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An Anti-Jewish Polemic

Justin Martyr (ca. 100-ca. 165) was an important defender of the Christian movement. Some of his writings contain bitter attacks on Jews and Judaism and demonstrate how far the Christians had distanced themselves from their Jewish origins.

In the passage quoted here, Justin speaks as a complete outsider to the Jewish people, and, in an argument that would reverberate in later centuries, he accuses the Jews of crucifying Jesus.




For the other nations have not been so guilty of wrong inflicted on us and on Christ as you have been, who are in fact the authors of the wicked prejudices against the Just One and against us who hold by Him. For after you had crucified Him, the only blameless and righteous Man, through whose stripes there is healing to those who through him approach the Father, when you knew that He had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, as the prophecies foretold would take place, not only did you not repent of those things wherein you had done wickedly, but you then selected and sent out from Jerusalem chosen men through all the world to say that the atheistical heresy of the Christians had appeared and to spread abroad those things which all they who know us not speak against us; so that you are the cause of unrighteousness not only in your own case, but, in fact, in the case of all other men generally. . . . Accordingly, you show great zeal in publishing throughout all the world bitter, dark, and unjust slanders against the only blameless and righteous Light sent from God to men.