Second-century Greek Christian apologies addressed to emperors: Their form and function.

Title: Second-century Greek Christian apologies addressed to emperors: Their form and function.
Authors: Buck, P. Lorraine.
Date: 1998
Abstract: This thesis examines the form and function of four second-century Christian defences: the Apology of Aristides, the two Apologies of Justin Martyr, and the Legatio of Athenagoras. These four works all belong to the same literary genre, i.e., they all contain addresses to Roman Emperors and they all imitate imperial petitions or speeches. They are also the only such works that survive in their entirety. This thesis has three objectives. The first is to discover the predecessors, if any, of this particular literary genre. While scholars have traditionally posited Aristotle's Protrepticus, Luke/Acts in the New Testament, and Hellenistic-Jewish apology as possible antecedents, it is much more likely that Plato's Apology was the inspiration for these works. Indeed, all three apologists were philosophers prior to their conversion and the only adaptation which they make to this literary form is that necessitated by changes in the political and judicial systems between fifth-century B.C.E. Athens and second-century C.E. Rome. The second objective is to demonstrate, by a literary/historical approach, that the literary form of the apologies is fictitious. Although scholars have traditionally maintained that the apologists at least intended that their works be read and approved by their imperial addressees, both contemporary and modern works which consider the form and content of official petitions to the Emperor as well as the particular circumstances in which they were delivered, demonstrate the speciousness of this position. The third objective is to determine, by a socio/historical approach, the literary and social function of these apologies in the second-century Empire. Two questions are thus posed: what was the intended audience of these apologies and what purpose were they meant to serve? After examining possible scholarly suggestions, in particular, that they were intended for the pagan public as a means of conversion, it is demonstrated that these defences were written primarily for a Christian audience for purposes of exhortation, confirmation, and/or instruction.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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