# Thursday, November 05, 2009

I know, like the world needs yet another translation of the Didache. But I wanted to do it, so here it is: The Didache: A Translation with Notes.

Now, I’ve worked through the text of the Didache before, and have placed a translation on my web site before. This, however, is a new translation (albeit influenced by previous work). Here’s the preface.

I've worked through the text of the Didache before (see my Phrasal Interlinear) but that work was done over one year, in fits and starts, and it shows. I wanted to work through the text again, only this time in a much shorter time period and, hopefully, with a bit more consistency. Thus, in August 2009 I once again worked through the text of the Didache.

While this translation is indebted to my earlier work on the Phrasal Interlinear, the translation is new and not a simple revision. I have consulted existing translations (Lake, Lightfoot, Holmes, Ehrman and Varner) and lexica (BDAG, Louw and Nida, LSJ, Spicq) along the way and they have been most helpful. Additionally, several notes on matters of translation, textual criticism and cross references to the New Testament have been added. Much like myself, this translation is a work in progress. It will be revised, particularly with an eye to matters of punctuation and paragraphing.

On translation philosophy, my hope is to be readable yet somewhat transparent to the underlying Greek text. Thus some places may be awkward to the reader, yet this awkwardness hopefully points to phrase, clause and discourse structures in the original. I have used [square brackets] to indicate where English words are supplied to assist in the translation. Similarly, {curly braces} indicate either an idiom or where a series of Greek words was smoothed into something not immediately transparent. In all {curly brace} instances, the underlying “literal” text is provided in a footnote.

It is my prayer that those who read this translation will find it useful, and will be able to get a glimpse into the thought and practice of those earliest days of the Christian church, and be encouraged by the steadiness and grace of our Lord.

Once again, the link: The Didache: A Translation with Notes. I’d love to know what you think about it. Interested in any other writings of the Apostolic Fathers? I’m thinking of doing the Greek portions of Polycarp to the Philippians next.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, November 05, 2009 7:13:30 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, August 25, 2009

These guidelines are nearly as old as the New Testament (some who date the Didache in the 40s/50s would say older than the NT) but the thoughts behind them still ring true today. Below is the most recent form of my translation of this chapter:

  1. But everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, let [him] be welcomed. And then, having tested [him], you will know him. Then you will be able to distinguish [whether he is] true or false.
  2. If the one coming is a traveler, help him as much as you are able. But he shall not remain among you more than two or three days, if he has need.
  3. And if he desires to stay with you, being an artisan, let him work and let him earn his keep.
  4. And if he has no craft, take [this] into consideration according to your understanding, how he shall live among you [as] a Christian without [being] idle.
  5. And if he does not want to act in this way, he is a Christmonger. Beware of such as these.

Basically, welcome everyone who comes, but don’t let them take advantage of you simply because they say they are a prophet or a teacher. If he wants to stay longer than a day or two, he’s gotta work. And if he’s not willing to work, then be on your guard, he is using the name of Christ to his own material advantage.

The discourse structure is fairly interesting. Verse 2 uses a μεν with the first ει and the δε in the latter half (which I translated “But”); vv. 3-5 each use δε additively, building up all of these different qualifications (hence my translation using “and” in these instances).

I think it’s obvious, but “on the one hand” for μεν in v. 2 and “on the other hand” for the following δε just would’ve been hideous. (see my earlier post on Louw & Nida and the particle μεν). Besides, it’s not an either/or option. In either case, you help. The Didachist is just using the μεν/δε structure to note the important point: Only give these guys 2-3 days of help, then cut your losses if the dude is a couch potato.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, August 25, 2009 10:11:43 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Greek conjunction και is one of those words that seems easy to understand (it means “and”, right?) and then again not so easy (“Why is there a και here?”). From my reading and study,* και is essentially additive, and one forgets this at his peril when evaluating και in context.

Here’s a simple example from Didache 7.4 to reinforce the basic idea.

πρὸ δὲ τοῦ βαπτίσματος προνηστευσάτω ὁ βαπτίζων καὶ ὁ βαπτιζόμενος καὶ εἴ τινες ἄλλοι δύνανται· κελεύεις δὲ νηστεῦσαι τὸν βαπτιζόμενον πρὸ μιᾶς ἢ δύο.

I’ll leave other aspects of the information structure to Steve Runge (though there is some cool stuff, notably the prepositional phrase before the primary verb forming a temporal frame and also the function of δε linking to previous the previous clause indicating development). Here’s the same formatted a bit differently with translation below:

   πρὸ δὲ τοῦ βαπτίσματος
   And before the baptism
he should fast beforehand
   ὁ βαπτίζων
   the one baptizing 
   καὶ ὁ βαπτιζόμενος
   and the one being baptized
   καὶ εἴ τινες ἄλλοι δύνανται·
   and any others who are able.

κελεύεις δὲ νηστεῦσαι τὸν βαπτιζόμενον
Call upon the one being baptized to fast
   πρὸ μιᾶς ἢ δύο.
   beforehand one or two days.

There is some interesting text-critical and form-critical stuff going on here, but my interest isn’t (immediately) there. Read Niederwimmer for those details. Regarding και, my interest is in simply seeing how a group is formed using και to add one group element to the existing, known group. While I translated “and” above, you could also do something like “along with” or even “and also”.** The important bit about καιʼs function here is that after the initial group element is introduced (“the one baptizing”), και is used to build that up.

If we just have και associated with the gloss “and” in our minds, we may pass the test and translate the above correctly. But has it been understood? Understanding what function words like και (and δε, and my favorite, αλλα) are up to allows us to better approach the Greek text as Greek instead of as a jumbled set of wooden, English, yoda-speak glosses that need to be decoded and smoothed over in order to be understood.

* Most helpful have been portions of Steve Runge's Discourse Grammar, Heckert's Discourse Function of Conjoiners in the Pastoral Epistles (amazon.com), and Denniston's Particles (amazon.com).

** Ehrman really scrambles the word order to work a “both … and” into it: “But both the one baptizing and the one being baptized should fast before the baptism, along with some others if they can.”

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 6:53:25 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Saturday, August 08, 2009

Here’s the Greek:

5 οὐκ ἔσται ὁ λόγος σου ψευδής, οὐ κενός, ἀλλὰ μεμεστωμένος πράξει.

Here’s my translation [at present]:

5 Your speech should not be false or empty, but filled with action.

The key here for me, given the presence of αλλα, is the contrast between κενός and μεμεστωμένος, which is why I translate the portion following αλλα as “filled with action”. In my view, αλλα marks contrast and also indicates the portion following the αλλα corrects or replaces the portion before it. The above is an instance of correction, what you say should be backed up by what you do.

The basic idea of μεστοω [according to BDAG, anyway], is that the speech/word is “made full” by one’s action. This is where the idea of completed/fulfilled/confirmed comes from. It’s as if one’s actions verify that his words/speech is worthy of being listened to. The idea is almost as if one’s actions verify that one’s speech it true.

Given the innate contrast, it seems better (at least to me) to play off of that contrast by using “filled” to translate μεμεστωμένος and using “with action” to translate πράξει.

Here’s how others I know of translate the verse:

Thy speech shall not be false nor vain, but completed in action. (Lake)

Thy word shall not be false or empty, but fulfilled by action. (Lightfoot)

Your word must not be false or meaningless, but confirmed by action. (Holmes)

Your word will not be false or empty, but will be fulfilled in action. (Varner, who follows the Greek text of Rordorf & Tuilier’s 1978 edition, which was republished in 1998 as part of Sources Christiennes)

Your word shall not be false or empty [but shall be fulfilled by deed]. (Niederwimmer, he sees the brackets as a later addition)

Your word must not be empty or false. (Ehrman, who apparently takes the reading of the Apostolic Confessions over Heirosolymitaunus [as does Niederwimmer, apparently]; note his Greek text is a modified version of Bihlmeyer)

These guys all have (or had while alive) more Greek in the tip of their left pinkie toe than I’ve got in the entirety of my being, but given contrast marked by αλλα and the notion of correction, I still think I like “filled with” better; though “fulfilled by” is a pretty close second (that I could actually be convinced of).

Post Author: rico
Saturday, August 08, 2009 8:45:33 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, April 12, 2007

In the past 24 hours, I've been made aware of two (yes two!) groups on Yahoo! that may be of interest to readers of ye olde ricoblog.

Greek Geeks

The first is "Greek Geeks", set up by Bryan Cox who used to blog at the now apparently defunct Biblaridion. Check out a few of his older posts on minuscule handwriting (here and here). Here is Bryan's description of the Greek Geeks group:

Greek Geeks is a discussions group for those who have learned or are in the process of learning ancient Greek, classical and/or Koine, and would like a place to discuss various aspects of the language. Discussions of any type of ancient Greek works are welcomed and encouraged.

Greek Geeks will be a moderated forum in order to create as fun and educational an atmosphere as possible. Certain tangents will be allowed while others will not be allowed. Allowable tangents currently include textual criticism and palaeography (other applicable tangents will be taken into consideration).

Please have fun, but make every effort to be courteous and respectful toward other posters. If a certain topic or a certain poster frustrate you, please think twice (or more) before posting a reply. Be aware that any controversial topics will be closely watched and moderated. For everyone's sake, refrain from making repetitive posts that belabor a particular point that has already been made.

Enjoy the group! If you're new to Greek, ask questions and don't be intimidated. If you've been around Greek forever, share a bit of your knowledge and experience by helping to answer some questions. Have an idea for a topic, project, trivia, game, or whatever, then speak up and let us all hear about it!

Check the Greek Geeks page for subscription info.

Apostolic Fathers

I was made aware of the Apostolic Fathers group by a post on Dr. Jim West's (usually) eponymous blog. Here are the details:

This group is for people who would like to expand their facility in reading New Testament Greek by reading through The Apostolic Fathers, whose writings appeared a little after the completion of the New Testament.

The moderator, David McKay, is most definitely a learner, not an expert, and has only just begun to read these texts himself. He hopes that we can learn from each other.

Subscription info is here. The group is beginning with the Didache, which I've recently worked through.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, April 12, 2007 9:49:28 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, March 29, 2007

As most regular ricoblog readers know, I have recently completed a series on the Didache. The series included a phrasal breakdown of the text with interlinear translation.

I've compiled all of those individual sections of interlinear translation into one PDF file with an introduction. I have not edited the translation at all, so all errors and oversights still remain. But if you're interested, you can download it for your own use and perusal.

If for some reason you want to use it in a larger context (group context or distribution of some sort), please do check with me first. Thanks!

Update (2007-03-30): I noticed a slight indentation problem in Did 10.6, so I adjusted it and reuploaded the PDF.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, March 29, 2007 8:33:29 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, March 14, 2007

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


1 Γρηγορεῖτε ὑπὲρ τῆς ζωῆς ὑμῶν·
Watch on behalf of your life:
   οἱ λύχνοι ὑμῶν μὴ σβεσθήτωσαν,
   that your lamps are not extinguished,
   καὶ αἱ ὀσφύες ὑμῶν μὴ ἐκλυέσθωσαν,
   and that your loins are not ungirded,
      ἀλλὰ γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι·
      but be ready:
         οὐ γὰρ οἴδατε τὴν ὥραν,
         for you do not know the hour,
            ἐν ᾗ ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν ἔρχεται.
            in which our Lord comes.

2 πυκνῶς δὲ συναχθήσεσθε
Frequently be gathered together
   ζητοῦντες τὰ ἀνήκοντα ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὑμῶν·
   seeking what your souls need:
      οὐ γὰρ ὠφελήσει ὑμᾶς
      For [it is] of no benefit to you,
         ὁ πᾶς χρόνος τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν,
         the full time of your faith,
         ἐὰν μὴ
            ἐν τῷ ἐσχάτῳ καιρῷ
            at the last time
         you are found complete.

