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Is the Didache Apostolic?


Taken from here:

“Of apostolic origin no one should presume to speak, since the text of the document makes no such claim, and internal evidence is obviously against such a suggestion”


The Didache cannot be taken as a reliable source for tradition received from Jesus’ disciples, because it was written (as is the opinion of the majority of scholars) in the second half of the second century, by an unknown author who had not, obviously, met the disciples. [28]

We cannot take the Didache as a proof for the existence of the canonical Gospels as we know them today, even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that the Didache was written in the first century. This is because, due to the noticeable differences between the Didache text and our four Gospels, the opposite view should lead us to one of two options: either to believe that the text of the Gospels used by the Didachist was too different from the canonical version we know, or that the Didachist felt free to reshape Jesus’ sayings by mingling them with extra-canonical material and attributing its words to himself, not to Jesus.[29]

Aaron Milavec, who is an authority in the Didache studies, insists after thorough and careful consideration that the Didache is totally independent of the Gospels in the internal logic, theological orientation, and pastoral practice that runs decisively counter to what one finds within the received Gospels. [30]

28 Johannes Betz attributed this point of view to the majority of scholars. (See Johannes Betz, “The Eucharist in the Didache,” in Jonathan A. Draper, ed. The Didache in Modern Research, Leiden: Brill, 1996, p.244)

29 See William. L. Petersen, “The Genesis of the Gospels,” p.53

30 See Aaron Milavec, The Didache: Text, Translation, Analysis, and Commentary, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2003, p.xiii ↑

F.E. Vokes, in his work The Riddle of the Didache(10), regards it as a fictitious reconstruction… He places it at the end of the 2nd century/beginning of the 3rd

(10) F.E. Vokes, The Riddle of the Didache. (1938).


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