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3 - Health, Medicine, and Philosophy in the School of Justin Martyr

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2023

Lewis Ayres
Affiliation:
University of Durham and Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Michael W. Champion
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Matthew R. Crawford
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
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Summary

In this chapter, I contextualise the engagement of Christian intellectuals with the Roman empire’s medical marketplace in the second century, focusing on Justin Martyr, Tatian, and Pseudo-Justin’s On the Resurrection. I show that Justin, Tatian, and Pseudo-Justin attempted to derive authority from displays of medical and philosophical expertise regarding bodily and mental health. Justin’s limited treatment of bodily health and medicine was driven by his interests in presenting Christians as philosophers who faced death without fear, a goal that aligned him more closely with his philosophical contemporaries. Tatian and Pseudo-Justin, in contrast, launched challenges against the authority of physicians, presenting an ascetic form of regimen as a superior Christian method of achieving excellent bodily and mental health.

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The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity
Reshaping Classical Traditions
, pp. 47 - 65
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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