3 ἐν γὰρ ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις
For in the last days
   shall be multiplied
      οἱ ψευδοπροφῆται
      false prophets
      καὶ οἱ φθορεῖς,
      and corrupters;
   καὶ στραφήσονται τὰ πρόβατα εἰς λύκους,
   and the sheep will be turned into wolves,
   και ἡ ἀγάπη στραφήσεται εἰς μῖσος.
   and love will be turned into hate.

   4 αὐξανούσης γὰρ τῆς ἀνομίας
   For as lawlessness increases
μισήσουσιν ἀλλήλους
they hate one another
   καὶ διώξουσι καὶ παραδώσουσι.
   and they will persecute and betray.

καὶ τότε φανήσεται ὁ κοσμοπλανὴς ὡς υἱὸς θεοῦ,
And then the deceiver of the world shall appear as the son of God,
   καὶ ποιήσει σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα,
   and he shall make signs and wonders,
   καὶ ἡ γῆ παραδοθήσεται εἰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ,
   and the earth will be betrayed into his hands,
   καὶ ποιήσει ἀθέμιτα,
   and he shall do incessantly vile things
      ἃ οὐδέποτε γέγονεν ἐξ αἰῶνος.
      which never before have been since time began.

5 τότε ἥξει ἡ κτίσις τῶν ἀνθρώπων
Then the creation of mankind shall come
   εἰς τὴν πύρωσιν τῆς δοκιμασίας,
   into the burning ordeal of testing,
   καὶ σκανδαλισθήσονται πολλοὶ καὶ ἀπολοῦνται,
   And many will be led astray and destroyed,
      οἱ δὲ ὑπομείναντες
      but the ones persisting
         ἐν τῇ πίστει αὐτῶν
         in their faith
         will be saved
            ὑπ ̓ αὐτου τοῦ καταθέματος.
            by the accursed one himself.
            [that is, Christ—the one cursed by those led astray. RWB]

6 καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὰ σημεῖα τῆς ἀληθείας·
And then the signs of the truth shall appear:
   πρῶτον σημεῖον
   Firstly a sign,
      ἐκπετάσεως ἐν οὐρανῷ,
      the opening of heaven,
   εἶτα σημεῖον
   the next sign,
      φωνῆς σάλπιγγος,
      the call of a trumpet,
   καὶ τὸ τρίτον
   and the third (sign),
      ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν.
      resurrection of the dead.

7 οὐ πάντων δέ,
Not all (of the dead),
   ἀλλ ̓ ὡς ἐρρέθη·
   but as was said:
      Ἥξει ὁ κύριος
      "The Lord shall come
         καὶ πάντες οἱ ἅγιοι μετ ̓ αὐτοῦ.
         and all of the holy ones (shall come) with him".

8 τότε ὄψεται ὁ κόσμος τὸν κύριον ἐρχόμενον ἐπάνω τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.
Then the world will see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.


There are several probable NT parallels in this text, particularly with Matthew 24. I won't rehearse all of those here, that's been done elsewhere. See Alan Garrow's Gospel of Matthew's Dependence on the Didache (amazon.com) and the companion book web site; see also Stephen C. Carlson's review of Garrow here and some notes from Mark Goodacre here. I think Garrow claims too much, but that the Didache contains some material also found in Matthew seems plainly evident.

What I will do, however, is look at this section in its larger context. The Didache warned about the way of life and the way of death, commending the way of life. The practice of a believer was set out; things like baptism, eucharist, prayer, hospitality to travelers and prophets and teachers, and leadership of the community have been discussed. After all personal and corporate issues of belief and practice have been highlighted, the Didache ends by looking forward to the days to come.

What will these days consist of? It's not a pretty picture. Things will get worse before they get better.

The most interesting thing I noticed, however, was the parallel between v. 4b and v. 6, with 5 in the midst of that. 4b has "the deceiver of the world" appearing as "the son of God". Verse 6 has "the signs of truth" appearing, with verse 5 summing up what will happen in between those two times. The same verb (which I've translated "appear") is used in both v. 4b and v. 6, which provides the parallel relationship between them.

The Didache ends with hope. As I wrote above, things will get worse before they get better. For the believers, though, things get better. Signs of the impending arrival of the Lord are made evident. A trumpet sounds and the dead (those of the Lord's) are raised. The Lord returns! (marana tha!) And all the world will see it.

Closing Note

Thanks to all who have suffered through these sporadic posts. At some point (hopefully sooner than later) I'll gather all of my translations, perhaps work over them a bit, and put up a version of the whole thing. That'll likely be in a PDF for easy download and printing without worrying about fonts and such. I'll blog when that's ready. Until then, the complete outline is in the series introductory post, so you can work through that if you'd like.

What's next? Well, I'll be delving into a bit of textual criticism. But I also have a hankerin' to eventually get into Second Clement (the first chapter of which I translated awhile back, and I briefly discussed third and fourth chapters here). So we'll see what happens.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, March 14, 2007 7:00:26 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Saturday, March 03, 2007

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


1 Χειροτονήσατε οὖν ἑαυτοῖς
Appoint for yourselves, therefore,
   ἐπισκόπους καὶ διακόνους
   overseers and deacons
      ἀξίους τοῦ κυρίου,
      holy of the Lord,
   men (who are)
      καὶ ἀφιλαργύρους
      and not lovers of money
      καὶ ἀληθεῖς
      and truthful
      καὶ δεδοκιμασμένους·
      and well-proven:
         ὑμῖν γὰρ λειτουργοῦσι καὶ αὐτοὶ τὴν λειτουργίαν τῶν προφητῶν καὶ διδασκάλων.
         for to you they themselves also minister the ministry of prophets and teachers.

2 μὴ οὖν ὐπερίδητε αὐτούς·
Therefore you must not disregard them:
   αὐτοὶ γὰρ εἰσιν οἱ τετιμημένοι ὑμῶν
   for they are your honorable ones,
      μετὰ τῶν προφητῶν καὶ διδασκάλων.
      along with the prophets and teachers.

3 Ἐλέγχετε δὲ ἀλλήλους
Correct one another
   μὴ ἐν ὀργῇ,
   not in anger,
      ἀλλ ̓ ἐν εἰρήνῃ
      but in peace
ὡς ἔχετε
as you find
   ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ·
   in the gospel:
      καὶ παντὶ ἀστοχοῦντι
      and anyone who has done wrong
         κατὰ τοῦ ἑτέρου
         against another
      μηδεὶς λαλείτω
      shall not be spoken to
         μηδὲ παρ ̓ ὑμῶν ἀκουέτω,
         nor shall he hear from you
            ἕως οὗ μετανοήσῃ.
            until he repents.

   4 τὰς δὲ εὐχὰς ὑμῶν
   But your prayers,
   καὶ τὰς ἐλεημοσύνας
   and your charity,
   καὶ πάσας τὰς πράξεις
   and all your observance
οὕτω ποιήσατε,
in this way do:
   ὡς ἔχετε
   as you find
      ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν.
      in the gospel of our Lord.


The beginning of the chapter transitions with a "therefore". Didache 14 is about keeping pure, Didache 15 transitions into leadership and other community guidelines. Thus I can only reason that proper leadership (overseers and deacons) combined with proper teaching (prophets and teachers), proper relationship (respond in peace, not anger), and proper practice (say prayers, give alms, etc.) all combine to ensure that the Eucharist is properly kept.

The problematic portion here, for me, is verse 3 which deals with the unrepentant one: He is to not hear from anyone until he repents. But that is prefaced with correcting in peace and not anger, as is "found in the gospel". The reference to the gospel, I'd think, must relate to Mt 18.15-20—particularly given the commonality of Matthew's gospel referenced in the Didache. So one has first approached the brother, then a group of two or three has approached him, then he has been put before the church. After this, then, the unrepentant brother is to be "as a Gentile and tax collector" (Mt 18.17). So I don't think it is as harsh as it seems once we plug in what the gospel says.

Next up: Didache 16. That's the last chapter!

Post Author: rico
Saturday, March 03, 2007 12:39:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, March 02, 2007

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


   1 Κατὰ κυριακὴν δὲ κυρίου συναχθέντες
   Upon coming together on the Lord's Day of the Lord
κλάσατε ἄρτον καὶ εὐχαριστήσατε,
break bread and hold the Lord's Supper,
   προεξομολογησάμενοι τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν,
   confessing your sins beforehand,
      ὅπως καθαρὰ ἡ θυσία ὑμῶν ᾖ.
      so that your offering may be pure.

   2 πᾶς δὲ ἔχων τὴν ἀμφιβολίαν
   And all those having a quarrel
      μετὰ τοῦ ἑταίρου αὐτοῦ
      with another of your number,
μὴ συνελθέτω ὑμῖν,
do not let them gather with you
   ἕως οὗ διαλλαγῶσιν,
   until they have reconciled
      ἵνα μὴ κοινωθῇ ἡ θυσία ὑμῶν.
      so that your offering may not be defiled.

3 αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ ῥηθεῖσα ὑπὸ κυρίου·
For this is what the Lord says:
   Ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ καὶ χρόνῳ προσφέρειν μοι θυσίαν καθαράν.
   "In every place and time offer me a pure offering.
      ὅτι βασιλεὺς μέγας εἰμί,
      For I am a great king,"
   λέγει κύριος,
   says the Lord,
      καὶ τὸ ὄνομά μου θαυμαστὸν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσι.
      "and my name is great among the nations".


The liturgy (that word is too formal for the context, I think, but you get what I mean) for Eucharist was given in Didache 9 and Didache 10. Here in Didache 14, the view is from a higher level. It assumes that the process for the meal is known and instead focuses on when to hold the feast (on "Lord's Days of the Lord", a curious phrase) and how to prepare for the feast.

Preparation involves confessing one's own transgressions and also reconciling any quarrels, fights, misunderstandings and whatnot one has with anyone else. This likely comes from Mt 5.23-24:

23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Mt 5.23-24, ESV)

This degree of preparation is justified with appeals to what "the Lord" says. Niederwimmer (in his commentary [amazon] (amazon.com)) finds basis for the second quotation in Mal 1.11 and Mal 1.14. I say why not the whole range?:

11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. 12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. 13 But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. 14 Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations. (Mal 1.11-14, ESV, emphasis added)

The whole range has to do with purity for one's offering, and that is really what Didache 14 is getting at: When we come before the Lord, we are to offer him our best, so we confess our sin and we also make right our relationships with others.

Also worthy of note is Niederwimmer's summary of some previous chapters:

In retrospect we find a more or less cogent train of thought here. While in chaps. 11–13 the Didachist had, in a sense, looked outward (toward the arriving guests of the community), in chaps. 14–15 he looks inward (at the relationships within the community itself). In doing so he touches on two groups of questions: on the one hand the moral status of the community, and on the other hand problems that arise with regard to the leadership of the community (the subject of chap. 15). In the first instance he decrees that the community may only offer its eucharistic sacrifice in a pure state when (1) the members have been purified of sin by a previous confession, and (2) all quarrels have been cleansed away by a prior reconciliation. Only in this way can the sacrificing community be clean; only in this way can it offer the pure, eschatological sacrifice prophesied by Malachi.
Niederwimmer, K., & Attridge, H. W. (1998). The Didache : A commentary (amazon.com). Facsims. on lining papers. Hermeneia--a critical and historical commentary on the Bible (199). Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Next up: Didache 15

Post Author: rico
Friday, March 02, 2007 7:37:30 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, February 20, 2007

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


1 Πᾶς δὲ προφήτης ἀληθινὸς
But every true prophet
   θέλων καθῆσθαι
   (who) wishes to reside
      πρὸς ὑμᾶς
      among you
ἄξιός ἐστι τῆς τροφῆς αὐτοῦ.
is worthy of his food.

