The Didache

4th Commentary on CNN'S After Jesus, the First Christians

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You really don't have to read any of this; but I had to post all I found on the subject of the Didache, otherwise you might think I was making all this up. You will find more on the subject if you Google the word "Didache." Here are the first page links for today, Feb. 17, 2012.


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. (from EarlyChristianWritings.com)

The Didache: The Lord's Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.

Chapter 1. The Two Ways and the First Commandment. There are two ways, one of life and one of death, but a great difference between the two ways. The way of life, then, is this: First, you shall love God who made you; second, love your neighbor as yourself, and do not do to another what you would not want done to you. And of these sayings the teaching is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what reward is there for loving those who love you? Do not the Gentiles do the same? But love those who hate you, and you shall not have an enemy. Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. If someone strikes your right cheek, turn to him the other also, and you shall be perfect. If someone impresses you for one mile, go with him two. If someone takes your cloak, give him also your coat. If someone takes from you what is yours, ask it not back, for indeed you are not able. Give to every one who asks you, and ask it not back; for the Father wills that to all should be given of our own blessings (free gifts). Happy is he who gives according to the commandment, for he is guiltless. Woe to him who receives; for if one receives who has need, he is guiltless; but he who receives not having need shall pay the penalty, why he received and for what. And coming into confinement, he shall be examined concerning the things which he has done, and he shall not escape from there until he pays back the last penny. And also concerning this, it has been said, Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give.

Chapter 2. The Second Commandment: Grave Sin Forbidden. And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born. You shall not covet the things of your neighbor, you shall not swear, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not speak evil, you shall bear no grudge. You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is a snare of death. Your speech shall not be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by deed. You shall not be covetous, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor evil disposed, nor haughty. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbor. You shall not hate any man; but some you shall reprove, and concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life.

Chapter 3. Other Sins Forbidden. My child, flee from every evil thing, and from every likeness of it. Be not prone to anger, for anger leads to murder. Be neither jealous, nor quarrelsome, nor of hot temper, for out of all these murders are engendered. My child, be not a lustful one. for lust leads to fornication. Be neither a filthy talker, nor of lofty eye, for out of all these adulteries are engendered. My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leads to idolatry. Be neither an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a purifier, nor be willing to took at these things, for out of all these idolatry is engendered. My child, be not a liar, since a lie leads to theft. Be neither money-loving, nor vainglorious, for out of all these thefts are engendered. My child, be not a murmurer, since it leads the way to blasphemy. Be neither self-willed nor evil-minded, for out of all these blasphemies are engendered.

Rather, be meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth. Be long-suffering and pitiful and guileless and gentle and good and always trembling at the words which you have heard. You shall not exalt yourself, nor give over-confidence to your soul. Your soul shall not be joined with lofty ones, but with just and lowly ones shall it have its intercourse. Accept whatever happens to you as good, knowing that apart from God nothing comes to pass.

Chapter 4. Various Precepts. My child, remember night and day him who speaks the word of God to you, and honor him as you do the Lord. For wherever the lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord. And seek out day by day the faces of the saints, in order that you may rest upon their words. Do not long for division, but rather bring those who contend to peace. Judge righteously, and do not respect persons in reproving for transgressions. You shall not be undecided whether or not it shall be. Be not a stretcher forth of the hands to receive and a drawer of them back to give. If you have anything, through your hands you shall give ransom for your sins. Do not hesitate to give, nor complain when you give; for you shall know who is the good repayer of the hire. Do not turn away from him who is in want; rather, share all things with your brother, and do not say that they are your own. For if you are partakers in that which is immortal, how much more in things which are mortal? Do not remove your hand from your son or daughter; rather, teach them the fear of God from their youth. Do not enjoin anything in your bitterness upon your bondman or maidservant, who hope in the same God, lest ever they shall fear not God who is over both; for he comes not to call according to the outward appearance, but to them whom the Spirit has prepared. And you bondmen shall be subject to your masters as to a type of God, in modesty and fear. You shall hate all hypocrisy and everything which is not pleasing to the Lord. Do not in any way forsake the commandments of the Lord; but keep what you have received, neither adding thereto nor taking away therefrom. In the church you shall acknowledge your transgressions, and you shall not come near for your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.

