ARISTIDES 2nd c.. With Quadratus, Aristides is among the earliest apologists. The sources call him an Athenian. His Apologia is addressed to Hadrian 117 138 or to Antoninus Pius 138 161 in the first years of his reign.
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The work, as we can reconstruct it today, is divided into 17 chapters. After stating the case for monotheism and speaking of God as creator and preserver of the universe, Aristides divides humanity into four categories, based on their religion barbarians, Greeks, Jews and Christians the comparison of which allows him to criticize the polytheism and fetishism of the barbarians, disapprove of the absurdities of Greek mythology, charge the Jews with exteriority and certain superstitious customs though approving their idea of God, and finally highlight the true knowledge of the divine nature possessed by Christians and show the purity of their behavior. The Apologia, mentioned by Eusebius of Caesarea see HE IV, 3,3; Chron. Ad an. Abr. 2140-2142 = 124-126 AD, survives 1 in an Armenian fragment containing the first two chapters discovered by the Mechitarists of Venice in 1878, 2 in a Syriac version of the entire text discovered by J. Rendel Harris in 1889, and 3 in two Greek papyrus fragments published in 1922 and 1923 containing chs. 5,3 6,1 and 15, 6 16, 1. The Syriac version allowed us to ascertain that we already possessed the Greek text, in a free revision, in chs. 26 and 27 of the Life of Barlaam and Joseph, a pious romance attributed by the manuscript tradition to John of Damascus ca. 675 749? Chapters 15 and 16 of Aristides's Apologia have been compared, with some justification, to chs. 5 and 6 of the Letter to Diognetus. Recent studies have shed light on certain lines of the textual tradition little studied until now in particular that of the papyri and highlighted the use made of the Apologia by some later writers esp. By Epiphanius. For Syriac and Greek texts: J.R. Harris – J.A. Robinson, TSt 1,1, Cambridge 2 1893. For papyrus fragments: B.P. Grenfell – A.S. Hunt, The Oxyr. Papyri, XV, London 1922; H.J. M. Milne: JTS 25 1924 73-77. On the inauthenticity of the homily on Lk 23: 42f. see J.B. Pitra, Anal. Sacra, IV, Paris 1883, 6-11 and 282-286 cited under Aristides's name, together with an equally spurious fragment ex epistula Aristidis, see P. Pape, TU 12, 2, Leipzig 1894. Translations: Eng. D.M. Kay, ANF 9, 263-279; It. C. Vona, Rome 1950; C. Burini, Rome 1986; C. Alpigiano, Florence 1988; Sp. D. Ruiz Bueno, BAC 116, Madrid 1954; Ger. R. Raabe, TU 9,1, Leipzig 1892; J. Schnfelder: ThQ 74 1892 531-557; K. Julius, BKV 12, Kempten 1913; L. Alfonsi, La teologia della storia nell'Apologia di Aristide: Augustinianum 16 1976 37-40. Further bibliography in Quasten I, 171f. B. Altaner – A. Stuiber, Patrologie, Freiburg i.B. 1978, 64f. H.J. Desterle, Zur Apologie des Aristides: ZDMG 130 1980 15-23; C. Alpigiano, L'Apologia di Aristide e la tradizione papiracea: Civilt classica and cristiana 7 1986 333-357; K.G. Essig, Erw¤gungen zum geschichtlichen Ort der Apologie des Aristides: ZKG 97 1986 163-188; R. Van den Broek, Eugnostos and Aristides on the Ineffable God: Knowledge of God in the Graeco-Roman World, Leiden 1988, 202-218; C. Scholten: LTK3 1, 973; J. Dummer, Epiphanius von Constantia un die Apologie des Aristides: eine quellenkritische Untersuchung: Philologus 1382 1994 267-287; H.R. Drobner, Patrologia, It. Tr. Casale Monferrato 1998, 127f. Aristides (2nd Century Greek Christian writer, author of the … holidaymapq
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