2nd Century Apologists – Part 2

Melito of Sardis, a bishop of Sardis in Asia Minor, who in his own day was a famous writer of many books. He was active in the period AD 170-80. The great African theologian Tertullian admired his writings, which sadly have almost all been lost. Melito wrote an apology addressed to Marcus Aurelius. We also owe to Melito the first known Christian list of books contained in the Old Testament. He made a special trip to Palestine to seek information about the Hebrew Scriptures; his list corresponds with the Jewish and Protestant Old Testament of today.

Theophilus of Antioch, bishop of Antioch, who in about AD 180 wrote his Apology to Autolycus, to an educated Pagan friend. Theophilus tried to show Autolycus that idolatry is false and Christianity true, and that Christians are good, virtuous, law-abiding citizens. He had a very negative attitude to Greek Philosophy, accusing Plato of having stolen his best ideas from the Old Testament prophets.

Minucius Felix was unusual among the apologists because he wrote in Latin rather than in Greek. He was probably of North African descent, and had a wide knowledge of Greek and Roman culture. He wrote an eloquent apology called Octavius, which sets out the arguments between Christians and Pagans in the form of a dialogue, and demonstrates the superiority of the Christian faith to Pagan idolatry. It is perhaps the most charming and readable of all the apologists. We do not know when Octavius was written – probably in about AD 230.

More to come in the next church history post…

Source: This church history excerpt comes from Nick Needham’s 2000 Years of Christ’s Power Volume 1 – The Age of the Early Church Fathers pgs 90-91.

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