Tatian the heresiarch.
One of the Christian apologists, deemed heretical and apostate.
Address to the Greeks.
Skeptik (To the Greeks, Greek only).
CCEL: To the Greeks (English only).
Early Christian Writings: To the Greeks and the Diatessaron (English only).
New Advent: The Diatessaron (English only).
The Dura-Europos fragment.
Tatian at EarlyChurch.
Tatian in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Tatian and the
at Early Christian Writings.
Tatian was a Christian apologist who flourished late in century
II and founded the encratites.
1.28.1 (translation modified slightly from that of the Ante-Nicene Fathers
Ut exempli gratia dicamus, a Saturnino et
Marcione, qui vocantur continentes, abstinentiam a nuptiis annuntiaverunt,
frustrantes antiquam plasmationem dei, et oblique accusantes eum qui et
masculum et foeminam ad generationem hominum fecit; et corum quae dicuntur
apud eos animalia abstinentiam induxerunt, ingrati exsistentes ei qui omnia
fecit deo. contradicunt quoque eius saluti, qui primus plasmatus est, et
hoc nunc adinventum est apud eos. Tatiano quodam primo hanc introducente
blasphemiam, qui cum esset Iustini auditor, in quantum quidem apud eum
erat, nihil enarravit tale; post vero illius martyrium absistens ab
ecclesia, et praesumptione magistri elatus et inflatus, quasi prae
caeteris esset, proprium characterem doctrinae constituit. aeonas quosdam
invisibiles similiter atque hi qui a Valentino sunt, velut fabulam enarrans;
nuptias autem corruptelas et fornicationes similiter ut Marcion et Saturninus
dicens; Adae autem saluti ex se contradictionem faciens.
To give an example: Springing from Saturninus and Marcion,
those who are called continent ones, 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, 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 the salvation of Adam was an opinion due entirely to
Eusebius provides the original Greek of this passage in
History of the Church
4.29.2-3 (see below).
Eusebius writes in
History of the Church
4.28[.1] (translation modified slightly from that of the Ante-Nicene Fathers series):
And of Musanus also, whom we have listed among
the foregoing, there is extant a certain very elegant volume, written by
him against certain brethren that had turned over to the heresy of the
so-called encratites, which had almost at that time begun to flourish and
brought to life a strange and pernicious false doctrine.
He continues immediately in 4.29.1-7:
The word is that Tatian was the author of this
[false doctrine], whose words we quoted a little before concerning the
marvelous Justin, and whom we recorded to have been a disciple of the
martyr. And Irenaeus declares this in the first of his [volumes] against
the heresies, where he writes thus concerning both him and his heresy:
Those who are called encratites, and who
sprang from Saturninus and Marcion, preached celibacy, setting
aside the original arrangement of God and tacitly censuring him
who made male and female for the propagation of the human race.
They introduced also abstinence from the things called by them
animate, thus showing ingratitude to the God who made all things.
And they deny the salvation of the first man. But this has been
only recently discovered by them, a certain Tatian being the
first to introduce this blasphemy. He was a hearer of Justin,
and expressed no such opinion while he was with him, but after
the martyrdom of the latter he left the church, and, becoming
exalted with the thought of being a teacher and puffed up with
the idea that he was superior to others, he established a
peculiar type of doctrine of his own, inventing certain
invisible aeons like the followers of Valentinus, while, like
Marcion and Saturninus, he pronounced marriage to be corruption
and fornication. His argument against the salvation of Adam,
however, he devised for himself.
Irenaeus wrote these things at that
But a little later a certain man named Severus put
new strength into the aforesaid heresy, and thus brought it about that
those who took their origin from it were called, after him, Severians.
They, indeed, use the law and prophets and gospels,
but interpret in their own way the utterances of the sacred scriptures.
And they abuse Paul the apostle and reject his epistles, and do not
accept even the Acts of the Apostles.
At any rate, their former leader, Tatian, put together
a certain combination and collection of the gospels, I do not know how, and
named it the Diatessaron, which is still
even now extant for some. But they say that he dared to paraphrase certain
words of the apostle, as correcting the syntax of their phrasing.
He has left a great many writings. Of these the one
most in use among many persons is his celebrated address to the Greeks,
which also appears to be the best and most useful of all his works.
In it he deals with the most ancient times, and shows that Moses and
the Hebrew prophets were older than all the celebrated men among the Greeks.
So much in regard to these men.
Jerome, On Famous Men 29:
Tatianus, qui primum oratoriam docens
non parvam sibi ex arte rhetorica gloriam comparaverat, Iustini
martyris sectator fuit, florens in ecclesia quamdiu ab eius
latere non discessit. postea vero inflatus eloquentiae tumore,
novam condidit haeresim quae εγκρατιτων
dicitur, quam postea Severus auxit, a quo eiusdem partis haeretici
Severiani usque hodie appellantur. porro Tatianus infinita scripsit
volumina, e quibus unus contra gentes florentissimus exstat liber,
qui inter omnia opera eius fertur insignis. et hic sub imperatore
M. Antonino Vero et L. Aurelio Commodo floruit.
Tatian, who while at first teaching oratory
bought not a little glory for himself from his rhetorical art, was
a follower of Justin the martyr, flourishing in the church so long
as he did not depart from his side. Afterward, however, inflated
by a swelling of eloquence, he founded a new heresy which is
called that of the encratites, which Severus afterward augmented,
from which heretics of this same party are named Severians even
until today. Tatian wrote besides infinite volumes, one of which
is extant against the gentiles,* a most successful book, which
is deemed to be the most significant among all his works. And
he flourished under the emperor Marcus Antoninus Verus and
Lucius Aurelius Commodus.
* Literally, against the races.
Jerome, preface to his commentary on Titus, on the Pauline
Sed Tatianus, qui et ipse nonnullas Pauli
epistolas repudiavit, hanc vel maxime, h[oc] e[st],
ad Titum, apostoli pronuntiandam credidit; parvipendens Marcionis et aliorum,
qui cum eo in hac parte consentiunt, assertionem.
But Tatian, who also himself repudiated certain
epistles of Paul, believed that this one in particular, that is, [the one]
to Titus, was to be acknowledged as belonging to the apostle, slighting the
assertion of Marcion and others, who agree with him in this
matter [of rejecting Pauline epistles].