Estimated Range of Dating: 160-170 A.D.
Chronological List of Early Christian Writings
Online Text for Tatian’s Address to the Greeks
Roberts-Donaldson English Translation
Roberts-Donaldson English Translation: Fragments of Tatian
Online Resources for Tatian’s Address to the Greeks
Handbook of Patrology: Tatian
Catholic Encyclopedia: Tatian
Rutgers University: Tatian
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Recommended Books for the Study of Early Christian Writings
Information on Tatian’s Address to the Greeks
Tatian was a pupil of Justin Martyr and author of the Diatessaron, a harmony of the four gospels. Tatian composed his apology c. 155-165 CE.
In his later years, after the death of Justin Martyr c. 163 CE, Tatian is reported to have become an Encratite. Irenaeus makes mention of this Tatian in Against Heresies 1.28.1.
Many offshoots of numerous heresies have already been formed from those heretics we have described. This arises from the fact that numbers of them-indeed, we may say all-desire themselves to be teachers, and to break off from the particular heresy in which they have been involved. Forming one set of doctrines out of a totally different system of opinions, and then again others from others, they insist upon teaching something new, declaring themselves the inventors of any sort of opinion which they may have been able to call into existence. To give an example: Springing from Saturninus and Marcion, those who are called Encratites (self-controlled) preached against marriage, thus setting aside the original creation of God, and indirectly blaming Him who made the male and female for the propagation of the human race. Some of those reckoned among them have also introduced abstinence from animal food, thus proving themselves ungrateful to God, who formed all things. They deny, too, the salvation of him who was first created. It is but lately, however, that this opinion has been invented among them. A certain man named Tatian first introduced the blasphemy. He was a hearer of Justin’s, and as long as he continued with him he expressed no such views; but after his martyrdom he separated from the Church, and, excited and puffed up by the thought of being a teacher, as if he were superior to others, he composed his own peculiar type of doctrine. He invented a system of certain invisible Aeons, like the followers of Valentinus; while, like Marcion and Saturninus, he declared that marriage was nothing else than corruption and fornication. But his denial of Adam’s salvation was an opinion due entirely to himself.
In chapter 23 of book III, Irenaeus launches an attack on Tatian’s theory that Adam is beyond salvation, concluding:
All therefore speak falsely who disallow his (Adam’s) salvation, shutting themselves out from life for ever, in that they do not believe that the sheep which had perished has been found. For if it has not been found, the whole human race is still held in a state of perdition. False, therefore, is that, man who first started this idea, or rather, this ignorance and blindness–Tatian.