The Didache Pt. 4: Date, Place, and Use of Scripture

In preparation for the SBTS Greek Reading Group (Click here and here for more details), I wrote a basic introduction highlighting elementary information about the Didache. Over the past two weeks, I have been posting portions of that text. Here is the final post of Didache introduction. Later this week, there will be a list of bibliographic resources.

The Didache Pt. 1: Why Read the Didache

The Didache Pt. 2: Modern Discovery and Textual Status

The Didache Pt. 3: Canon and the Didache

For more information about the Didache reading group email swilhite at sbts dot edu

I may be in the minority in this, but the following arguments claim a 1st or 2nd generation date (AD80–AD100) after the composition of three Gospels (Matt, Mark, Luke) and Pauline literature because there are a few places in the Didache where there appear to be Pauline influence. I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts (either in agreement or disagreement).

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Date and Place

Modern scholarship is divided on dating the Didache. Some opt for an early date, thereby depicting a primitive church; while others prefer a late date, consequently having the Didache portray an archaic faction.[1] It was assumed that the Didache dated from AD 80 to AD 100 prior to any historical investigation. Until 1912, no real solution to dating the Didache had been provided and is still contested.[2]
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The Early Text of the New Testament and the Usefulness of Papyri MSS

I’m currently reviewing The Early Text of the New Testament. I couldn’t help but stop to interact and briefly summarize the first chapter by Charles Hill and Michael Kruger (blog). Below is a brief summary and personal interaction on the first chapter (“Introduction: In Search of the Earliest Text of the New Testament”). Much of the documentation is Hill and Kruger’s research and I provided it to supplement the summary. If you are able, any NT and Early Patristic student or professor ought to own this and digest its findings.

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As new generations of text-critical scholars have surfaced in the past decade or so, it appears to come with a new set of text-critical questions and conclusions. When trying to state what “text criticism” is trying to accomplish, there are various and competing ideas. Are we trying to find the “original” (however that is defined)?[1] Or are there other textual concerns driving the discipline? “It is by no means self-evident that this ought to be the goal of the discipline,” Bart Ehrman asserts, “there may indeed be scant reason to privilege the ‘original’ text over forms of the text that developed subsequently.”[2] As text-critics look at the process of the early MSS tradition, some are moving far away from attempting to determine the “original” text, but are seeing “text” as a process. Consequently, multiple MSS, even with their variants, are traditions and “Scripture” to multiple early Christian communities. Therefore, there is no pressing need to locate the “original”.[3]

Regardless of these suppositions, each textual critic must interact with the early texts of the New Testament as they appear in codices and papyri. At the turn of the 20th century, there were only 9 papyri MSS documented. As of now, there are 127.[4] Therefore, the conversations of the early text a century ago are much different than current discussions. In 20th century textual scholarship, Bruce Metzger, Continue reading

The Didache Pt. 3: Canon and the Didache

In preparation for the SBTS Greek Reading Group (Click here and here for more details), I wrote a basic introduction highlighting elementary information about the Didache. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be posting portions of that text.

The Didache Pt. 1: Why Read the Didache

The Didache Pt. 2: Modern Discovery and Textual Status

For more information about the Didache reading group email swilhite at sbts dot edu

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Canonicity

The Didache makes no internal claim to possess authoritative scripture. There are many allusions to the canonical gospels and seeks to highlight a number of their teachings. “The Didachist, while sometimes creatively re-arranging canonical material, knew that authority lay in those scriptures, and not in himself. There are no attempts to present himself as a channel of divine revelation.”[1]
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The Didache Pt. 2: Modern Discovery and Textual Status

In preparation for the SBTS Greek Reading Group (Click here and here for more details), I wrote a basic introduction highlighting elementary information about the Didache. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be posting portions of that text.

The Didache Pt. 1: Why Read the Didache

For more information about the Didache reading group email swilhite at sbts dot edu

*     *     *     *     *

The Didache: A Basic Introduction

 

The discovery of the Didache in 1873 has been acclaimed in many a eulogy, in many a language and by many a scholar. And rightly so. For this work has cast a spell over even the most cautious who, finding its magic irresistible, seek time and again to prise its secrets.

Joan Hazelden Walker[1]

 

Discovery and Textual Status

Didache Facimile
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The Didache Pt. 1: Why Read the Didache

For the past month, I have immersed myself in the text and literature of the Didache (AD 70–100). Anticipating leading a group of men at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Click here and here for more details) through its teachings, ethics, and grammatical organization, I have forced myself to become familiar with its material. My fascination with Patristic literature continues to increase as I’m pressed with the thinking, compositional style, and liturgical usefulness of these early generations.

I have been a skeptic of church history and historical theology spawning from a sense of chronological and modernistic snobbery, but have now jettisoned my former ways. Reading primary literature of early Christians aid the interpretation of Scripture, compel us to modify hermeneutical presuppositions, and create a world much larger than we have ever imagined. Thomas O’Loughlin, Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Nottingham, has provided three reasons why Christians should read early Christian texts, including the Didache, in The Didache: A Window on the Earliest Christians.
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