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Dating of the Didache

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  • Bob Schacht
    On another list, ... He then wonders which is correct. Gregory Singleton responded, ... I assume that the second century date is normative among critical
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 4, 1998
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      On another list,
      >On Tue, 3 Nov 1998, Rob Tanner wrote:
      >
      >> In Gregory Dix's introduction to The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, he
      >> briefly discusses the Didache and dates it around 190 CE.
      ><snip>
      >> Robert Taft, in his LITURGY OF THE HOURS IN EAST AND WEST follows the
      >> dating by J.-P. Audet who claims that it is an Antiochene docuemnt dating
      >> from between 50 and 70 CE.

      He then wonders which is correct. Gregory Singleton responded,
      >
      >Frank Senn briefly mentions this problem in his _Christian Liturgy:
      >Catholic and Evangelical_, p. 62. He argues that "a *terminus ad quem* is
      >not difficult to establish," and dates it prior to the second century,
      >based on a significantly different conceptualization of ministry in the
      >Didache from that found in the early 2nd century letters of Ignatius of
      >Antioch (which is something of a redaction of the ministerium implied by
      >the Didache).
      >
      >All of this seems predicated on the assumption that the Didache originated
      >somewhere near Antioch. However, in the very next paragraph Senn cites
      >evidence which indicates that the document could have originated in
      >Palestine or Egypt (especially) as well.
      >
      >Best to consult Senn's work (and his seven bibliographical citations,
      >including Audet) than to depend on this summary by a 19th-/20th-century
      >specialist in American religion.
      >
      >Pax et bonum,
      >
      >Gregory
      >
      > Gregory Holmes Singleton

      I assume that the second century date is normative among critical scholars
      these days, but I wonder on what basis Audet claims such an early date? If
      he's right, that might shake things up a bit.

      Bob
      "Is it not extraordinary to the point of being a miracle, that so loose
      and ill-constructed a narrative in an antique translation of a dubious
      text should after so many centuries still have power to quell and
      dominate a restless, opinionated, overexercised and undernourished,
      twentieth-century mind?"
      Malcolm Muggeridge _Jesus Rediscovered_ (1969),
      writing about the KJV New Testament
    • Ian Hutchesson
      ... Bob, I wouldn t be too quick to go along with the second century dating for Didache. It doesn t give one the idea that it has a structured church, but that
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 4, 1998
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        >>> In Gregory Dix's introduction to The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, he
        >>> briefly discusses the Didache and dates it around 190 CE.
        >><snip>
        >>> Robert Taft, in his LITURGY OF THE HOURS IN EAST AND WEST follows the
        >>> dating by J.-P. Audet who claims that it is an Antiochene docuemnt dating
        >>> from between 50 and 70 CE.
        >I assume that the second century date is normative among critical scholars
        >these days, but I wonder on what basis Audet claims such an early date? If
        >he's right, that might shake things up a bit.

        Bob, I wouldn't be too quick to go along with the second century dating for
        Didache. It doesn't give one the idea that it has a structured church, but
        that it belonged to the times when there were those itinerant preachers,
        which suggests first century. So, is it for some reason whose politics is
        uncertain historicizing or is it really from the early period. I don't
        really know how to judge.


        Ian
      • Sakari Häkkinen
        ... From: Bob Schacht To: crosstalk@info.harpercollins.com Date: 4. marraskuuta 1998 16:09 Subject:
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 4, 1998
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          -----Original Message-----
          From: Bob Schacht <Robert.Schacht@...>
          To: crosstalk@... <crosstalk@...>
          Date: 4. marraskuuta 1998 16:09
          Subject: Dating of the Didache


