« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
which she so sinfully abandoned. And we do believe also, that before the great history of the world is folded up, and laid upon the funeral pyre in which the world itself shall become dust, a new and glorious decade shall have been inscribed upon it of Italian Protestantism.
ART. VIII.—Epistola ad Diognetum, Justini Philosophi et Martyris nomen præ se ferens. Textum recensuit, translatione Latina instruxit, prolegomena et adnotationes adjecit, JOAN. CAROL, THEOD. OTTO. Leipsic, 1852, 8vo, pp. 131.
WE cannot easily forget the delight with which we first perused the Epistle to Diognetus. It came to us as an exquisite specimen of the sentiment and religion of an early period, much more vital than the heavy controversies of the day, and rather resembling the short epistles of the apostles and apostolic fathers. Yet we could name few works in patristic literature, to which reference is less frequently made.
The critical edition of the Epistle to Diognetus, by Professor Otto, is well worthy of attention. An early publication of the editor on this subject appeared in 1845. A few years after, the learned Bunsen, now Prussian ambassador at London, intimated in his volume on Ignatius, that he would issue a monograph on this epistle, which he ascribes to Marcion. In 1851, Hoffman edited the Greek text, with a translation and notes. Otto saw reason to come forward with a new and enlarged edition of the work, which is now before us. Availing ourselves of his aid, and acknowledging the value of his careful apparatus, we shall express some thoughts on this most interesting relic.
The Epistle to Diognetus is in the Greek language, and fills about ten pages like those we here employ. The work has generally been ascribed to Justin Martyr, and published with his writings. It purports to be a letter to a Gentile inquirer of rank and learning, for the purpose of showing what Christianity is. It begins, therefore, by showing on what grounds the Christian rejects the ritual of the Jews and the idolatry of the Greeks. Without philosophical subtilty, and with great earnestness, the writer inveighs against image-worship. From this he proceeds to censure the sacrifices and festivals of the Jews; which, indeed, is one of the characteristic points of the whole composition. Having thus cleared the way, he describes Christianity as a phenomenon then extant in the world, and shows that it makes little of externals, but influences the heart,
VOL. II.-NO. I.
manners, and life. The picture here given is a celebrated portion of the work. He indicates the source of this remarkable system as divine, and as proceeding from a descent and incarnation of the Divine wisdom. After a dark view of the state of mankind before the coming of the Son of God, he magnifies this great communication, and breaks out into praises of the love of God and the atoning work of Christ. To these are added two closing paragraphs, which are not regarded as genuine.
From the subject we pass to the text of this ancient work. Three codices only are known to exist. These are the Strasburg manuscript, the apograph of Stephanus, and the apograph of Beurer.
The Strasburg manuscript is a bombycinus of 260 folios. It contains several acknowledged works of Justin, and then 5o• To αὐτοῦ πρὸς Διόγνητον; followed by one or two tracts in another hand, and by a few treatises, some of which are in the first hand. The older part of the codex, and that which contains our epistle, was executed in the thirteenth century. It was once the property of the celebrated Reuchlin, as appears by his autograph in the reverse of the board cover. Then it fell into the hands of the monks of the abbey of Maursmünster, in Alsace. During the wars of the French Revolution it was brought to Strasburg. Mice have nested in it, and devoured large portions of the second part. Otto quotes a letter from Cunitz, an eminent theologian of Strasburg, who says that the character is generally careful and uniform, but that many illegible places exist; further, that the agreement is striking with the apograph of Beurer.
The apograph of Beurer is preserved in the public library of Leyden. It once belonged to Isaac Vossius. The librarian, Mr Jacobus Geel, expresses his belief that this manuscript (Cod. Vossian. 30) is the same which Henry Stephanus copied from some unknown original, and used in his edition of 1592; that the handwriting is that of Stephanus; and that certain marginal notes are the same which appear in printed editions by this editor. Dr Van Hengel of Leyden concurs in these opinions. In the judgment of Otto this copy could not have been made from the MS. now at Strasburg.
The apograph of Beurer, the only remaining codex, comprises the Oration of the Gentiles as well as this epistle. Beurer, a professor of Freiburg, in the Breisgau, gave a version, with some emendations of lection, repeated by Stephanus, who used this copy. Stephanus avers that he and Beurer copied the same manuscript, (" sed ego ante illum;") but if so, either the transcript was very inexact, or Beurer collated some other. For Beurer often fills lacunæ in Stephanus's copy, with the
very words which are found in the Strasburg codex; and there are readings which altogether vary from those of Stephanus.
The first edition of the Epistle to Diognetus was that of Henry Stephanus. It was a quarto, printed at Paris in 1592. The work was set forth as Justin's. The other impressions were all indebted to this editio princeps. The Epistle was contained in the Heidelberg edition of Justin, by Franciscus Sylburg, fol., 1593; in that of Morel, fol., Paris, 1615; and again 1636, and at Cologne, 1686; in that of Maran, fol., Paris (or the Hague), 1742, and Venice, 1647; in Galland's Bibliotheca, fol., Venice, 1765; in Oberthur's Greek Fathers, Wurzburg, 1779; in Olshausen's Collection, Berlin, 1822; in Boehl's Opuscula, Berlin, 1826; in Hefele's Apostolic Fathers, Tübingen, 1839; and in Grenfell's Collection, London, 1844. By the aid of the Strasburg codex, Otto prepared a new recension, for an edition of Justin's works, at Jena, 1843 and 1849. This is employed by Hefele in his third edition.
A translation of the Epistle to Diognetus was made into Latin by Stephanus, which was adopted by Sylburg, Morell, and others; and, with emendations by Maran, Galland, Caillau, and Guillon. Hefele and Otto both offer new versions. There are several German translations, and one into French. Large parts appear in the English of Lardner.