2 ὡσαύτως διδάσκαλος ἀληθινός ἐστιν ἄξιος
In the same way a true teacher is worthy
   καὶ αὐτὸς ὥσπερ ὁ ἐργάτης
   and he, just as the worker,
   τῆς τροφῆς αὐτοῦ.
   (is worthy) of his food.

3 πᾶσαν οὖν ἀπαρχὴν γεννημάτων ληνοῦ
Therefore all of the firstfruits of the produce of the winepress
   καὶ ἅλωνος,
   and (of the produce of the) threshing floor,
   βοῶν τε καὶ προβάτων λαβὼν
   and of (the produce of) oxen and sheep take (all of the firstfruits),
      δώσεις τὴν ἀπαρχὴν τοῖς προφήταις·
      and you shall give (them) as firstfruits to the prophets:
         αὐτοὶ γάρ εἰσιν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς ὑμῶν.
         for they are your high priests.

4 ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἔχητε προφήτην,
And if you do not have a prophet,
   δότε τοῖς πτωχοῖς.
   give (the firstfruits) to the poor.

5 ἐὰν σιτίαν ποιῇς,
If you make bread,
   τὴν ἀπαρχὴν λαβὼν
   take the firstfruits
   and give (them)
      κατὰ τὴν ἐντολήν.
      according to the commandment.

6 ὡσαύτως κεράμιον οἴνου ἢ ἐλαίου ἀνοίξας,
Likewise, when you open a jar of wine or olives,
   τὴν ἀπαρχὴν λαβὼν
   take the firstfruits
      δὸς τοῖς προφήταις·
      and give (them) to the prophets.
7 ἀργυρίου δὲ
And of money
   καὶ ἱματισμοῦ
   and of clothing
   καὶ παντὸς κτήματος
   and of all possessions,
      λαβὼν τὴν ἀπαρχήν,
      take the firstfruits,
         ὡς ἂν σοι δόξῃ,
         however you deem worthy,
         and give (them)
            κατὰ τὴν ἐντολήν.
            according to the commandment.


The progression from chapter 11 to chapter 13 is clear. True teachers have been distinguished; those foreigners entering the fellowship have been tested to see if they will work for their keep. Verses 1-2 sum this up: "true" prophets and teachers (you know, the ones who jive with what's described in chaps 11-12) are "worthy" just as those who work for their food are worthy.

The "prophets" are to receive the "firstfruits". Much like Israelite society of old took care of the priests via offering of firstfruits, so the Didachist's community (communities?) are to take care of the prophets (and teachers, I'd guess) through the offering of firstfruits. Several categories are hit: produce of the winepress, threshing floor, sheep and oxen; bread, olives, wine; money clothing and "of all possessions". The approach is the same as found in the NT lists of vice and virtue; mention some of the larger items and areas intended, even overlapping (e.g. "produce of the winepress" and later "wine") and follow it up with a catch-all: "of all possessions".

Also note that communities that had no prophet were to similarly give of firstfruits, but instead were to give the produce to the poor.

Next up: Didache 14. We're in the home stretch, three chapters left. But the last one (Did 16) is a doozy!

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, February 20, 2007 7:09:44 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, February 06, 2007

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


1 Πᾶς δὲ ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου δεχθήτω·
But everyone coming in the name of the Lord let be received:
   ἔπειτα δὲ δοκιμάσαντες αὐτὸν γνώσεσθε,
   When you have examined him, you will know him,
      σύνεσιν γὰρ ἕξετε δεξιὰν καὶ ἀριστεράν.
      for you will be able to distinguish [whether he is] true or false.

2 εἰ μὲν παρόδιός ἐστιν ὁ ἐρχόμενος,
If the one coming is a traveler,
   βοηθεῖτε αὐτῷ, ὅσον δύνασθε·
   help him, as far as you are able.
   οὐ μενεῖ δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς εἰ μὴ δύο ἢ τρεῖς ἡμέρας,
   but he shall not remain among you more than two or three days,
      ἐὰν ᾖ ἀνάγκη.
      if there is need.

3 εἰ δὲ θέλει πρὸς ὑμᾶς καθῆσθαι,
If he desires to stay with you,
   τεχνίτης ὤν,
   being an artisan,
   ἐργαζέσθω καὶ φαγέτω.
   let him work and eat.

4 εἰ δὲ οὐκ ἔχει τέχνην,
But if he has no craft,
   κατὰ τὴν σύνεσιν ὑμῶν προνοήσατε,
   take this into consideration according to your understanding,
   πῶς μὴ ἀργὸς μεθ ̓ ὑμῶν ζήσεται Χριστιανός.
   that nobody who is idle shall live among you as a Christian.

5 εἰ δ ̓οὐ θέλει οὕτω ποιεῖν,
If he will not do this,
   χριστέμπορός ἐστι·
   he is trading on Christ:
      προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῶν τοιούτων.
      stay away from such as these.


This is a logical follow-up to Didache 11, which dealt with discerning true teachers from false teachers. This is a further corollary, it seems. Those who come to the fellowship are to be received. If they're just Christians passing through, that's fine. They can hang out for two, maybe three days at the maximum. But if they want to stay with the fellowship, they must have something to contribute.

My sense (as I'm writing this, I haven't thought about it more than when I translated it a few days ago) is that the bit in verse 1 about "examining" is referring to the previous section, Didache 11. In other words, the Didachist is saying, "When you check out this new person -- you know, like I just showed you -- you'll know if they are fellow believers, or if they're not."

If it is a fellow believer who is just passing through, then the fellowship is to help meet the traveler's need as they are able. If the "traveler" wants to make an extended stay, this is a clue that they could be a freeloader whose only interest in Christ is room and board. In that case, the traveler must be put to the test: Is he willing to work for his keep? If he is, then he is to be welcomed. If he is unable, he must be reminded that freeloading isn't an option and they must come to some equitable arrangement.

If the traveler wants to stay, but will not work, he is to be removed from the fellowship and sent along his way.

The word I translated "trading on Christ" could literally be translated "Christmonger". The idea is that this person is using the name of Christ for his own needs. He is no Christian, he only acknowledges the teachings for his own ill-gotten gain. These, says the Didachist, are to be avoided.

Preach it.

It's advice like this that is so practical and sensible that endears me to the Didache.

Next up: Didache 13.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:45:05 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Sunday, January 21, 2007

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


Ὃς ἂν οὖν ἐλθὼν διδάξῃ ὑμᾶς ταῦτα πάντα τὰ προειρημένα,
Therefore whomever comes and teaches you all these things mentioned before,
   δέξασθε αὐτόν·
   receive him:
ἐὰν δὲ αὐτὸς ὁ διδάσκων στραφεὶς διδάσκῃ ἄλλην διδαχὴν εἰς τὸ καταλῦσαι,
But if the teacher himself turns away and teaches a different teaching to destroy (all these things mentioned before),
   μὴ αὐτοῦ ἀκούσητε·
   do not listen to him.
εἰς δὲ τὸ προσθεῖναι δικαιοσύνην καὶ γνῶσιν κυρίου,
But if (his teaching) is for the increase of righteousness and knowledge of the Lord,
   δέξασθε αὐτὸν ὡς κύριον.
   receive him as the Lord.

Περὶ δὲ τὼν ἀποστόλων καὶ προπητῶν,
Concerning the apostles and prophets,
   κατὰ τὸ δόγμα τοῦ εὐαγγελίου οὕτω ποιήσατε.
   according to the ordinances of the gospel, in this way act.

πᾶς δὲ ἀπόστολος ἐρχόμενος πρὸς ὑμᾶς δεχθήτω ὡς κύριος·
Let every apostle coming to you be received as the Lord.
   οὐ μενεῖ δὲ εἰ μὴ ἡμέραν μίαν·
   Do not let him remain more than one day;
      ἐὰν δὲ ᾖ χρεία, καὶ τὴν ἄλλην·
      and if it is necessary, another.
   τρεῖς δὲ ἐὰν μείνῃ,
   But if he stays three days,
      ψευδοπροφήτης ἐστίν.
      he is a false prophet.

ἐξερχόμενος δὲ ὁ ἀπόστολος μηδὲν λαμβανέτω εἰ μὴ ἄρτον,
When an apostle goes out from you, let him accept nothing but bread
   ἕως οὗ αὐλισθῇ·
   until he finds lodging.
   ἐὰν δὲ ἀργύριον αἰτῇ,
   If he asks for money,
      ψευδοπροφήτης ἐστί.
      he is a false prophet.

Καὶ πάντα προφήτην λαλοῦντα ἐν πνεύματι οὐ πειράσετε οὐδὲ διακρινεῖτε·
Any prophet speaking in a spirit do not test or judge;
   πᾶσα γὰρ ἁμαρτία ἀφεθήσεται,
   for every sin shall be forgiven,
      αὕτη δὲ ἡ ἁμαρτία οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται.
      but this sin shall not be forgiven.

οὐ πᾶς δὲ ὁ λαλῶν ἐν πνεύματι προφήτης ἐστίν,
But not everyone who speaks in a spirit is a prophet,
   ἀλλ ̓ ἐὰν ἔχῃ τοὺς τρόπους κυρίου.
   but only if he has the manner of the Lord.

ἀπὸ οὖν τῶν τρόπων γνωσθήσεται ὁ ψευδοπροφήτης καὶ ὁ προφήτης.
Therefore one's manner will distinguish the false prophet from the (true) prophet.

καὶ πᾶς προφήτης ὁρίζων τράπεζαν ἐν πνεύματι οὐ φάγεται ἀπ ̓ αὐτῆς,
And every prophet who orders a meal in a spirit will not eat from it,
   εἰ δὲ μήγε ψευδοπροφήτης ἐστί.
   if he does otherwise, he is a false prophet.

πᾶς δὲ προφήτης διδάσκων τὴν ἀλήθειαν,
But every prophet who teaches the truth,
   εἰ ἃ διδάσκει οὐ ποιεῖ,
   if what he teaches he does not do,
   ψευδοπρφήτης ἐστί.
   he is a false prophet.

πᾶς δὲ προφήτης δεδοκιμασμένος,
But every prophet having been tested
   and found true;
   ποιῶν εἰς μυστήριον κοσμικὸν ἐκκλησίας,
   (who is) making a worldly mystery of the church,
      μὴ διδάσκων δὲ ποιεῖν,
      but not teaching (others) to do
         ὅσα αὐτὸς ποιεῖ,
         what he himself does,
      οὐ κριθήσεται ἐφ ̓ ὑμῶν·
      he shall not be judged by you:
         μετὰ θεοῦ γὰρ ἔχει τὴν κρίσιν·
         For with God he has his judgment;
            ὡσαύτως γὰρ ἐποίησαν καὶ οἱ ἀρχαῖοι προφῆται.
            just as it was with the ancient prophets.

ὃς δ ̓ ἂν εἴπῃ ἐν πνεύματι·
But whomever says in a spirit:
   δός μοι ἀργύρια ἢ ἕτερά τινα,
   "Give me silver or some other thing",
οὐκ ἀκούσεσθε αὐτοῦ·
you shall not listen to him.

ἐὰν δὲ περὶ ἄλλων ὑστερούντων εἴπῃ δοῦναι,
But if concerning others who are in need he says to give (to them),
   μηδεὶς αὐτὸν κρινέτω.
   no one should judge him.


This section has to do with those who come to the community purporting to have roles of authority (i.e. prophets or apostles). I think that the "apostles" in mind here are more akin to the normal use of the word (those sent from one church to another) and not having to do with the title of apostle claimed by Paul and the eleven original disciples of Jesus. 