          >On another list,
          >>On Tue, 3 Nov 1998, Rob Tanner wrote:
          >>
          >>> In Gregory Dix's introduction to The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, he
          >>> briefly discusses the Didache and dates it around 190 CE.
          >><snip>
          >>> Robert Taft, in his LITURGY OF THE HOURS IN EAST AND WEST follows the
          >>> dating by J.-P. Audet who claims that it is an Antiochene docuemnt dating
          >>> from between 50 and 70 CE.
          >
          >He then wonders which is correct. Gregory Singleton responded,
          >>
          >>Frank Senn briefly mentions this problem in his _Christian Liturgy:
          >>Catholic and Evangelical_, p. 62. He argues that "a *terminus ad quem* is
          >>not difficult to establish," and dates it prior to the second century,
          >>based on a significantly different conceptualization of ministry in the
          >>Didache from that found in the early 2nd century letters of Ignatius of
          >>Antioch (which is something of a redaction of the ministerium implied by
          >>the Didache).
          >>
          >>All of this seems predicated on the assumption that the Didache originated
          >>somewhere near Antioch. However, in the very next paragraph Senn cites
          >>evidence which indicates that the document could have originated in
          >>Palestine or Egypt (especially) as well.
          >>
          >>Best to consult Senn's work (and his seven bibliographical citations,
          >>including Audet) than to depend on this summary by a 19th-/20th-century
          >>specialist in American religion.
          >>
          >>Pax et bonum,
          >>
          >>Gregory
          >>
          >> Gregory Holmes Singleton
          >
          >I assume that the second century date is normative among critical scholars
          >these days, but I wonder on what basis Audet claims such an early date? If
          >he's right, that might shake things up a bit.
          >
          >Bob
          >"Is it not extraordinary to the point of being a miracle, that so loose
          >and ill-constructed a narrative in an antique translation of a dubious
          >text should after so many centuries still have power to quell and
          >dominate a restless, opinionated, overexercised and undernourished,
          >twentieth-century mind?"
          >Malcolm Muggeridge _Jesus Rediscovered_ (1969),
          >writing about the KJV New Testament
          >
          >
          Crossan supposes that Didache "is totally independent of any of the synoptic gospels" (The Birth of Christianity,1998, p. 387). He gives it a very early dating and thinks that it reflects the views of early christians householders from the other side than Q and Gospel of Thomas, which he also argues to be independent of the synoptics and very early, too. "To look at the Q Gospel or the Gospel of Thomas alone is to look at a half-picture or a half-community. It is the Didache that gives us our best glimpse of the other half of that picture and that community."(406). Crossan refers to Audet (p. 385).
          Isn't this quite an exceptional view among scholars?

          Sakari
          ____________________
          Sakari Hakkinen
          University of Helsinki
          Department of Biblical Studies
          sakari.hakkinen@...
        • Bob Schacht
          At 06:29 PM 11/4/98 +0200, Sakari Häkkinen wrote, in response to my ... synoptic gospels (The Birth of Christianity,1998, p. 387). He gives it a very early
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 4, 1998
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            At 06:29 PM 11/4/98 +0200, Sakari Häkkinen wrote, in response to my
            forwarded inquiry about the date of the Didache:
            >
            >Crossan supposes that Didache "is totally independent of any of the
            synoptic gospels" (The Birth of Christianity,1998, p. 387). He gives it a
            very early dating and thinks that it reflects the views of early christians
            householders from the other side than Q and Gospel of Thomas, which he also
            argues to be independent of the synoptics and very early, too. "To look at
            the Q Gospel or the Gospel of Thomas alone is to look at a half-picture or
            a half-community. It is the Didache that gives us our best glimpse of the
            other half of that picture and that community."(406). Crossan refers to
            Audet (p. 385).
            >Isn't this quite an exceptional view among scholars?
            >
            >Sakari

            Sakari,
            Thank you for this response, and welcome to the list! I hadn't known that
            Crossan supports Audet's early date for the Didache. This makes things
            interesting.

            The complete(?) text of the Didache may be viewed on the web at:
            http://wesley.nnc.edu/noncanon/fathers/ante-nic/didache.htm

            It is an interesting document, with respect to information about the
            historical Jesus, because it does not explicitly claim to quote any sayings
            of Jesus, and yet in Matthew and other gospels, many of the same teachings
            are attributed to Jesus. This alone merits our attention.

            It is not like the Gospels because there is virtually no narrative.

