Didache
Overview
The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (Didachē means "Teaching") is a brief early Christian
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 treatise
Treatise
A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject.-Noteworthy treatises:...

, dated by most scholars to the late first
Christianity in the 1st century
The earliest followers of Jesus composed an apocalyptic, Jewish sect, which historians refer to as Jewish Christianity. The Apostles and others following the Great Commission's decree to spread the teachings of Jesus to "all nations," had great success spreading the religion to gentiles. Peter,...

 or early 2nd century
Christianity in the 2nd century
The 2nd century of Christianity was largely the time of the Apostolic Fathers who were the students of the apostles of Jesus, though there is some overlap as John the Apostle may have survived into the 2nd century and the early Apostolic Father Clement of Rome is said to have died at the end of the...

. The first line of this treatise is "Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles (or Nations) by the Twelve Apostles" (Διδαχὴ κυρίου διὰ τῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλων τοῖς ἔθνεσιν).

The text, parts of which constitute the oldest surviving written catechism
Catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

, has three main sections dealing with Christian ethics, rituals such as baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 and Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, and Church organization.
Encyclopedia
The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (Didachē means "Teaching") is a brief early Christian
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 treatise
Treatise
A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject.-Noteworthy treatises:...

, dated by most scholars to the late first
Christianity in the 1st century
The earliest followers of Jesus composed an apocalyptic, Jewish sect, which historians refer to as Jewish Christianity. The Apostles and others following the Great Commission's decree to spread the teachings of Jesus to "all nations," had great success spreading the religion to gentiles. Peter,...

 or early 2nd century
Christianity in the 2nd century
The 2nd century of Christianity was largely the time of the Apostolic Fathers who were the students of the apostles of Jesus, though there is some overlap as John the Apostle may have survived into the 2nd century and the early Apostolic Father Clement of Rome is said to have died at the end of the...

. The first line of this treatise is "Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles (or Nations) by the Twelve Apostles" (Διδαχὴ κυρίου διὰ τῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλων τοῖς ἔθνεσιν).

The text, parts of which constitute the oldest surviving written catechism
Catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

, has three main sections dealing with Christian ethics, rituals such as baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 and Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, and Church organization. It is considered the first example of the genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

of the Church Orders
Ancient Church Orders
Ancient Church Orders is a genre of early Christian literature, ranging from 1st to 5th century, which has the aim to offer authoritative "apostolic" prescriptions on matters of moral conduct, liturgy and Church organization....

.

The work was considered by some of the Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

 as part of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 but rejected as spurious or non-canonical by others, eventually not accepted into the New Testament canon
Development of the New Testament canon
The Canon of the New Testament is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the New Testament of the Christian Bible. For most, it is an agreed-upon list of twenty-seven books that includes the Canonical Gospels, Acts, letters of the Apostles, and Revelation...

. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church "broader canon" includes the Didascalia, a work which draws on the Didache.

Lost for centuries, the Didache was rediscovered in 1873 by Philotheos Bryennios
Philotheos Bryennios
Philotheos Bryennios was a Greek Orthodox metropolitan of Nicomedia, and the discoverer in 1873 of an important manuscript with copies of early Church documents.-Life:...

, Metropolitan of Nicomedia in the Codex Hierosolymitanus
Codex Hierosolymitanus
Codex Hierosolymitanus is an 11th-century Greek manuscript, written by an unknown scribe named Leo, who dated it 1056...

. An English translation was first published in 1883. It has since been considered part of the category of second-generation Christian writings known as the Apostolic Fathers
Apostolic Fathers
The Apostolic Fathers are a small number of Early Christian authors who lived and wrote in the second half of the first century and the first half of the second century. They are acknowledged as leaders in the early church, although their writings were not included in the New Testament...

.

Date of composition

The Didache was written late in the 1st or early in the 2nd century, and became increasingly important in the second and third Christian centuries. It is an anonymous work, a pastoral manual "that reveals more about how Jewish-Christians saw themselves and how they adapted their Judaism for gentiles than any other book in the Christian Scriptures."

The 2005 edition of the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church comments: "Although in the past many English and American scholars tended to assign it to the late second century, most scholars now place at some point during the mid to late first century."

