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Monday, December 18, 2017
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Holy Spirit Interactive: Apostolic Letters - The Didache

The Didache

Chapter 0

1The Lord's teaching to the heathen by the Twelve Apostles.

Chapter 1

The two Ways -- The Way of Life -- The explanation -- Almsgiving

1There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the two Ways. 2The Way of Life is this: "First, thou shalt love the God who made thee, secondly, thy neighbour as thyself; and whatsoever thou wouldst not have done to thyself, do not thou to another." 3Now, the teaching of these words is this: "Bless those that curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those that persecute you. For what credit is it to you if you love those that love you? Do not even the heathen do the same?" But, for your part, "love those that hate you," and you will have no enemy. 4"Abstain from carnal" and bodily "lusts." "If any man smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also," and thou wilt be perfect. "If any man impress thee to go with him one mile, go with him two. If any man take thy coat, give him thy shirt also. If any man will take from thee what is thine, refuse it not" -- not even if thou canst.

5Give to everyone that asks thee, and do not refuse, for the Father's will is that we give to all from the gifts we have received. Blessed is he that gives according to the mandate; for he is innocent. Woe to him who receives; for if any man receive alms under pressure of need he is innocent; but he who receives it without need shall be tried as to why he took and for what, and being in prison he shall be examined as to his deeds, and "he shall not come out thence until he pay the last farthing." 6But concerning this it was also said, "Let thine alms sweat into thine hands until thou knowest to whom thou art giving."

Chapter 2

The second part of the teaching

1But the second commandment of the teaching is this: 2"Thou shalt do no murder; thou shalt not commit adultery"; thou shalt not commit sodomy; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use magic; thou shalt not use philtres; thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide; "thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods"; 3thou shalt not commit perjury, "thou shalt not bear false witness"; thou shalt not speak evil; thou shalt not bear malice. 4Thou shalt not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is the snare of death. 5Thy speech shall not be false nor vain, but completed in action. 6Thou shalt not be covetous nor extortionate, nor a hypocrite, nor malignant, nor proud; thou shalt make no evil plan against thy neighbour. 7Thou shalt hate no man; but some thou shalt reprove, and for some shalt thou pray, and some thou shalt love more than thine own life.

Chapter 3

Further advice to the catechumen

1My child, flee from every evil man and from all like him. 2Be not proud, for pride leads to murder, nor jealous, nor contentious, nor passionate, for from all these murders are engendered. 3My child, be not lustful, for lust leads to fornication, nor a speaker of base words, nor a lifter up of the eyes, for from all these is adultery engendered. 4My child, regard not omens, for this leads to idolatry; neither be an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a magician, neither wish to see these things, for from them all is idolatry engendered. 5My child, be not a liar, for lying leads to theft, nor a lover of money, nor vain-glorious, for from all these things are thefts engendered. 6My child, be not a grumbler, for this leads to blasphemy, nor stubborn, nor a thinker of evil, for from all these are blasphemies engendered, 7but be thou "meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth;" 8be thou long-suffering, and merciful and guileless, and quiet, and good, and ever fearing the words which thou hast heard. 9Thou shalt not exalt thyself, nor let thy soul be presumptuous. Thy soul shall not consort with the lofty, but thou shalt walk with righteous and humble men. 10 Receive the accidents that befall to thee as good, knowing that nothing happens without God.

Chapter 4

The duty of the catechumen to the Church -- Against meanness -- Household duties -- Against hypocrisy

1My child, thou shalt remember, day and night, him who speaks the word of God to thee, and thou shalt honour him as the Lord, for where the Lord's nature is spoken of, there is he present. 2And thou shalt seek daily the presence of the saints, that thou mayest find rest in their words. 3Thou shalt not desire a schism, but shalt reconcile those that strive. Thou shalt give righteous judgment; thou shalt favour no man's person in reproving transgression. 4Thou shalt not be of two minds whether it shall be or not. 5Be not one who stretches out his hands to receive, but shuts them when it comes to giving. 6Of whatsoever thou hast gained by thy hands thou shalt give a ransom for thy sins. 7Thou shalt not hesitate to give, nor shalt thou grumble when thou givest, for thou shalt know who is the good Paymaster of the reward. 8Thou shalt not turn away the needy, but shalt share everything with thy brother, and shalt not say that it is thine own, for if you are sharers in the imperishable, how much more in the things which perish?

