# Friday, April 07, 2006

[This is part of a running series on the Didache. See the introductory post for more information -- RWB]

Phrasing/Translation

Ὁδοί δύο εἰσί,
There are two ways,
   μία τῆς ζωῆς
   one of life
   καὶ μία τοῦ θανάθου,
   and one of death;
      διαφορὰ δὲ πολλὴ μεταξὺ τῶν δύο ὁδῶν.
      there is great difference between the two ways.
Ἡ μὲν οὖν ὁδὸς τῆς ζωῆς ἐστιν αὕτη·
The way of life is this:
   πρῶτον ἀγαπήσεις τὸν θεὸν τὸν ποιήσαντά σε
   First, love the Lord who made you;
   δεύτερον τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν·
   Second, [love] your neighbor as yourself;
      πάντα δὲ ὅσα ἐὰν θελήσῃς μὴ γίνεσθαί σοι καὶ σὺ ἄλλῳ μὴ ποίει.
      all that you wouldn't wish to have done to you, do not do to others.
Τούτων δέ τῶν λόγων ἡ διδαχή ἐστιν αὕτη·
The teaching of these words is this:
   εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμῖν
   Bless those that curse you,
   καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν
   pray on behalf of your enemies
   νηστεύετε δὲ ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς·
   and fast on behalf of those who persecute you.
ποία γὰρ χάρις ἐὰν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς;
For what benefit is it if we love those who love us?
   οὐχὶ καὶ τὰ ἔθνη τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν;
   Do not the even the Gentiles do this?
   ὑμεῖς δὲ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς
   But love those who detest you
      καὶ οὐχ ἕξετε ἐχθρόν.
      and you will not have an enemy.
ἀπέχου τῶν σαρκικῶν καὶ σωματικῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν·
Refrain from fleshly and bodily lusts.
   ἐάν τίς σοι δῷ ῥάπισμα εἰς τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα
   If someone slaps you on the right cheek,
      στρέψον αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην καὶ ἔσῃ τέλειος·
      turn the other one to him and you will be perfect.
   ἐὰν ἀγγαρεύσῃ σέ τις μίλιον ἕν
   If someone compels you to go for one mile,
      ὕπαγε μετ ̓ αὐτοῦ δύο·
      go with him for two.
   ἐὰν ἄρῃ τις τὸ ἱμάτιόν σου
   If someone takes away your cloak,
      δὸς αὐτῷ καὶ τὸν χιτῶνα·
      give him your shirt too.
   ἐὰν λάβῃ τις ἀπὸ σοῦ τὸ σόν
   If someone takes from you what is yours,
      μὴ ἀπαίτει·
      do not demand repayment;
         οὐδὲ γὰρ δύνασαι.
         for you are not able.
παντὶ τῷ αἰοῦντί σε
To all that ask of you,
   δίδου καὶ μὴ ἀπαίτει·
   give and do not demand repayment;
      πᾶσι γὰρ θέλει δίδοσθαι ὁ πατὴρ
      for the Father desires to give them gifts
         ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων χαρισμάτων.
         from his own beneficence.
μακάριος ὁ διδοὺς κατὰ τὴν ἐντολήν·
Blessed is the one who gives according to the command;
   ἀθῷος γάρ ἐστιν.
   for he is without guilt.
οὐαὶ τῷ λαμβάνοντι·
Woe to the one who receives;
   εἰ μὲν γὰρ χρείαν ἔχων λαμβάνει τις ἀθῷος ἔσται·
   for if anyone having need receives, he is guiltless;
   ὁ δὲ μὴ χρείαν ἔχων δώσει δίκην,
   but anyone having no need will give testimony:
      ἱνατί ἔλαβε καὶ εἰς τί·
      Why has he received, and for what purpose?
      ἐν συνοχῇ δὲ γενόμενος ἐξετασθήσεται περὶ ὧν ἔπραξε
      He will be put into prison, interrogated concerning what he did
         καὶ οὐκ ἐξελεύσεται ἐκεῖθεν
         and he will not be set free from there
            μέχρις οὗ ἀποδῷ τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην.
            until he has paid back the last cent.
ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τούτου δὲ εἴρηται·
And concerning this it has also been said:
    Ἱδρωσάτω ἡ ἐλεημοσύνη σου εἰς τὰς χεῖράς σου
   Your charitable gift must sweat in your hands
      μέχρις ἂν γνῷς τίνι δῷς.
      until you know to whom to give it.

Notes

The above groups are made largely based on sentence boundaries in Lake's edition. They do not necessarily align with established verse boundaries. I should also say that I'm simply doing a relatively quick glance at the text, thinking about how it was intended to be understood. This is not a critical study -- not by any means. Also, I don't consider the Didache to be on par with Scripture, but I do think the Didache offers insight regarding how Scripture was interpreted, taught and applied in these very early days of the church. This is where my interest lies.

The first group serves as an introduction to the section of the "Two Ways", which runs from here through chapter 6. The binary image of one way leading to life and another leading to death is common. Most of the focus of this first large section is on the way of life (chaps 1-4).

The second group begins to explain the first. If there is a way that leads to life, what is it? The way of life is summed up in the same way that Jesus summed up the whole of the law: Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself.

The third group expands the teaching of the second group, giving practical advice and application as to how to go about loving the Lord and loving neighbors. When folks hurl invective at you, bless them. Pray for those who work against you. Fast for those who persecute you. This is really three ways of saying the same thing: earnestly desire the salvation of those who are opposed to you. Fast and pray for their souls. All of these actions are testified to in the New Testament; the Didachist is providing instruction on how to live according to those principles, tying the generic statements (Love God, love your neighbor) with specific application (desire salvation for those working against you).

The fourth group continues expounding on how to love, providing more application. As well, these are based in the New Testament (largely from the sermon on the mount). The idea is to be in control of one's own actions; the natural response is likely not the correct response. Work to override it and be in control. If slapped on the face, instead of striking back one is to turn the other cheek. If conscripted for some sort of service, excel in your work and provide more than was expected of you. If something is taken, give more than is asked and do not pursue repayment.

The fifth group sums up the fourth group. When asked, we are to give with no expectation of repayment. What we have is the Lord's, and if the Lord desires to reallocate his resources from his goodness, who are we to question it? We should give and be grateful.

The sixth group continues and transitions from the positive side of obedience (those who obey are blessed) to the negative side.

The seventh group is the negative side: Woe to those who receive needlessly. The important realization is that whether requesting, giving or receiving, we will be held responsible for our actions.

The eighth group continues the summation. Because we are responsible, we are to give responsibly. We are stewards of God's resources, and we should give freely. But we should not give lackadaisically. Consider available options for the gift, and give according to the discerned will of God.

Next: Didache 2. No idea when that will be.

Post Author: rico
Friday, April 07, 2006 12:30:41 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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