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, . Chapter 1. Occasion of the epistle. Most excellent Diognetus: I can see that you deeply desire to learn how Christians worship their God. You have so carefully. 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.

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Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Come, then, after you have freed yourself from all prejudices possessing your diogmetusand 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 oetter 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 you declare and deem to be gods.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Is not a third wood, and that already rotten? 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.

Take special note of this chapter! He formed in his mind a great and unspeakable idea, which he communicated to his Son alone. This was not that He at all delighted in our sinsbut that He simply endured them; nor that He approved the time of working iniquity which then was, but that He sought to form a mind conscious of righteousness, so that being convinced in that time of our unworthiness of attaining life through our own works, it should now, through the kindness of Godbe vouchsafed to us; and having made it manifest that in ourselves we were unable to enter into the kingdom of Godwe might through the power of God be made able.

Might not these, which are now worshipped by you, again be made by men vessels similar to others? Contact our editors with your feedback.

viognetus This is He who was from the beginning, who appeared as if new, and was found old, and yet who is ever born afresh in the hearts of the saints. Please try again later. Philosophers The philosophers were both the religious and academic leaders of Greek society.

This page was last edited on 16 Septemberat He showed great patience and bore with us.


From a letter to Diognetus: The Christian in the world

This is a Scriptural thought. For He that made heaven and earth, and all that is therein, and gives to us all the things of which we stand in need, certainly requires none of those things which He Himself bestows on such as think of furnishing them to Him. I am not talking about things that are unfamiliar to me. The 13th-century manuscript was damaged in that place and the copies were made only after that damage had already been done.

And to speak falsely of God, as if he forbids us to do what is good on the Sabbath days, in what way is this not ungodly? So come, after you have freed yourself from lteter the prejudices that possess your mind, laid aside what you’re accustomed to as something prone to deceive you, and been made a new man all over again.

I can see that you deeply desire to learn how Christians worship their God. Return to Early Christianity. This does not seem to be the work of man: He gave us reason and understanding. Are they not fabricated by means of iron and fire?

The editor of New Letted is Kevin Knight.

He spoke plainly to them. 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.

Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. But don’t you, who think and suppose these articles to be gods, treat them with much greater contempt than the Christians? You can read it here.

More likely, Paul is referring to God’s Word in any form, especially in the form of being the living Word in our hearts Jam. And when you attempt to present gifts to them, then if they are possessed of sense, don’t you punish rather than honor them? It’s hard to beat chapter 9 of the Letter to Diognetus for depth and beauty. They live in their own diognetue as though they were only passing through. He lether that they can’t figure out that food can’t defile a person. However, if they offer him worship in the way we’ve described, they are in great error.


For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? For God, the Lord and Fashioner of all things, who made all things, and who assigned them their various positions, has proven himself not only a Friend of mankind, but also patient. Every foreign land is like their homeland to them, and every land of their birth is like a land of strangers.

I see, most excellent Diognetus, the exceptional desire you have to learn the ldtter of worshipping God that prevails among the Christians. Is not a fourth silver, which needs a doognetus to watch it, lest it be stolen?

Are they not all perishable? 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?

But if any one of these theories be worthy of approbation, every one of the tk of created things might also be declared to be God. There was a diobnetus with your submission.

Epistle to Diognetus

Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. On the contrary he who takes upon himself the burden of his neighbour; he who, diognnetus whatsoever respect he may be superior, is ready to benefit another who is deficient; he who, whatsoever things he has received from Godby distributing these to the needy, ro a god to those who receive [his benefits]: In the future he will send him to judge us, and who shall endure his arrival?

This does not seem to be the work of man. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. He is the only early Christian writer not to do so. They live in their own countries, but they do so as those who are just passing through. These are not meant ketter interpret the text for you, although I do some of that.