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Care or Prayer? Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho 1.4 Revisited

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AbstractJustin Martyr reports (and rejects) the curious argument that the practice of prayer is mutually exclusive with God’s providential care for individual beings. Pépin has demonstrated that the same argument, probably of Middle-Platonic provenance, is extant in Maximus of Tyre. A closer look shows its ambiguous stance towards Stoicism, with which it might have some affinity (in Maximus’ use) but could also target (in the use known to Justin); the problem is that we possess little data on Stoic prayer. The approach of early Christian philosophers to prayer, however, shows deep indebtedness to Stoic ideas about providence and freedom in an attempt to theorize and defend traditional Christian practice. Thus even this brief survey of early Christian material not only reveals the Stoic hue of emerging Christian philosophy, but also that the Stoa probably had similar ideas as did Christian thinkers about the consonance of providence and prayer.

Affiliations: 1: Universität Leipzig Ägyptologisches InstitutDDGLC-Projekt Ritterstr. 12 / 3.02, 04109


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