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Address to Diognetus

DIOGNETUS, ADDRESS TO dī ŏg’ nĭ’ təs (Διόγνητος). An apologetic address or letter of the Early Church.

This is a brilliant, lucid exposition of Christianity by an unknown author. The person addressed, Diognetus, is presumably intended to be the teacher of Marcus Aurelius who bore that name. It is written in Gr. in a rhetorical style. The foolishness of idolatry was demonstrated. Judaism was accused of unnecessary sacrifices and of ridiculous observances. In contrast, Christian character was praised. The Incarnation brought a revelation of God’s truth. God “gave his own Son as ransom for us” (IX, 2).

Chapters 11 and 12 are by another hand, perhaps Hippolytus or Melito. The main body prob. dates from the late 2nd or early 3rd cent. The idea that it is the lost Apology of Quadratus, advanced by P. Andriessen in 1946, is not likely. The only pre-Reformation MS of the text is no longer extant, but a MS copy and printed texts are available.


H. G. Meecham, The Epistle to Diognetus (1949). See also Apostolic Fathers.