Justin and Stoic Cosmo-Theology

Runar M. Thorsteinsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Due to his background as a Platonist, Justin Martyr's relation to Stoic philosophy has not gained as much attention from scholars as his relation to Platonism, and his relationship to contemporary Stoicism has been largely overlooked. The present essay provides an overview and analysis of Justin's references and allusions to Stoics and Stoic philosophy, with particular focus on his description and criticism of their cosmology and theology (cosmo-theology). The question of where Justin received his knowledge of Stoic cosmo-theology is also addressed, and in order to assess that question a survey of contemporary Stoic cosmo-theology is offered. The essay shows that Justin strongly rejected the Stoic doctrines on the nature of God as a corporeal and changeable being, on the world-cycles and conflagration, and on fate. Moreover, Justin does not seem to have had any thorough knowledge of Stoic philosophy, nor does his criticism of Stoic cosmo-theology appear to have issued directly from his encounter with contemporary Stoics. His arguments against it seem rather to have been more or less based on stock criticism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-571
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Theological Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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