There's a large part of me that thinks that "Christian" television networks (ahem: TBN and others) should run this text on the half-hour as a public service announcement, reminding those watching that the ones proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ are to preach Christ, they're not to be asking for stuff for themselves (you know, like "seed money"). Also, the ones proclaiming the gospel are the ones who hold to their own teaching and evidence their own teaching in their day-to-day actions.

The first line is interesting, mentioning "all these things mentioned before". The true teacher is to affirm the teaching of the Didachist; if a teacher brings contrary teaching, he is suspect.

The third verse, "Concerning apostles and prophets ... " is also worthy of (at least) brief discussion. As I read it, it is a preface to the guidelines that follow. The phrase "in this way act" looks forward to the prescriptions in the following text as they deal with apostles and prophets. The "ordinances of the gospel" are not specified though I'd guess they're in line with the general principles established in the following verses.

Also note that in verses 4 and 6, the text starts out specifying "apostles" who have arrived from a church/fellowship/community and who are sent out. These "apostles" (ones sent out) are to be considered "false prophets". It's interesting that they're not to be considered "false apostles" but "false prophets". These are basic guidelines for recieving someone sent by another church, or for those apostles sent out by a particular church as they're traveling.

So, what sorts of actions would lead a believer to consider an apostle or prophet to be a "false prophet"?

  • If an 'apostle' remains for more than two days, he is a false prophet.
  • If an 'apostle' accepts something besides food while traveling, he is a false prophet.
  • If a 'prophet' speaks in a spirit in a manner not "of the Lord", he is false.
  • If a 'prophet' requests a meal while in a spirit, and eats of that meal, he is false.
  • If the teaching of a 'prophet' does not match his actions, he is false.
  • If a 'prophet' requests money or valuables or some other thing for himself, he is false.

What about true apostles or prophets?

  • If an apostle stays for a day, perhaps two, he is true.
  • If an apostle only accepts food while traveling, he is true.
  • If a prophet happens to order a meal while 'with a spirit' and does not eat of it, he is true.

There is a third option; where prophets are not to be judged positively or negatively:

  • If an apostle or prophet's teaching jives with the Didachist's, he's in the clear.
  • If a prophet says to give to those in need, he is not to be judged.

One major question I have after looking at this chapter has to do with how missionaries and mission organizations present themselves to individual believers and local bodies of believers (churches). I realize the Didache isn't scripture, but these warnings are sensible. How do we evaluate such presentations that, while detailing specific ministries and their impact, are really little but requests for funding? It really makes me think that I should be more aware of how much a given person or organization is about simply proclaiming the Lord, and not how much it is about helping social situations supposedly in the name of the Lord. This requires more thought ...

Next up: Didache 12

Post Author: rico
Sunday, January 21, 2007 4:26:09 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Thursday, December 28, 2006

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


Μετὰ δὲ τὸ ἐμπλησθῆσαι οὗτως εὐχαριστήσατε·
But when you have been satisfied with food, in this way give thanks:

   Εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι, πάτερ ἅγιε,
   We give thanks to you, O Holy Father,
      ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἁγίου ὀνόματός σου,
      according to your holy name,
         οὗ κατεσκήνωσας ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν,
         which you caused to dwell in our hearts,
      καὶ ὑπὲρ τῆς γνώσεως καὶ πίστεως καὶ ἀθανασίας,
      and according to the knowledge and faith and immortality
         ἧς ἐγνώρισας ἡμῖν
         which you made known to us
            διὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ παιδός σου·
            through Jesus your child;
      σοὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.
      to you be glory forever.

   σύ, δέσποτα παντοκράτορ,
   You, all-powerful master,
      ἔκτισας τὰ πάντα ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός σου,
      created all things for the sake of your name;
      τροφήν τε καὶ ποτὸν ἔδωκας τοῖς ἀνθρώποις εἰς ἀπόλαυσιν,
      both food and drink you gave to people for their enjoyment,
         ἵνα σοι εὐχαριστήσωσιν,
         so that they might give thanks to you;
      ἡμῖν δὲ ἐχαρίσω
      but to us you have graciously given
         πνευματικὴν τροφὴν
         spiritual food
         καὶ ποτὸν
         and drink
         καὶ ζωὴν αἰώνιον
         and life eternal
            διὰ τοῦ παιδός σου.
            through your child.

   πρὸ πάντων εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι,
   Above all things we give thanks to you,
      ὅτι δυνατὸς εἶ·
      because you are powerful;
      σοὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.
      to you be glory forever.

   μνήσθητι, κύριε, τῆς ἐκκλησίας σου,
   Remember, Lord, your church,
      τοῦ ῥύσασθαι αὐτὴν
      to deliver it
         ἀπὸ παντὸς πονηροῦ
         from all evil
   καὶ τελειῶσαι αὐτὴν
      and to perfect it
         ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ σου,
         in your love
      καὶ σύναξον αὐτὴν
      and gather it
         ἀπὸ τῶν τεσσάρων ἀνέμων, τὴν ἁγιασθεῖσαν,
         from the four winds, in its holiness,
         εἰς τὴν σὴν βασιλείαν, ἣν ἡτοίμασας αὐτῇ·
         into your kingdom, which you prepared for it;
      ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.
      for yours is the power and the glory forever.

   ἐλθέτω χάρις
   Come, grace
      καὶ παρελθέτω ὁ κόσμος οὗτος.
      and let this world pass away.

   Ὡσαννὰ τῷ θεῷ Δαυείδ.
   Hosanna to the God of David!

   εἴ τις ἅγιός ἐστιν,
   If anyone is holy,
      let them come.
   εἴ τις οὐκ ἔστι,
   If anyone is not,
      let them repent.

   μαρὰν ἀθά·


τοῖς δὲ προφήταις ἐπιτρέπετε εὐχαριστεῖν ὅσα θέλουσιν.
But allow the prophets to pray as they desire.


Upon reading the first line, my first question was to wonder if the "satisfaction" referred to had to do with meals in general, or if it had to do with the Lord's Supper in specific since that section immediately precedes this. I wonder further based on the reference to "spiritual food and drink" later on. I'm not sure what to think about this and am open to any insight or comment. Niederwimmer, in his Hermeneia volume on the Didache, states that the meal in question takes place "between chaps. 9 and 10" (Niederwimmer, 155) and refers to a meal that fully satisfies. But if the context is that of the Eucharist, a spiritual meal, how couldn't that meal fully satisfy its purpose? Seems to me this isn't as clear-cut as Nederwimmer makes it out to be.

Anyway, I'm still thinking about that and if you have insight I'd love to hear it.

Next I noticed the role of "the name" in this passage. Note the model prayer starts with giving thanks to God "according to" or "on behalf of" his "holy name"; and that it is "the name" that is "caused to dwell within our hearts". Interesting, particularly in light of the role of the name in the Hebrew Bible. And later we have almighty God creating all things "for the sake of" his name. I suppose these could be shades of reference to the Lord's Prayer ("hallowed be your name") or perhaps areas like Mt 10.22, "in my name's sake". Similar instances are found elsewhere in Matthew (18.5, 20; 19.29; 21.9; 23.39; 24.9) and similar passages in the balance of the Gospels. I'm not sure if there is anything there since the passages aren't exactly analogous, but I thought I'd bring it up.

Another interesting thing was the repetition of the line "through Jesus your child" indicating as the agent through which God gave or made known. Thus, according to the Didachist, the "knowledge of faith and immortality" was made known to us by God through his child Jesus and also the "spiritual food and drink and life eternal" through his child (the same child though the name isn't repeated).

Each verse in the Lake numbering from verse 2 through verse 5 is a sentence and a logical section. Note that verses 2 and 4 end with "to you be glory forever" and verse 5 ends with a similar mini-benediction, "for yours is the power and the glory forever". What's up with verse 3? Well, verse 4 is pretty short and refers to God via pronoun reference. Perhaps verses 3-4 form one unit of the prayer instead, with the units as v. 2, 3-4, 5 with the closing benediction(s) in v. 6. This would allow for v. 5 to wrap it up with its somewhat different form.

Verse 6 is also interesting as it is a series of five short statements, at least as I've broken it up. The image of grace moving into and the world moving away (using ἐλθέτω and παρελθέτω) is nice.

The next statement, "Hosanna to the God of David" sounds like someone was reading the Psalms. Indeed, I don't find any use of "God of David" in the NT. The only personal names used to qualify "God" (θεός) in the NT are those of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The next statement sounds something along the same lines as Re 22.17 but not quite. I don't think there's a parallel there, but the saying sounds similar to something I think I should remember but can't.

The μαρὰν ἀθά could allude to 1Co 16.22 (and also Re 22.20?). But that saying could be so prevalent in the developing church that a direct allusion is not necessary, I'd think. Note Niederwimmer sees parallels between this statement and the previous and 1Co 16.22.

After all of this specification on how to pray following a meal (again, could that be referring to the eucharist proper?) the note of the Didachist in verse 7, allowing the prophets to pray (after a meal, I'd guess) as they wish is curious. Is the model prayer more of a guideline and less of a prescription? And who are these "prophets" and what role did they play in the early church?

Final note: The Coptic witness to the Didache has an insertion after v. 7. According to Niederwimmer (excursus, p. 165), the insertion is as follows:

“But (δέ) because of the word of the oil of anointing (? [ⲥⲧ]ⲓⲛⲟⲩϥⲓ: see immediately below) give thanks, saying: ‘We thank you, Father, for the oil of anointing (? ⲥⲧⲓⲛ[ⲟⲩ]ϥⲓ) that you have made known through Jesus your Son (ϣⲏⲣⲓ; the Coptic has the same word also in 10.3 end; but at this point, as in 10.3, the Coptic word was certainly intended to reflect παῖς). Thine is (the) glory forever. Amen (ἀμήν).’ ”
Niederwimmer, K., & Attridge, H. W. (1998). The Didache : A commentary. Facsims. on lining papers. Hermeneia--a critical and historical commentary on the Bible (165). Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

I only add this as it is interesting; I have no plans to discuss it.

Next up: Didache 11. Hopefully it won't take as long to get to that as it did to get to Didache 10.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, December 28, 2006 4:17:06 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Saturday, September 30, 2006

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


Περὶ δὲ τῆς εὐχαριστίας, οὕτως εὐχαριστήσατε·
Concerning the Eucharist, Eucharistise* in this way.
   πρῶτον περὶ τοῦ ποτηρίου·
   First, concerning the cup:
      Εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι,
      We give thanks to you,
         πάτερ ἡμῶν,
         our Father,
         ὑπὲρ τῆς ἁγίας ἀμπέλου Δαυεὶδ τοῦ παιδός σου,
         for the holy vine of David your son,
            ἧς ἐγνώρισας ἡμῖν διὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ παιδός σου·
            which you made known to us through Jesus your son;
      σοὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.
      glory to you forever.

   περὶ δὲ τοῦ κλάσματος·
   Next, concerning the broken bread:
      Εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι,
      We give thanks to you,
         πάτερ ἡμῶν,
         our Father,
         ὑπὲρ τῆς ζωῆς καὶ γνώσεως,
         for the life and the knowledge
            ἧς ἐγνώρισας ἡμῖν διὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ παιδός σου.
            which you made known to us through Jesus your son;
      σοὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.
      glory to you forever.