Chapter 5. The Way of Death. And the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and accursed: murders, adultery, lust, fornication, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts, rape, false witness, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, filthy talking, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness; persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing a reward for righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for that which is good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and endurance are far, loving vanities, pursuing revenge, not pitying a poor man, not laboring for the afflicted, not knowing Him Who made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him who is in want, afflicting him who is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these.

Chapter 6. Against False Teachers, and Food Offered to Idols. See that no one causes you to err from this way of the Teaching, since apart from God it teaches you. For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able. And concerning food, bear what you are able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly careful; for it is the service of dead gods.

Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

Chapter 8. Fasting and Prayer (the Lord's Prayer). But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day and the Preparation (Friday). Do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, like this:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Thine is the power and the glory for ever..

Pray this three times each day.

Chapter 9. The Eucharist. Now concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way. First, concerning the cup:

We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever..

And concerning the broken bread:

We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered 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..

But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."

Chapter 10. Prayer after Communion. But after you are filled, give thanks this way:

We thank Thee, holy Father, for Thy holy name which You didst cause to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You modest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Thou, Master almighty, didst create all things for Thy name's sake; You gavest food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to Thee; but to us You didst freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Thy Servant. Before all things we thank Thee that You are mighty; to Thee be the glory for ever. Remember, Lord, Thy Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in Thy love, and gather it from the four winds, sanctified for Thy kingdom which Thou have prepared for it; for Thine is the power and the glory for ever. Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the God (Son) of David! If any one is holy, let him come; if any one is not so, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen.

But permit the prophets to make Thanksgiving as much as they desire.

Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets. Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not. But if he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. But concerning the apostles and prophets, act according to the decree of the Gospel. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain more than one day; or two days, if there's a need. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet who speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he holds the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet. And every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for others' sake who are in need, let no one judge him.

Chapter 12. Reception of Christians. But receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, and prove and know him afterward; for you shall have understanding right and left. If he who comes is a wayfarer, assist him as far as you are able; but he shall not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be. But if he wants to stay with you, and is an artisan, let him work and eat. But if he has no trade, according to your understanding, see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he wills not to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that you keep away from such.

Chapter 13. Support of Prophets. But every true prophet who wants to live among you is worthy of his support. So also a true teacher is himself worthy, as the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, you shall take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests. But if you have no prophet, give it to the poor. If you make a batch of dough, take the first-fruit and give according to the commandment. So also when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the first-fruit and give it to the prophets; and of money (silver) and clothing and every possession, take the first-fruit, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.

Chapter 14. Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day. But every Lord's day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: "In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations."

Chapter 15. Bishops and Deacons; Christian Reproof. Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful and proved; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. Therefore do not despise them, for they are your honored ones, together with the prophets and teachers. And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as you have it in the Gospel. But to anyone that acts amiss against another, let no one speak, nor let him hear anything from you until he repents. But your prayers and alms and all your deeds so do, as you have it in the Gospel of our Lord.

Chapter 16. Watchfulness; the Coming of the Lord. Watch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come. But come together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth: first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet. And third, the resurrection of the dead -- yet not of all, but as it is said: "The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him." Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven. (EarlyChristianWritings.com -- Peter Kirby 2001)


Here is another view of the Didache:

Willy Rordorf considered the first five chapters as "essentially Jewish, but the Christian community was able to use it" by adding the "evangelical section".[11] "Lord" in the Didache is reserved usually for "Lord God", while Jesus is called "the servant" of the Father (9:2f.; 10:2f.).[12] Baptism was practised "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."[13] Scholars generally agree that 9:5, which speaks of baptism "in the name of the Lord," represents an earlier tradition that was gradually replaced by a trinity of names."[12][14] A similarity with Acts 3 is noted by Aaron Milavec: both see Jesus as "the servant (pais)[15] of God".[16] The community is presented as "awaiting the kingdom from the Father as entirely a future event".[16] (from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didache)


Here is the Catholic view on the Didache:

(DOCTRINE OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES)

A short treatise which was accounted by some of the Fathers as next to Holy Scripture. It was rediscovered in 1873 by Bryennios, Greek Orthodox metropolitan of Nicomedia, in the codex from which, in 1875, he had published the full text of the Epistles of St. Clement. The title in the manuscript is Didache kyriou dia ton dodeka apostolon ethesin, but before this it gives the heading Didache ton dodeka apostolon. The old Latin translation of cc. i-v, found by Dr. J. Schlecht in 1900, has the longer title, omitting "twelve", and has a rubric De doctrinâ Apostolorum. For convenience the contents may be divided into three parts: the first is the "Two Ways", the Way of Life and the Way of Death; the second part is a rituale dealing with baptism, fasting, and Holy Communion; the third speaks of the ministry. Doctrinal teaching is presupposed, and none is imparted.

