Item description for The Didache: Its Jewish Sources and Its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity (Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum Ad No) by Huub Van de Sandt & David Flusser...
Overview This latest addition to the monumental Compendia series offers original thinking and impressive erudition about the Didache. The early Christian manual for baptismal catechesis focuses a valuable lens on the nascent Christian community and early Judaism. In the document's rules for church morals, ritual, and discipline, Huub van de Sandt and the late, great scholar David Flusser find clues to the evolution of Christianity and Judaism from a shared heritage in Jewish sources. The authors hypothesize that an initial Jewish tractate (the so-called Two Ways tractate) evolved into a composite Judaeo-Christian text (independently circulating until Medieval times) and then into its final form as the Didache in an anti-Jewish, gentile church.
Publishers Description The early Christian manual for baptismal catechesis focuses on the nascent Christian community and early Judaism.
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Studio: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.22" Width: 6.36" Height: 1.35" Weight: 1.74 lbs.
Release Date Aug 1, 2002
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Series Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum Ad No
ISBN 0800634713 ISBN13 9780800634711
Reviews - What do customers think about The Didache (Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum Ad Novum Testamentum)?
Jewish Christian Origins Mar 25, 2004
While this volume offers the combined efforts of the late David Flusser of Hebrew University and Huub van de Sandt of Tilburg University, the bulk of the work is actually that of Van de Sandt with Flusser responsible for the first draft of the section on the Greek text of the Didache found in Codex H (see 16-24) and the outline of chapters 4, 5, and 8 (of the book's nine chapters). Thus, the work is less a collaboration between colleagues and more the efforts of a diligent researcher and devoted student to frame and reshape the work of a specialist in late Judaism and early Christian traditions.
The book is well written, carefully argued, and beautifully published. Van de Sandt provides an impressive assimilation of Flusser's flowing literary style and insights on rabbinic literature into his own findings concerning the evolution of the Didache. The central premise focuses on the Jewish background of the so-called "two ways" tradition which lies behind the opening chapters of the Didache and of the ecclesiastical and liturgical materials of the subsequent chapters. Helpful guideposts appear throughout, primarily in the form of summaries at the beginning of chapters and before primary text divisions. There is a heavy dependence upon the traditional approaches of source, form, and redaction criticism combined with a particular concern for late Jewish texts and traditions.
Our authors argue that the Didache derives from a Jewish two ways tradition that was altered to include non-Jews (chs. 1-7), supplemented with materials of a traditional, liturgical design (ch. 8-10, 14-15; cf. 1 Tim. 2.1-3.13) to which concerns about traveling prophets were added (ch. 11-13), and was completed with an apocalypse (ch. 16) and evangelical section (1.3b-2.1). The setting for this effort was "a rural Christian congregation" in western Syria, perhaps "in the borderland between Syria and Palestine" (52) during a transitional period at the turn of the first century. A progressive explanation of the stages by which these materials were joined to form the final manuscript tradition appears throughout.
Chapter 1 explores the early use of the Didache, reviews evidence of direct and indirect witnesses to the tradition, and offers a discussion of the form and purpose of the work. Sample plates of Codex H are provided together with an English translation borrowed from the work of Fr. Aelred Cody of Saint Meinrad Archabbey (see also Kurt Niederwimmer's The Didache).
The heart of the book appears in chapters 2-5, which provide a discussion of the ancient two ways tradition including its nature and background, its role in Christian literature, a reconstruction of its earliest form, and the essence of its Jewish flavor. Van de Sandt argues that our "best idea" of the contents of the two ways is preserved in the Latin Doctrina Apostolorum (80) rather than in either the Didache or Barnabas 18-20. After its association with pre-baptismal instruction, the two ways was widely employed until the Merovingian and Carolingian periods. This section of the study is particularly instructive and impressive.
The remaining chapters are a collection of short essays devoted to other aspects of the two ways. Chapter 6 addresses the tradition's link with the Sermon on the Mount, drawing attention to how the teachings of Jesus employ Jewish materials. The tractate Derekh Erets is a measuring stick for this effort. Chapter 7 speaks to Didache 6.2-3 in light of the rise of Noachide laws within early Christian circles. Chapter 8 discusses Didache 7-10 against the customs of late Judaism; Van de Sandt holds that the food rituals seen here are an early form of the Eucharist. Chapter 9 considers Jewish factors in the ecclesiastical considerations of Didache 11-15. Inasmuch as it engages the developmental stages of the early ecclesiastical offices within the Church, the analysis in this section is somewhat complex and convoluted
Ultimately, the volume is a fine research effort which provides an intriguing view of the reconstructed traditions behind the Didache. The reader sometimes wonders if the title should not have been something like The Two Ways Tradition in Early Christian Literature: A Focus on the Didache, and I have some concern that the book includes no concluding chapter reviewing the evidence and summarizing its conclusions. That concern, however, should not detract from the fact that this volume will long remain a useful tome for scholars of second-century Christian literature.