ὥσπερ ἦν τοῦτο τὸ κλάσμα διεσκορπισμένον ἐπάνω τῶν ὀρέων
Just as this broken bread had been scattered over the mountains,
   καὶ συναχθὲν ἐγένετο ἕν,
   was brought together and has become one;
οὕτω συναχθήτω σου ἡ ἐκκλησία
likewise bring together your church
   ἀπὸ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς
   from the ends of the earth
      εἰς τὴν σὴν βασιλείαν.
      into your Kingdom.
   ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ δόξα
   So yours is the glory
      καὶ ἡ δύναμις
      and the power
         διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
         through Jesus Christ
      εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.

μηδεὶς δὲ φαγέτω μηδὲ πιέτω
But none shall eat or drink
   ἀπὸ τῆς εὐχαριστίας ὑμῶν,
   from your Eucharist,
   ἀλλ’ οἱ βαπτισθέντες
   but those baptised
      εἰς ὄνομα κυρίου·
      in the name of the Lord;
   καὶ γὰρ περὶ τούτου εἴρηκεν ὁ κύριος·
   for concerning this the Lord said:
      Μὴ δῶτε τὸ ἅγιον τοῖς κυσί.
      “Do not give what is holy to dogs”.

* “Eucharistise” simply verbs the noun to keep the Greek wordplay in the English. It could also be translated partake in the Eucharist.


First off, the structural consistency of the section regarding the cup and the section regarding the bread is obvious, moreso in the above indented view.

Also interesting is the seemingly inverted order of the Eucharist. The cup is given thanks for first, then the bread. Today, Communion/Lord's Supper/Eucharist services (that I'm aware of, anyway) typically take the bread first, as the gospels (Mk 14.22-25 || Mt 26.26-29 || Lu 14.14-23) and First Corinthians (1Co 11.23-34) testify.

The opportunity to pray for the unity of the Church is also refreshing. This isn't unity in the way we hear of today ("can't we just all get along?") but unity in end: We are saved, and we will enter into his Kingdom. The Eucharist points toward this, reminding us of the sacrifice of Christ and of the redemption his blood purchases for us. This redemption is powerful and sacred; it glorifies Christ as he assembles his own, building his kingdom.

It would be most wonderful if this aspect of "unity" was preached more frequently, and if the other aspect ("let's just agree to be tolerant look the other way on topics we disagree on") were preached on far, far less frequently.

Because the Eucharist is sacred, it is only to be celebrated (yes, celebrated!) by those who have been redeemed; only by those who proclaim Christ as their Saviour. Mt 7.6 is quoted in support of this practice.

Next up: Didache 10

Post Author: rico
Saturday, September 30, 2006 5:42:04 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, September 04, 2006

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


Αἱ δὲ νηστεῖαι ὑμῶν μὴ ἔστωσαν μετὰ τῶν ὑποκριτῶν.
Do not have your fasts with the hypocrites.

νηστεύουσι γὰρ δευτέρᾳ σαββάτων καὶ πέμπτῃ·
For they fast on the second day after the sabbath [Mondays], and the fifth [Thursdays].
   ὑμεῖς δὲ νηστεύσατε τετράδα καὶ παρασκευήν.
   But you are to fast on the fourth day [Wednesdays] and the day of preparation [Fridays].

μηδὲ προσεύχεσθε ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταί,
Neither are you to pray as the hypocrites,
   ἀλλ ̓ ὡς ἐκέλευσεν ὁ κύριος ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ αὐτοῦ,
   but as the Lord commanded in his gospel,
   οὕτω προσεύχεσθε·
   pray in this way:
      Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ,
      Our Father who is in Heaven,
      ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου,
      Let your name be holy,
      ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου,
      May your kingdom come,
      γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου
      Let your will be done
         ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς·
         as in heaven so on earth;
      τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸ ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον,
      our daily bread, give us daily,
      καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὴν ὀφειλὴν ἡμῶν,
      and forgive us our debts,
         ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν,
         as we forgive those indebted to us,
      καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν,
      and do not lead us into temptation,
      ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ·
      but rescue us from the evil one,
         ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.
         because yours is the power and the glory for the ages.

τρὶς τῆς ἡμέρας οὕτω προσεύχεσθε.
Pray in this way three times daily.


This short chapter provides information on when to fast. The Christian is to differentiate fasting practice from the "hypocrites" by fasting on different days.

Additionally, the prayer of the Christian is to differ from the prayers of the hypocrites. No information on the prayer of the hypocrites is given, but a sample prayer is given to the baptismal candidate. It is the Lord's Prayer in the form we find it in Matthew (Mt 6.9-13) with one or two small differences ("in the heaven" Did 8.2 vs. "in the heavens" Mt 6.9).

The Christian is to pray this way three times daily. So, in the past few chapters, we've got a bit of insight into the life the baptismal candidate was expected to live. He was to fast for a few days before the baptism. He was to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. And he was to pray the Lord's prayer three times daily.

Looking in this light, we begin to see that the Didache had information on how one who claims Christ should live. The practices described by the Didache are very practially oriented. Now, I don't want to get into legalism and works-based salvation, but sometimes it is good to be reminded -- as the Didache reminds us -- that our confession of Christ is to have visible effect in our lives. The Didache, then, recommended ways for Christians in the early church to evidence their confession.

Next: I'll probably have a short digression comparing the Didache's form of the Lord's Prayer to that found in Matthew and Luke. Or not. Maybe I'll just dive into Didache 9.


Post Author: rico
Monday, September 04, 2006 5:33:07 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, August 28, 2006

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


Περὶ δὲ τοῦ βαπτίσματος,
Concerning baptism,
   οὕτω βαπτίσατε·
   baptise in this way:
      ταῦτα πάντα προειπόντες,
      Having first reviewed all of these things,
         εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς
         in the Name of the Father
            καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ
            and of the Son
            καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος
            and of the Holy Spirit
         ἐν ὕδατι ζῶντι.
         in running water.

ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἔχῃς ὕδωρ ζῶν,
If you do not have access to running water,
   εἰς ἄλλο ὕδωρ βάπτισον·
   Baptise in other water.
εἰ δ ̓ οὐ δύνασαι ἐν ψυχρῷ,
If cold water is not available,
   ἐν θερμῷ.
   then [baptise] in warm [water].

ἐὰν δὲ ἀμφότερα μὴ ἔχῃς,
If you have neither,
   ἔκχεον εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν τρὶς ὕδωρ
   pour water onto the head three times
      εἰς ὄνομα πατρὸς
      in the Name of the Father
         καὶ υἱοῦ
         and of the Son
         καὶ ἁγίου πνεύματος.
         and of the Holy Spirit.

πρὸ δὲ τοῦ βαπτίσματος
And before the baptism
   προνηστευσάτω ὁ βαπτίζων
   the baptiser should fast beforehand,
   καὶ ὁ βαπτιζόμενος
   and the one being baptised,
   καὶ εἴ τινες ἄλλοι δύνανται·
   and any others who are able.
κελεύεις δὲ νηστεῦσαι τὸν βαπτιζόμενον
Call upon the one being baptised to fast
   πρὸ μιᾶς ἢ δύο.
   beforehand one or two days.


Chapter 6 was a transition from teaching on the way of life and the way of death, underscoring the importance to the reader/baptismal candidate of adhering to the way of life. The baptismal candidate was to do everything, or, do as much as possible.

Now the Didachist moves into specific instruction on baptism. I find the intro to the topic interesting. He doesn't move straight into the nuts and bolts of the process of baptism, he first ensures that the baptismal candidate has reviewed "all these things". This refers to the content of chapters 1-6. After that, the Didachist moves on to the formula for baptism. And it is pretty clear: Baptise in the name of the Trinity. This has implications for development of the doctrine of the Trinity depending on where you place the Didache chronologically. Here the basic formula agrees with Mt 28.19.

Also interesting to me is the discussion of what type of water to baptise in. The basic thought is for the baptizer to use the best he's got, but to not put off the baptism because he doesn't have the best water. The way in which the Didachist deals with mode of baptism is refreshing in light of some of the debates on the subject these days (immersion vs. sprinkling). Baptise where you can, when you can, in the best way you can -- but baptise.

The other interesting aspect involves fasting. Both the one baptising and the one being baptised are to fast. Others are to fast too, if they can. This underscores the seriousness of the act of baptism. It represents a breaking with the old ways (the way of death) and an assent to pursue the way of life. It should not be undertaken flippantly or unthinkingly. One should enter into it with seriousness, knowing that keeping on the way of life (bearing as much of the "Lord's yoke" as possible, as Did 6.2 puts it) will involve much diligence, effort and sacrifice.

Next up: Didache 8

Post Author: rico
Monday, August 28, 2006 7:47:40 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Saturday, August 19, 2006

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


Ὅρα, μή τίς σε πλανήσῃ ἀπὸ ταύτης τῆς ὁδοῦ τῆς διδαχῆς,
See to it that no one might lead you astray from the way of this teaching,
   ἐπεὶ παρεκτὸς θεοῦ σε διδάσκει.
   for that one teaches you outside of God.

εἰ μὲν γὰρ δύνασαι βαστάσαι ὅλον τὸν ζυγὸν τοῦ κυρίου,
For if you are able bear the whole of the Lord's yoke,
   τέλειος ἔσῃ·
   you will be perfect.
εἰ δ ̓ οὐ δύνασαι,
But if you are not able,
   ὃ δύνῃ,
   whatever is possible,
   τοῦτο ποίει.
   do this.

περὶ δὲ τῆς βρώσεως,
And concerning food,
   ὃ δύνασαι βάστασον·
   Bear what is possible;
ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ εἰδωλοθύτου λίαν πρόσεχε·
but of food offered to idols, be scrupulously on your guard,
   λατρεία γάρ ἐστι θεῶν νεκρῶν.
   for this is worship of dead gods.


After discussing "the way of life" in depth, and after treating "the way of death" in a somewhat more brief manner, the Didachist sums up and transitions. The next section begins more of a manual, detailing baptism, fasting and the Eucharist.

He begins by referring to the previous content, and exhorts the reader to make sure he minds the teaching, running from whomever would teach contrary. He urges the reader to adhere to the whole of what has been taught ("If you are able to bear the whole of the Lord's yoke, you will be perfect") but anticipates that this will not be possible ("... if you are not able [to bear the yoke], whatever is possible, do this.") The new convert is to keep his eyes on living according to the whole teaching, doing as much as is possible.

A specific instruction is given regarding food offered to idols; that food offered to idols should be avoided as much as possible. The act of offering food to idols is worship of dead gods, thus the food should be avoided. But that's not to say that one sins by eating such food; we do have 1Ti 4.1-5 for guidance in this area.

The bottom line: The Didachist instructs the reader to do as much as can be done, and for what is lacking, rely on the Lord.

Next up: Didache 7.

Post Author: rico
Saturday, August 19, 2006 2:28:24 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, June 27, 2006

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


Ἡ δὲ τοῦ θανάτου ὁδός ἐστιν αὕτη·
And the way of death is this:

πρῶτον πάντων πονηρά ἐστι καὶ κατάρας μεστή·
First of all, it is evil and full of cursing,
   magical acts,
   potion use,
   false witnessing,

διῶκται ἀγαθῶν,
Persecutors of the good,
μισοῦντες ἀληθειαν,
haters of truth,
ἀγαπῶντες ψεῦδος,
lovers of falsehood,
οὐ γινώσκοντες μισθὸν δικαιοσύνης,
not knowing the reward of righteousness,
οὐ κολλώμενοι ἀγαθῷ
not cleaving to the good
   οὐδὲ κρίσει δικαίᾳ,
   nor the righteous judgment,
ἀγρυπνοῦντες οὐκ εἰς τὸ ἀγαθόν,
not caring for the good,
   ἀλλ ̓ εἰς τὸ πονηρόν·
   but [caring for] the evil:

ὧν μακρὰν πραΰτης καὶ ὑπομονή,
From whom gentleness and patience are far removed,
μάταια ἀγαπῶντες,
lovers of vanity,
διώκοντες ἀνταπόδομα,
pursuers of reward,
οὐκ ἐλεοῦντες πτωχόν,
not having mercy for the poor,
οὐ πονοῦντες ἐπὶ καταπονουμένῳ,
not toiling for the one who is downtrodden,
οὐ γινώσκοντες τὸν ποιήσαντα αὐτούς,
not knowing who has made them,
φονεῖς τέκνων,
murderers of children,
φθορεῖς πλάσματος θεοῦ,
seducers of God's creatures,
ἀποστρεφόμενοι τὸν ἐνδεόμενον,
rejectors of the ones in need,
καταπονοῦντες τὸν θλιβόμενον,
oppressors of the afflicted,
πλουσίων παράκλητοι,
defenders of the rich,
πενήτων ἄνομοι κριταί,
lawless judges of the poor,
people steeped in sin:

ῥυσθείητε, τέκνα, ἀπὸ τούτων ἁπάντων.
Be delivered, children, from all such as these.


