The Didache.

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
John2
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Re: The Didache.

Post by John2 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:00 pm

Well, take Didache 6:3 for example:

"And concerning food, bear what you are able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly careful; for it is the service of dead gods."

James in Acts 21:25:

"As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols"

Paul in 1 Cor 8:

"So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do."

And 1 Cor. 10:

"Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?"
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Didache.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:03 pm

John2 wrote:Well, take Didache 6:3 for example:

"And concerning food, bear what you are able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly careful; for it is the service of dead gods."

James in Acts 21:25:

"As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols"

Paul in 1 Cor 8:

"So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do."

And 1 Cor. 10:

"Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?"
Okay, so why does the Didache have to be opposing Paul? Why cannot Paul be going his own way? (IOW, what in these passages suggests that Paul has to have come first? Why cannot the Didache have come first?)
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John2
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Re: The Didache.

Post by John2 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:12 pm

Those are good questions and I will address them when I get some more time (I think Flusser does, offhand). I'm at work at the moment and about to leave so I won't have access to a computer again until tomorrow. A spin off question (off the top of my head) is that if Paul knew the Didache then so did early Jewish Christian like James, yet the Didache (if we set aside the issue of its possible layers) knows a written Matthew-type gospel, and I don't think that this (or any) gospel existed before 70 CE.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Didache.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:19 pm

John2 wrote:Those are good questions and I will address them when I get some more time (I think Flusser does, offhand). I'm at work at the moment and about to leave so I won't have access to a computer again until tomorrow. A spin off question (off the top of my head) is that if Paul knew the Didache then so did early Jewish Christian like James, yet the Didache (if we set aside the issue of its possible layers) knows a written Matthew-type gospel, and I don't think that this (or any) gospel existed before 70 CE.
Agreed on the date of Matthew. It is just that nobody believes that the Didache is a singular document without layers. Obviously, the stuff referring to a Matthean gospel cannot predate Matthew.
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John2
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Re: The Didache.

Post by John2 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:32 pm

Sounds like Garrow (who you mentioned earlier). I'll check out his book tomorrow too.

https://books.google.com/books?id=8FMSB ... rs&f=false
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John2
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Re: The Didache.

Post by John2 » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:46 pm

Hey Ben,

You asked why the Didache (or at least parts of it) could not have come before Paul and the short answer is I suppose it could have. I only assume that all parts of it are post-70 CE. The earliest possible reference to any part of it (as far as I am aware) is the Two Ways section in the Epistle of Barnabas, and I assume this is post-70 because of 16:1-5:

"I will also speak with you concerning the Temple, and show how the wretched men erred by putting their hope on the building, and not on the God who made them, and is the true house of God ... Furthermore he says again, "Lo, they who destroyed this temple shall themselves build it." That is happening now. For owing to the war it was destroyed by the enemy; at present even the servants of the enemy will build it up again. Again, it was made manifest that the city and the temple and the people of Israel were to be delivered up. For the Scripture says, "And it shall come to pass in the last days that the Lord shall deliver the sheep of his pasture, and the sheep-fold, and their tower to destruction." And it took place according to what the Lord said."

But yes, I suppose (parts of) the Didache could still be pre-70 CE. However, we are in "I think" territory as far as that goes, so all I can offer is what I think.

I don't see any room for the Didache as a pre-70 CE community rule because I think the Community Rule of the Dead Sea Scrolls was the community rule for proto-Jewish Christians during this time and that it's a possible source for the two ways idea in the Didache and Barnabas (I also see it as the source of the hierarchical structure of twelve and three in Paul and the reason behind the incident with Cephas in Antioch).

So in my view there isn't any room or need for the Didache before 70 CE (at least in Judea). This can't be proven, of course, but neither can the existence of any part of the Didache before 70 CE.
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Re: The Didache.

