 and 1924.

The Apology is brief, simple, and objective, but written in a lofty tone. It discusses the errors of Greeks, Chaldeans, Egyptians, and Jews concerning God, gives a summary of a seemingly primitive Christian belief, and emphasizes the righteousness of Christianity in contrast with the corrupt practices of paganism. Aristides seeks to demonstrate the reasonableness of Christianity by an appeal to facts.

More by this Author

  • The Philosophy of Epicureanism

    Epicureanism, school of Greek philosophy founded by Epicurus in the late 4th century BC. Opposing the idealistic and skeptical mood of the times, Epicurus wanted to provide security in an unsure world. He grounded his...

  • What is Idealism?

    Idealism is the philosophical theory that reality is essentially mental or spiritual. Idealism is opposed to materialism, the theory that reality is physical. In philosophy there are two schools of idealism. The older...

  • What is Subjectivism?

    Subjectivism is the philosophical theory that ascribes to the individual mind or subject and its sensations,, ideas, attitudes, feelings, emotions, and beliefs a privileged or preeminent status in the world order and in...


No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article