Recall Did 1.1: "There are two says, one of life and one of death; there is great difference between the two ways". From 1.2 through the end of section 4, the first way — the way of life — was discussed. In this chapter the way of death is discussed. And it is done in, essentially, two lists. The first is a list of qualities that reflect actions, preferences and values of those who are following the way of death. The second is a list of sorts of people that are following the way of death. These people and the values they espouse are to be avoided. Irenaeus hints at this in his Proof of the Apostolic Preaching when he writes,

For the road of all those who see is a single upward path, lit by heavenly light; but the ways of those who see not are many and dark and divergent. The former road leads to the kingdom of heaven by uniting man with God, but the others bring down to death by severing man from God. Therefore must both you, and all those who look after the salvation of souls, make your way by faith, without deviation, with courage and determination, lest through lack of tenacity or perseverance you remain at a standstill in material passions, or even be led astray and turn aside from the straight path. (Irenaeus, Proof, paragraph 1)

The Didachist is making this same point. The way of life, discussed in §§1-4, is that which brings us closer to God. The way of death, discussed here, is that which leads us away from God. This is why the Didachist's closing plea in §5 is that the baptismal candidates be as far removed from those on the way of death as possible. The straight path, the path of life, is preferred.

As far as the qualities and sorts of people on these lists, not much can be said. Translating lists like this, particularly where there are similar items and qualities listed (and infrequently used words to boot) is a difficult slog that is never well rewarded. There is always semantic overlap so choice of translation is a bit of a pain. The thing to remember in these lists is that each item points toward painting the picture of the sorts of people and the kinds of actions that those who profess Christ are to avoid being influenced by.

Next we get into Did 6, which is a transition of sorts.


Post Author: rico
Tuesday, June 27, 2006 8:43:13 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Wednesday, June 07, 2006

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


Οὐκ ἀρεῖς τὴν χεῖρα σου ἀπὸ τοῦ υἱοῦ σου ἢ ἀπὸ τῆς θυγατρός
Do not lift your hand against your son or against your daughter
   ἀλλὰ ἀπὸ νεότητος διδάξεις τὸν φόβον τοῦ θεοῦ.
   but from their youth teach them the fear of God.

οὐκ ἐπιτάξεις δούλῳ σου ἢ παιδίσκῃ,
Do not command your male or female slaves
   τοῖς ἐπὶ τὸν αὐτὸν θεὸν ἐλπίζουσιν,
   who are hoping in the same God,
   ἐν πικρίᾳ σου,
   in your bitterness,
   μήποτε οὐ μὴ φοβηθήσονται τὸν ἐπ’ ἀμφοτέροις θεόν·
   lest they cease to fear the God who is over you both.
   οὐ γὰρ ἔρχεται κατὰ πρόσωπον καλέσαι,
   For he does not call according to circumstance,
      ἀλλ’ ἐφ’ οὓς τὸ πνεῦμα ἡτοίμασεν.
      but [calls] those whom the Spirit has prepared.

ὑμεῖς δὲ οἱ δοῦλοι ὑποταγήσεσθε τοῖς κυρίοις ὑμῶν ὡς τύπῳ θεοῦ
And you who are slaves be subject to your masters as to a copy of God
   ἐν αἰσχύνῃ καὶ φόβῳ.
   in reverence and fear.

Μισήσεις πᾶσαν ὑπόκρισιν καὶ πᾶν ὃ μὴ ἀρεστὸν τῷ κυρίῳ.
Hate all hypocrisy and all that is not pleasing to the Lord.

οὐ μὴ ἐγκαταλίπῃς ἐντολὰς κυρίου,
Do not forsake commandments of the Lord,
   φυλάξεις δὲ ἃ παρέλαβες,
   but guard that which you have received,
      μήτε προστιθεὶς
      neither adding
      μήτε ἀφαιρῶν.
      nor taking away.

ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐξομολογήσῃ τὰ παραπτώματά σου,
Confess your wrongdoings in the church,
   καὶ οὐ προσελεύσῃ ἐπὶ προσευχήν σου ἐν συνειδήσει πονηρᾷ·
   and do not enter into your prayer with an evil conscience.

αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ ὁδὸς τῆς ζωῆς.
This is the way of life.


There are several groups within this overall section. The first has to do with interaction with others, it is broken into two groups. The first group is children. Christian parents are not to instill fear of themselves into children, they are to instill fear of God into children. A child might obey if punishment from a parent is feared. But this is not proper for the baptismal candidate. Instead, his children must fear God because in fearing God children will honor parents and glorify God.

A similar plea is made to the second group, slaves. Christians who have slaves that are believers must treat those slaves as brothers and sisters. For God is the one who places people into their respective situations. There is nothing prohibiting slaves from becoming believers, so if they are confessing brothers and sisters they must be recognized as such. This, however, is not a free pass for slaves. Slaves, likewise, have been placed in their circumstance by God so they should honor their masters and therefore honor God.

After the instruction on slaves and children comes a statement that helps in transitioning to a new section: "Hate all hypocrisy and all that is not pleasing to the Lord". This is transitionary because it applies to the previous section — parents who instill fear of parents into children, masters who mistreat slaves, and slaves who disonor masters, if they claim to be Christian, are hypocrites. Their actions do not align with their confession. Similarly, points that follow outline proper action and the baptismal candidate should not depart from them.

The following section, then, builds off of this with two primary points:

  • keep the commandments
  • confess transgressions

But these really boil down to the same thing: Obey, and confess when you don't obey. The emphasis is obedience. The hypocrite is the one who professes to obey but doesn't, and then doesn't confess his disobedience as wrong and seek forgiveness.

Each of these primary points is augmented a bit. Only the commandments received are to be adhered to; the baptismal candidate should be wary of the one who comes bringing new commandments to obey. Likewise, the commandments that are given are not to be subtracted from. If a teacher comes along professing that commandments do not apply, the baptismal candidate should be wary.

Regarding confession, it is interesting that wrongdoings (or transgressions) are to be confessed in the church. There is, it appears, some accountability and public confession going on. The baptismal candidate is to take responsibility for his wrongdoings and confess of them. He is also to not "enter into his prayer with an evil conscience". This is interesting as well. Is this directly related to his confession? Does this mean that as he confesses, he is not to do so with haste and disgust or even hatred at those keeping him accountable? Perhaps.

The whole section (from Did 1.2 through Did 4.13) ends with an inclusio, repeating the same text that started the section: "This is the way of life". This bounds the whole section, so we know that the Didachist's life-giving teaching ends here.

The next section will begin the flip side: the way of death.  

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, June 07, 2006 6:12:42 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Wednesday, May 31, 2006

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


Μὴ γίνου πρὸς μὲν τὸ λαβεῖν ἐκτείνων τὰς χεῖρας,
Do not first reach out your hands to receive,
   πρὸς δὲ τὸ δοῦναι συσπῶν.
   only to draw back from giving.

ἐὰν ἔχῃς διὰ τῶν χειρῶν σου,
If you have something because of your hands,
   δώσεις λύτρωσιν ἁμαρτιῶν σου.
   offer it as a ransom for your sins.

οὐ διστάσεις δοῦναι οὐδὲ διδοὺς γογγύσεις·
Do not hesitate to give nor grumble while giving:
   γνώσῃ γάρ,
   for you will know,
      τίς ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ μισθοῦ καλὸς ἀνταποδότης.
      who is the good paymaster of the reward.

οὐκ ἀποστραφήσῃ τὸν ἐνδεόμενον,
Do not reject the needy one,
   συγκοινωνήσεις δὲ πάντα τῷ ἀδελφῷ σοῦ
   but share everything with your brother
      καὶ οὐκ ἐρεῖς ἴδια εἶναι·
      and do not say anything is your own:
   εἰ γὰρ ἐν τῷ ἀθανάτῳ κοινωνοί ἐστε,
   for if you are sharers in the immortal,
      πόσῳ μᾶλλον ἐν τοῖς θνητοῖς;
      how much more in things that will die?


These three verses center on materialism. They speak about giving and receiving. The Didachist teaches that in order to receive, one must give. The one who is receiving should be giving. The bit about offering up the work of our hands "as a ransom for your sins" seems a bit strange, though. The Didachist's point, though, is that the baptismal candidate shouldn't clutch to the tangible things of the world, but he should realize that nothing is his, all belongs to the Father, so sharing with the brothers bestows the benefits upon the community.

Almost sounds communist, though.

The basic idea is that the material things should have no pull on the actions of the Christian. They are not ours, they have only been entrusted to us for a short time. We should, then, use such resources wisely and appropriately.

The paragraph closes off with a stunning concept: "if you are sharers in the immortal, how much more in things that will die?" Christians have and share in the incredible gift of salvation and eternal life. In light of that, lesser things should be just that: lesser.

Update (2006-06-01): Tim Wegener (Madabar) writes in to refer me to Ex 30.11-13 on the idea of the work of our hands offered up as a ransom for our sins. He also (rightly) points me away from thoughts of communism by reminding me "Perhaps the difference is that the sharing is done freely, rather than through force, regulation, legislation or coercion". True, true. It seems when I see things like "share things freely" my economics major kicks in and considers economic systems instead of what the text really says. Thanks for bringing the discussion back to what's important, Tim!

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 7:31:05 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, May 29, 2006

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


Τέκνον μου,
My child,
   τοῦ λαλοῦντός σοι τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ
   the one speaking to you the word of God,
   μνησθήσῃ νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας,
   remember him night and day,
   τιμήσεις δὲ αὐτὸν ὡς κύριον·
   and honor him as the Lord:
   ὅθεν γὰρ ἡ κυριότης λαλεῖται,
   for where the Lord's nature is discussed
   ἐκεῖ κύριός ἐστιν.
   there the Lord is.

ἐκζητήσεις δὲ καθ ̓ ἡμέραν τὰ πρόσωπα τῶν ἁγίων,
But seek out each day the presence of the saints,
   ἵνα ἐπαναπαῇς τοῖς λόγοις αὐτῶν.
   so that you may find comfort in their words.

οὐ ποθήσεις σχίσμα,
Do not strive after schism,
   εἰρηνεύσεις δὲ μαχομένους·
   but bring peace to the ones who fight:
   κρινεῖς δικαίως,
   judge justly,
      οὐ λήψῃ πρόσωπον ἐλέγξαι ἐπὶ παραπτώμασιν.
      do not show favortism in bringing sins to light.

οὐ διψυχήσεις,
Do not be double-minded,
   πότερον ἔσται ἢ οὔ.
   whether this occurs or not.


Didache 4 begins with positive statements concerning fellowship and the ones who lead the fellowship, followed with cautions regarding dissention, schism and unity.