Textual transmission

Hitchcock and Brown produced the first English translation in March 1884. Harnack produced the first German translation in 1884, and Sabatier
Paul Sabatier
Paul Sabatier , was a French clergyman and historian who produced the first modern biography of St. Francis of Assisi. He is the brother of Auguste Sabatier....

 the first translation and commentary in 1885.

Early references

The Didache is mentioned by Eusebius (c. 324) as the Teachings of the Apostles following the books recognized as canonical:
"Let there be placed among the spurious works the Acts of Paul
Acts of Paul
The Acts of Paul is one of the major works and earliest pseudepigraphal series from the New Testament also known as Apocryphal Acts, an approximate date given to the Acts of Paul is 160 CE. The Acts were first mentioned by Tertullian. Tertullian found it heretical because it encouraged women to...

, the so-called Shepherd
The Shepherd of Hermas
The Shepherd of Hermas is a Christian literary work of the 1st or 2nd century, considered a valuable book by many Christians, and considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers such as Irenaeus. The Shepherd had great authority in the 2nd and 3rd centuries...

and the Apocalypse of Peter
Apocalypse of Peter
The recovered Apocalypse of Peter or Revelation of Peter is an example of a simple, popular early Christian text of the 2nd century; it is an example of Apocalyptic literature with Hellenistic overtones. The text is extant in two incomplete versions of a lost Greek original, one Koine Greek, and an...

, and besides these the Epistle of Barnabas
Epistle of Barnabas
The Epistle of Barnabas is a Greek epistle containing twenty-one chapters, preserved complete in the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus where it appears at the end of the New Testament...

, and what are called the Teachings of the Apostles, and also the Apocalypse of John
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

, if this be thought proper; for as I wrote before, some reject it, and others place it in the canon."

Athanasius
Athanasius of Alexandria
Athanasius of Alexandria [b. ca. – d. 2 May 373] is also given the titles St. Athanasius the Great, St. Athanasius I of Alexandria, St Athanasius the Confessor and St Athanasius the Apostolic. He was the 20th bishop of Alexandria. His long episcopate lasted 45 years Athanasius of Alexandria [b....

 (367) and Rufinus
Tyrannius Rufinus
Tyrannius Rufinus or Rufinus of Aquileia was a monk, historian, and theologian. He is most known as a translator of Greek patristic material into Latin—especially the work of Origen.-Life:...

 (c. 380) list the Didache among apocrypha. (Rufinus gives the curious alternative title Judicium Petri, "Judgment of Peter".) It is rejected by Nicephorus
Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopoulos
Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos, latinized as Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopulus , of Constantinople, the last of the Greek ecclesiastical historians, flourished around 1320....

 (c. 810), Pseudo-Anastasius, and Pseudo-Athanasius in Synopsis and the 60 Books canon. It is accepted by the Apostolic Constitutions
Apostolic Constitutions
The Apostolic Constitutions is a Christian collection of eight treatises which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. The work can be dated from 375 to 380 AD. The provenience is usually regarded as Syria, probably Antioch...

 Canon 85, John of Damascus
John of Damascus
Saint John of Damascus was a Syrian monk and priest...

 and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The Adversus Aleatores by an imitator of Cyprian
Cyprian
Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer, many of whose Latin works are extant. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education...

 quotes it by name. Unacknowledged citations are very common, if less certain. The section Two Ways shares the same language with the Epistle of Barnabas
Epistle of Barnabas
The Epistle of Barnabas is a Greek epistle containing twenty-one chapters, preserved complete in the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus where it appears at the end of the New Testament...

, chapters 18-20, sometimes word for word, sometimes added to, dislocated, or abridged, and Barnabas iv, 9 either derives from Didache, 16, 2-3, or vice versa. There can also be seen many similarities to the Epistles of both Polycarp
Polycarp
Saint Polycarp was a 2nd century Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him...

and Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

.The Shepherd of Hermas seems to reflect it, and Irenaeus
Irenaeus
Saint Irenaeus , was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire . He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology...

, Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

,Clement quotes the Didache as scripture. Durant, Will
Will Durant
William James Durant was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife Ariel Durant and published between 1935 and 1975...

