The Didascalia Apostolorum or “Teaching of the (Twelve) Apostles”

Alistair C. Stewart:

Not the work of a professional scholar but a fair summary nonetheless. And of course one is glad to see the Didascalia gaining attention.

Originally posted on David Christian Clausen:

In my last post regarding the origins of Christianity in Syria, I mentioned a number of early Christian texts believed to have been authored somewhere within the Roman imperial province. One of those is the Didascalia Apostolorum, Latin for “Teaching of the Apostles.” Most scholars believe the DA was authored in Greek in the third century of the Common Era but by the next century it came to be translated into both Latin and Syriac, the language spoken in much of Syria. Among those cities in which the DA may have originated are Aleppo (modern Halab, southeast of Antioch), Bosra (modern Busra al-Sham in southeast Syria), and Edessa (modern Sanli Urfa in western Syria). The DA shows the influence of both the Hebrew Bible and certain rabbinical texts, indicating an origination point in a location with a significant Jewish-Christian population.

Because of its relatively late date of authorship vis-à-vis…

View original 764 more words

Posted in Didascalia Apostolorum | Leave a comment

The pseudonymy game

A few weeks ago I went to a day studying pseudonymous dialogues, in particular to hear the excellent Alin Suciu, who gave a paper on pseudo-apostolic dialogues in Coptic. It keeps me out of trouble!

 What was interesting, as far as students of the ancient church orders is concerned, is the apparatus of pseudonymy in many of these dialogues, as many claim to have been found in Jerusalem, hidden in libraries. Most striking, in that context, was the introduction to ps-John Chrysostom On the four bodiless creatures in which the author states that he was in Jerusalem studying the commands (nesēntagma) in Jerusalem. Surely these syntagmata are an allusion to the setting in Jerusalem of the pseudo-apostolic church orders (e.g. the Didascalia.) A pseudonymous author thus refers to the apparatus of pseudonymy! Any further development of understanding of the church orders must come to terms with their pseudonymous nature. Bart Ehrman has made a significant contribution here, but somehow I do not think his is the last word; I tend to think of pseudonymy more as a literary game than an outright intention to deceive (forgery, in Bart’s words). What Alin’s paper particularly brings to our attention is the continuation of the literary game which we call pseudonymy.

Posted in Didascalia Apostolorum | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The original bishops on the Baker blog

Some reflections here.

Posted in Anything else | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Progress report

I have now received a scan of one of the two pages at the end of the Turin codex containing the Gnomai of Nicaea. Although it is largely lacunose and, due to the darkness of the papyrus, even what is extant is largely illegible from a photograph, I can at least rest assured that this is not a missing page of gnomai simply because it is written in two columns, whereas the rest of the gnomai are in one. Unfortunately, due to an error, only one of the two pages was sent; the other page which was sent was a duplicate of one I had already received. I have pointed this out and wait… again!

In the meantime, and more positively, the introduction and main text of my second edition of Traditio apostolica has gone into the editorial process. I need only now to check the appendix (containing the Hippolytean homily on the Psalms, as before) and recast the indices. My aim was to have this done by Pentecost, so I may well be on schedule.

A publication date is in the hands of the Press, but I do not anticipate that it will be long delayed. Unlike the Gnomai…

Posted in Apostolic Tradition, Other church order literature | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Apostolic Tradition on military catechumens

In the Sahidic version of Apostolic Tradition 16 (the Latin being wanting) it is said of a soldier seeking baptism that he shall not “go to the task” if he is ordered, nor swear the oath. The meaning is obscure. The Aksumite Ethiopic, however, is clear that a soldier is not to offer sacrifice, not to swear the oath, and not to wear a wreath. The Canons of Hippolytus likewise reflect the prohibition of swearing and wearing of the wreath. We may thus reasonably believe that the new Ethiopic version retains the closest reflection of the original. “Not to go to the task” may be some corrupted version of the words regarding sacrifice, though I am at a loss to suggest precisely what.

The particular reason for drawing attention to this is an essay by Yoder on military service in the church orders, found at http://www3.nd.edu/~theo/jhy/writings/history/ecdisc%26ord.htm#N_40_, in which Yoder deduces on the basis of this section of Apostolic Tradition that the principal objection to military service was not the issue of the close relationship with the cultus of the emperor, as is often held. He appears to be using a translation based on the Sahidic, though I am a bit confused as to which, as he makes reference to the Latin (which is not extant for this passage!) However, the Aksumite Ethiopic seems to shift the balance somewhat.

There are a number of significant flaws in Yoder’s use of the church order material in his essay, on which I will not expatiate. It is interesting, as he himself notes, that an ethicist might find material in these documents; ethicists, however, should be as cautious in their use as liturgiologists have, in recent years, learnt to be. Which is not to say that they should not use the material, simply that they should handle it with care.

Posted in Apostolic Tradition | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stephen of Thebes and the asceticization of the catechetical tradition

I have reblogged the Ge’ez of Stephen of Thebes from the learned blog of Alin Suciu. As Suciu notes, nothing is known of this figure, beyond his monastic status; indeed I am ashamed to say that I had not previously heard of him, or of this work. However, I was immediately struck by the echoes of the catechetical tradition which entered the church order tradition from the time of the Didache on, here, as in such works as the Fides patrum and the Syntagma doctrinae, effectively asceticized through the change of audience from those being baptized to those entering monastic profession. This is perhaps a theme which needs further to be explored, and so the evidence is reblogged with thanks.

Posted in Other church order literature | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Gǝʿǝz version of Stephen of Thebes’ Sermo asceticus

Originally posted on Alin Suciu:

My current projects include the editio princeps of the Gǝʿǝz version of Stephen of Thebes’ Sermo asceticus, which is preserved in an unicum, namely EMML 4493, ff. 103r-105r (dated 1528 CE). This author is one of the most mysterious Egyptian ascetical writers, because our sources seem to lack any biographical information about him. Although Stephen of Thebes remains shrouded in mystery, the numerous versions of his writings attest to the wide diffusion this ascetic writer once enjoyed.

The first who attempted a reconstruction of the ascetic corpus attributed to Stephen was Jean Darrouzès in 1961.[1] Darrouzès remarked that the Greek manuscripts attribute to Stephen three writings: the Sermo asceticus, a Diataxis and a series of brief monastic Entolai. It has already been remarked that the Diataxis is nothing else than a compilation from Logoi 3 and 4 of Abba Isaiah of Scetis.[2] For his part, William…

View original 1,307 more words

Posted in Other church order literature | Leave a comment