“God Talk” Transcript: Epistle to Diognetus

This transcript contains the original notes on which an episode of “God Talk” was based. Seldom was research thoroughly discussed on the air, so this document contains a more complete form than the broadcast. Its intent was to foster dialogue and to engage listeners with uniquely prepared content. The subject discussed is the Epistle to Diognetus that initially aired on September 2, 2011. This is one of the most remarkable documents from the close of the first century, one rarely addressed in public. More transcripts are in production, so visit our blog weekly to learn about their release dates.

Visit the CECS Bookstore to purchase the full “Epistle to Diognetus” transcript.


Sample from “Epistle to Diognetus” transcript:

“Prior to the development of an acknowledged canon, numerous works circulated with considerable authority. A few were even attached to biblical manuscripts out of convenience due to their popular usage in local communities. The apostolic fathers represent the earliest age of Christian literature, one after the death of the Jerusalem founders, some of whom were directly involved in the initial Jesus movement. As a title, however, the phrase “apostolic fathers” was not used in the early church, nor one similar to it, and this implies that the authenticity of this literature epitomized a common origin rather than some form of scriptural authority. Since the works so designated were not gathered as a cohesive collection, each has its own literary history. The title first arose in 1672, when J. B. Cotelier published an edition of the earliest post-apostolic writings in a monumental set of volumes that William Wake introduced to English readers in his celebrated 1693 translation.

The label was assigned because these texts were directly or indirectly associated with the apostles, whether in tradition or legend, and some were disciples or companions of Peter, Paul, or John. One work among them claims to be the teachings of the twelve collectively. The principal treatises comprise the epistles of Clement, Ignatius, Barna­bas, and Polycarp (including his Martyrdom), the Didache, Shepherd of Hermas, Epistle to Diognetus, and Fragments of Papias. Most were written around the turn of the first century, and each served as a transitional document. As a rule, they lack the characteristics of later literary discourses, but this is the strength of the collection, for its authors taught as living examples rather than by means of rhetoric. While not directly apostolic, many of them demonstrate a familiarity with the canonical texts and were revered as second-generation interpretations or applications of them. In essence, as seminal treatises, they reflect the pre-literary age of the church.”

Visit the CECS Bookstore to purchase the full “Epistle to Diognetus” transcript.