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INTRODUCTION UN 1873 Philotheus Bryennios, later Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Nicomedia, discovered at Constantinople a manuscript of A.D. 1056 containing, among other works, the complete text of the Letter of Barnabas and of the two letters attributed to St. Clement, and a small work entitled the Didache (Teaching) of the Twelve Apostles. A second and probably older title in this manuscript, Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles by the Twelve Apostles, indicates that the Didache was intended for Gentile Christians. Because the manuscript is the property of the Patriarch of Jerusalem it is known as the Codex Hierosolymitanus. However, it is also referred to as Codex ConstantinopoIitanus from the place of discovery. Bryennios did not publish the Didache for ten years. He meanwhile recognized it for a long lost work, highly venerated and much used up to the fourth century. Its contents served as a source of many later works of liturgical and canonical character: the Didascalia, the so-called Egyptian Church Order, Book 7 of the Apostolic Constitutions, etc. Eusebius had known a Didache and had classed it among the apocryphal Scriptures. Clement of Alexandria, Lactantius and Rufinus seem to have used the Didache. St. Athanasius recommended it by name as a good book of elementary instruction .1 The Didache is generally regarded as being the most important literary discovery in patrology made in the nineteenth 1 Relevant bibliographical literature with regard to the influence of the Didache on later writers is found in K. Bihlmeyer. Die apostolischen Viiter (Tiibingen 1924) XIII. 167 168 THE DlDACHE century. Within the first ten years of its publication several hundred books and articles were written about it,2 and since then its critical bibliography has steadily grown. The reason for this is that, with few exceptions, critics believed that the Didache was the oldest Christian document outside the New Testament. Everything else had to be tested in the light of the Didache. Recent criticism has somewhat reduced both the age and the importance of the Didache. The earlier studies tended to place it between A.D. 70 and 90, i.e., prior to St. Clement's Letter to the Corinthians. Some puzzling indications of an abundant use of the New Testament, however, subsequently suggested a more conservative dating, A.D. 90 to 120. But a closer comparison of the New Testament quotations and allusions in the Didache with those of Barnabas, St. Ignatius of Antioch, and St. Clement make it necessary to put it after all of them. Although there is no real unanimity of opinion at present as to the date of the Didache, it may be considered , with probability, to fall within the period A.D. 120 to 180. While Altaner regards it as composed before the rise of the Montanist heresy, Vokes sees in it evidence of moderate Montanism, which would put it toward the end of the second century. Again, as to place of origin, evidence is meager and no agreement has been reached. From two indecisive references to lack of water (7.2) and to mountains (9.4) Egypt and Syria respectively are suggested. But if the work is Montanistic, as Vokes proposed, Asia Minor must also be considered as a possibility. Some slight analysis may help the reader to understand the puzzling character of this document. There is no attempt 2 In The Ante-Nicene Fathers (ed. by A_ Roberts and G. Donaldson. 1887) 10. 83 If., more than 200 items are listed. INTRODUCTION 169 at purely dogmatic teaching. At the same time an acknowledgment of the Trinity is taken for granted in the baptismal formula (7), and the work as a whole, as it now stands, shows an acceptance of basic Christology. The Didache is a composite document of at least two independent pieces, which may be considered to have been composed separately. The first section (1-6) comprises a document known as the 'Two Ways.' This ancient work, chiefly known through its inclusion in the Didache and the Letter of Barnabas (18-20), is a presentation of the moral life as a choice between the way of God and the way of the devil. It is essentially a series of ethical pronouncements on the virtues and vices supported by appropriate Scriptural quotations. At first glance the New Testament appears to have nearly equal importance with the Old as a source of the Scriptural evidence adduced. If, however , we except a single passage (1.3-2.1), which may well be an addition...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813211015
Related ISBN
9780813215495
MARC Record
OCLC
867796587
Pages
426
Launched on MUSE
2013-05-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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