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ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
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Chapter LXVII.—Trypho compares Jesus with Perseus; and would prefer [to say] that He was elected [to be Christ] on account of observance of the law. Justin speaks of the law as formerly.

And Trypho answered, “The Scripture has not, ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,’ but, ‘Behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son,’ and so on, as you quoted. But the whole prophecy refers to Hezekiah, and it is proved that it was fulfilled in him, according to the terms of this prophecy. Moreover, in the fables of those who are called Greeks, it is written that Perseus was begotten of Danae, who was a virgin; he who was called among them Zeus having descended on her in the form of a golden shower. And you ought to feel ashamed when you make assertions similar to theirs, and rather [should] say that this Jesus was born man of men. And if you prove from the Scriptures that He is the Christ, and that on account of having led a life conformed to the law, and perfect, He deserved the honour of being elected to be Christ, [it is well]; but do not venture to tell monstrous phenomena, lest you be convicted of talking foolishly like the Greeks.”

Then I said to this, “Trypho, I wish to persuade you, and all men in short, of this, that even though you talk worse things in ridicule and in jest, you will not move me from my fixed design; but I shall always adduce from the words which you think can be brought forward [by you] as proof [of your own views], the demonstration of what I have stated along with the testimony of the Scriptures. You are not, however, acting fairly or truthfully in attempting to undo those things in which there has been constantly agreement between us; namely, that certain commands were instituted by Moses on account of the hardness of your people’s hearts. For you said that, by reason of His living conformably to law, He was elected and became Christ, if indeed He were proved to be so.”

And Trypho said, “You admitted22022202    We have not seen that Justin admitted this; but it is not to be supposed that the passage where he did admit it has been lost, as Perionius suspected; for sometimes Justin refers to passages at other places, which he did not relate in their own place. —Maranus. to us that He was both circumcised, and observed the other legal ceremonies ordained by Moses.”

And I replied, “I have admitted it, and do admit it: yet I have admitted that He endured all these not as if He were justified by them, but completing the dispensation which His Father, the Maker of all things, and Lord and God, wished Him [to complete]. For I admit that He endured crucifixion and death, and the incarnation, and the suffering of as many afflictions as your nation put upon Him. But since again you dissent from that to which you but lately assented, Trypho, answer me: Are those righteous patriarchs who lived before Moses, who observed none of those [ordinances] which, the Scripture shows, received the commencement of [their] institution from Moses, saved, [and have they attained to] the inheritance of the blessed?”

And Trypho said, “The Scriptures compel me to admit it.”

“Likewise I again ask you,” said I, “did God enjoin your fathers to present the offerings and sacrifices because He had need of them, or because of the hardness of their hearts and tendency to idolatry?”

“The latter,” said he, “the Scriptures in like manner compel us to admit.”

“Likewise,” said I, “did not the Scriptures predict that God promised to dispense a new covenant besides that which [was dispensed] in the mountain Horeb?”

This, too, he replied, had been predicted.

Then I said again, “Was not the old covenant laid on your fathers with fear and trembling, so that they could not give ear to God?”

He admitted it.

“What then?” said I: “God promised that there would be another covenant, not like that old one, and said that it would be laid on them without fear, and trembling, and lightnings, and that it would be such as to show what kind of commands and deeds God knows to be eternal and suited to every nation, and what commandments He has given, suiting them to the hardness of your people’s hearts, as He exclaims also by the prophets.”

“To this also,” said he, “those who are lovers of truth and not lovers of strife must assuredly assent.”

Then I replied, “I know not how you speak of persons very fond of strife, [since] you yourself oftentimes were plainly acting in this very manner, frequently contradicting what you had agreed to.”


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