. Caesar and Christ. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1972
and Origen of Alexandria also seem to use the work, and so in the West do Optatus and the Gesta apud Zenophilum. The Didascalia Apostolorum
Didascalia Apostolorum
Didascalia Apostolorum is a Christian treatise which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. It presents itself as being written by the Twelve Apostles at the time of the Council of Jerusalem, however, scholars agree that it was actually a composition of the 3rd century CE, perhaps around 230...

 are founded upon the Didache. The Apostolic Church-Ordinances
Apostolic Church-Ordinances
The Apostolic Church-Ordinance is a Christian treatise which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. The work can be dated at the end of 3rd century CE. The provenience is usually regarded as Egypt, or perhaps Syria...

 has used a part, the Apostolic Constitutions
Apostolic Constitutions
The Apostolic Constitutions is a Christian collection of eight treatises which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. The work can be dated from 375 to 380 AD. The provenience is usually regarded as Syria, probably Antioch...

 have embodied the Didascalia. There are echoes in Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr, also known as just Saint Justin , was an early Christian apologist. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue survive. He is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church....

, Tatian
Tatian
Tatian the Assyrian was an Assyrian early Christian writer and theologian of the 2nd century.Tatian's most influential work is the Diatessaron, a Biblical paraphrase, or "harmony", of the four gospels that became the standard text of the four gospels in the Syriac-speaking churches until the...

, Theophilus of Antioch
Theophilus of Antioch
Theophilus, Patriarch of Antioch, succeeded Eros c. 169, and was succeeded by Maximus I c.183, according to Henry Fynes Clinton, but these dates are only approximations...

, Cyprian
Cyprian
Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer, many of whose Latin works are extant. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education...

, and Lactantius
Lactantius
Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius was an early Christian author who became an advisor to the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine I, guiding his religious policy as it developed, and tutor to his son.-Biography:...

.

Contents

The contents may be divided into four parts, which most scholars agree were combined from separate sources by a later redactor
Redaction
Redaction is a form of editing in which multiple source texts are combined and subjected to minor alteration to make them into a single work. Often this is a method of collecting a series of writings on a similar theme and creating a definitive and coherent work...

: the first is the Two Ways, the Way of Life and the Way of Death (chapters 1-6); the second part is a ritual dealing with baptism, fasting
Fasting
Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day , or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive,...

, and Communion
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 (chapters 7-10); the third speaks of the ministry and how to deal with traveling prophets (chapters 11-15); and the final section (chapter 16) is a brief apocalypse
Apocalyptic literature
Apocalyptic literature is a genre of prophetical writing that developed in post-Exilic Jewish culture and was popular among millennialist early Christians....

.

Title

The manuscript is commonly referred to as the Didache. This is short for the header found on the document and the title used by the Church Fathers, "The Lord's Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" which Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

 said was the same as the Gospel according to the Hebrews. A fuller title or subtitle is also found next in the manuscript, "The Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles by the Twelve Apostles" .

Description

Willy Rordorf considered the first five chapters as "essentially Jewish, but the Christian community was able to use it" by adding the "evangelical section". "Lord" in the Didache is reserved usually for "Lord God", while Jesus is called "the servant" of the Father
God the Father
God the Father is a gendered title given to God in many monotheistic religions, particularly patriarchal, Abrahamic ones. In Judaism, God is called Father because he is the creator, life-giver, law-giver, and protector...

 (9:2f.; 10:2f.). Baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 was practised "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Scholars "generally agree that 9:10 represents an earlier tradition that was gradually replaced by the trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

 of names." A similarity with Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 3 is noted by Aaron Milavec: both see Jesus as "the servant (pais) of God". The community is presented as "awaiting the kingdom
Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven is a foundational concept in the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.The term "Kingdom of God" is found in all four canonical gospels and in the Pauline epistles...

 from the Father as entirely a future event".

The Two Ways

The first section (Chapters 1-6) begins: "There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between these two ways."

In Apostolic Fathers
Apostolic Fathers
The Apostolic Fathers are a small number of Early Christian authors who lived and wrote in the second half of the first century and the first half of the second century. They are acknowledged as leaders in the early church, although their writings were not included in the New Testament...

, 2nd ed., Lightfoot-Harmer-Holmes, 1992, notes:
The Two Ways material appears to have been intended, in light of 7.1, as a summary of basic instruction about the Christian life to be taught to those who were preparing for baptism and church membership. In its present form it represents the Christianization
Christianization
The historical phenomenon of Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire peoples at once...

 of a common Jewish form of moral instruction. Similar material is found in a number of other Christian writings from the first through about the fifth centuries, including the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didascalia, the Apostolic Church Ordinances, the Summary of Doctrine, the Apostolic Constitutions, the Life of Schnudi, and On the Teaching of the Apostles (or Doctrina), some of which are dependent on the Didache. The interrelationships between these various documents, however, are quite complex and much remains to be worked out.


