Journal of Early Christian Studies
Johns Hopkins University Press
Justin Martyr makes the surprising concession in the Dialogue with Trypho 47 that Gentile Christians who convert as proselytes to Christ-believing Judaism “will likely be saved.” Given Justin’s larger project in the Dialogue of creating a Verus Israel distinct from historical Judaism, his admission of salvation to these ultimate Judaizers is hard to understand. The following article examines this fissure in his project by positioning Justin in tension between Paul and Marcion. Dialogue 47, which takes up the relationship between Christ-faith and the law, is shot through with the language of Galatians and Romans 14–15, and Justin tends in a number of Pauline directions in Dialogue 47—for instance, he encourages common meals between Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus. Yet, Justin contrasts strongly with Paul on the question of the salvation of Gentile believers who convert to Christ-believing Judaism. Thus the traditional categories that have asked whether Justin is a “friend” or “foe” of Paul break down in Dialogue 47 and we must look elsewhere for Justin’s surprisingly magnanimous view of these ultimate Judaizers. I argue that Justin’s position bends against Paul (and Ignatius) as he negotiates a complex rhetorical situation and attends to multiple audiences in the Dialogue. Marcion, in particular, along with other overly-dualistic forms of Christianity, lurks prominently behind the argument of the Dialogue and Justin, I argue, has to soften some of his boundaries against Judaism as he wages incipient heresiological battles.
White, Benjamin L., "Justin between Paul and the Heretics: The Salvation of Christian Judaizers in the Dialogue with Trypho" (2018). Publications. 33.