The Didache is mentioned by Eusebius after the books of Scripture (Church History III.25.4): "Let there be placed among the spuria the writing of the Acts of Paul, the so-called Shepherd and the Apocalypse of Peter, and besides these the Epistle known as that of Barnabas, and what are called the Teachings of the Apostles, and also . . . the Apocalypse of John, if this be thought fit . . ." St. Athanasius and Rufinus add the "Teaching" to the sapiential and other deutero-canonical books. (Rufinus gives the curious alternative title "Judicium Petri".) It has a similar place in the lists of Nicephorus, Pseudo-Anastasius, and Pseudo-Athanasius (Synopsis). The Pseudo-Cyprianic "Adversus Aleatores" quotes it by name. Unacknowledged citations are very common, if less certain. The "Two Ways" appears in Barnabas, cc. xviii-xx, sometimes word for word, sometimes added to, dislocated, or abridged, and Barn., iv, 9 is from Didache, xvi, 2-3, or vice versa. Hermas, Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen seem to use the work, and so in the West do Optatus and the "Gesta apud Zenophilum". The Didascalia Apostolorum are founded upon the Didache. The Apostolic church ordinance has used a part, the Apostolic Constitutions have embodied the Didascalia. There are echoes in Justin, Tatian, Theophilus, Cyprian, and Lactantius.
Contents

First Part

The Way of Life is the love of God and of our neighbour. The latter only is spoken of at length. We first find the Golden Rule in the negative form (cf. the "Western" text of Acts 15:19 and 29). Then short extracts from the Sermon on the Mount, together with a curious passage on giving and receiving, which is cited with variations by Hermas (Mand., ii, 4-6). The Latin omits ch. i, 3-6 and ch. ii, 1, and these sections have no parallel in Barnabas; they may therefore be a later addition, and Hermas and the present text of the Didache may have used a common source, or Hermas may be the original. The second chapter contains the Commandments against murder, adultery, theft, coveting, and false witness — in this order - and additional recommendations depending on these. In ch. iii we are told how one vice leads to another: anger to murder, concupiscence to adultery, and so forth. This section shows some close likenesses to the Babylonian Talmud. The whole chapter is passed over in Barnabas. A number of precepts are added in ch. iv, which ends: "This is the Way of Life." The Way of Death is a mere list of vices to be avoided (v). Ch. vi exhorts to the keeping in the Way of this Teaching: "If thou canst bear the whole yoke of the Lord, thou wilt be perfect; but if thou canst not, do what thou canst. But as for food, bear what thou canst; but straitly avoid things offered to idols; for it is a service of dead gods." Many take this to be a recommendation to abstain from flesh, as some explain Romans 14:2. But the "let him eat herbs" of St. Paul is a hyperbolical expression like 1 Corinthians 8:13: "I will never eat flesh, lest I should scandalize my brother", and gives no support to the notion of vegetarianism in the Early Church. The Didache is referring to Jewish meats. The Latin version substitutes for ch. vi a similar close, omitting all reference to meats and to idolothyta, and concluding with per d. n. j. C . . . . in sæcula sæculorum, amen. This is the end of the translation. We see that the translator lived at a day when idolatry had disappeared, and when the remainder of the Didache was out of date. He had no such reason for omitting ch. i, 3-6, so that this was presumably not in his copy.

Second Part

This (vii-x) begins with an instruction on baptism, which is to be conferred "in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" in living water, if it can be had — if not, in cold or even hot water. The baptized and, if possible, the baptizer, and other persons must fast for one or two days previously. If the water is insufficient for immersion, it may be poured thrice on the head. This is said by Bigg to show a late date; but it seems a natural concession for hot and dry countries, when baptism was not as yet celebrated exclusively at Easter and Pentecost and in churches, where a columbethra and a supply of water would not be wanting. Fasts are not to be on Monday and Thursday "with the hypocrites" (i.e. the Jews), but on Wednesday and Friday (viii). Nor must Christians pray with the hypocrites, but they shall say the Our Father thrice a day. The text of the prayer is not quite that of St. Matthew, and it is given with the doxology "for Thine is the power and the glory for ever", whereas all but a few manuscripts of St. Matthew have this interpolation with "the kingdom and the power" etc.

