Aristides

SECOND CENTURY. Christian Apologist* and philosopher of Athens. Until the last century Aristides was only a name in the writings of Eusebius and Jerome. Then in 1878 the Armenian Fathers of the Lazarist Monastery at Venice published an Armenian version of his “Apology” and in 1889 Rendel Harris discovered the Syriac version in a monastery on Mt. Sinai.

Shortly afterward, J.A. Robinson made the astonishing discovery that the Greek version of Aristides has been taken over almost wholly into a popular Oriental Christian romance, “Barlaam and Josaphat.” The Apologist opens his “Apology” with an outline demonstration of God's existence based upon Aristotle's argument from motion. He states that mankind is divided into four races-Barbarians, Greeks, Jews, and Christians-and that Christians have the most complete understanding of the nature of God and a correspondingly satisfactory moral code. The treatise was addressed, not as Eusebius said to Emperor Hadrian, but to his successor Antoninus Pius (138-61).