9Thou shalt not withhold thine hand from thy son or from thy daughter, but thou shalt teach them the fear of God from their youth up. 10 Thou shalt not command in thy bitterness thy slave or thine handmaid, who hope in the same God, lest they cease to fear the God who is over you both; for he comes not to call men with respect of persons, but those whom the Spirit has prepared. 11But do you who are slaves be subject to your master, as to God's representative, in reverence and fear.

12 Thou shalt hate all hypocrisy, and everything that is not pleasing to the Lord. 13 Thou shalt not forsake the commandments of the Lord, but thou shalt keep what thou didst receive, "adding nothing to it and taking nothing away."

14 In the congregation thou shalt confess thy transgressions, and thou shalt not betake thyself to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the Way of Life.

Chapter 5

The Way of Death

1But the Way of Death is this: First of all, it is wicked and full of cursing, murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, witchcrafts, charms, robberies, false witness, hypocrisies, a double heart, fraud, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness, foul speech, jealousy, impudence, haughtiness, boastfulness.

2Persecutors of the good, haters of truth, lovers of lies, knowing not the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good nor to righteous judgment, spending wakeful nights not for good but for wickedness, from whom meekness and patience is far, lovers of vanity, following after reward, unmerciful to the poor, not working for him who is oppressed with toil, without knowledge of him who made them, murderers of children, corrupters of God's creatures, turning away the needy, oppressing the distressed, advocates of the rich, unjust judges of the poor, altogether sinful; may ye be delivered, my children, from all these.

Chapter 6

Final exhortation -- Food, and `things offered to idols.'

1See "that no one make thee to err" from this Way of the teaching, for he teaches thee without God. 2For if thou canst bear the whole yoke of the Lord, thou wilt be perfect, but if thou canst not, do what thou canst. 3And concerning food, bear what thou canst, but keep strictly from that which is offered to idols, for it is the worship of dead gods.

Chapter 7

Baptism

1Concerning baptism, baptise thus: Having first rehearsed all these things, "baptise, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," in running water; 2but if thou hast no running water, baptise in other water, and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm. 3But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head "in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." 4And before the baptism let the baptiser and him who is to be baptised fast, and any others who are able. And thou shalt bid him who is to be baptised to fast one or two days before.

Chapter 8

Fasting -- Prayers

1Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.

2And do not pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in his Gospel, pray thus: "Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, as in Heaven so also upon earth; give us to-day our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into trial, but deliver us from the Evil One, for thine is the power and the glory for ever." 3Pray thus three times a day.

Chapter 9

The Eucharist -- The Cup -- The Bread

1And concerning the Eucharist, hold Eucharist thus: 2First concerning the Cup, "We give thanks to thee, our Father, for the Holy Vine of David thy child, which, thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy child; to thee be glory for ever."

3And concerning the broken Bread: "We give thee thanks, our Father, for the life and knowledge which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever.

4As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains, but was brought together and became one, so let thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy Kingdom, for thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever."

5But let none eat or drink of your Eucharist except those who have been baptised in the Lord's Name. For concerning this also did the Lord say, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."

Chapter 10

The final prayer in the Eucharist

1But after you are satisfied with food, thus give thanks: 2"We give thanks to thee, O Holy Father, for thy Holy Name which thou didst make to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever. 3Thou, Lord Almighty, didst create all things for thy Name's sake, and didst give food and drink to men for their enjoyment, that they might give thanks to thee, but us hast thou blessed with spiritual food and drink and eternal light through thy Child. 4Above all we give thanks to thee for that thou art mighty. To thee be glory for ever.

5Remember, Lord, thy Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in thy love, and gather it together in its holiness from the four winds to thy kingdom which thou hast prepared for it. For thine is the power and the glory for ever. 6Let grace come and let this world pass away. Hosannah to the God of David. If any man be holy, let him come! if any man be not, let him repent: Maran atha, Amen."

7But suffer the prophets to hold Eucharist as they will.

Chapter 11

Travelling teachers -- Apostles -- Prophets

1Whosoever then comes and teaches you all these things aforesaid, receive him. 2But if the teacher himself be perverted and teach another doctrine to destroy these things, do not listen to him, but if his teaching be for the increase of righteousness and knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.