The closest parallels in the use of the Two Ways doctrine is found among the Essene Jews at the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

 community. The Qumran community included a Two Ways teaching in its founding Charter, The Community Rule.

Throughout the Two Ways, there are many Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 quotes shared with the Gospels and many theological similarities, but Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 is never mentioned by name. The first chapter opens with the Shema ("you shall love God"), the Great Commandment
Great Commandment
The Great Commandment, or Greatest Commandment, is an appellation applied to either the first, or both, of two commandments which appear in , and...

 ("your neighbor as yourself"), and the Golden Rule
Ethic of reciprocity
The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, ethical code, or moralitythat essentially states either of the following:* : One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself....

 in the negative form (also found in the "Western" version of Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 at 15:19 and 29 as part of the Apostolic Decree
Council of Jerusalem
The Council of Jerusalem is a name applied by historians and theologians to an Early Christian council that was held in Jerusalem and dated to around the year 50. It is considered by Catholics and Orthodox to be a prototype and forerunner of the later Ecumenical Councils...

). Then comes short extracts in common with the Sermon on the Mount
Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew...

, together with a curious passage on giving and receiving, which is also cited with variations in Shepherd of Hermas (Mand., ii, 4-6). The Latin omits 1:3-6 and 2:1, and these sections have no parallel in Epistle of Barnabas
Epistle of Barnabas
The Epistle of Barnabas is a Greek epistle containing twenty-one chapters, preserved complete in the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus where it appears at the end of the New Testament...

; therefore, they may be a later addition, suggesting Hermas and the present text of the Didache may have used a common source, or one may have relied on the other. Chapter 2 contains the commandments against murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

, adultery
Adultery
Adultery is sexual infidelity to one's spouse, and is a form of extramarital sex. It originally referred only to sex between a woman who was married and a person other than her spouse. Even in cases of separation from one's spouse, an extramarital affair is still considered adultery.Adultery is...

, corrupting boys
Pederasty
Pederasty or paederasty is an intimate relationship between an adult and an adolescent boy outside his immediate family. The word pederasty derives from Greek "love of boys", a compound derived from "child, boy" and "lover".Historically, pederasty has existed as a variety of customs and...

, sexual promiscuity, theft
Theft
In common usage, theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting and fraud...

, magic
Magic (paranormal)
Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

, sorcery
Magic (paranormal)
Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

, abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

, infanticide
Infanticide
Infanticide or infant homicide is the killing of a human infant. Neonaticide, a killing within 24 hours of a baby's birth, is most commonly done by the mother.In many past societies, certain forms of infanticide were considered permissible...

, coveting, perjury
Perjury
Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding. That is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the...

, false testimony, speaking evil, holding grudges, being double-minded, not acting as you speak, greed, avarice, hypocrisy
Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie....

, maliciousness, arrogance
Hubris
Hubris , also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power....

, plotting evil against neighbors, hate, narcissism
Narcissism
Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait...

 and expansions on these generally, with references to the words of Jesus
Logia
In New Testament scholarship, the term logia is a term applied to collections of sayings credited to Jesus. Such a collection of sayings of Jesus are believed to be referred to by Papias of Hierapolis...

. Chapter 3 attempts to explain how one vice leads to another: anger to murder, concupiscence
Concupiscence
Concupiscence is often defined as an ardent, usually sensual, longing or lust. The concept is most commonly encountered in Christian theology, as the selfish human desire for an object, person, or experience...

 to adultery, and so forth. The whole chapter is excluded in Barnabas. A number of precepts are added in chapter 4, which ends: "This is the Way of Life." Verse 13 states you must not forsake the Lord's commandments
613 mitzvot
The 613 commandments is a numbering of the statements and principles of law, ethics, and spiritual practice contained in the Torah or Five Books of Moses...

