What is the Letter to Diognetus? Question: "What is the Letter to Diognetus? This type of writing is also called an apologetics letter or an apology. The oldest known manuscript of the Letter to Diognetus, dating from the thirteenth or fourteenth century, was found along with the writings of Justin Martyr ; unfortunately, that manuscript was destroyed in a fire in For a time it was believed that the Letter to Diognetus was composed by Justin Martyr, but that theory has since been discarded.
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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. It is unlikely that he was the tutor of the same name to the emperor Marcus Aurelius , . Manuscripts[ edit ] The epistle survived only in one manuscript from antiquity. It was initially discovered in a 13th-century codex that included writings ascribed to Justin Martyr.
It was first published in , and attributed to Justin Martyr because of the context of its discovery. Unfortunately the original was subsequently destroyed in a fire during the Franco-Prussian War in ,  but numerous transcriptions of the letter survive today. Oddly, there is no evidence that any Apostolic or Church Father knew of its existence, even though it has been esteemed by many modern readers as a gem of early Christian apologetics.
Chapter V: The Manners of the Christians. The 10th chapter breaks off in mid thought. When the text resumes, the epistolary style has been abandoned and the final two chapters resemble a peroration. They are often considered to be later additions from the 3rd-century.
Some have attributed them to Hippolytus , based on similarities of thought and style. Literature[ edit ] Crowe, Brandon D. Foster, Paul. Jefford, Clayton N. Brox, K. Niederwimmer, H. Lona, F. Prostmeier, and J. Series: Oxford Apostolic Fathers. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Lona, Horacio E. Verlag Herder: Freiburg u.
Epistle to Diognetus
Do not miss chapters 5 and 9! These are not meant to interpret the text for you, although I do some of that. It is very hard to find a better introduction to late 1st century Christianity than the Letter to Diognetus. Are you enjoying this site?
Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus
Since I see thee, most excellent Diognetus, exceedingly desirous to learn the mode of worshipping God prevalent among the Christians, and inquiring very carefully and earnestly concerning them, what God they trust in, and what form of religion they observe, so as all to look down upon the world itself, and despise death, while they neither esteem those to be gods that are reckoned such by the Greeks, nor hold to the superstition of the Jews; and what is the affection which they cherish among themselves; and why, in fine, this new kind or practice [of piety] has only now entered into the world, and not long ago; I cordially welcome this thy desire, and I implore God, who enables us both to speak and to hear, to grant to me so to speak, that, above all, I may hear you have been edified, and to you so to hear, that I who speak may have no cause of regret for having done so. Come, then, after you have freed yourself from all prejudices possessing your mind, and laid aside what you have been accustomed to, as something apt to deceive you, and being made, as if from the beginning, a new man, inasmuch as, according to your own confession, you are to be the hearer of a new [system of] doctrine; come and contemplate, not with your eyes only, but with your understanding, the substance and the form of those whom ye declare and deem to be gods. Is not one of them a stone similar to that on which we tread? Is not a second brass, in no way superior to those vessels which are constructed for our ordinary use?