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The dates of Justin Martyr's birth and death are not known. He is believed to have been born between 100 and 114 A.D., and his death is believed to have occurred between 162 and 168. Most of what is known of his life comes from his own writings. He was born in Palestine in Flavia Neapolis, known in [[Old Testament]] times as Shechem, but now as Nablus. He called himself a Samaritan, although his father, Priscos, and grandfather, Baccheios, may have been Greek or Roman. As a child he was raised a [[pagan]] in a family of means and studied philosophy at various schools, including those in Alexandria and Ephesus. He appears to have traveled extensively and eventually settled in Rome.
In his studies he initially leaned toward Stoicism, then toward Pythagoreanism and Platonism before becoming interested in Christianity while in Ephesus. There he recounts his conversion as a semi-mystical experience: while walking along the seashore, there appeared an old man alongside him. He was impressed by this Christian, who explained that [[Jesus]] was the fulfillment of the promises made through the Jewish [[prophet]]s and thus the only true philosophy. He had also been impressed by the steadfastness of the Christian martyrs. His soul inflamed with a love of the prophets and those who were friends of [[Christ]], Justin became a Christian about 130. As a philosophy student he approached Christianity as bringing completeness to the pagan philosophies. As a Christian, he devoted much of his energy to the [[missionary]] work of [[evangelizing]] the
Justin's martyrdom appears to be the result of his bettering the Cynic philosopher Crescens in debates in Rome. Around 165, he was charged, possibly by Crescens, of following an illegal religion. Subsequently the prefect, Rustcus, condemned Justin to death by beheading with six of his companions: Chariton, Charito, Evelpostos, Paeon, Hierax, and Liberianos. ''The Acts of Justin the Martyr'' is believed to be a record of this trial.