3And concerning the Apostles and Prophets, act thus according to the ordinance of the Gospel. 4Let every Apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord, 5but let him not stay more than one day, or if need be a second as well; but if he stay three days, he is a false prophet. 6And when an Apostle goes forth let him accept nothing but bread till he reach his night's lodging; but if he ask for money, he is a false prophet.

7Do not test or examine any prophet who is speaking in a spirit, "for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven." 8But not everyone who speaks in a spirit is a prophet, except he have the behaviour of the Lord. From his behaviour, then, the false prophet and the true prophet shall be known.

9And no prophet who orders a meal in a spirit shall eat of it: otherwise he is a false prophet. 10 And every prophet who teaches the truth, if he do not what he teaches, is a false prophet.

11But no prophet who has been tried and is genuine, though he enact a worldly mystery of the Church, if he teach not others to do what he does himself, shall be judged by you: for he has his judgment with God, for so also did the prophets of old. 12 But whosoever shall say in a spirit `Give me money, or something else,' you shall not listen to him; but if he tell you to give on behalf of others in want, let none judge him.

Chapter 12

Travelling Christians

1Let everyone who "comes in the Name of the Lord" be received; but when you have tested him you shall know him, for you shall have understanding of true and false. 2If he who comes is a traveller, help him as much as you can, but he shall not remain with you more than two days, or, if need be, three.

3And if he wishes to settle among you and has a craft, let him work for his bread. 4But if he has no craft provide for him according to your understanding, so that no man shall live among you in idleness because he is a Christian. 5But if he will not do so, he is making traffic of Christ; beware of such.

Chapter 13

Prophets who desire to remain -- Their payment by firstfruits

1But every true prophet who wishes to settle among you is "worthy of his food." 2Likewise a true teacher is himself worthy, like the workman, of his food. 3Therefore thou shalt take the firstfruit of the produce of the winepress and of the threshing-floor and of oxen and sheep, and shalt give them as the firstfruits to the prophets, for they are your high priests.

4But if you have not a prophet, give to the poor.

5If thou makest bread, take the firstfruits, and give it according to the commandment. 6Likewise when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, give the firstfruits to the prophets. 7Of money also and clothes, and of all your possessions, take the firstfruits, as it seem best to you, and give according to the commandment.

Chapter 14

The Sunday worship

1On the Lord's Day of the Lord come together, break bread and hold Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions that your offering may be pure; 2but let none who has a quarrel with his fellow join in your meeting until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice be not defiled. 3For this is that which was spoken by the Lord, "In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great king," saith the Lord, "and my name is wonderful among the heathen."

Chapter 15

Bishops and Deacons -- Mutual reproofs

1Appoint therefore for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, meek men, and not lovers of money, and truthful and approved, for they also minister to you the ministry of the prophets and teachers. 2Therefore do not despise them, for they are your honourable men together with the prophets and teachers.

3And reprove one another not in wrath but in peace as you find in the Gospel, and let none speak with any who has done a wrong to his neighbour, nor let him hear a word from you until he repents. 4But your prayers and alms and all your acts perform as ye find in the Gospel of our Lord.

Chapter 16

Warning that the end is at hand

1"Watch" over your life: "let your lamps" be not quenched "and your loins" be not ungirded, but be "ready," for ye know not "the hour in which our Lord cometh." 2But be frequently gathered together seeking the things which are profitable for your souls, for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you except ye be found perfect at the last time; 3for in the last days the false prophets and the corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall change to hate; 4for as lawlessness increaseth they shall hate one another and persecute and betray, and then shall appear the deceiver of the world as a Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders and the earth shall be given over into his hands and he shall commit iniquities which have never been since the world began.

5Then shall the creation of mankind come to the fiery trial and "many shall be offended" and be lost, but "they who endure" in their faith "shall be saved" by the curse itself. 6And "then shall appear the signs" of the truth. First the sign spread out in Heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead: 7but not of all the dead, but as it was said, "The Lord shall come and all his saints with him." 8Then shall the world "see the Lord coming on the clouds of Heaven."


