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Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus

At a Glance
Letter
Genre:
(2/5) **
Reliability of Dating:
(2/5) **
Length of Text:
Greek
Original Language:
Ancient Translations:
Modern Translations:

Estimated Range of Dating: 130-200 A.D.

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Information on Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus

Robert M. Grant describes the epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 2, p. 201):

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 for his freedom from superstition and sound educational advice (Meditations 1.6), but he is not likely to be the recipient, or even the assumed recipient, of this apology from around A.D. 200. The work itself survived (with other writings ascribed to Justin) only in a 13th century manuscript, formerly at Strasbourg but burned during the invasion of 1870.

It is widely believed that the last two chapters were added at a later time. There are two schools as to its dating, one which favors a date approximately 130 CE and the other which favors a date approximately 200 CE or even later in the third century. I am not sure if there is evidence to resolve the question.

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."


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Kirby, Peter. "Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus." Early Christian Writings. <http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/diognetus.html>.