c. 180-220



DIOGNETUS, the Epistle to. A letter written by an unknown Christian to an otherwise unknown inquirer. It probably dates from the 2nd, or perhaps the 3rd, cent. Answering three questions (ch. 1), the author explains why paganism and Judaism cannot be tolerated (2–4), describes Christians as the soul of the world (5–6), and insists that Christianity is the unique revelation of God, whose love works man’s salvation (7–10). Chs. 11 f., which contain a Logos-doctrine and a comparison of the Church to Paradise, are widely regarded as a fragment of another work. The letter survived antiquity in a single 13th–14th-cent. MS (which was destroyed at Strasbourg in 1870), in which it followed certain treatises wrongly ascribed to St Justin Martyr.

Ed. princeps, by H. *Stephanus (Paris, 1592). The Epistle is commonly included in edns. of the *Apostolic Fathers; also repr. in J. P. Migne, PG 2. 1167–86. Good modern edns., with introd. and notes, by H. G. Meecham (Manchester, 1949) and by H. I. Marrou (SC 33; 1951; 2nd edn., 33 bis, 1965). Eng. trs. by L. B. Radford (1908) and in collected trs. of Apostolic Fathers. G. N. Bonwetsch and E. *Schwartz have argued that chs. 11 f. are to be ascribed to *Hippolytus. R. Brändle, Die Ethik der ‘Schrift an Diognet’ (Abhandlungen zur Theologie des Alten und Neuen Testaments, 64; Zurich [1975]). T. Baumeister, ‘Zur Datierung der Schrift an Diognet’, VC 42 (1988), pp. 105–11. M. Rizzi, La questione dell’ unità dell’ ‘Ad Diognetum’ (Studia Patristica Mediolanensia, 16; 1989), with summary in Eng. CPG 1 (1983), p. 55 (no. 1112), and Suppl. (1998), p. 12. J. Quasten, Patrology, 1 (Utrecht, 1950), pp. 248–53. S. Zincone in DPAC 1 (1983), cols. 969–71, s.v. ‘Diogneto’; Eng. tr. in Encyclopedia of the Early Church, 1 (1992), p. 237.

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