Information on Didache

Jonathan Draper writes (Gospel Perspectives, v. 5, p. 269): Since it was discovered in a monastery in Constantinople and published by P. Bryennios in 1883, the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles has continued to be one of the most disputed of early Christian texts. It has been depicted by scholars as anything between the original of the Apostolic Decree (c. 50 AD) and a late archaising fiction of the early third century. It bears no date itself, nor does it make reference to any datable external event, yet the picture of the Church which it presents could only be described as primitive, reaching back to the very earliest stages of the Church's order and practice in a way which largely agrees with the picture presented by the NT, while at the same time posing questions for many traditional interpretations of this first period of the Church's life. Fragments of the Didache were found at Oxyrhyncus (P. Oxy 1782) from the fourth century and in coptic translation (P. Lond. Or. 9271) from 3/4th century. Traces of the use of this text, and the high regard it enjoyed, are widespread in the literature of the second and third centuries especially in Syria and Egypt. It was used by the compilator of the Didascalia (C 2/3rd) and the Liber Graduun (C 3/4th), as well as being absorbed in toto by the Apostolic Constitutions (C c. 3/4th, abbreviated as Ca) and partially by various Egyptian and Ethiopian Church Orders, after which it ceased to circulate independently. Athanasius describes it as 'appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of goodness' [Festal Letter 39:7]. Hence a date for the Didache in its present form later than the second century must be considered unlikely, and a date before the end of the first century probable.

Draper states in a footnote (op. cit., p. 284), "A new consensus is emerging for a date c. 100 AD."

Stephen J. Patterson comments on the dating of the Didache (The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus, p. 173): "Of course today, when the similarities between the Didache and Barnabas, or the Shepherd of Hermas, are no longer taken as proof that the Didache is literarily dependent upon these documents, the trend is to date the Didache much earlier, at least by the end of the first century or the beginning of the second, and in the case of Jean-P. Audet, as early as 50-70 C.E."

Udo Schnelle makes the following remark about the Didache (The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings, p. 355): "The Didache means by 'the gospel' (8.2; 11.3; 15.3, 4) the Gospel of Matthew; thus the Didache, which originated about 110 CE, documents the emerging authority of the one great Gospel."

Stevan Davies comments on the Didache (Jesus the Healer, p. 175): "The Didache is a text that gives instruction on how a Christian community should treat itinerant Christian prophets. It was written sometime in the late first or early second century and gives good evidence for a structured church's shift in orientation away from spirit-possession. The Didache is written from the view point of a community leadership that distrusts, and yet respects, Christian prophets, one that wishes the prophets to leave town as quickly as possible, yet would have them welcomed in town when they arrive. The Pastoral and Petrine epistles stem from a slightly later time, when authority in the Christian movement was based on the prerogatives of office rather than on prophetic powers."

Crossan observes the following on the text of the Didache (The Birth of Christianity, p. 364): The scribe who copied those seven texts signed the last leaf as "Lean, notary and sinner," and dated that completion to June 11, 1056. . . The Didache, then, was a small text, fifth among others mostly larger than itself, lost in a small library in the Fener section of Istanbul, halfway up the west side of the Golden Horn. Now known as Codex Hierosolymitanus 54, that volume was removed to the Patriarchate at Jerusalem in 1887, where it remains.

Earlier Coptic and Ethiopic versions also exist for a few chapters of this text. Especially important are two Greek fragments, Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1782, dated to the "late fourth century" and published by Greenfell and Hunt in 1922 (12-15). These tiny scraps, about two inches by two inches apiece, contain verses 1:3c-4a and 2:7-3:2. Despite small differences, the wording on those scraps is very close to Byrrenios's text. That is very important confirmation for the basic accuracy of Codex Hierosolymitanus 54, given the gulf of centuries between it and the earlier fragments.

Crossan writes concerning the Coptic manuscript (op. cit., p. 379): A Coptic papyrus containing Didache 10:3b-12:2a, dated to the end of the fourth or start of the fifth century, was bought in 1923 for what was then the British Museum and catalogued as British Library Oriental Manuscript 9271. F. Stanley Jones and Paul A. Mirecki offer a photographic reproduction along with an excellent transcription, translation, and commentary on this document. They conclude that "this sheet was originally cut from a roll of papyrus in order to serve as a double-leaf in a codex," but instead it was used "as a space for scribal exercises" (87). It was, in other words, a rather casual copying of that section of the Didache for purposes of writing practice. Stephen Patterson, on the contrary, considers it the end of an earlier edition of the Didache, which concluded precisely at 12:2 (1995:319-324).

