Although neither author nor recipient is known for certain, the Letter to Diognetus purports to be written by a student of the apostles who calls himself Mathetes. The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus is probably the earliest example of Christian apologetics, writings defending Christianity from its accusers. [a.d] The anonymous author of this Epistle gives himself the title (Mathetes) ” a disciple [] of the Apostles,” and I venture to adopt it as his name. It is about.

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Learn More in these related Britannica articles: The invisible soul is guarded by the visible body, and Christians are known indeed to be in the world, but their godliness remains invisible.

Are they not all liable to rot? The immortal soul dwells in a mortal tabernacle; and Christians dwell as sojourners in corruptible [bodies], looking for an incorruptible dwelling in the heavens.

Epistle, a composition in prose or poetry written in the form of a letter to a particular person or group.

Expressions to this effect occur in several places chap. Patristic literature, body of literature that comprises those works, excluding the New Testament, written by Christians before the 8th century. Paul or of one of the apostle’s associates. Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. This work is an apology for the Christians, although the term Jesus or Christ is nowhere found in it, as the author seems to prefer the use of the term “the Word.

Nor truly are those words without significance which are written, how God from the beginning planted the tree of life in the midst of paradise, revealing through knowledge the way to life, and when those who were first formed did not use this [ knowledge ] properly, they were, through the fraud of the Serpent, stripped naked. He did not, as one might have imagined, send to men any servant, or angelor ruler, or any one of those who bear sway over earthly things, or one of those to whom the government of things in the heavens has been entrusted, but the very Creator and Fashioner of all things — by whom He made the heavens — by whom he enclosed the sea within its proper bounds — whose ordinances all the stars faithfully observe — from whom the sun has received the measure of his daily course to be observed — whom the moon obeys, being commanded to shine in the night, and whom the stars also obeyfollowing the moon in her course; by whom all things have been arranged, and placed within their proper limits, and to whom all are subject — the heavens and the things that are therein, the earth and the things that are therein, the sea and the things that are therein — fire, air, and the abyss — the things which are in the heights, the things which are in the depths, and the things which lie between.


A beautiful and short letter from a 2nd century church father.

Letter to Diognetus | early Christian work |

Keep in the light dioognetus your truth all those you have freed from the darkness of unbelief. A number of transcriptions of this manuscript survive today. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. Although only a few of his works are still read,….

More About Letter to Diognetus 1 reference found in Britannica articles Assorted References patristic literature In patristic literature: In dealing with this question, we depend entirely upon the internal evidence, no statement as to the authorship of the Epistle having descended to us from antiquity.

Then shall you admire those who for righteousness’ sake endure the fire that is but for a moment, and shall count them happy when you shall know [the nature of] that fire. For He will yet send Him to judge us, and who shall endure His appearing?

What is the Letter to Diognetus?

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Letter to Diognetusan early Christian apologetic work probably dating from the 2nd or 3rd century ad. What about the affection they all have for each other? Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed.

Views Read Edit View history. But after He revealed and laid open, through His beloved Sonthe things which had been prepared from the beginning, He conferred every blessing all at once upon us, so that we should both share in His benefits, and see and be active [in His service]. Do you not see that the more of them are punished, the greater becomes the number of the rest?

Part of the AnteNicean fathers volume.

For neither can life exist without knowledgenor is knowledge secure without epietle. While mzthetes epistle has its good points and gets a bit better as it goes oninstead of emphasizing Gospel from the start, it employs spotty logic for apologetic goals. It is perhaps one of the first works of apologetics, where Mathetes was trying to persuade Diognetus toward the Christian faith. Not language, dress, or food. And marvel not that a man can be an imitator of God.


Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus At a Glance.

Letter to Diognetus

The writer also touches on the Christian’s place in the world, and does so without a hint of moralism. And as to their observing months and days, as if waiting upon the stars and the moon, and their distributing, according to their own tendencies, the appointments of God, and the vicissitudes of the seasons, some for festivities,and others for mourning,—who would deem this a part of divine worship, and not much rather a manifestation of folly?

Are they not all deaf? An excellent patristic letter from the 2nd century. They marry like all other men and they beget children; but they do not cast away their offspring. Was not every one of them, before they were formed by the arts of these [workmen] into the shape of these [gods], each in its own way subject to change?

Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus

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. But when our wickedness had reached its height, and it had been clearly shown that its reward, punishment and death, was impending over us; and when the time had come which God had before appointed for manifesting His own kindness and power, how the one love of God, through exceeding regard for men, did not regard us with hatred, nor thrust us away, nor remember our iniquity against us, but showed great long-suffering, and bore with us, He Himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal.

They share their meals, but not their wives. From Ante-Nicene FathersVol. And if you love Him, you will be an imitator of His kindness. And do not wonder that a man may become an imitator of God.