The Apologies of Justin Martyr
The system of petition and response was part and parcel of life in the Roman Empire. This book contextualizes Justin Martyr’s Apologies within this system of petition and response, arguing that Justin, in a fertile moment in the history of administrative practice, took a well-scripted form of imperial supplication and public display and boldly transformed it into a uniquely stylized statement of voiced injustice and Christian transparency. Using the heuristic of performance, this book not only compares the Apologies to extant petitions but draws attention to Justin’s strategies of elaboration and to the qualities of his work as a staged enactment within wider political, social, and literary contexts. The result is a reading of the Apologies as an opportunistic combination of petitionary, apologetic, and protreptic discourses by which Justin sought to address both his procedural objections to Christian trials and the popular and philosophical prejudices of his learned contemporaries.