Ch. ix runs thus: "Concerning the Eucharist, thus shall you give thanks: 'We give Thee thanks, our Father, for the holy Vine of David Thy Child, which Thou hast made known to us through Jesus Thy Child; to Thee be the glory for ever'. And of the broken Bread: 'We give Thee thanks, our Father, for the Life and knowledge which Thou hast made known to us through Jesus Thy Child; to Thee be glory for ever. For as this broken Bread was dispersed over the mountains, and being collected became one, so may 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.' And let none eat or drink of your Eucharist but those who have been baptized in the Name of Christ; for of this the Lord said: 'Give not the holy Thing to the dogs'." These are clearly prayers after the Consecration and before Communion. Ch. x gives a thanksgiving after Communion, slightly longer, in which mention is made of the "spiritual food and drink and eternal Life through Thy Child". After a doxology, as before, come the remarkable exclamations: "Let grace come, and this world pass away! Hosanna to the Son of David! If any is holy, let him come. If any be not, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen". We are not only reminded of the Hosanna and Sancta sanctis of the liturgies, but also of Apocalypse 22:17-20, and 1 Corinthians 16:22. In these prayers we find deep reverence, and the effect of the Eucharist for eternal Life, though there is no distinct mention of the Real Presence. The words in thanksgiving for the chalice are echoed by Clement of Alexandria, "Quis div.", 29: "It is He [Christ] Who has poured out the Wine, the Blood of the Vine of David, upon our wounded souls"; and by Origen, "In i Judic.", Hom. vi: "Before we are inebriated with the Blood of the True Vine Which ascends from the root of David." The mention of the chalice before the bread is in accordance with St. Luke, xxii, 17-19, in the "Western" text (which omits verse 20), and is apparently from a Jewish blessing of wine and bread, with which rite the prayers in ch. ix have a close affinity.

The Third Part

The Third Part speaks first of teachers or doctors (didaskaloi) in general. These are to be received if they teach the above doctrine; and if they add the justice and knowledge of the Lord they are to be received as the Lord. Every Apostle is to be received as the Lord, and he may stay one day or two, but if he stay three, he is a false prophet. On leaving he shall take nothing with him but bread. If he ask for money, he is a false prophet. Similarly with the order of prophets: to judge them when they speak in the spirit is the unpardonable sin; but they must be known by their morals. If they seek gain, they are to be rejected. All travellers who come in the name of the Lord are to be received, but only for two or three days; and they must exercise their trade, if they have one, or at least must not be idle. Anyone who will not work is a Christemporos — one who makes a gain out of the name of Christ. Teachers and prophets are worthy of their food. Firstfruits are to be given to the prophets, "for they are your High Priests; but if you have not a prophet, give the firstfruits to the poor". The breaking of bread and Thanksgiving [Eucharist] is on Sunday, "after you have confessed your transgressions, that your Sacrifice may be pure", and those who are at discord must agree, for this is the clean oblation prophesied by Malachias, i, 11, 14. "Ordain therefore for yourselves bishops and deacons, worthy of the Lord . . . for they also minister to you the ministry of the prophets and teachers". Notice that it is for the sacrifice that bishops and deacons are to be ordained. The last chapter (xvi) exhorts to watching and tells the signs of the end of the world.
Sources

It is held by very many critics that the "Two Ways" is older than the rest of the Didache, and is in origin a Jewish work, intended for the instruction of proselytes. The use of the Sibylline Oracles and other Jewish sources may be probable, and the agreement of ch. ii with the Talmud may be certain; but on the other hand Funk has shown that (apart from the admittedly Christian ch. i, 3-6, and the occasional citations of the New Testament) the 0. T. is often not quoted directly, but from the Gospels. Bartlet suggests an oral Jewish catechesis as the source. But the use of such material would surprise us in one whose name for the Jews is "the hypocrites", and in the vehemently anti-Jewish Barnabas still more. The whole base of this theory is destroyed by the fact that the rest of the work, vii-xvi, though wholly Christian in its subject-matter, has an equally remarkable agreement with the Talmud in cc. ix and x. Beyond doubt we must look upon the writer as living at a very early period when Jewish influence was still important in the Church. He warns Christians not to fast with the Jews or pray with them; yet the two fasts and the three times of prayer are modelled on Jewish custom. Similarly the prophets stand in the place of the High Priest.
Date

