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. 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.
I am aiming to publish this article. Therefore, I’ve taken the majority of this article down. If you read this entry, keep in mind it may “sound” choppy due to eliminating the majority of my argument. I am wanting to maintain my introduction and conclusions for multiple reasons. First, I’d like to whet the appetite of those engaging eschatological language, persecution, and biblical theology. Second, for those desiring to pursue kingdom of God studies or sources for the Thessalonian epistles, I’ve maintained by bibliography to assist those researching. Finally, I desire readership and limiting the paper to the introduction and conclusion makes readership more feasible.
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Introduction: The Need for Changing Eschatological Language
Some elements of the future eschaton are making headway into the present era. Evaluating modern consensus, eschatology reveals hermeneutical and theological presuppositions in attempting to describe the already/not-yet tension. Problematic to the discussion resides in determining what elements are future and what elements are present. Are some elements fulfilled now, implying no substantial change/modification will happen later? Furthermore, if nascent elements appear now, is there progressive development throughout the present era, if any?
Jörg Frey provides a helpful overview of the historical development of eschatological language. The landscape of scholarship demonstrates eschatological doctrine, but Philipp Heinrich Friedlieb, a classical Lutheran dogmatician, introduces “Eschatology” to designate the “last things”. In 1644, he published a work with Eschatologia as part of a book title. This title was first used as a systematic description of “death, the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment, the end or dissolution of the world, about hell or eternal death, and finally, about eternal life.” By strictly limiting few future-referent elements to this title, it is no wonder the subsequent history of eschatological interpretation has vacillated; it is difficult to include all necessary theological categories under the single umbrella “eschatology.”