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The Epistle TO Diognetus. CHAPTER 1 Since I see, most excellent Diognetus , that thou art exceedingly anxious to understand the religion of the Christians. Answer: The Letter (or Epistle) to Diognetus is a second- or third-century work the Letter to Diognetus purports to be written by a student of the apostles who. The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus is probably the earliest example of Christian apologetics, writings defending Christianity from its accusers.

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For while the Gentilesby offering such things to those that are destitute of sense and hearing, furnish an example of madness ; they, on the other hand by thinking to offer these things to God as if He needed them, might justly reckon it rather an act of folly than of divine worship.

And He has manifested Himself through faithto which alone it is given to behold God. I suppose, then, you are sufficiently convinced that the Christians properly abstain from the vanity and error common [to both Jews and Gentiles ], and from the busybody spirit diotnetus vain boasting of the Jews ; but you must not hope to learn the mystery of their peculiar mode of worshipping God from any mortal.

The Jewsthen, if they abstain from the kind of service above described, and deem it proper to worship one God as being Lord of all, [are right]; but if they offer Him worship in the way which we have described, they greatly err.

In other projects Wikiquote. When you have read and carefully listened to these things, you shall know what God bestows on such as rightly love Him, being made [as you are] a paradise of delight, presenting in yourselves a tree bearing all kinds of produce and flourishing well, being adorned with various fruits. In Protestant usage, apologetics can be distinguished from polemics, in which the beliefs of a particular Christian church are defended. For neither can life exist without knowledgenor is knowledge secure without life.

Having therefore convinced us in the former time that our nature was unable to attain to life, and having now revealed the Saviour who is able to save even those things which it was [formerly] impossible to save, by both these facts He desired to lead us to trust in His kindness, to esteem Him our Nourisher, Father, Teacher, Counsellor, Healer, our Wisdom, Light, Honour, Glory, Power, and Life, so that we should not be anxious concerning clothing and food.


A stone, however, readily bears it, seeing it is insensible.

That the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors! But these things do not at all constitute His majesty. And by those gifts which doignetus mean to present to them, do you not, if they are possessed of sense, rather punish [than honour ] them?

From a letter to Diognetus: The Christian in the world

As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. The first 10 chapters of the diobnetus discuss pagan and Jewish religions, the life of a Diogjetus as contrasted with the life of a non-Christian, and a review of the Christian faith as the unique revelation of God.

But not a single human being will, unless compelled to it, endure such treatment, since he is endowed with sense and reason. Christian Literature Publishing Co. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. This does not seem to be the work diignetus man: And do not wonder that a man may become an imitator of God. They are evil spoken of, and yet they are vindicated. If you also desire [to possess] this faithyou likewise shall receive first of all the knowledge of the Father.

The Epistle survived only in one manuscript which was located in Strasbourg and was destroyed in a fire during the Franco-Prussian War in the year He can, if God willeth it. Would not those things which are now vessels, formed of the same materials, become like to such, if they met with the same artificers? They are unknown and condemned; they are put to deathand restored to life.

Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus Greek: By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God?

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we’ll add it to the article. Views Read Edit View history. They e;istle put to death, and yet they are endued with life. To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. Are they not all corruptible?

Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign. The soul is dispersed through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world.


Let your heart be your wisdom; and let your life be true knowledge inwardly received. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions.

But as to their scrupulosity concerning food, and their superstition as respects the Sabbaths diogbetus, and their boasting about circumcisionand their fancies about fasting and the new moons, which are utterly ridiculous and unworthy of notice — I do not think that you require to learn anything from me.

Epistle of Diognetus quote

You may find it helpful to search within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered. They do not inhabit eppistle cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.

For, to accept some of those things which have been formed by God for the use of men as properly formed, and to reject others as useless and redundant — how can this be lawful? But those who imagine that, by means of blood, and the smoke of sacrifices and burnt-offerings, they offer sacrifices [acceptable] to Him, and that by such honours they show Him respect, — these, by supposing that they can give anything to Him who needs nothing, appear to me in no respect to differ from those who dioghetus confer the same honour on things destitute of sense, and which therefore are unable to enjoy such honours.

Any text you add should be original, not copied from other sources. But such declarations are simply the startling and erroneous utterances of deceivers; and no man has either seen Him, or made Him knownbut He has revealed Himself.

Learn More in these related Britannica articles: And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.