Athenagoras

SECOND CENTURY. Christian Apologist of Athens who presented Christian doctrine within the framework provided by a Middle Platonic epitome of Plato's philosophy. His Apology petitions Emperor Marcus Aurelius* and his son Commodus on behalf of the Christians and refutes the calumnies leveled against them, namely, atheism, eating human flesh, and practicing incest. He draws attention to the peaceful and blameless living of Christians and claims equal rights for them with other citizens. His treatise On the Resurrection of the Body defends a doctrine which the cultured pagans of his time found most difficult to accept. Athenagoras's lucid discussion is addressed to the philosophers, and the argument is kept entirely on their ground. It is therefore deficient in that the incarnation and resurrection of Christ are ignored. He also stressed the divinity of the Logos* and the triadic nature of God. The description of him as the “Christian Philosopher of Athens” is most appropriate.