I find it telling that unity is stressed but it is not unity as we would tend to think about it today. The unity discussed here involves unity in obedience, not unity in tolerance. The "ones who fight" are not brought to peace simply with an agreement to end the discussion without addressing the underlying cause. The "schism" or disagreement is resolved, but it is resolved with honor and propriety -- bringing sin to light and rebuking it.

This is all prefaced with positive statements regarding the pratice of praying for an honoring the one "speaking the word of God" to the community. There is a focus on honoring that leadership and in following that leadership.** Additionally there is a focus on fellowshipping with other believers: "each day seek out the presence of the saints". The reason given for doing this is to "find comfort in their words".

When a properly-ordered community does these things -- praying for, supporting and honoring leadership along with seeking out fellowship -- then when difficulties and disagreements come, the disagreement can be reconciled and not simply plastered over in a vain attempt at 'unity'. After all, the goal isn't unity for unity's sake. The goal is loving God who made us (Did 1.2). When the difficult situations arise, if the community is properly focused on loving God (and therefore loving the ones who "speak the word of God", Did 4.1) then one side effect will be a serious effort toward unity in love of God when difficult situations arise. Without the underlying love of God, the love and honoring of leaders, and the respect of fellow saints, any effort toward unity is hopeless.

Thus, in the context of instuction for a baptismal candidate (which the Didache very well may be) the importance of underscoring this is evident for the well-being of the community in achieving its primary purpose, to love God.

** A random thought (and not a serious proposal): I find it somewhat interesting that terminology such as 'overseer' or 'elder' isn't used here in light of later portions of the Didache that serve as an ecclesiastical manual for practices such as the Eucharist. Perhaps that helps in establishing a date for the Didache that is earlier than, say, the letters of Ignatius?

Post Author: rico
Monday, May 29, 2006 9:58:40 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, May 22, 2006

I've been blogging about the Didache (off and on) for the past month or so. So imagine my surprise when I saw that Christianity Today has an article on the Didache titled "What the Teaching Can Teach Us". "Teaching" is, of course, the translation of Didache.

So if you're searching around for info on the Didache or just want to see what it says. I'm working through the text, making my own provisional translation, and writing a series of notes reflective of my thoughts as I work through the text. See ricoblog's Didache category for more info and all relevant posts.

(h/t: Michael Bird's blog Euangelion for the link to CT)

Post Author: rico
Monday, May 22, 2006 2:07:45 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, May 11, 2006

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


ἴσθι δὲ πραΰς,
But be gentle,
   ἐπεὶ οἱ πραεῖς κληρονομήσουσι τὴν γῆν.
   because the gentle ones will inherit the earth.

γίνου μακρόθυμος
Be even-tempered
   καὶ ἐλεήμων
   and merciful
   καὶ ἄκακος
   and innocent
   καὶ ἡσύχιος
   and quiet
   καὶ ἀγαθὸς
   and good
   καὶ τρέμων τοὺς λόγους [διὰ παντός],*
   and [always] trembling at the words
      οὓς ἤκουσας.
      that you have heard.

οὐχ ὑψώσεις σεαυτὸν
Do not exalt yourself
   οὐδὲ δώσεις τῇ ψυχῇ σου θράσος.
   or give arrogance to your soul.

οὐ κολληθήσεται ἡ ψυχή σου
Do not let your soul be joined
   μετὰ ὑψηλῶν,
   with the haughty,
   ἀλλὰ μετὰ δικαίων καὶ ταπεινῶν ἀναστραφήσῃ.
   but be associated with the just and honorable.

τὰ συμβαίνοντά σοι ἐνεργήματα ὡς ἀγαθὰ προσδέξῃ,
The experiences that happen to you, receive them as good,
   εἰδὼς ὅτι ἄτερ θεοῦ οὐδὲν γίνεται.
   knowing that apart from God nothing occurs.

* Funk-Bihlmeyer [hence Ehrman] omit διὰ παντός


This section, in contrast to §3.1-6, begins with positive prescriptions. Instead of all of the prohibitions of that previous section, one is to be gentle (meek). This is a quotation of Mt 5.5, again from the Sermon on the Mount. It is followed up by a further list of qualities to pursue: even-temperedness, mercy, innocence, quietness and goodness.

The addition of "[always] trembling at the words you have heard" jars the reader (or listener) from the peace of the list. Quiet, steady qualities were being listed only to be followed up with an exhortation to awe and respect when considering those very same qualities. These are not passive things to lightly desire, they are important aspects that must be integrated into the life of the baptismal candidate.

Two more prohibitions follow. These both really point to the same idea: Don't associate with the proud and haughty. And that is really just a negative reformulation of the gist of the first part, to be intensely humble and gentle.

This is all tied together with the ending statement, reminding the baptismal candidate to accept everything that happens as good because whatever happens (even the cruddy stuff) comes from God. Apart from God, the creator and ordainer of all things, nothing can occur. This in turn once again reminds the baptismal candidate to be zealously obedient to the call of humility and gentleness. People are not in control of what happens. Thus one's reaction in any situation in life, good or bad, is a reaction to the work of God (understandable or not) in his life.

So, overall, we end up with a structure like this:

  • First Two Groups: State the goal positively
  • Second Two Groups: State the goal negatively
  • Conclusion: Reiterate why the goal is necessary

The baptismal candidate can respond one of two ways to any situation he encounters. He can respond with gentleness, humility and even-temperedness at the situation God has wrought in his life; or he can respond with pride and arrogance in the mistaken conception that he himself can do something about it. The baptismal candidate should respond with the understanding that God will work what he will work, and respond properly and faithfully accept the will of God.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, May 11, 2006 8:48:25 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Sunday, April 30, 2006

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


Τέκνον μου,
My child,
      ἀπὸ παντὸς πονηροῦ
      from all evil
      καὶ ἀπὸ παντὸς ὁμοίου αὐτοῦ.
      and from all like it.
   μὴ γίνου ὀργίλος,
   do not be proud,
      ὁδηγεῖ γὰρ ἡ ὀργὴ πρὸς τὸν φόνον,
      for pride leads to murder,
   μηδὲ ζηλωτὴς
   nor (be) jealous
   μηδὲ ἐριστικὸς
   nor (be) quarrelsome
   μηδὲ θυμικός·
   nor (be) easily stoked to anger:
      ἐκ γὰρ τούτων ἁπάντων φόνοι γεννῶνται.
      for from all of these murder is borne.

τέκνον μου,
My child,
   μὴ γίνου ἐπιθυμητής,
   do not be lustful,
      ὁδηγεῖ γὰρ ἡ ἐπιθυμία πρὸς τὴν πορνείαν,
      for lust leads to sexual immorality,
   μηδὲ αἰσχρολόγος
   nor (be) filthy-mouthed
   μηδὲ ὑψηλόφθαλμος·
   nor (have) eyes prone to desire:
      ἐκ γὰρ τούτων ἁπάντων μοιχεῖαι γεννῶνται.
      for from all of these adulterous acts are borne.

τέκνον μου,
My child,
   μὴ γίνου οἰωνοσκόπος,
   do not be one who consults soothsayers,
      ἐπειδὴ ὁδηγεῖ εἰς τὴν εἰδωλολατρίαν,
      for this leads to idolotry,
   μηδὲ ἐπαοιδὸς
   nor (be) an enchanter
   μηδὲ μαθηματικὸς
   nor (follow) astrology
   μηδὲ περικαθαίρων,
   nor (be) a magician,
   μηδὲ θέλε αὐτὰ βλέπειν·
   nor desire to see these things:
      ἐκ γὰρ τοῦτων ἁπάντων εἰδωλολατρία γεννᾶται.
      for from all of these idolotry is borne.

τέκνον μου,
My child,
   μή γίνου ψεύστης,
   do not be a liar,
      ἐπειδὴ ὁδηγεῖ τὸ ψεῦσμα εἰς τὴν κλοπήν,
      because lying leads to theivery,
   μηδὲ φιλάργυρος
   nor (be) a lover of money
   μηδὲ κενόδοξος·
   nor (be) conceited:
      ἐκ γὰρ τούτων ἁπάντων κλοπαὶ γεννῶνται.
      for from all of these theivery is borne.

τέκνον μου,
My child,
   μὴ γίνου γόγγυσος,
   do not be a grumbler,
      ἐπειδὴ ὁδηγεῖ εἰς τὴν βλασφημίαν,
      because it leads to blasphemy,
   μηδὲ αὐθάδης
   nor (be) arrogant
   μηδὲ πονηρόφρων·
   nor (be) evil-minded:
      ἐκ γὰρ τούτων ἁπάντων βλασφημίαι γεννῶνται.
      for from all of these blasphemy is borne.


The Didachist uses a simple structure to warn the baptismal candidate against five kinds of evil. Those evils are:

  • Murder
  • Sexual Immorality
  • Idolotry
  • Thievery
  • Blasphemy

The baptismal candidate isn't just warned about these areas generally, he is warned about specific sorts of action that may lead one to these areas.

And at the beginning of the section, the baptismal candidate is warned against evil in general. So this section goes from general to specific. Sort of like this:

  • Evil
    • Murder
      • pride, jealousy, being prone to quarrel, easily stoked to anger 
    • Sexual Immorality
      • lustful, filthy-mouthed, eyes prone to desire
    • Idolotry
      • consult soothsayers, enchanters, astrology, magicians, desire to see such things
    • Thievery
      • liar, lover of money, conceited
    • Blasphemy
      • grumbler, arrogant, evil-minded

The baptismal candidate isn't just to generally abstain from evil, or even from things all would acknowledge are evil. He is to refrain from smaller things, he is to be in control of his passions and doings. He is not only to not be a thief, he is to avoid lying and the love of money because those things could lead to thievery (and thus lead toward evil).

As said above, the structure starts generally and works down into specifics. And the specifics are what the candidate is to take home and apply in his overall quest to live according to the way of life (cf. Did 1) and avoid the way of death.

That's just the first part (Did 3.1-6). I'll do something on the second part (Did 3.7-10) some time later.

Post Author: rico
Sunday, April 30, 2006 4:23:27 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Saturday, April 22, 2006

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

In my earlier post on Didache 2, I have the following:

   οὐκ ἔσῃ διγνώμων
   Do not be double-minded
      οὐδὲ δίγλωσσος·
      or double-tongued:
         παγὶς γὰρ θανάτου ἡ διγλωσσία.
         for being double-tongued is a death trap.
   οὐκ ἔσται ὁ λόγος σου ψευδής ου κενός,
   Your speech should not be false or vain,
      ἀλλὰ μεμεστωμένος πράξει.
      but verified by action.

The first bit involves a two-sided prohibition: Don't be "double-minded" or "double-tongued"; and has further explanation: "for being double-tongued is a trap of death".

The second bit seems to reiterate the first bit: Speech shouldn't be false or vain. This has an additional positive clarification: instead, speech should be verified by action.

Thus, instead of simply prohibiting (as the first portion of section 2 does a lot of) the idea of being double-tongued/double-minded is prohibited but is also corrected with proper action specified. Instead of just not doing something and leaving it at that; the Didachist recommends that one show reliability of speech by following through and doing what is spoken.

This is powerful, at least in my reading. This isn't simply a laundry list of prohibitions. Adn this shows up again just a few words later:

   οὐ λήψῃ βουλὴν πονηρὰν
   Do not enter into evil plans
      κατὰ τοῦ πλησίον σου. 
      against your neighbor.
   οὐ μισήσεις πάντα ἄνθρωπον,
   Do not hate any man,
      ἀλλὰ οὓς μὲν ἐλέγξεις,
      but some you should correct,
      περὶ δὲ ὧν προσεύξῃ,
      some you should pray for,
      οὓς δὲ ἀγαπήσεις
      and some you should love
         ὑπὲρ τὴν ψυχήν σου.
         even more than your own life.

