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Re: Dating of the Didache

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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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