There are other signs of early date: the simplicity of the baptismal rite, which is apparently neither preceded by exorcisms nor by formal admission to the catechumenate; the simplicity of the Eucharist, in comparison with the elaborate quasi-Eucharistic prayer in Clement, I Corinthians 59-61; the permission to prophets to extemporize their Eucharistic thanksgiving; the immediate expectation of the second advent. As we find the Christian Sunday already substituted for the Jewish Sabbath as the day of assembly in Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2, and called the Lord's day (Revelation 1:10), there is no difficulty in supposing that the parallel and consequent shifting of the fasts to Wednesday and Friday may have taken place at an equally early date, at least in some places. But the chief point is the ministry. It is twofold: (1) local and (2) itinerant. — (1) The local ministers are bishops and deacons, as in St. Paul (Philippians 1:1) and St. Clement. Presbyters are not mentioned, and the bishops are clearly presbyter-bishops, as in Acts 20, and in the Pastoral Epistles of St. Paul. But when St. Ignatius wrote in 107, or at the latest 117, the three orders of bishops, priests, and deacons were already considered necessary to the very name of a Church, in Syria, Asia Minor, and Rome. If it is probable that in St. Clement's time there was as yet no "monarchical" bishop at Corinth, yet such a state of things cannot have lasted long in any important Church. On this ground therefore the Didache must be set either in the first century or else in some backwater of church life. The itinerant ministry is obviously yet more archaic. In the second century prophecy was a charisma only and not a ministry, except among the Montanists. — (2) The itinerant ministers are not mentioned by Clement or Ignatius. The three orders are apostles, prophets, and teachers, as in 1 Corinthians 12:28 sq.: "God hath set some in the Church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors [teachers]; after that miracles, then the graces of healings, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all doctors?" The Didache places teachers below apostles and prophets, the two orders which St. Paul makes the foundation of the Church (Ephesians 2:20). The term apostle is applied by St. Paul not only to the Twelve, but also to himself, to Barnabas, to his kinsmen, Andronicus and Junias, who had been converted before him, and to a class of preachers of the first rank. But apostles must have "seen the Lord" and have received a special call. There is no instance in Holy Scripture or in early literature of the existence of an order called apostles later than the Apostolic age. We have no right to assume a second-century order of apostles, who had not seen Christ in the flesh, for the sake of bolstering up a preconceived notion of the date of the Didache. Since in that work the visit of an apostle or of a pretended apostle is contemplated as a not improbable event, we cannot place the book later than about 80. The limit, would seem to be from 65 to 80. Harnack gives 131-160, holding that Barnabas and the Didache independently employ a Christianized form of the Jewish "Two Ways", while Did., xvi, is citing Barnabas — a somewhat roundabout hypothesis. He places Barnabas in 131, and the Didache later than this. Those who date Barnabas under Vespasian mostly make the Didache the borrower in cc. i-v and xvi. Many, with Funk, place Barnabas under Nerva. The commoner view is that which puts the Didache before 100. Bartlet agrees with Ehrhard that 80-90 is the most probable decade. Sabatier, Minasi, Jacquier, and others have preferred a date even before 70.

