1. The Didache
In 1873, Philotheos Bryennios, the metropolitan of Serres (Serrae) in Macedonia, discovered a Greek parchment manuscript in the monastery of the Holy Sepulchre in Constantinople. The document contained several early Christian writings, including the text of the famous Didache. Bryennios edited the treatise in 1883. In 1887, the manuscript was transferred to the Greek patriarchate in Jerusalem where it is still preserved today as Hierosolymitanus 54. In the colophon of the manuscript (folium 120, front side) the name of the scribe and the date are preserved. “Leon the scribe and sinner” was the one who produced this codex, which he completed on Tuesday, 11 June 1056.
The ancient textual basis of the eleventh-century minuscule copied by Leon should be narrowed down to its central part only (fol. 39front-80back). The source of this text, extending from the Letter of Barnabas to the end of the Didache, may have originated in the patristic period. In this article, the text of the Didache (fol. 76front-80back) is studied in isolation from the other works contained in the Jerusalem Manuscript. Of course, there are also a few smaller and fractional witnesses to the text of the Didache. For the establishment of the text of the Didache, however, the bearing of these fragments is meagre.
1.1. The Contents of the Didache
The Didache is a compilation of several older sources which are structured into four clearly separated thematic sections: The Two Ways document (chs. 1-6), a liturgical treatise (chs. 7-10), an exposition on church organization (chs. 11-15) and a section relating to the end time (ch. 16). Each individual part belongs to a different literary genre, evolved over a period of time, and makes up a coherent unity.
The opening line of the Didache, “There are two ways, one of life (zōē), the other of death” (1:1), introduces the subject treated in its first part. The Way of Life (Did. 1-4) covers moral instruction, which is expounded at greater length than the Way of Death, which contains a mere list of warnings (Did. 5). Let’s have a first look at the opening of the Two Ways document (1:1-3a):
There are two ways, one of life, the other of death, and between the two ways there is a great difference. Now the way of life is this: First, you shall love God who created you, then your neighbour as yourself, and do not yourself do to another what you would not want done to you. The teaching [that flows] from these words is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies,….
The Way of Life begins with a conventional summary of the Law consisting of the double love command (the “love of God” and the “love of neighbour”) and the Golden Rule in its negative form (“do not yourself do to another what you would not want done to you”). The topic clause in 1:3a (“The teaching [that flows] from these words is this”) shows the following part to be interpretation.
This interpretation continues all the way through three chapters before reaching its conclusion in 4:14b. It includes first a series of positive admonitions found in verses 1:3b-2:1, which reflect some of the radical requirements of the Sermon on the Mount and are particularly close to Synoptic tradition. Then follows a list of precepts intended to cover the essentials of the second table of the Ten Commandments (2:2-7), a distinctive literary unit (3:1-6) that closely reflects the Decalogue themes of the preceding chapter and, finally, two chapters dealing with morals, humility and constructive social behaviour (3:7-4:14). The Way of Death in fact represents a catalogue consisting of twenty-three vices in the first part and a list of nineteen evildoers in the second (5:1-2).
Two things may be noted about the form of the Two Ways in Did. 1-6. Firstly, one would expect the exhortation in 6:1 to conclude the Two Ways section of the Didache: “See to it that no one leads you astray from this way of the teaching, for such a person teaches you apart from God.” Both formulation and content suggest that the Two Ways doctrine comes to a close in Did. 6:1. This impression is strengthened by the predominant tenor in the following verses (6:2-3), which appear to reflect an atmosphere of concession. At the end of the comprehensive ethical treatise, Did. 6:2 suddenly grants that partial compliance with all previous admonitions suffices. Furthermore, with respect to food, everyone is allowed to determine what is to be eaten, and only a minimum requirement is laid down (6:3). As will be corroborated below, the statements in Did. 6:2-3 appear to be a later addition to a basic tradition of the Two Ways.
