Robert M. A late 2d century apology addressed to a certain Diognetus who is otherwise unknown. Diognetus was a tutor of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, who admired him for his freedom from superstition and sound educational advice Meditations 1. The work itself survived with other writings ascribed to Justin only in a 13th century manuscript, formerly at Strasbourg but burned during the invasion of
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Letter to Diognetus , an early Christian apologetic work probably dating from the 2nd or 3rd century ad. It is often included with the works of the Apostolic Fathers, Greek Christian writers of the late 1st and early 2nd centuries, but it more accurately is associated with the early Apologists primarily 1st century.
Both the person addressed and the author of the work are unknown, although at one time the apologist Justin Martyr was erroneously considered the author. The work survived antiquity in one 13th—14th-century manuscript, which was destroyed by fire in Strasbourg , Fr. The first 10 chapters of the letter discuss pagan and Jewish religions, the life of a Christian as contrasted with the life of a non-Christian, and a review of the Christian faith as the unique revelation of God.
The final two chapters, a sermon, were evidently written by a different author, also unknown. Letter to Diognetus. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. Britannica Quiz. Famous Documents. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: patristic literature: The Apologists. Patristic literature, body of literature that comprises those works, excluding the New Testament, written by Christians before the 8th century.
Patristic literature is generally identified today with the entire Christian literature of the early Christian centuries, irrespective of its orthodoxy or…. Epistle, a composition in prose or poetry written in the form of a letter to a particular person or group. The tradition based…. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! Email address. By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox.
More About. The Catholic Encyclopedia - Epistle to Diognetus.
The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus
This rendition of the Letter to Diognetus is in my own words, taken from the Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. I haven't left anything out, and where any important issue comes up, I've leaned towards not changing the wording of the Edinburgh translators. Do not miss chapters 5 and 9! As you read, you'll find my comments sprinkled throughout in text boxes. These are not meant to interpret the text for you, although I do some of that. Instead, I'm trying to show you what early Christianity was like.
Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus
The Christians in the world. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign. And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through.
Letter to Diognetus
The Greek writer and recipient are not otherwise known. Estimates of dating based on the language and other textual evidence have ranged from AD  which would make it one of the earliest examples of apologetic literature , to the late 2nd century, with the latter often preferred in modern scholarship. The text itself does not identify the author. Hence it is not a proper name at all, and its use in the title is strictly conventional. The writer, whoever he or she was, sounds to many like a Johannine Christian , inasmuch as he uses the word "Logos" as a substitute for "Christ" or "Jesus. Nothing is known either about its recipient, Diognetus.