Tuesday, July 24, 2012

That Letter to Diognetus

Schaff decides that the author’s name is Mathetes since he calls himself that, meaning “disciple,” in the letter.  His style is apostolic in nature, so they assume he wrote his letter sometime toward the end of the apostolic age.
1. Diognetus asks how to best worship the Christian God.
2. Mat urges him to get rid of his Greek idols that can’t see, hear, smell, talk, etc.  They must be gone before he can worship God.
3. The Jews are right to worship one God, but they are wrong to worship him the same way that the Greeks worship their idols, in ways God did not prescribe.
6. “To sum up all in one word— what the soul is in the body, that are Christians in the world. The soul is dispersed through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world. The soul dwells in the body, yet is not of the body; and Christians dwell in the world, yet are not of the world.”

12 Chapters, and this is probably the most uneventful letter I’ve read from the Patristic period.  After chapter 6, he does into an exposition of sin, the fall, and our need for Jesus.  I think I was mostly just tired and needing a nap.  If anything, this letter is short.  I'm also hoping that his separation of the soul from the body is not a plug for Neo-Platonism, because those things do go together.

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