There was a long period during which no man of learning ventured to ascribe this remarkable epistle to any other than Justin, so that Bishop Bull did not hesitate to say, "Ea epistola quin Justini sit genuina nemo doctus, (quod scio), hodie dubitat. The first denial proceeded from that learned Jansenist and acute critic, Tillemont. In this he was followed by such men as Le Nourry, Oudin, Roncaglia, Baratier, Orsi, Lardner, Galland, and Lumper. Other and graver objections, chiefly doctrinal, were adduced by Moehler, Boehl, von Grossheim, Herbig, Permaneder, Hefele, Grenfell, and others. Semisch has a monograph on the question. The other side, however, did not lack defenders; and the authorship was claimed for Justin by Tentzel, Basnage, Fabricius, Remy-Ceillier, Cotta, Kestner, Baumgarten-Crusius, Lange, Rudelbach, and Hoffmann.
Lardner, who is always judicious, condenses much argument into the following sentences: "The Epistle to Diognetus is generally supposed to be Justin's, though it is doubted by some, because the style is more elegant than that of his other pieces. For my own part, I cannot persuade myself to quote it as Justin's; since the style is allowed to be superior to his, and there is no mention made of it by Eusebius or Jerome. It would indeed be to my purpose to suppose it genuine, be
cause it has more reference to St Paul's epistles than all the other works of Justin. But this is another exception, it not being very usual for Justin to express himself in the style of the New Testament, as this writer does. Nor can there be any particular reason for it in this epistle, written to a Gentile, and not to a Christian. And how can any one pretend to ascribe to any author a small piece, not mentioned among his works by the ancients, different from the ordinary style of all his other allowed pieces, when there is no character in the title or conclusion to determine whose it is? Tillemont, who is sensible the style is abundantly superior to Justin's, endeavours to prove it more ancient, and written before the destruction of Jerusalem. These arguments are fully confuted by Basnage, who is willing to think the epistle genuine. The Christians, before the writing of this epistle, had suffered several persecutions; which could not be said of them before Jerusalem was destroyed. It is an excellent epistle. And, as at the time of writing it, the Christians were in a suffering condition, it must have been written before the time of Constantine. I think, therefore, that the author of it is some anonymous ancient Christian writer, whose age cannot be exactly settled."
From some community of subject and of style with some of Justin's, the letter came to be ascribed to him, and the only manuscript was mingled with his works. This is no more than a high conjectural presumption; not, it is true, of Stephanus, but of earlier critics. Fabricius supposed that the copy in the Leyden library attributes the epistle to Amphilochius the bishop. Of the several tracts in the volume, the first does indeed bear the name of that author, who was the biographer of Basil; but this has no application to the case in hand. Oudin and others rest on the fact, that neither Eusebius nor Jerome names this among Justin's writings. We must, indeed, admit that Eusebius says there are other works, and that Jerome borrows entirely from him on this subject.
The arguments from internal tokens are more extensive. Tillemont urges that the writer calls himself "a disciple of the apostles." But Otto sees nothing in this which might not have been said by Justin. The same author alleges the desig nation of Christianity as "a new thing." But it is replied, that the same language is used by Tertullian, and even by Eusebius. It is further maintained, that it must have been written while the temple-service was still existing. But Otto shows that the same argument may be applied to like expressions of Justin and Josephus.
It is asserted with confidence, that the doctrines of this epistle vary from those of Justin. Otto, following and quoting
* Lardner's Works, 4to ed., i. 342.
Muenscher, explodes this as a canon of criticism altogether unsafe, and adds a reply drawn from the custom of the fathers to argue zar' oinovouάv. One of the doctrinal discrepancies is this: Justin treats the gods of the Gentiles as existing demons; our author derides them as mere idols. But Otto asserts that either view might, on suitable occasions, be justly taken, without inconsistency, and compares parallel places from other writers. Another difference concerns the view taken of the Jewish rites. Here we touch upon one of the grand characteristics of the composition; and one which stands in strong contrast with the opinions expressed on the same point, and in great detail, in the celebrated dialogue with Trypho. The opponents of the genuineness maintain that our author, in his third chapter, places the Jewish sacrifices on the same footing with those of the heathen; suggesting that they were not of divine institution, but invented by men. Justin, on the other hand, admits to Trypho, that these were prescribed by God. This argument of Semisch and others is certainly very cogent. The most that can be done in reply, is to call attention to the alleged gist of the controversy in the epistle. The question, say they, is not as to the origin or authority of sacrifices, but as to the erroneous opinion held by the Jews in regard to their intrinsic validity. Our author admits that the Jews are less faulty than the Gentiles; but urges that, in this respect, namely, the force of sacrifices, they coincide with them; as if God stood in need of such oblations. This notion he derides with much keenness. But this very course of argument is pursued by Justin himself in replying to Trypho. In like manner a discrepance is alleged between the teachings of the fourth chapter, concerning circumcision, holy-days, and the distinction of meats, on one hand, and the acknowledged doctrine of Justin, on the other. And the reply is analogous to the one just recited. To the Jew, the rule of decision was the Old Testament; to the Gentile Diognetus, the rule was common reason. From the light of nature the Jewish rites are considered according to their
But other diversities arise on examination, and in regard to a subject no less important than the person and offices of Christ. We shall here abstract the clear account of the learned editor. Semisch is constrained to admit, that in his general view of the person of Christ, our author agrees with Justin, while, as he maintains, he dissents from him in particulars. The place chiefly cited is the glowing and sublime one, which may be found below in our version of the seventh chapter, "But he truly, the Sovereign and Creator of all, and the invisible God, himself from the heavens placed among men the truth, and the holy and incomprehensible Logos, and implanted