Post by John2 » Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:34 pm

As for my opinion of the Didache as anti-Pauline, that may be a "harsh" assessment, but as Zangerberg summarizes the situation (pg. 68), "Despite all occasional similarities, I agree in the end with S.E. Johnson who writes: 'The Didache is not necessarily anti-Pauline but it is certainly non-Pauline, even if the didachist might actually not have known whom he was contradicting.'"

https://books.google.com/books?id=CkRmO ... ne&f=false

But in my view non-Pauline is anti-Pauline (if the Didache is post-70 CE). Take Hegessipus for another example. He lived post-70 CE. He was a Jewish Christian. He is said to know one gospel, the Gospel of the Hebrews (which, like the "the gospel" in the Didache, is associated with Matthew). He doesn't cite or mention any NT gospels or Paul. So you could say that he is non-Pauline, like the Didache. But he also says the Pauline expression "no eye has seen" are "empty words and that those who say them are liars." And bear in mind what Paul says about different gospels from his in Gal 1:6-9:

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!"
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Re: The Didache.

Post by DCHindley » Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:16 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
DCHindley wrote:It would seem to me that the Didache, as we have it, could not have been in existence at the same general period as Paul. I am not very convinced by those Didache scholars who see a period after Jesus' death when there was a period when itinerants prevailed, gradually to be absorbed into established villages by those who enjoyed their entertainment filled prophesies and message of universal love (I get goosebumps thinking of it).
You and I may have very different ideas about what it would take for the Didache to be an early text. I am not even assuming Jesus' existence here, though I would of course allow for it. I definitely think there were itinerant preachers in early Christianity, but not (just) because of the Didache, and not necessarily preaching the hippie gospel you may be imagining, to judge by how you described it above.
Last time I spent a lot of time examining modern research on the Didache in 2011, pouring over the English language seminar articles in The Didache in Context (1995) and The Didache in Modern Research (1996), mainly because I found them at a university library where I had borrowing privileges at the time and was not too far away from my work office.

Here is a table I drew up in Excel.