A second remarkable feature occurs in Did. 1:3b-2:1. The passage clearly interrupts the connection between Did. 1:3a and 2:2 and it stands out from the immediate context in chs. 1-6 with respect to its high number of close parallels to the Gospels of Luke and, especially, Matthew. This is all the more striking because a similar accumulation of traditional Gospel motifs is absent from the remainder of the Two Ways in Did. 1-6. The situation is in fact such that apart from the collection of Jesus tradition in 1:3b-2:1 (and the concessive items in 6:2-3), there is hardly any reference to specific Christian doctrine in the Two Ways manual. Nowhere are obvious soteriological and Christological motifs such as the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ to be found. By inserting the “Evangelical Section” right after 1:3a, the explanation of the double love command and the Golden Rule (1:2) was Christianized while the traditional Jewish interpretation in Did. 2:2-7 accordingly became the “second commandment” (2:1). On the other hand, it has been observed that the text in Did. 1:1-3a. 2:2-6:1 displays numerous links with materials in sources of early Judaism. It is closely related to traditional Jewish materials in the Testament of Asher 1:3-5, the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies VII, 3, 3-5; 7, 1-2 and the Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides. For these reasons, it was argued as early as the end of the nineteenth century that this or a similar form of the Two Ways is derived from a Jewish origin.
The view that a Jewish tradition is behind the present form of the Two Ways in the Didache—with the exception of Did. 1:3a-2:1 and 6:2-3—may be substantiated as follows. In addition to the Didache, the Two Ways tradition ranges across a variety of Christian documents from the first five centuries, including the Doctrina Apostolorum, the Letter of Barnabas 18-20 and some five later writings. Each of these writings represents an independent witness to the ancient Two Ways tradition in which the basic pattern is essentially the same, particularly the appearance of the two ways and the presence of a double catalogue of virtues and vices in which each of the ways consists. It is interesting to see, however, that the various forms of the Two Ways demonstrate no familiarity with the collection of Jesus tradition in Did. 1:3b-2:1 and the supplement in Did. 6:2-3. Moreover, they do not display any acquaintance with Did. 7-16. The obvious explanation for this phenomenon is that these Christian documents are somehow affiliated with a form of the Two Ways tradition lacking these parts.
Since we do not have a copy of the original source extant, our knowledge is at best indirect, being only deducible from the Doctrina, Didache, and Barnabas. The late David Flusser and I have attempted to reconstruct the Jewish prototype of this teaching, which we called the ‘Greek Two Ways’ (GTW) because the text of this pre-Didache source was in Greek. As a matter of fact, this (hypothetical) version of the pre-Didache source, except the Christianized sections of 1:3b-2:1 and 6:2-3, is reflected by and large in the wording of the Didache.
The ancient Greek Two Ways, freed from the secondary context as provided in the Didache, was constructed, preserved, and handed on within pious Jewish circles that maintained highly refined ethical standards. The text shows an undeniable relationship with a particular type of rabbinic literature called Derekh Erets (“The Way on Earth”). Both the Greek Two Ways and the rabbinic Derekh Erets tractates reveal a specific trend in early Jewish thought that calls on a newly refined moral sensitivity. Part of the oral tracts with subjects concerning Derekh Erets reflect the teachings of pious Jewish circles in the first and second centuries C.E. on moral behavior. These men constituted Hasidic groups within the society of the rabbis, practicing charities and performing friendly deeds of compassion. Thus, the tradition of the Two Ways was transmitted and kept alive within virtuous Jewish factions. At the same time, however, the ancient Two Ways also developed into a pre-baptismal catechesis for Gentiles in the Didache community and, as we will see below, probably in other first-century Christian communities as well.
The ritual of baptism, the Lord’s Prayer, and the eucharistic celebration in Did. 7-10, are deeply affected by the pattern of Jewish daily worship. Did. 7 is linked to the preceding Chapters 1-6 by a directive (7:1b) that the Two Ways doctrine should be the substance of the teaching of candidates for baptism:
As for baptism, baptize this way. After you have said all these things [i.e., all that is written above], baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in running water. If you do not have running water, however, baptize in another kind of water; if you cannot [do so] in cold [water], then [do so] in warm [water]. But if you have neither, pour water on the head thrice in the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit (Did. 7:1-3).
