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Dating the Didache

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  • Dating the Didache

    In Redating the New Testament, John A. Robinson, on pages 322-327, discusses the dating of the Didache. I propose to present his discussion in serial paragraphs.

    Please do not post any caballa in this thread.

    I am typing this on an iPad to minimize exacerbation of my Stasis Dermatitis; so, I cannot do my usual indenting of quotes because I do not know how to do that on an iPad. Just consider everything I write below to be the words of Robinson, or, words that Robinson is quoting from another source.

  • #2
    Originally posted by John Reece View Post
    In Redating the New Testament, John A. T. Robinson, on pages 322-327, discusses the dating of the Didache. I propose to present his discussion in serial paragraphs.

    Please do not post any caballa in this thread.

    I am typing this on an iPad to minimize exacerbation of my Stasis Dermatitis; so, I cannot do my usual indenting of quotes because I do not know how to do that on an iPad. Just consider everything I write below to be the words of Robinson, or, words that Robinson is quoting from another source.
    So we turn to the third of three writings that have been closely linked and indeed held to be mutually dependent -- the Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, discovered in 1875, and published in 1883. Of no other Christian book have the dating-estimates shown a wider swing -- ranging between 50 and the fourth century. It is significant that Edmundson, who opts for an early dating of everything else, is inclined, though without any adequate discussion, to concur with Bigg (who thought II Peter apostolic!) in placing it at the latter extreme. In Armitage Robinson's words,

    It does not seem to fit in anywhere, in either time or place. The community which it presupposes is out of relation to all of Church history.... We still ask, Was there ever a Church which celebrated the Eucharist after the manner here enjoined? Was there ever a Church which refused to allow Apostles more than.a two day's stay?

    His conclusion was that it was an artificial and imaginative construction of an ideal apostolic era which affords no reliable historical information of that or any other time. But his own question, 'What after all was the writer's object in writing the book?, remained unanswered.

    Comment


    • #3
      Of interest to you, and certainly relevant to your OP, there's been some hubub online recently about the Didache being a legit contender for Q. Personally, I think it's nonsense (and a few scholars seem to agree), but here's a link to the basic outline:

      https://isthatinthebible.wordpress.c...d-the-didache/

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Adrift View Post
        Of interest to you, and certainly relevant to your OP, there's been some hubub online recently about the Didache being a legit contender for Q. Personally, I think it's nonsense (and a few scholars seem to agree), but here's a link to the basic outline:

        https://isthatinthebible.wordpress.c...d-the-didache/
        Thanks, Adrift.

        Comment


        • #5
          I read The Didache: Its Jewish Sources and its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity by Huub van de Sandt and David Flusser a while back. It's quite an interesting document.
          Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

          Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
          sigpic
          I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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          • #6
            Originally posted by John Reece View Post
            So we turn to the third of three writings that have been closely linked and indeed held to be mutually dependent -- the Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, discovered in 1875, and published in 1883. Of no other Christian book have the dating-estimates shown a wider swing -- ranging between 50 and the fourth century. It is significant that Edmundson, who opts for an early dating of everything else, is inclined, though without any adequate discussion, to concur with Bigg (who thought II Peter apostolic!) in placing it at the latter extreme. In Armitage Robinson's words,

            It does not seem to fit in anywhere, in either time or place. The community which it presupposes is out of relation to all of Church history.... We still ask, Was there ever a Church which celebrated the Eucharist after the manner here enjoined? Was there ever a Church which refused to allow Apostles more than.a two day's stay?

            His conclusion was that it was an artificial and imaginative construction of an ideal apostolic era which affords no reliable historical information of that or any other time. But his own question, 'What after all was the writer's object in writing the book?, remained unanswered.
            But, if we cannot fit it into any period of liturgy or ministry for which we have written evidence, is it possible that it belongs to a period before such documentation? This is the thesis that has boldly been announced by the French Canadian J.-P. Audet, who concludes that it was composed, almost certainly at Antioch, between 50 and 70. Coming to this only after reaching my own conclusions on the chronology of the New Testament, I cannot but concur with the remarkably sympathetic review by Kelly in regarding it as a most persuasive thesis argued in a masterly manner.

            (Please remember that everything I am posting other than replies to other posters are the words of John A. T. Robinson -JR.)
            Last edited by John Reece; 07-08-2015, 10:48 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by John Reece View Post
              But, if we cannot fit it into any period of liturgy or ministry for which we have written evidence, is it possible that it belongs to a period before such documentation? This is the thesis that has boldly been announced by the French Canadian J.-P. Audet, who concludes that it was composed, almost certainly at Antioch, between 50 and 70. Coming to this only after reaching my own conclusions on the chronology of the New Testament, I cannot but concur with the remarkably sympathetic review by Kelly in regarding it as a most persuasive thesis argued in a masterly manner.

              (Please remember that everything I am posting other than replies to other posters are the words of John A. T. Robinson -JR.)
              If one thing is now probable it is that the material on 'the two ways' which comprises the first half of the Didache (1.1-6.2) is not, as Armitage Robinson, Vokes and others argued, dependent upon the Epistle of Barnabas (18-20) with which it has many close parallels, but that both go back to common Jewish sources. The evidence of the Qumran Manual of Discipline which preserves very similar material, has tilted the balance again in favor of the latter view. The same applies to the much weaker case for the Didache's dependence on Hermas.