Author
Article
Book or Journal
Date
Original
Language
Audet, Jean-Paul Literary and Doctrinal Relationships of the "Manual of Discipline" _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1952 French
Alon, Gedaliah Halakah in the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (Didache) _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1958 Hebrew
Bammel, Ernst Pattern and Prototype of Didache 16 _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1961 German
Betz, Johannes The Eucharist in the Didache _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1969 German
Rordorf, Willy An Aspect of the Judeo-Christian Ethic: the Two Ways _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1972 French
Rordorf, Willy Baptism according to the Didache _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1972 French
Theissen, Gerd Itinerant Radicalism: The Tradition of Jesus Sayings from the Perspective of the Sociology of Literature Radical Religion 2 1976 1973 German
Theissen, Gerd Soteriological Symbolism in the Pauline Writings: A Structuralist Contribution _Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament_ 1992 1974 German
Theissen, Gerd Legitimation and Subsistance: An Essay on the Sociology of Early Christian Missionaries _The Social Setting of Pauline Christianity: Essays on Corinth_ 1982 1974 German
Niederwimmer, Kurt An Examination of the Development of Itinerant Radicalism in the Environment and Tradition of the Didache _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1977 German
Theissen, Gerd _The First Followers of Jesus: a Sociological Analysis of Earliest Christianity_ 1978 1977 German
Theissen, Gerd _The Sociology of Early Palestinian Christianity_ aka _The First Followers of Jesus_ 1978 1977 German
Mazza, Enrico Didache 9-10: Elements of an Eucharistic Interpretation _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1979 Italian
Theissen, Gerd "We Have Left Everything..." (Mark 10:28): Discipleship and Social Uprooting in the Jewish-Palestinian Society of the First Century _Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament_ 1992 1979 German
Theissen, Gerd Christology and Social Experience: Aspects of Pauline Christology in the Light of the Sociology of Knowledge _Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament_ 1992 1979 German
Theissen, Gerd Jesus' Temple Prophesy: Prophesy in the Tension between Town and Country _Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament_ 1992 1979 German
Theissen, Gerd Nonviolence and Love of Our Enemies (Matthew 5:38-48; Luke 6:27-38): The Social Background _Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament_ 1992 1979 German
Theissen, Gerd Sociological Theories of Religion and the Analysis of Early Christianity: Some Reflections _Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament_ 1992 1979 German
Theissen, Gerd The Wandering Radicals: Light Shed by the Sociology of Literature on the early Transmission of Jesus Sayings _Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament_ 1992 1979 German
Halleux, Andre de Ministers in the Dicache _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1980 French
Theissen, Gerd _Psychological Aspects of Pauline Theology_ 1987 1983 German
Draper, Jonathan A. The Jesus Tradition in the Didache _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1985 English
Schoellgen, Georg The Didache as a Church Order: An Examination of the Purpose for Composition of the Didache and its Consequences for its Interpretation _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1986 German
Flusser, David Paul's Jewish-Christian Opponents in the Didache _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1987 English
Seeliger, Hans Reinhard Considerations on the Background and Purpose of the Apocalyptic Final Chapter of the Didache _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1989 German
Tuckett, Christopher Synoptic Tradition in the Didache _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1989 English
Draper, Jonathan A. Torah and Troublesome Apostles in the Didache Community _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1991 English
Draper, Jonathan A. Christian Self-Definition against the "Hypocrites" in Didache 8 _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1992 English
Theissen, Gerd Judaism and Christianity in Paul: The Beginning of a Schism and its Social History _Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament_ 1992 1992 English
Theissen, Gerd Some Ideas about a Sociological Theory of Early Christianity _Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament_ 1992 1992 English
Cody, Aelred The Didache: An English Translation _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Davis, Cyprian, O.S.B. The Didache and Early Monasticism in the East and West _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Dehandschutter, Boudewjin The Text of the Didache: Some Comments on the Edition of Klaus Wengst _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Draper, Jonathan A. Social Ambiguity and the Production of Text: Prophets, Teachers, Bishops, and Deacons and the Development of the Jesus Tradition in the Community of the Didache _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Harder, Kenneth J., and Jefford, Clayton N. A Bibliography of Literature on the Didache _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Henderson, Ian H. Style-Switching in the Didache: Fingerprint or Argument? _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Jefford, Clayton N. Did Ignatius of Antioch Know the Didache? _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Jones, F. Stanley, and Mirecki, Paul A. Considerations on the Coptic Papyrus of the Didache (British Library Oriental Manuscript 9271) _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Kloppenborg, John S. The Transformation of Moral Exhortation in Didache 1-5 _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Milavec, Aaron The saving Efficacy of the Burning Process in Didache 16.5 _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Mitchell, Nathan Baptism in the Didache _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Pardee, Nancy The Curse that Saves (Didache 16.5) _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Patterson, Stephen J. Didache 11-13: The Legacy of Radical Itineracy in Early Christianity _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Reed, Jonathan The Hebrew Epic and the Didache _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Riggs, John W. The Sacred Food of Didache 9-10 and Second-Century Ecclesiologies _The Didache in Context_ 1995 1995 English
Draper, Jonathan A. The Didache in Modern Research: An Overview _The Didache in Modern Research_ 1996 1996 English

I also obtained a few of the seminal books by name scholars,

Gerd Theissen
1978 Sociology of Early Palestinian Christianity
1987 Psychological aspects of Pauline Theology
1992 Social Reality and the Early Christians

Stephen J. Patterson
1993 The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus (thrust of argument was connected to the radical itinerancy hypothesis).

Aaron Milavec
2001 Pre-publication copy of his then soon to be released book The Didache (2002), which included a good deal of self analysis relating to his recent divorce, and how stress like that can cause some really different ideas to arise alive out of the primordial Didache soup.

Max Weber
A lot of the radical itinerancy hypotheses rely on the sociological work of the German sociologist Max Weber. I have a few of his books but have not dedicated enough time as yet to properly digest them. However, most of the works and articles centered on the 1890s, I think, and like most 19th century scholars, he held many common prejudices. Are there any more "up to date" authorities on this matter? I am uninformed.

I especially liked Draper's article 'Social Ambiguity and the Production of Text: Prophets, Teachers, Bishops, and Deacons and the Development of the Jesus Tradition in the Community of the Didache', in The Didache in Context.

It is rather hippy-ish, although the ideas were popularized in the late 1970s through the 1990s. It is a mainstay of Crossan's POV about what Jesus was all about, at least in Crossan's mind. That a lot of the proposals were coming from folks who did their postgraduate work in the 1960s or early 70s, when the hippie culture was still felt fairly strong, the flower-child POV is an understandable anachronism.

