Someone has written to me as follows:
"I reached the conviction Justyn [sic] believed in a anthropological concept constituted by three elements:
The first two are subjected to the death.
Could you please tell me if my vision of this matter can be considered wrong? If so, why?"
First, I would say that when one reads Justin's Dialogue, he or she must distinguish between the words of Justin, those of Trypho and those of the man who helped to convert Justin to Christianity. Second, as I read Justin, he does seem to espouse a tripartite anthropological theologia. However, he clearly appears to argue that the soul is able to survive death and subsist for all eternity.
In 1 Apology 20, Justin contends that Christians in his day affirmed that "the souls of the wicked, being endowed with sensation even after death, are punished, and that those [souls] of the good being delivered from punishment spend a blessed existence" in eternity.
Also, in 1 Apology 44, we read:
"And whatever both philosophers and poets have said concerning the immortality of the soul, or punishments after death, or contemplation of things heavenly, or doctrines of the like kind, they have received such suggestions from the prophets as have enabled them to understand and interpret these things. And hence there seem to be seeds of truth among all men; but they are charged with not accurately understanding [the truth] when they assert contradictories."
In the Dialogue with Trypho, Justin does indicate that he rejected the Platonic immortality of the soul doctrine, as did Tatian. Nevertheless, there seems to be no doubt that he thought the soul survives the death of the body.
Finally, in the Fragments of the Lost Work of Justin on the Resurrection 10, there is this fateful passage:
"The resurrection is a resurrection of the flesh which died. For the spirit dies not; the soul is in the body, and without a soul it cannot live. The body, when the soul forsakes it, is not. For the body is the house of the soul; and the soul the house of the spirit. These three, in all those who cherish a sincere hope and unquestioning faith in God, will be saved."
Professor Edgar Foster