June 18, 2020 0 By admin

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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CHURCH FATHERS: Epistle to Diognetus (Mathetes)

Introductory Note to the Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus. The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus — Mathetes. The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus — Mathetes [a.

It is about all we know of him, and it serves a useful end. I place his letter here, as a sequel to the Clementine Epistle, for several reasons, which I think scholars will approve: Mathetes was possibly a catechumen of St. Paul or of one of the dignetus associates.

I assume that his correspondent was the tutor of M.

The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus

matheyes Placed just here, it fills a lacuna in the series, and takes the place of the pseudo second Epistle of Clement, which is now relegated to its proper place with the works falsely ascribed to St. Altogether, the Epistle is a gem of purest ray; and, while suggesting some difficulties as to interpretation and exposition, it is practically clear as to argument and intent.


Mathetes is, perhaps, the first of the apologists. The following is the original Introductory Notice of the learned editors and translators: For a considerable period after its publication init was generally ascribed to Justin Martyr. In recent times Otto has inserted it among the works of that writer, but Semisch and others contend that it cannot possibly be his.

In dealing with this question, we depend mahtetes upon the internal evidence, no statement as to the authorship of the Epistle having descended to us from antiquity. And it can scarcely be denied that the whole tone of the Epistle, as well as special passages which it contains, points to some other writer than Justin.

Accordingly, critics are now for the most part agreed that it is not his, and that it must be ascribed to one who lived at a still earlier date in the history of the Church.

Several internal arguments have been brought forward in favour of this opinion. More weight is to be attached to those passages in which the dilgnetus speaks of Christianity as still being a new thing in the world.

Expressions to this effect occur in several places chap. There is peistle nothing in the Epistle which is inconsistent with this opinion; and we may therefore believe, that in this beautiful composition we possess a genuine production of some apostolic man who lived not later than the beginning of the second century.


The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus by Mathetes

The names of Clement of Rome and of Apollos have both been suggested as those of the probable ciognetus. Such opinions, however, are pure fancies, which it is perhaps impossible to refute, but which rest on nothing more than conjecture.

Nor can a single word be said as to the person named Diognetus, to whom the letter is addressed.

We must be content to leave both points in hopeless obscurity, and simply accept the Epistle as written by an earnest and intelligent Christian to a sincere inquirer mathhetes the Gentiles, towards the close of the apostolic age.

It is much to be regretted that the text is often so very doubtful.

But notwithstanding this drawback, and the difficulty of representing the full force and elegance of the original, this Epistle, as now presented to the English reader, can hardly fail to excite both his deepest interest and admiration. The learned do not seem convinced by this author, but I have adopted his suggestion as to Diognetus the tutor of M.