Jones and Mirecki argue against Patterson's view (The Didache in Context, pp. 82-83): The assumption that the scribe's copy of the Didache actually ended with Did 12.2a, though such cannot be absolutely dismissed, is thus an unnecessary and excessive extrapolation. The following two points speak against this assumption:

1) There are no decorations which mark the end of the text.
2) The proposed elimination of all of the material after Did 12.2a is a rather radical solution to the open question of the disposition of the Didache. It does not really remove many "difficulties" in the logical flow of the text, and it hardly leaves an adequate ending for the writing.

To these points, Crossan adds the consideration that the reading of the Coptic text of 11:11 is likely to be secondary, while the Greek text is more difficult and earlier, and that this "would render doubtful Patterson's proposal that the Coptic fragment represented an earlier and shorter edition of the Didache" (op. cit., p. 380).

Crossan comments on the provenance of the Didache (op. cit., pp. 372-373): . . . the Didache may derive from a rural rather than an urban situation. It may stem from the consensus of rural households rather than the authority of urban patrons. Willy Rordorf and Andre Tullier, writing in a major French series, located the Didache in northern Palestine or western Syria, but not in the capital city of Antioch. They noted that the text is addressed to "rural communities of converted pagans" (98). It "reveals a Christianity established in rural communities who have broken with the radicalism of earlier converts" (100). It "speaks principally to rural milieus converted early on in Syria and Palestine and no doubt furnishing the first Christian communities outside of cities" (128). Kurt Niederwimmer, however, writing in a major German series, considered it still possible that "the Didache could derive from an urban milieu," but he agreed that it was not from the great metropolis of Antioch (80). It is not enough, in any case, simply to note the mention of "firstfruits" in Didache 13:3-7, since that could indicate urban-based landowners. My own preference for a rural over an urban setting comes not from those few verses but from the Didache's rhetorical serenity, ungendered equality, and striking difference from so many other early Christian texts.

Robert A. Kraft says about the provenance of the Didache (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 2, p. 197): "That most commentators now seem to opt for Syria (Audet 1958; Hazelden Walker 1966; Rordorf and Tullier 1978) or Syro-Palestine (Niederwimmer 1977) as the place of origin is not in itself an indication that the supporting evidence is compelling; Egypt (Kraft 1965) and Asia Minor (Vokes 1970) also have their supporters."

On source criticism of the Didache, Kraft observes (op. cit., p. 197): There seems to be a general consensus that the 'two ways' material in chaps. 1-6 has a prehistory that connects with Jewish ethical concerns (see Harnack 1896) which probably took shape in both Greek and Semitic formulations. This helps to explain the similarities and differences between the two ways in Didache, Barnabas, Doctrina, and elsewhere (e.g., Goodspeed 1945; Rordorf 1972). To this basic substratum, the Didache form of the two ways has attracted addititional sections in 1:3b-2:1 (gospel sayings and related admonitions; see especially Latyon 1968; Mees 1971) and 3:1-6 (the 'fences' tradition).

Similarly, the apparent intrusion of such sections as 12:1-5 (compare 11:4-6) and 14:1-3 into the flow of the community instructions, and the evidences of developmental language even within the existing instructions (e.g., the concessions in 6:2 and 7:2-3, the change from itinerant to local ministry in 15:1-2) illustrate the evolving nature of this material even outside the two-ways section.

John S. Kloppenborg Verbin comments on the Didache (Excavating Q, pp. 134-135): The Didache, an early second-century Christian composition, is also clearly composite, consisting of a "Two Ways" section (chaps. 1-6), a liturgical manual (7-10), instructions on the reception of traveling prophets (11-15), and a brief apocalypse (16). Marked divergences in style and content as well as the presence of doublets and obvious interpolations make plain the fact that the Didache was not cut from whole cloth. The dominant view today is that the document was composed on the basis of several independent, preredactional units which were assembled by either one or two redactors (Neiderwimmer 1989:64-70, ET 1998:42-52). Comparison of the "Two Ways" section with several other "Two Ways" documents suggests that Didache 1-6 is itself the result of multistage editing. The document began with rather haphazard organization (cf. Barnabas 18-20), but was reorganized in a source common to the Didache, the Doctrina apostolorum, and the Apostolic Church Order and supplemented by a sapiental meditation on minor and major transgressions (3.1-6) (Kloppenborg 1995c). In addition to this "Two Ways" section it is also possible to discern the presence of a mini-apocalypse related to someo f the materials that eventually found their way into Matthew 24-25 (Kloppenborg 1979).

