New Book Series: The Apostolic Fathers Greek Reader

I vividly remember sitting in my friend’s and, at the time, my pastor’s house three years ago. He has this grungy wing-back chair that I would find myself in each time I spent time at his house. Next to this is … Continue reading

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.

Reflections on the Διδαχή Reading Group

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 number of weeks, I have been posting portions of that text. Here is the series of posts about the Διδαχή.

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

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

The Didache Pt. 5: Selected Bibliography

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

I was encouraged to highlight a few reflections on our time in the literature. Here are a few items I’ve gleaned from others, from experience, or thoughts I’ve had over the past 3–4 months. Language study is so important and here is my call to all language teachers: Teach to captivate their interests beyond the classroom so that your love and interest and value in the language will shape and influence your students beyond your time with them. Model how to use it and model the types of questions to ask. Model in such a way to shape and influence their affections for the value of language study.

Benefits to reading Greek Literature
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The Didache: A Window on the Earliest Christians

Didache

Thomas O’Loughlin, professor of Historical Theology at the University of Nottingham, presents a wonderful contribution to Διδαχἠ literature after 25 years of academic teaching and study of its contents. This introduction, The Didache: A Window on the Earliest Christians, is highly recommended both for its simplicity yet rich insight in the Didachist’s message.

My review will appear shortly in the SBTS Journal.

The Didache Pt. 5: Selected Bibliography

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 number of weeks, I have been posting portions of that text. Here is the series of posts about the Διδαχή.

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

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

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

The following is a bibliography for beginning studies in Διδαχή scholarship. It is not meant to be exhaustive nor representative of all Διδαχή scholarship. For example, it lacks an extensive list of journal articles, which are essential for adequate research. This list is, therefore, meant to aid those beginning Διδαχή studies.

Recommended sources are marked with **

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Texts

**Ehrman, Bart D., ed. and trans. The Apostolic Fathers: I Clement, II Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Didache. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.

**Holmes, Michael W., ed. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.

Staniforth, Maxwell, trans. Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1968.

 
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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 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

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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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