As to the place of composition, many suggest Egypt because they think the "Epistle of Barnabas" was written there. The corn upon the mountains does not suit Egypt, though it might be a prayer borrowed from Palestine. There are really no materials even for a conjecture on the subject.
Sources

A Latin fragment of the Two Ways was published in 1723 by PEZ in Thesaurus Anecdotorum, IV. The first Greek edition is Didache ton dodeka apostolon ek tou Hierosolymitikou Cheirographou noun proton ekdedomene meta prolegomenon kai semeioseon . . . Hypo philotheou Brouenniou, metropolitou Nikomedeias. En Konstantinoupolei (1883). The MS. was reproduced in phototype in the fine edition by HARRIS, The Teaching of the Apostles, newly edited with facsimile text and a commentary (Baltimore and London, 1887). The Latin version was published by SCHLECHT, first in a shilling brochure, then in a larger edition with the Greek and notes (Freiburg im Br., 1900-1901). Of the Greek a very large number of editions have appeared, mostly with translations: DE ROMESTIN (Oxford, 1884); SPENCE (London, 1885); HITCHCOCK AND BROWN (New York 1884-5); FITZGERALD (New York, 1884); ORRIS (New York 1884); SCHAFF (New York, 1884-9); also by SABATIER (Paris, 1885); JACQUIER (Lyons, 1881); MINASI (Rome, 1891). It was included in HILGENFELD, Nov. Test. extra canonem receptum (1884), fasc. iv, and in the editions of the Apostolic Fathers by LIGHTFOOT-HARMER (with Eng. tr., 1891-3-8), GEBHARDT, HARNACK AND ZAHN (Leipzig, 1900), FUNK (Tübingen, 1901', and VIZZINI (Rome, 1902). Special notice is called for by the following: TAYLOR, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, with Illustrations from the Talmud (Cambridge, 1908); IDEM, An Essay on the Theology of the Didache (Cambridge, 1889); IDEM in Journal of Philol., XVIII, XIX, XXI, and in Journal of Theol. Studies (Oct., 1906); BARTLET in HASTINGS, Dict. of Bib. (extra vol., 1904); HARNACK, Die Lehre der zwölf Apostel (larger ed., Leipzig, 1884) and Die Apostellehre and die jüdischen zwei Wege (smaller ed., Leipzig, 1886 and 1896); IDEM, Gesch. der altchr. Litt., I, 86 and II (Chronol., I), 428; FUNK, Doctrina XII Apostolorum (Tübingen, 1887); and the introduction to his ed. of the Ap. Fathers, supra; IDEM in Tüb. Theol. Quartalschr., LXVI, LXVIII, LXIX LXXVI, LXXIX (1884-86-87-94-97); much of the matter of these articles is republished by FUNK in his Kirchengeschichtliche Abhandlungen, (Paderborn, 1899), II. Among other matter also SAVI, La Dottrina dei XII Ap., ricerche critiche sull' origine del testo (Rome, 1893); and in Studi e docum. di storia e diritto (1892), XIII; HENNECKE, Die Grundschrift der Didache und ihre Recensionen in Zeitschr. für N.-T. Wiss. (1901), II; KOCH, Die Did. bei Cyprian, ibid. (1907), VIII; CHIAPPELLI, Studi di antica letteratura cristiana (Turin 1887); LADEUZE in Rev. d'hist. eccl. (Louvain, 1901), II. On the ministry in the Didache, see RÉVILLE (Prot.) Origines de l'Episcopat (Paris, 1894); MICHIELS (Cath.), Origine de l'Episc. (Louvain, 1900). On baptism, BIGG in Jour. of Theol. Studies (July, 1904), v. Dr. Bigg (ibid., VI, April, 1905) places the Didache in the fourth century. On the saying (Did., i, 6), "Let thy alms sweat in thy hands, till thou know to whom to give", see TAYLOR in Jour. of Philol., XIX (as above); TURNER in Jour. of Theol. Studies (July, 1906), VII. On the relation of the Didache to the Didascalia Apostolorum and to the Ap. Constitutions, see also FUNK, Die Ap. Const. (Rottenburg, 1891) and his Didasc. et Const. Apost. (Paderborn, 1906). HOLZHEY, Die Abhängigkeit der Syr. Didask. von der Didache (Munich, 1898). This list is but an excerpt from the enormous literature since 1884. Bibliography to 1895 in CHEVALIER, Topo-bibliographie; summaries in SCHLECHT, loc. cit., to 1900; in EHRHARD, Altchr. Litt., to 1900; in BARDENHEWER, Gesch. der altchr. Litt., to 1902.
About this page

APA citation. Chapman, J. (1908). Didache. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved February 17, 2012 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04779a.htm

MLA citation. Chapman, John. "Didache." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 17 Feb. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04779a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Vivek Gilbert John Fernandez. Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ and The Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Virgin Mary.

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by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 2009. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04779a.htm)