Hey, I love hippies. I kind of wanted to be one myself in my youth, and was growing of age in the late 1960s, just before starting high school, when it was all happening. But when I see that same kind of thinking (some good and some not so good) in modern Didache criticism, I get more than a little uncomfortable as I realize they are anachronistic and thus not helpful for resolving what kind of community or communities might have created the Didache as we have it.

DCH

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Didache.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:53 pm

Your research on this has obviously been quite impressive, David.
DCHindley wrote:It is rather hippy-ish, although the ideas were popularized in the late 1970s through the 1990s. It is a mainstay of Crossan's POV about what Jesus was all about, at least in Crossan's mind. That a lot of the proposals were coming from folks who did their postgraduate work in the 1960s or early 70s, when the hippie culture was still felt fairly strong, the flower-child POV is an understandable anachronism.

Hey, I love hippies. I kind of wanted to be one myself in my youth, and was growing of age in the late 1960s, just before starting high school, when it was all happening. But when I see that same kind of thinking (some good and some not so good) in modern Didache criticism, I get more than a little uncomfortable as I realize they are anachronistic and thus not helpful for resolving what kind of community or communities might have created the Didache as we have it.
I like hippies, too. I even like Hippies.

But Crossan and company drained the radical message of its apocalyptic fervor virtually completely (despite a decidedly apocalyptic scenario ranking at #2 in his own elaborate inventory), which I feel was an historical mistake. Shaking the dust off one's sandals on one's way out of a nonreceptive town is not a conciliatory move in the milieu I am imagining: what was supposed to follow was sulfur and fire and the worm dying not....
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Didache.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:08 pm

John2 wrote:Hey Ben,

You asked why the Didache (or at least parts of it) could not have come before Paul and the short answer is I suppose it could have. I only assume that all parts of it are post-70 CE. The earliest possible reference to any part of it (as far as I am aware) is the Two Ways section in the Epistle of Barnabas, and I assume this is post-70 because of 16:1-5:

"I will also speak with you concerning the Temple, and show how the wretched men erred by putting their hope on the building, and not on the God who made them, and is the true house of God ... Furthermore he says again, "Lo, they who destroyed this temple shall themselves build it." That is happening now. For owing to the war it was destroyed by the enemy; at present even the servants of the enemy will build it up again. Again, it was made manifest that the city and the temple and the people of Israel were to be delivered up. For the Scripture says, "And it shall come to pass in the last days that the Lord shall deliver the sheep of his pasture, and the sheep-fold, and their tower to destruction." And it took place according to what the Lord said."
Yes, I agree that (this part of) Barnabas postdates 70.
But yes, I suppose (parts of) the Didache could still be pre-70 CE. However, we are in "I think" territory as far as that goes, so all I can offer is what I think.
It seems to me that we are dealing here for the most part with anonymous texts that contain layers: both compositional layers and traditional materials from different dates all laid out side by side, even in the same compositional layer, but all held together with redactional glue, as it were. As such, it becomes very difficult both to isolate a layer and to date its contents. Sometimes absolute dating can be achieved (as in the case of at least that part of Barnabas above). At other times the dating has to be relative (that is, "this bit came later than that bit"). Yet that is what we are stuck with when it comes to dating the Didache and the gospels. It is only by a close scrutiny of various passages from each on the part of various scholars that I have come to suspect that parts of the Didache predates the gospels.
I don't see any room for the Didache as a pre-70 CE community rule because I think the Community Rule of the Dead Sea Scrolls was the community rule for proto-Jewish Christians during this time and that it's a possible source for the two ways idea in the Didache and Barnabas (I also see it as the source of the hierarchical structure of twelve and three in Paul and the reason behind the incident with Cephas in Antioch).
I frankly find pretty much all "no room" arguments singularly unpersuasive in this context; there is just too much that we do not know about the various Jewish, Jewish-Christian, para-Jewish, and gentile groups floating around. Block thinking will probably not serve us well when we know so little about the context already.
So in my view there isn't any room or need for the Didache before 70 CE (at least in Judea). This can't be proven, of course, but neither can the existence of any part of the Didache before 70 CE.
You may be right. The arguments for dating the Didache to any time period are going to necessarily be pretty subtle. All I can say is that some parts of it, at least, look to me like they predate the corresponding passages in Matthew and Mark.

Ben.
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