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14 Justin and Crescens

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Chapter Summary

In his autobiographical description, Justin Martyr rehearses his philosophical pedigree to establish his credentials as a philosopher. Justin as well as early Christian tradition claim that he continued to wear the short cloak that marked philosophers, especially the Cynics, and that he engaged philosophers in debate as he did Trypho the Jew. One such philosopher was Crescens the Cynic, whom we know only from Christian sources. This chapter offers this contentious discussion of these two contentious men by way of counterpoint to the uncontentious man whom it seeks to honor. There is considerable difference of opinion on the precise nature of the encounter between Justin and Crescens and on the role the Cynic may have played in Justin's death. Tatian, Justin's disciple, provides more information about Crescens.

Keywords: Crescens; early Christian tradition; Justin; philosopher; Tatian



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