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INTRODUCTION nHE DOCUMENT which is here translated consists of two quite disparate parts. The first ten chapters con- . stitute one of the most exquisite pieces of early Christian literature. They were written by an unnamed master of Greek style, a fervent Christian filled with Pauline convictions , a humanist who had achieved a remarkable harmony of supernatural faith and charity, with a highly cultivated intelligence, literary taste, conscience and social sense. The calm and clarity of his thought reveal a master of logic, the deep convicitions of a serious thinker, the eloquence of a trained rhetorician, the breadth of mind and warmth of heart, the poise of an educated gentleman. The second part, Chapters 11 and 12, was obviously written by a different sort of a person. The author describes himself as a 'disciple of the Apostles.' His style lacks the calm and clarity of the Letter. The tone is more Oriental than Hellenic. According to one guess, the writer was Hippolytus, author of the Philosophumena, who died as a martyr about A.D. 236. The first part has been assumed to be a letter, but it may well have been a formal written defense presented to a judge. It is difficult to determine the date of its composition. The fact that Christianity is alluded to in the opening chapter as 'this new group or institute' suggests an early date, but the attribution to Clement of Rome or to Apollos is merely conjecture . The fact that Diognetus wa. the name of a tutor of Marcus Aurelius led some to think that Justin Martyr was the author, but the style of Justin is quite unlike the style of this Letter. Like the homily (Chapters 11 and 12), the Letter is incomplete. The treatment of the Father in Chapter 10 355 356 LETTER TO DIOGNETUS supposes a corresponding treatment of the Son, which is not given. It is curious that so beautiful a composition appears to have left no impression on any writer of the patristic or medieval period. The single manuscript of the thirteenth or fourteenth century which contains the Letter was discovered in the sixteenth century and published in 1592. It was destroyed during the siege of Strasburg in 1870. ...


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