            It is not like GThomas because it is not explicitly presented as ipsissima
            verba Jesu, although its tone is one of authoritative teaching. For this
            reason also, it is not like Q.

            So I'm interested in a little source-critical analysis here:
            1. How many Mark/Didache parallels are there?
            2. How many Matthew/Didache parallels are there?
            3. How many Luke/Didache parallels are there?
            4. How many Q/Didache parallels are there?
            5. How many Thomas/Didache parallels are there?
            6. Are there any John/Didache parallels?

            Overlaps are clear: e.g., the Didache has the Lord's Prayer.

            Then
            7. Can Didache redactional tendencies be discerned?
            8. Who is borrowing from whom, or is Crossan correct that this is an
            independent source?

            There has been a flurry of recent Didache scholarship; a simple search of
            Amazon.com turns up a number of new books of interest, e.g.:
            Didache : A Commentary (Hermeneia--A Critical and Historical Commentary on
            the Bible) -- Kurt Niederwimmer, et al; Hardcover
            Published 1998 (Not Yet Published)

            The Didache in Context : Essays on Its Text, History, and Transmission
            (Supplements to Novum Testamentum, Vol 77) Vol 77
            C.N. Jefford(Editor) / Hardcover / Published 1995

            Eschatology in the Making : Mark, Matthew and the Didache (Monograph Series
            (Society for New Testament Studies), 97) Vicky Balabanski / Hardcover /
            Published 1997


            The Influence of the Gospel of Saint Matthew on Christian Literature Before
            Saint Irenaeus : Book 3 : The Apologists and the Didache (New Gospel Stud)
            Edouard Massaux, et al / Hardcover / Published 1994


            The Sayings of Jesus in the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (Supplements to
            Vigiliae Christianae, Vol 11)
            Clayton N. Jefford / Hardcover / Published 1997

            Didache : The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles
            Roswell A.Brown, Francis Hitchcock(Translator) / Published 1989


            Thus, it appears that the most recent Jefford book, at least, is directly
            relevant to our interests. Has anyone read it?

            Bob


            *******************************
            Robert M. Schacht
            Northern Arizona University

            Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
            (Where charity and love are [found], God is there)
            9th century latin hymn
          • Mike Grondin
            ... I don t see why, Bob, unless there s a proto-Didache being postulated. The thing looks like it s informed by a knowledge of what it itself refers to
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 5, 1998
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              Bob Schacht writes about the Didache:

              >It is an interesting document, with respect to information about the
              >historical Jesus, because it does not explicitly claim to quote any
              >sayings of Jesus, and yet in Matthew and other gospels, many of the
              >same teachings are attributed to Jesus. This alone merits our attention.

              I don't see why, Bob, unless there's a proto-Didache being postulated. The
              thing looks like it's informed by a knowledge of what it itself refers to
              several times as "the Gospel". So what's the surprise that "many of the
              same teachings" are found in Matthew, e.g.? This is not to say that there
              aren't things of interest in the text (there are), or that the text doesn't
              look relatively early (it does), but it could not have chronologically
              preceded whatever it is that it's referring to as "the gospel" - if that's
              what you're suggesting - nor does its interest for us derive from the
              (faulty) reasoning you seem to be employing above (i.e., it's interesting
              "because it does not explicitly claim ...").

              Kind regards,
              Mike G.
              ------------------------------------
              Resources for the Study of NH Codex2
              http://www.geocities.com/athens/9068
            • Bob Schacht
              ... Mike, Everything hinges on the date (as it does with GThomas!!!) If the date is late (as many people argue for both the Didache and GThomas), then this
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 5, 1998
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                At 11:02 AM 11/5/98 -0500, Mike Grondin wrote:
                >Bob Schacht writes about the Didache:
                >
                >>It is an interesting document, with respect to information about the
                >>historical Jesus, because it does not explicitly claim to quote any
                >>sayings of Jesus, and yet in Matthew and other gospels, many of the
                >>same teachings are attributed to Jesus. This alone merits our attention.
                >
                >I don't see why, Bob, unless there's a proto-Didache being postulated.