Here we have a short prohibition: Don't plot and scheme against your neighbor. But it is followed up with a more general prohibition and then a positive three-pronged prescription on how to instead interact with other people. Don't hate others, instead:

  • correct those who need correcting
  • pray
  • love even more than your own life.

The Didachist isn't teaching that there are only three ways to interact, and each relationship we have will be classified exclusively and accordingly (e.g., I correct Fred, I pray for Miguel, and Gino is someone I consciously show Christian love toward). This is not a three-point sermon in ordering relationships in a positive, Godly way. Instead, the Didachist is offering suggestions to use in each and every relationship, whether a next-door neighbor, friend, co-worker or shopkeeper. Some relationships may exhibit one, two or all three of these sorts of interactions. Some may require more.

As far as the Didache goes, however, this way of expressing the prohibition with negative statements and then following up with a positive prescription on how one is to act is helpful and logical, particularly if the Didache was originally a treatise for the baptismal candidate. The formula seems like:

  • Don't do something. [negative prohibition]
  • Restatement and generalisation of the prohibition.
  • Do this instead: [positive prescription]

At least, that's what I noticed in re-reading the section this afternoon. YMMV.

Post Author: rico
Saturday, April 22, 2006 3:56:04 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Wednesday, April 12, 2006

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


Δευτέρα δὲ ἐντολὴ τῆς διδαχῆς·
And the second commandment of the teaching [is this]:
   οὐ φονεύσεις,
   Do not murder,
   οὐ μοιχεύσεις,
   do not commit adultery,
   οὐ παιδοφθορήσεις,
   do not sodomise,
   οὐ πορνεύσεις,
   do not fornicate,
   οὐ κλέψεις,
   do not steal,
   οὐ μαγεύσεις,
   do not practice magic,
   οὐ φαρμακεύσεις,
   do not use potions,
   οὐ φονεύσεις τέκνον ἐν φθορᾷ,
   do not murder a child by abortion,
      οὐδὲ γεννηθὲν ἀποκτενεῖς,
      nor kill the just-born ones,
   οὐκ ἐπιθυμήσεις τὰ τοῦ πλησίον.
   do not yearn after the things of your neighbor,
   οὐκ ἐπιορκήσεις,
   do not commit perjury,
   οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις,
   do not bear false witness,
   οὐ κακολογήσεις,
   do not speak evil,
   οὐ μνησικακήσεις.
   do not bear a grudge.
   οὐκ ἔσῃ διγνώμων
   Do not be double-minded
      οὐδὲ δίγλωσσος·
      or double-tongued:
         παγὶς γὰρ θανάτου ἡ διγλωσσία.
         for being double-tongued is a death trap.
   οὐκ ἔσται ὁ λόγος σου ψευδής ου κενός,
   Your speech should not be false or vain,
      ἀλλὰ μεμεστωμένος πράξει.
      but verified by action.
   οὐκ ἔσῃ πλεονέκτης
   You should not be greedy
      οὐδὲ ἅρπαξ
      or a robber
      οὐδὲ ὑποκριτὴς
      or a hypocrite
      οὐδὲ κακοήθης
      or spiteful
      οὐδὲ ὑπερήφανος.
      or proud.
   οὐ λήψῃ βουλὴν πονηρὰν
   Do not enter into evil plans
      κατὰ τοῦ πλησίον σου. 
      against your neighbor.
   οὐ μισήσεις πάντα ἄνθρωπον,
   Do not hate any man,
      ἀλλὰ οὓς μὲν ἐλέγξεις,
      but some you should correct,
      περὶ δὲ ὧν προσεύξῃ,
      some you should pray for,
      οὓς δὲ ἀγαπήσεις
      and some you should love
         ὑπὲρ τὴν ψυχήν σου.
         even more than your own life.


The above sees Did 2.2-3 as one large list after the list preface. Lake breaks that into two sentences in his Greek, but has one sentence in the English. I think it makes sense to treat the list as a whole, even though the portion about abortion, infanticide and covetousness does offer explanatory expansion instead of just a verb. (Note: I was half-tempted to translate "do not yearn after the things of your neighbor" as "do not attempt to 'keep up with the Joneses' ", but I withstood the urge.).

It strikes me that many today wouldn't consider the Didachist's list of "thou shalt nots" to be too "politically correct". The baptismal candidates (likely new converts) reading this were urged to forsake, as BDAG's extended gloss words it, engaging "in same-sex activity with a young male" (BDAG, 750). This sort of practice (as I understand it) was socially acceptable to some degree or another. New converts were to stop doing it. No discussion. As well, new converts are made aware that the practice of killing a child in the womb (abortion) or killing a newly-born child (infanticide, likely through exposure) is unacceptable practice.

The other groups are guidelines with expansion. That is, instead of just listing stuff, these items have some further explanation. Being "double-tongued" is to be avoided because it is a snare that leads to death. Instead of saying different things to different people, Christians are to let their "yes" be yes, and their "no" be no. Doing otherwise will only lead to trouble. This is expanded further in the next statement, which I love -- maybe I'll make a sign and put it up on my bathroom mirror or office wall: "Your speech should not be false or vain, but verified by action." In other words, these baptismal candidates are taught that their words are to be proven by their actions. They are, to put it into Christian-ese, "walk the talk". Lies and empty words are to be avoided.

Next is a short list mentioning greediness, stealing, hypocrisy, spite and pride. This is self explanatory. Following that is mention regarding plotting evil or malice towards one's neighbor. In light of Didache 1's exhortation to love one's neighbor as one's self, this doesn't really seem necessary. But it does underscore the importance of that command by restating the same thing (in essence) negatively; one's relationship with his neighbor (fellow human being) is again brought to the forefront.

This transitions into a general statement that speaks against hatred of others. The transition seems to be moving from hating others to acting in love toward others. Instead of hating others, instead of hatching evil plots against our neighbors, we are to love others through offering correction to some of them, through praying for others of them, and through loving others of them even more than we love our own selves.

Next up: Didache 3, though I may revisit portions of the above in some more detail between now and then.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, April 12, 2006 10:29:02 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, April 10, 2006

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

Didache 1.2

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.

The introduction (Did 1.1) set the contrast: There are two ways, and they are very different. One leads to life, one leads to death. The above is the beginning of clarification of the way of life. It consists of two primary aspects which happen to mirror the teaching of Jesus (cf. Mk 12.28-34) on the most important/greatest commandment. This is an ordered list that further clarifies what the "way of life" consists of. The last line (above, anyway) clarifies the second point of the list—how one is to love his neighbor. Also note that the verb ἀγαπήσεις is implied in the second list item as indicated by the brackets in the translation.

Didache 1.3a

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.

The way of life (one of the two ways) was described in Did 1.2 as loving the Lord and loving one's neighbor as one's self. This is further elaborated in Didache 1.3a with the obvious preface followed by three imperatives (in bold above). This is the practical application. By doing these things, one evidences firstly love for the Lord and secondly love for his neighbor.

Didache 1.4

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.

I think this is another instance of a statement followed by explanation. The statement is "Refrain/abstain from fleshly and bodily lusts". It is explained with a series of four conditional statements, each underscoring a non-fleshly response. That is, each of these statements emphasizes a reaction that is manifestly not the reflex action one would have. If one is slapped, or robbed, or forced into service, the typical reaction is to rebel and fight back. Perhaps even to do the bare minimum involved to get out of the situation. But that is not the instruction the Didachist gives here. Instead, he says, fight against the natural instinct and provide even more. Offer your face for another slap. Excel in your conscription. Offer more to the one who steals from you. In other words, be charitable with actions and response even when someone does not treat you with charity or charitable motives.

The conditional statements appear to be direct allusions to the preaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:

  • slaps you on the right cheek: cf. Mt 5.39, Lu 6.29a
  • compels you to go for one mile: cf. Mt 5.41
  • takes away your cloak: cf. Mt 5.40, Lu 6.29b
  • takes from what is yours: cf. Lu 6.30

Again, for the Didachist, the impetus for proper action of a Christian is based on the words of Christ. This in the late 1st century or early 2nd century, before the "New Testament" as we know it had really come into being. Somehow the sayings of Jesus were known and transmitted—either in editions of the synoptic Gospels themselves, or in some other source we don't know much about.

This is interesting to me, anyway. Some posit that the Didache, or at least the first six chapters of it, functioned as a manual for new converts (baptismal candidates). You know, to acquaint them with how to live as Christians. And (at least in the first chapter) the basic instruction involved making sure that baptismal candidates knew the greatest commandment (Love the Lord) and the second commandment (Love your neighbor). And these two commandments were specifically explicated using the words of Christ as foundation for action in life. In other words, the words of Christ were foundational and normative. They were appealed to for authority in the life of a Christian. And this, likely, within 100 years of the crucifixion of Jesus.

Post Author: rico
Monday, April 10, 2006 5:40:24 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, April 07, 2006

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


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.


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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I'm finally beginning a series of random, unscheduled posts on the Didache. I'm less interested in textual history (e.g. Niederwimmer and his endless discussion of textual history and parallels on the "Two Ways" literature) and more interested what the Didache says. So if you're looking for discussion on textual history, parallels, musings on source documents, how the Didachist might have edited his source into the Didache, and stuff like that ... well, read Niederwimmer's Didache volume in the Hermeneia commentary series.

Me, I'll just be reading the document and blogging about what I read. I hope to do the following for each chapter:

  • Translation. OK, this really isn't a from-scratch translation, I'm reading Lake's edition of the Greek and English. My "translation" is really just working over Lake's stuff and rico-tizing it. Most times that will include wholesale changes, other times (when I'm really confused) it will be a simple modernization of the language.
  • Phrasing Breakdown. I hope to do simple phrasing breakdown (some might call it "sentence phrasing" or "block diagramming") of the Greek. This is largely based on my intuition. I don't claim to have the last word on this and realize that others would break things in other ways. I largely use punctuation of the printed Greek editon as guide, along with examining conjunctions, prepositional phrases, and other natural (to me) breaking points in the text. This produces a simple tabbed "hierarchy" that I'll base my notes on.
  • Notes. I'll write whatever comes to mind based on how I worked through the text. Nothing systematic here, particularly since this will be work done over time and really only taking the current chapter (and perhaps some previous context) into account.

Sound good? Ok. Let's get started. For some background, check out EarlyChristianWritings.com on the Didache.

Update (2006-04-07): Thanks to Mike Aquilina (The Way of the Fathers) for linking to this little series of mine. Also note his Introduction to the Didache.

As of March 29, 2007, this series is complete.

Post Author: rico
Friday, April 07, 2006 11:37:17 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, April 06, 2006

Just a quick aside --

When I first read about the Didache (in, say, 1995) I had never heard the word pronounced before and I didn't know anyone who knew how to pronounce it.

I'm almost afraid to admit this -- but the only word I knew (please remember, I'm a child of the 1980s) that even remotely looked like "Didache" was "Jordache". You see, they both end in "-dache". So that informed my pronunciation of "Didache".

(Why didn't I think of "headache"? I can't say. I just didn't even though it would've informed my pronunciation almost as erroneously as "Jordache" did. I blame Brooke Shields.)

Realization that "Didache" was a transliteration and actually came from the Greek, that the 'ch' is hard, and the 'e' is pronounced, came later. I only saw citations in passing, not realizing the document in reference was Greek.

Hey, it was 10 years ago. Cut me some slack!

All this to say: I think I'm going to start blogging on the Didache. Nothing (too) regular, but I'll start posting nonetheless.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, April 06, 2006 6:16:23 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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