Make your own free website on

The Sayings of Jesus in the Writings of Justin Martyr

†††† By Arthur J. Bellinzoni


Arthur Bellinzoniís Harvard University PhD dissertation, written under the direction of Helmut Koester, tries to determine the place of Justin Martyís quotations of the sayings of Jesus in the history of the development of early gospel tradition and asks whether the variations of these sayings in Justin reflect certain form-critical motives.


Bellinzoni concludes that with the exception of three sayings, all of the sayings of Jesus in Justinís writings are ultimately based on sayings in the synoptic gospels. More specifically: (1) Justin used more than a single source; (2) Justin generally used as his source written documents; (3) Justinís written sources harmonized parallel material from Matthew, Mark, and Luke; (4) in the case of Matthew and Luke, related material from different parts of a single gospel were often combined into a single saying; (5) Justinís sources often derived material from a single gospel (Matthew or Luke, never Mark or John); (6) Justinís quotations of the sayings of Jesus show absolutely no dependence on the Gospel of John; (7) the harmonistic texts used by Justin as his source for the sayings of Jesus are part of a tradition that had great influence on the later manuscript tradition of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke; and (8) the sayings of Jesus are found in Justinís writings in a few groups of several collected sayings, and rarely do sayings occur singly in Justinís text.