Clayton Jefford’s JECS Review of Nancy Pardee’s Dissertation

Nancy Pardee published her dissertation (2002 at University of Chicago) with Mohr Siebeck (2012): The Genre and Development of the Didache: A Text-Linguistic Analysis.

I used this book for a recent project on the Didache. I found this book valuable for multiple reasons. (1) She approaches the Didache text through text-lingusitic categories (or as Jefford says “= American discourse analysis”). Here, we see scholars taking discourse analysis and applying it to a major corpus of literature outside of Old and New Testament texts. (2) She applies informed discourse analysis principles to a 1st or 2nd century text. (3) She uses discourse analysis to assist elucidating form-critical units in the Didache. Thus, 4 stages of compositional development are identified in the Didache. 

Clayton Jefford, in a recent review (JECS 22, no. 2 [Summer 2014]: 297–98), says,

In my estimation this work will become a watershed reading for researchers in the field, where it will soon become obvious that there are two types of specialists in Didache studies: Those who acknowledge Pardee’s insights and take her observations seriously, and those who reconstruct the history of the text out of their own flights of fancy. (p.298)

This glaring review will most likely influence Didache scholarship through the lens of two types of work: (1) those who use Pardee, and (2) those who don’t use Pardee. So unless one can navigate the problematic composite history of the Didache and adequately respond to Pardee, she gives us the seminal work of Didache linguistic studies.

Here is Jefford’s review.

Here is Pardee’s volume.

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