The most obvious insertion in the Didache is a catena of sayings of Jesus (1.3-6) which interrupts the continuity between 1.1-2 and 2.2. The same hand that added 1.3b-6 (and the transitional phrase in 2.1) appears also to be responsible for a transition in 6.2-3 and for the introduction to the apocalypse (16.1-2), which like 1.3b-2.1 Christianizes the earlier document by affixing sayings designed to evoke the sayings of Jesus. It seems clear, then, that the composition history of the Didache involves at least two originally independent documents (Did. 1.1-2; 2.2-6.1; and Did. 16.3-8) which were combined with other materials by an editor into a church manual, and "Christianized" by the interpolation of sayings of Jesus.

A. D. Howell-Smith writes about the Didache (Jesus Not a Myth, p. 120): The simple Christology of Acts confronts us again in the so-called Teaching of the Apostles, a composite work, of which the first six chapters seem to be a Christian redaction of a Jewish document entitled The Two Ways, while the rest is the work of several Christian writers, the earliest belonging to the first century and the latest perhaps to the fourth. The Jesus mentioned in this book's account of the celebration of the Eucharist is just the "Servant" (PaiV) of God, who has made known the "holy vine" of God's "Servant" David; nothing is said of the bread and wine being the body and blood of Jesus. The formula of baptism in the name of the Trinity, which is given in Chap. VII, must come from a later hand, though possibly earlier than Justin Martyr, who is familiar with it.

Burton Mack notes two interesting features of the text of the Didache. One concerns alms, and the other concerns the Eucharist. Of the first, Mack writes (Who Wrote the New Testament?, p. 240):

There are several interesting features of this manual of instruction. One is an overriding concern with the practice of alms, gift giving, and the support of dependents, itinerant teachers, and others who may ask for a handout. Generosity was obviously thought to be a prime Christian virtue, but in practice one had to be careful, for others could easily take advantage of the Christian. This was especially the case with "false" prophets who showed up and wanted the congregation to feed them. The instruction was not to "receive" any prophet who asked for food or money while speaking "in a spirit" (Did. 11:12), and not to allow any "true" prophet (who did not do that) to stay longer than two or three days unless he was willing to settle down, learn a craft, and "work for his bread" (Did. 12:2-5). It is obvious that the Didache was written with resident congregations in mind and that their overseers and deacons had grown weary of the hype and hoopla characteristic of an earlier period of itinerant teachers and preachers. The pattern of congregational life over which they presided was sufficient. They had gotten together and agreed upon the practices, prayers, and rituals that defined the Christian way.

On the second, Mack continues (op. cit., pp. 240-241): The prayer of thanksgiving (eucharist) for the community meal in chapters 9 and 10 are also significant. That is because they do not contain any reference to the death of Jesus. Accustomed as we are to the memorial supper of the Christ cult and the stories of the last supper in the synoptic gospels, it has been very difficult to imagine early Christians taking meals together for any reason other than to celebrate the death of Jesus according to the Christ myth. But here in the Didache a very formalistic set of prayers is assigned to the cup and the breaking of bread without the slightest association with the death and resurrection of Jesus. The prayers of thanksgiving are for the food and drink God created for all people and the special, "spiritual" food and drink that Christians have because of Jesus. Drinking the cup symbolizes the knowledge these people have that they and Jesus are the "Holy Vine of David," which means that they "belong to Israel." Eating the bread symbolizes the knowledge these people have of the life and immortality they enjoy by belonging to the kingdom of God made known to them by Jesus, God's child. And it is serious business. No one is allowed to "eat or drink of your Eucharist except those who have been baptised in the Lord's name" (Did. 9:5). We thus have to imagine a highly self-conscious network of congregations that thought of themselves as Christians, had developed a full complement of rituals, had much in common with other Christian groups of centrist persuasions, but continued to cultivate their roots in a Jesus movement where enlightenment ethics made much more sense than the worship of Jesus as the crucified Christ and risen son of God.


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