Aristide's apology, its form and addressee
// History magazine - researches. – 2023. – № 3.
– P. 40-51.
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Abstract: The object of the study is early Christian apologetics as a socio-cultural phenomenon. In modern science, the issue related to the audience of early Christian apologies is actively discussed. A number of apologies of the second century, as is known, are addressed directly to the rulers of the Roman Empire themselves. But is such an addressee genuine? Or is there a masterfully executed literary stylization in front of us? The subject of our research is the apology of Aristide. Aristide, according to ancient church historians, was the first apologist of Christianity who submitted his work to the Emperor Hadrian. However, the Syriac translation of the apology indicates the Emperor Antoninus Pius as the addressee. Thus, we are faced with two questions: 1) which of the two emperors was the addressee in the original apology; 2) is the imperial addressee real or is he a literary fiction?
In the course of the study, the author came to the following conclusions. Firstly, we have no reason to prefer the Syriac version of the apology to all the data of the church-historical tradition. This data is confirmed by the Armenian translation of the apology. It should also be pointed out that the Syrian addressee contains a number of errors and resembles, rather, a later interpolation. Secondly, the content of the apology convinces that it is designed for an educated pagan, and not for a Christian. And there is every reason to believe that the Emperor Hadrian really acted as such an addressee. At the same time, it should be noted that the apology does not represent an official petition addressed to the emperor, we have before us a literary work written in the protreptic genre.
Keywords: Protrepticus, Aristides, Aplogetics, Antoninus Pius, Hadrian, Roman Empire, Early Christianity, Church, Jenre, Audience
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