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Ignasius Hampur Rev. Fr.

Ronnie Rodriguez, MS
Somascan Medieval philosophy

~PHILOSOPHY IS A PRECIOUS GIFT
(St. 1ustin, Martyr)
St. Justin was born at Flavia Neapolis in Samaria oI pagan parents at the beginning oI second
century. He was the one oI the Christian thinker and philosopher. He wrote many works in deIense
Christian religion Irom enemies oI which we have only two sources, Iirst is the apology and the dialogue.
Apologia is the supplement to Apologia I which addressed to Antonius pious soon aIter 150. The
dialogue, purporting to represent a debate in Ephesus in 135, was written aIter apologias I. His quest was
Ior religious truth and Platonism which spoke about the vision oI God. He also opened a school at Rome
in which public debates were held. Around the year 165, Justin was martyred along with his companions,
during the reign oI Marcus Aurelius.
St. 1ustin`s definition about philosophy and his views
Philosophy is a precious giIt given by God, leading man back to God. Its purpose is to help man
in knowing the existence oI God.
Justin`s philosophy adopted the philosopher`s cloak. He also described his conversion Irom
Platonism to Christianity in a way to imply that there wan no keen discontinuity between Platonism and
Christianity. Christianity absolutely IulIills the highest aspirations oI Plato, meaning to say that he agreed
the bible and the teaching oI Plato, and Justin regarded that, God is transcendent, unchangeable,
incorporeal, and impassible beyond the time and space that the world is not created out oI nothing and the
soul is tantamount to God and has Ireewill.
St. Justin presented his Iaith virtually, correctly Platonism, which expressed in the Iorm oI
suitable Ior the universal and understanding even by the uneducated and elevated above the uncertainty oI
human reasoning by the supernatural revelation.
According to him that Christ is Divine, or Logos as the universal reason, in which all the rational
beings participates insoIar, seeds oI truth are Iound in everyone endowed with reason especially, in the
most giIted. So, Christ is the whole Logos though there are still disagreements among philosophers which
show as a partial apprehension. His philosophy actually, is not eclectic in the sense oI seeking to reconcile
everyone and everything but merely in taking the biblical revelation is the criterion oI truth.
Medieval philosophy is precisely considered as an interesting and also a challenging period
within the Christianity, in the context oI how did Christian thinkers trying to assist the church through
their philosophical thoughts and in accordance with their Iaith in deIending the church Irom the enemies.
The church was able to survive and that time was really puriIication towards perIection.
Probably, during that time, there was something wrong done the church wherein, the authority oI
the church showed in an exaggerated situation which made people trying to criticize on what was
happening within the church.
As Ior me, I am so much interested in with St. Justin`s view about philosophy as a giIt oI God.
His philosophical idea is a tool in leading the human being to realize the existence oI God and His
Creation. It should be a process oI contemplation and reIlection upon God`s existence in human
understanding because, St .Justin purpose in giving his speciIic idea was to aid human being to
understand God through His revelation. Many Christian thinkers contributed their thoughts because oI
changing perceptions coming Irom diIIerent people during that time. People doubted about many catholic
teachings about the revelation, unity oI God, Holy Eucharist, Iaith and many other. In this speciIic time, I
may say that, it was more on theological matters which connected with the philosophical thoughts. St
Justin`s teaching about holy Eucharist as a thanksgiving Ior creation and redemption. And the baptism is
the washing with water in the name oI Holy Trinity, which signiIies the remission oI our sins,
regeneration and illumination and the transIerence Irom necessity to Ireedom.
In this speciIic context, there would be some comments as a result oI my personal reIlection on
St. Justin`s thought.
As he said, that it is a precious giIt. Here, precious is similar with resplendent thing containing
thousand meaning to be accepted and internalized. Precious tells us about something meaningIul to be
used in the sense oI way oI thinking on how do we accept this precious thing in order to have a meaning.
As a Gift, it tells us about our reason to express our ideas in a very appropriate way in order to be
understood. So, as Christian we do believe that this precious giIt or our resplendent reason is given by
God HimselI in leading us to understand Him.
For me, what St. Justin said really assist me in adding my knowledge to be applied, yet, instead
oI accepting it, I would like to give my reaction upon this view.
To my mind, St. Justin, expressed in an unprepared situation, meaning to say that he gave this
particular idea seems still unsure. It can be accepted iI we see it as a meaningIul, and it can be doubted.
He was very audacious in announcing it, because, one hand he was aware oI being Christian thinker to be
responsible, but on the other hand he expressed it when the church was in the crises. Meaning to say that,
this idea was only Ior that time. Why? Because, in this modern world, philosophical ideas are not able to
explain about God or everything by using reason. People are oIten debating about this kind oI thought. It
is not relevant anymore in its epoch. Many people are interested more on those proIane sciences.
II philosophy could lead man back to God, in accordance with this idea, I think it will never
assist man to know God`s existence. They think that God will never IulIill what do man want, and it
seems that God runs away when man are in tremendous disaster and in some oI our human problems.
In this globalized world, many students in philosophy begin to doubt about God. God is
considered as irrelevant anymore in its time. Moreover, philosophy contains so many perplexities,
controversial ideas ,undoubted concepts ,which make people doubting about everything around them, and
likewise many people tend not to talk about philosophical discussion because, it seems nothing and
useless
As my conclusion, I may come to realize that, philosophy can be needed by using our human
reasoning to know the Iirst causes oI everything, in sense oI God HimselI who made and gave everything
in this world. His thoughts during medieval time were one oI the greatest contributions in leading
Christian people to know that philosophy is precisely as a giIt oI God. This idea may lead me to
understand that I should philosophize in an appropriate way and knowing the limited oI my human
reason. I have commented that, philosophy is not so interested by people to be discussed in this
globalized world, because it will never end on how do we deIine philosophy itselI and it will never help
human being to understand God`s mystery. Medieval philosophy seemingly as important period which
experienced by Christianity to see that everything is coming Irom God and it should bring back to God.
thanks