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The Letter To Diognetus

Alternate title: The Epistle To Diognetus

c. 100-150 C.E.

The Epistle to Diognetus is a well-crafted argument extolling the virtues of Christianity over paganism. It is difficult to determine the date of the letter, for it was never referred to in any known ancient writings, but it obviously dates from a period when Christianity was still regarded as a "mystery" religion.

Diognetus was apparently a highly regarded pagan, and it has been theorized that the name could be a familiar title of the Greek emperor Hadrian. If so, the writer was likely Quadratus, a missionary bishop. Other suggestions for the author have been Theophilus, Clement, Apollos, Marcion, Apelles or Aristides. In the sixteenth century, the writing was attributed to Justin Martyr, an assumption since dismissed.

No extant copies of the original epistle exist, and it is quite possible that what are assumed to be the final two chapters are actually part of a different work.