                Mike,
                Everything hinges on the date (as it does with GThomas!!!)
                If the date is late (as many people argue for both the Didache and
                GThomas), then this increases the probability that both documents are in
                some sense derivative, and they lose interest.

                But the opening wedge of this thread was based on the claim by Crossan that
                the Didache, as well as GThomas, probably pre-dates both Matthew and Luke.
                This would change everything. If true, then instead of being quaint
                derivative documents, they would become primary documents, both of value
                for HJ research, but in different ways. Crossan makes claims for the
                independence of the Didache as he makes claims for the independence of
                GThomas.


                If this is the case, or even if it is *possibly* the case, then we should
                no longer *ASSUME* that the Didache is late and derivative, but we should
                subject it to the same kinds of source criticism and form criticism to
                which we have subjected the GThomas. We have engaged in long debates about
                whether passage X in Th shows signs of having been borrowed/adapted from
                passage Y in one of the synoptic Gospels, or vice versa. If we can no
                longer assume that the Didache is late and derivative, should we not also
                do the same for it, too?

                Bob
                *******************************
                Robert M. Schacht
                Northern Arizona University

                Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
                (Where charity and love are [found], God is there)
                9th century latin hymn
              • Bernard Muller
                ... Bob, are you claiming that there is a possibility that *ALL* the Didache document is early, or only a part of it (bottom layer/proto-Didache) is early?
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 5, 1998
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                  Bob Schacht wrote:
                  >
                  > At 11:02 AM 11/5/98 -0500, Mike Grondin wrote:
                  > >Bob Schacht writes about the Didache:

                  Bob, are you claiming that there is a possibility that *ALL* the Didache
                  document is early, or only a part of it (bottom layer/proto-Didache) is
                  early?

                  Bernard
                  http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/
                  Please note I reworked my appendix A, especially section 3, to make my
                  argumentation more comprehensible. (I am mentioning that because many
                  crosstalkers hit it during the heated (and ugly) debate)
                  http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/appa.shtml
                • Bob Schacht
                  ... Bernard, From what little I know, it appears that the Didache shows more signs of editorial re-writing than, say, GThomas. I am *guessing*, along with Bob
                  Message 8 of 10 , Nov 5, 1998
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                    At 10:59 AM 11/5/98 -0700, Bernard Muller wrote:
                    >Bob Schacht wrote:
                    >>
                    >> At 11:02 AM 11/5/98 -0500, Mike Grondin wrote:
                    >> >Bob Schacht writes about the Didache:
                    >
                    >Bob, are you claiming that there is a possibility that *ALL* the Didache
                    >document is early, or only a part of it (bottom layer/proto-Didache) is
                    >early?
                    >
                    >Bernard

                    Bernard,
                    From what little I know, it appears that the Didache shows more signs of
                    editorial re-writing than, say, GThomas. I am *guessing*, along with Bob
                    Kraft, that the final redaction of the Didache was second century, but that
                    *most* of the Didache, as we now have it, may well be essentially
                    contemporary with the synoptic gospels, if Crossan's claim has any merit.

                    It should be clear that I am no expert on the Didache. I listed a number of
                    recent sources and critical commentaries on it, and I am hoping that some
                    listers will look at some of those books and tell us what they find,
                    especially as to the date(s) of composition and redaction of the Didache,
                    and its possible value for this forum.

                    I suggest a parallel here with GThomas research: Lots of folks assume that
                    it is late in date, derivative, and therefore of little interest. So they
                    don't ever bother to take it seriously. Then a few folks (e.g., Steve
                    Davies) come along, making sustained and reasonable arguments that GThomas
                    is NOT late, and is NOT derivative, so that now, finally, people are
                    actually looking at the evidence and not dismissing GThomas out of hand.

                    My question is, has the same thing been happening with the Didache?
                    Is it now time to take a new look at its relevance?

