BY D. M. KAY, B.Sc., B.D., ASSISTANT TO THE PROFESSOR OF SEMITIC LANGUAGES IN THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Apology of Aristides, mentioned by Eusebius, St. Jerome, and other ancient writers and said to have been the inspiration for the great works of St. Justin Martyr, was considered lost until the late Nineteenth Century, when an Armenian fragment was discovered. Then in 1889 the full text in Syriac translation was found in the library of St. Catherine's in the Sinai. Ironically, it was then realized that the work had never been lost at all: a slightly shortened version of it had been preserved in the well-known Life of St. Barlaam of India, by St. John of Damascus. (Since the numerous references to Greek gods would have made little impact on an Indian audience, one may assume that St. John, writing for a Greek readership which would have found a denunciation of Vedic or Buddhist deities equally meaningless, decided to insert the Apology of Aristides as a sort of rough equivalent of whatever Barlaam actually preached to the Brahmins.)
St. Aristides delivered the Apology around the year 125, when Hadrian visited Athens [Eusebius, H.E. IV, iii]. His memory is kept by the Church on 31 August.
Since the Greek version found in Barlaam and Ioasaph is widely available online, we here give the longer version preserved in Syriac. Note that there are a number of "Syrianisms" is this version -- cultural rather than theological, such as the reference to Hades as "Sheol". -- N. Redington, St. Pachomius Library.