, neither adding nor subtracting (see also ,). The Way of Death (chapter 5) is a list of vices to be avoided. Chapter 6 exhorts to the keeping in the Way of this Teaching:
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. (Roberts)


The Didache, like 1 Corinthians 10:21, does not give an absolute prohibition on eating meat which has been offered to idols, but merely advises to be careful. Comparable to the Didache is the "let him eat herbs" of Paul of Tarsus
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

 as a hyperbolical
Hyperbole
Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally....

 expression like : "I will never eat flesh, lest I should scandalize my brother", thus giving no support to the notion of vegetarianism
Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets , with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat...

 in the Early Church. John Chapman in the Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...

(1908) states that the Didache is referring to Jewish meats
Kashrut
Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér , meaning "fit" Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed...

. The Latin version substitutes for chapter 6 a similar close, omitting all reference to meats and to idolothyta, and concluding with per Domini nostri Jesu Christi ... in saecula saeculorum, amen, "by our lord Jesus Christ ... for ever and ever, amen". This is the end of the translation. This suggests 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 chapter 1, 3-6, so that this was presumably not in his copy.

Baptism

The second part (chapters 7 to 10) begins with an instruction on baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

, which is to be conferred "in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" in “living water” (that is, natural flowing water), if it can be had — if not, in cold or even warm water. The baptized and the baptizer, and, if possible, anyone else attending the ritual should fast for one or two days beforehand. If the water is insufficient for immersion, it may be poured three times on the head. A century ago, this point was used by Dr. C. Bigg to demonstrate the document's late date, a position no longer current among scholars.

Fasting

Chapter 8 suggests that fasts are not to be on Monday and Thursday "with the hypocrites" — presumably non-Christian Jews — but on Wednesday and Friday. Nor must Christians pray with their Judaic brethren, instead they shall say the Lord's Prayer
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

 three times a day. The text of the prayer is not identical to the version in the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

, and it is given with the doxology
Doxology
A doxology is a short hymn of praises to God in various Christian worship services, often added to the end of canticles, psalms, and hymns...

 "for Thine is the power and the glory for ever," whereas all but a few manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 have this interpolation with "the kingdom and the power" etc.

Eucharist ("thanksgiving")

Chapter 9 concerns the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

:
"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 Thou 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 Thou 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." (Roberts)


The Didache basically describes the same ritual as the one that took place in Corinth. The order of cup and bread differs both from present-day Christian practice and from that in the New Testament accounts of the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

, of which, again unlike almost all present-day Eucharistic celebrations, the Didache makes no mention.

Chapter 10 gives a thanksgiving after a meal. The contents of the meal are not indicated: chapter 9 does not exclude other elements as well that the cup and bread, which are the only ones it mentions, and chapter 10, whether it was originally a separate document or continues immediately the account in chapter 9, mentions no particular elements, not even wine and bread. Instead it speaks of the "spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Thy Servant" that it distinguishes from the "food and drink (given) to men for enjoyment that they might give thanks to (God)". After a doxology, as before, come the apocalyptic exclamations: "Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna
Hosanna
Hosanna is a liturgical word in Judaism and Christianity. In Judaism, it is always used in its original Hebrew form, Hoshana.- Etymology :The word hosanna is etymologically derived from the Hebrew , ...

 to the God (Son) of David! If any one is holy, let him come; if any one is not so, let him repent. Maranatha
Maranatha
Maranatha is an Aramaic word occurring twice in the New Testament and also in the Didache which is part of the Apostolic Fathers' collection. It is transliterated into Greek letters rather than translated, and is found at the end of Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians...

. Amen". The prayer is reminiscent of and .

These prayers make no reference to the redemptive death of Christ, or remembrance, as formulated by Paul the Apostle in , see also Substitutionary atonement
Substitutionary atonement
Technically speaking, substitutionary atonement is the name given to a number of Christian models of the atonement that all regard Jesus as dying as a substitute for others, "instead of" them...

. Didache 10 doesn't even use the word "Christ," which appears only one other time in the whole tract.

Some have posited that, in spite of the order in the manuscript text, chapter 10 should precede chapter 9: "Some scholars rearranged the text of chapters 9 & 10 (in comparison with chapter 14) to accommodate their view that the later Roman Mass is closer to what they understand to be truly Christian" (Wim van den Dungen). John Dominic Crossan endorses John W. Riggs' 1984 The Second Century article for the proposition that 'there are two quite separate eucharistic celebrations given in Didache 9-10, with the earlier one now put in second place." The section beginning at 10.1 is a reworking of the Jewish birkat ha-mazon
Birkat Hamazon
Birkat Hamazon or Birkath Hammazon, , known in English as the Grace After Meals, , is a set of Hebrew blessings that Jewish Law prescribes following a meal that includes bread or matzoh made from one or all of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt...