                    Bob


                    *******************************
                    Robert M. Schacht
                    Northern Arizona University

                    Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
                    (Where charity and love are [found], God is there)
                    9th century latin hymn
                  • Stevan Davies
                    ... Well, for HJ studies I think you are right. If it s derivitive then it s nearly irrelevant. Still, it can be a case in point to how sayings are altered
                    Message 9 of 10 , Nov 5, 1998
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                      Bob Schacht writes about the Didache:

                      > Everything hinges on the date (as it does with GThomas!!!)
                      > If the date is late (as many people argue for both the Didache and
                      > GThomas), then this increases the probability that both documents are in
                      > some sense derivative, and they lose interest.

                      Well, for HJ studies I think you are right. If it's derivitive then
                      it's nearly irrelevant. Still, it can be a case in point to how
                      sayings are altered over time. I've not looked into whether it is
                      derivitive or not. Maybe we should examine that.

                      It wasn't until recently that I looked into 2 Clement, which I'd just
                      assumed was mainly derivitive, and found that it is mainly not, if
                      at all.

                      But unlike Thomas, which has at best some limited data as regards
                      Christian ideological variations, the Didache is full of very
                      interesting sociological information regarding the rise of
                      Christianity and Christian communities. It certainly seems to be on
                      the cusp of the spirit-experience/prophetic style of Christianity
                      and the "routinized Chrisma" institutional church. Except for
                      "sayings" the Didache is a lot more interesting than Thomas.
                      Last-Supper fanatics find it fascinating.

                      As for translations, I'll tell a story about translations. I was at
                      an NEH seminar with Neusner in 1988 and one guy's project was
                      to do a translation of Didache and figure out "the system" in it.
                      (I did "the system" of the Gospel of Truth, sans translation.)
                      Anyhow, guy presented his translation and allowed as how he
                      couldn't see any system at all. I then showed how the system of it
                      has everything to do with who gets paid what money; i.e. the Didache
                      guy wants it and doesn't want others to have much at all. Translator
                      hated that idea. Later on he presented his translation revised and
                      improved in light of critical comment and the money elements had
                      either disappeared or become very subordinate to other elements.
                      Ever since I've had the frightening realization that
                      a) translations are biased by translators' presuppositions.
                      b) if you do your own translation, to avoid this problem, you'll end
                      up with one biased by your own presuppositions.

                      Steve
                    • Bernard Muller
                      Bernard wrote: Bob, are you claiming that there is a possibility that *ALL* the Didache document is early, or only a part of it (bottom layer/proto-Didache) is
                      Message 10 of 10 , Nov 5, 1998
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                        Bernard wrote:
                        Bob, are you claiming that there is a possibility that *ALL* the Didache
                        document is early, or only a part of it (bottom layer/proto-Didache) is
                        early?

                        Bob Schacht answered
                        Bernard,
                        From what little I know, it appears that the Didache shows more signs of
                        editorial re-writing than, say, GThomas. I am *guessing*, along with Bob
                        Kraft, that the final redaction of the Didache was second century, but
                        that *most* of the Didache, as we now have it, may well be essentially
                        contemporary with the synoptic gospels, if Crossan's claim has any
                        merit.

                        Bernard is commenting:
                        Bob,
                        Thank you for your very clear and honest answer.
                        After my reading of the document, I certainly would agree with Bob Kraft
                        about the final 2nd century redaction for the Didache (as for GThomas,
                        in my view).
                        Does the Didache (and GThomas) include primary elements? Certainly that
                        can be researched, discussed at length and hotly debated, but I doubt,
                        that after all that effort, grief and time, anything authoritative and
                        firm can be determined. That's my opinion anyway.
                        Please note that Crossan accepted a lot of early Christian writings as
                        being primary (at least in part), providing him with the multiple
                        attestations. That includes Peter/to the Hebrews/to the Egyptians/Mark
                        secret/ gospels, dialogue of the Savior, shepherd of Hermas, letters of
                        Ignatus, Apocryphon of James, the Christian Sibylline Oracles, etc...
                        Note: Crossan commented "... Christian Sibylline Oracles, a work of
                        uncertain date, that, I think, is independant of the canonical gospels."
                        Crossan, the historical Jesus, 15, 'walking on water'.
                        Bernard
                        http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/
                        "debate is not a substitute for research"
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