              (I am omitting all 29 footnotes to Robinson's discussion of the dating of the Didache -JR).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                Of interest to you, and certainly relevant to your OP, there's been some hubub online recently about the Didache being a legit contender for Q. Personally, I think it's nonsense (and a few scholars seem to agree), but here's a link to the basic outline:

                https://isthatinthebible.wordpress.c...d-the-didache/
                That's probably not as bad as one book I'm aware of that argues that the author of the Didache was one of the "antichrists" 1 John was responding to.
                "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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                • #9
                  Henry Chadwick dates it to 70 – 110 A.D., Ben Witherington to 85 – 150 A.D., and Van de Sandt to the "close of the 1st Century”.
                  That's what
                  - She

                  Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                  - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                  I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                  Stephen R. Donaldson

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                    Henry Chadwick dates it to 70 – 110 A.D., Ben Witherington to 85 – 150 A.D., and Van de Sandt to the "close of the 1st Century”.
                    On the basis of what evidence?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by John Reece View Post
                      On the basis of what evidence?
                      I'll see if I can dig up Van de Sandt this weekend and give you a synopsis.
                      Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                      Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                      sigpic
                      I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                        I'll see if I can dig up Van de Sandt this weekend and give you a synopsis.
                        Thanks!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by John Reece View Post
                          If one thing is now probable it is that the material on 'the two ways' which comprises the first half of the Didache (1.1-6.2) is not, as Armitage Robinson, Vokes and others argued, dependent upon the Epistle of Barnabas (18-20) with which it has many close parallels, but that both go back to common Jewish sources. The evidence of the Qumran Manual of Discipline which preserves very similar material, has tilted the balance again in favor of the latter view. The same applies to the much weaker case for the Didache's dependence on Hermas.
                          More contentious is the relationship between the Didache and the New Testament. It was characteristic of an earlier period to see every echoed phrase as denoting direct citation and literary dependence. Thus, even the 'Amen' in Did.10.6, says Armitage Robinson, 'doubtless comes from 1Cor.14.16', and Vokes holds that Didache is based on 'the whole of our New Testament, with the possible exception of the very late II Peter and the unimportant Mark and Philemon'. But there is an increasing tendency to recognize that apparent quotations in this period are far more likely to reflect oral tradition, and Audit argues that the Didache is completely independent of our written gospels. Though he believes it to have been written at two stages (by the same hand), even the allusions at the second stage to a written 'gospel' do not, he contends, refer to our Matthew but to a sayings-collection of ethical teachings. Moreover, the passage in 1.3b-5, which contains the closest parallels of all and which with most others he agrees to be an interpolation, still, he believes (unlike Koester), represents common oral tradition rather than a conflation of Matthew and Luke. The Didache, in other words, is valuable evidence for the prehistory of the synoptic tradition, and particularly of the Matthean: it does not reflect later quotations from it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by John Reece View Post
                            More contentious is the relationship between the Didache and the New Testament. It was characteristic of an earlier period to see every echoed phrase as denoting direct citation and literary dependence. Thus, even the 'Amen' in Did.10.6, says Armitage Robinson, 'doubtless comes from 1Cor.14.16', and Vokes holds that Didache is based on 'the whole of our New Testament, with the possible exception of the very late II Peter and the unimportant Mark and Philemon'. But there is an increasing tendency to recognize that apparent quotations in this period are far more likely to reflect oral tradition, and Audit argues that the Didache is completely independent of our written gospels. Though he believes it to have been written at two stages (by the same hand), even the allusions at the second stage to a written 'gospel' do not, he contends, refer to our Matthew but to a sayings-collection of ethical teachings. Moreover, the passage in 1.3b-5, which contains the closest parallels of all and which with most others he agrees to be an interpolation, still, he believes (unlike Koester), represents common oral tradition rather than a conflation of Matthew and Luke. The Didache, in other words, is valuable evidence for the prehistory of the synoptic tradition, and particularly of the Matthean: it does not reflect later quotations from it.
                            None of this can be more than a matter of probability. It is impossibible to be dogmatic about the source of quotations. But I find the presumption against literary dependence to be strong. Yet, though dependence could knock out a very early dating (depending of course on the date of the gospels), independence cannot establish it. The case must rest on the genuine primativeness of the the many indications in the Didache which point to a stage in the life of the church which is still that of the New Testament period itself.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Van de Sandt argues that the Didache consists of a composition of other earlier writings with the final form coming together near the end of the 1st cent by a final editor he calls the Didachist.

                              Source: The Didache: Its Jewish Sources and Its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity


                              Throughout our analysis of the Didache, it will become quite evident that this booklet cannot be considered a homogeneous text. The Didache is a compilation of several older sources which are structured into four clearly separated thematic sections: the Two Ways document (Chaps. 1-6 with later additions in 1:3b-2:1 and in 6:2-3), a liturgical treatise (Chaps. 7-10), a treatise on church organization (Chaps. 11-15 with a later expansion in 11-13) and an eschatological section (Chap. 16). Each individual part belongs to a different literary genre, has evolved over a period of time, and makes up a coherent unity.

                              © Copyright Original Source



                              As to its dating, this seems to be based on his analysis of the Jerusalem Codex as can be seen on page 21 of this work

                              Source: The Didache: Its Jewish Sources and Its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity


                              First some chronological data with regard to the individual works contained in our manuscript as a whole manuscript are needed. John Chrysostom lived between 347-407 CE and because the Synopsis Veteris et Novi Testamenti was written later, it has been wrongly attributed to him.41 The Epistle of Barnabas was probably composed at the beginning of the second century CE. The First Epistle of Clement was conceived ca. 96 CE while the Second Epistle of Clement stems from the first half of the second century CE. As for the Didache itself, it was surely edited before this date. The secondary, longer version of the correspondence of Ignatius of Antioch was not composed before the late fourth century CE.42

                              © Copyright Original Source



                              The link above goes to a Google online version of the book. Perhaps you can find more information in it concerning his reasoning but unfortunately I don't have the time right now.


                              I should add that in his The Didache: A window on the earliest Christians Thomas O'Loughlin apparently puts it at some point during the mid to late first century

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