, a three-strophe prayer at the conclusion of a meal, which includes a blessing of God for sustaining the universe, a blessing of God who gives the gifts of food, earth, and covenant
Covenant (biblical)
A biblical covenant is an agreement found in the Bible between God and His people in which God makes specific promises and demands. It is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith. It it is used in the Tanakh 286 times . All Abrahamic religions consider the Biblical covenant...

, and a prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem
Jerusalem in Judaism
Since the 10th century BCE Jerusalem has been the holiest city, focus and spiritual center of the Jewish people:*"Israel was first forged into a unified nation from Jerusalem some three thousand years ago, when King David seized the crown and united the twelve tribes from this city.....

; the content is "Christianized", but the form remains Jewish. It is similar to the Syrian Church eucharist rite of the Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari
Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari
The Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari belongs to the East Syrian liturgical family and is in regular use in the Assyrian Church of the East, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Chaldean Catholic Church. Saint Addai and Saint Mari are credited with having written it...

, belonging to "a primordial era when the euchology of the Church had not yet inserted the Institution Narrative in the text of the Eucharistic Prayer."

Resurrection

The Didache makes no mention of Jesus' resurrection
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

, other than thanking for "immortality, which Thou hast made known unto us through Thy Son Jesus" in the eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, but the Didache makes specific reference to the resurrection of the just
Resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

 prior to the Lord's coming
Second Coming
In Christian doctrine, the Second Coming of Christ, the Second Advent, or the Parousia, is the anticipated return of Jesus Christ from Heaven, where he sits at the Right Hand of God, to Earth. This prophecy is found in the canonical gospels and in most Christian and Islamic eschatologies...

.

Matthew and the Didache

In modern scholarship a new consensus is emerging which dates the Didache at about the turn of the 1st century. At the same time, significant similarities between the Didache and the gospel of Matthew have been found as these writings share words, phrases, and motifs. There is also an increasing reluctance of modern scholars to support the thesis that the Didache used Matthew. This close relationship between these two writings might suggest that both documents were created in the same historical and geographical setting. One argument that suggests a common environment is that the community of both the Didache and the gospel of Matthew was probably composed of Judaeo-Christians
Jewish Christians
Jewish Christians is a term which appears in historical texts contrasting Christians of Jewish origin with Gentile Christians, both in discussion of the New Testament church and the second and following centuries....

 from the beginning, though each writing shows indications of a congregation which appears to have alienated itself from its Jewish background (see also List of events marking the split between early Christianity and Judaism). Also, the Two Ways teaching (Did. 1-6) may have served as a pre-baptismal instruction within the community of the Didache and Matthew. Furthermore, the correspondence of the Trinitarian baptismal formula in the Didache and Matthew (Did. 7 and Matt 28:19) as well as the similar shape of the Lord's Prayer (Did. 8 and Matt 6:5-13) apparently reflect the use of resembling oral forms of church traditions. Finally, both the community of the Didache (Did. 11-13) and Matthew (Matt 7:15-23; 10:5-15, 40-42; 24:11,24) were visited by itinerant apostles and prophets, some of whom were illegitimate.

See also

  • Ancient Church Orders
    Ancient Church Orders
    Ancient Church Orders is a genre of early Christian literature, ranging from 1st to 5th century, which has the aim to offer authoritative "apostolic" prescriptions on matters of moral conduct, liturgy and Church organization....

  • Brotherly love (philosophy)
    Brotherly love (philosophy)
    Brotherly love in the biblical sense is an extension of the natural affection associated with near kin, toward the greater community of fellow believers, that goes beyond the mere duty in to "love thy neighbour as thyself", and shows itself as "unfeigned love" from a "pure heart", that extends an...

  • Codex Hierosolymitanus
    Codex Hierosolymitanus
    Codex Hierosolymitanus is an 11th-century Greek manuscript, written by an unknown scribe named Leo, who dated it 1056...

  • Gospel according to the Hebrews

External links

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