Did. 7 is the earliest surviving description of the administration of baptism. It is likely that in the days of the Didache’s composition, the Two Ways as presented in the first section served as a basic catechetical instruction prior to baptism. At the same time, the interest in ritual purity is still paramount in Did. 7 as the text reflects the concern that one should use the most appropriate water available for baptism. In the Hebrew Bible, purification was necessary before participating in Temple worship and this remained for ancient Jews, first and foremost, the prerequisite for encountering the sacred. Ritual impurity bars a person from God’s presence and it is a biblical principle that it forms a barrier that must be removed (Num. 19:20).
The directives in Did. 7:1c-3a with regard to the kinds of water to be used in baptism are clearly borrowed from Judaism. The discussion of the various types of water alludes to Jewish ablutions for ritual purification, and the directives in Did. 7 seem to have their parallels in Jewish halakhic instructions about water for ritual washings. It was a principal issue to determine what sort of water was needed for the purificatory washing. In rabbinic sources, six types of water supply are distinguished in an ascending order of value beginning with the lower qualities of water and proceeding to the higher ones (m. Miqw. 1:1-8).
The text in Did. 7:1c-3a itself, however, may reflect a development that abandoned an originally strict ritual practice. On the one hand, the purity required to approach God is still attained through the performance of ablutions or immersions. On the other hand, the text does not reflect a continuous, strong adherence to Jewish halakhot governing ritual purity. The normal condition of the water found in the rite of Christian baptism is indicated by the phrase “living water” (Acts 8:36; 16:13), and also in the Mishnah it has the highest rank within the classification of kinds of water. But the Didache regulations give the impression that the importance of the baptismal instruction with regard to correct practice is diminishing. They embody concessions toward a formerly strict practice. Should circumstances so demand, the rules permit performance of the rite of baptism “in another kind of water” (Did. 7:2a). And if there is neither cold nor warm water, one was allowed to pour water onto the person’s head instead of immersing them in it. This is an even further concession to the rigorous standards regarding the water for baptism: mere affusion is allowed in case water is scarce. Whereas the interest in ritual purity is still paramount in Did. 7, the rules governing ritual purity were losing their significance.
Interestingly, the directives in Did. 7 are influenced by Jewish halakhic debates on ritual washings, but at the same time reflect a liberalization of the rigorous demands with respect to the baptismal water. The ritual is on its way to a stage in which the effect of baptism is unquestioned, even if the water is less suitable. The prefacing of the baptismal ceremony in Did. 7 with the original Jewish instruction of the Two Ways in Did. 1-6 resulted in an “ethicization” of the baptism ritual. Because baptism is not limited here to a mere cultic action but has taken an ethical shape as a result of being preceded by the original Jewish Two Ways instruction, its precise ritual details become less relevant. What is important is that baptism in Did. 7 carried with it a commitment to a right conduct (Did. 1-6). The Didache still does articulate an interest in issues relating to ritual impurity but probably prioritized the maintenance of moral impurity over the preservation of ritual impurity.
The mention of a pre-baptismal fast in 7:4 appears to have prompted the observation about fasting as an independent phenomenon in 8:1, that is, the stationary fast. Whereas the “hypocrites” fast on Mondays and Thursdays, the readers of the Didache should keep Wednesdays and Fridays as their fast-days. In the same way, a transition is made by the word “hypocrites” to a further differentiation between two practices in the next verse. Instead of “praying as the hypocrites” do, the members of the community are required to recite the Lord’s Prayer three times a day (8:2-3). The Lord’s Prayer is offered in an obligatory text without mentioning or quoting additional prayers. This circumstance, and the requirement to say the Lord’s Prayer three times a day, may indicate that this prayer took the place of the Jewish Tefillah, which was recited three times a day as well. One may assume that individual members of the Didache community still prayed the Tefillah, and when the number of Gentiles in the community increased, this practice undoubtedly caused a strong tension between non-Jewish Christians and Judaizing Christians. The prayer formulary in Did. 8 may have served as a means to prevent people within the Didache community from imitating Jewish practices. The version of the Lord’s Prayer written out in full here, varies from Matt. 6:9-13 in some details only but, even so, probably is not dependent on Matthew. Both the redactor of Did. 8:1-3 and Matthew might have known the prayer from its regular use in their respective church traditions. The agreements are probably to be assigned to the liturgical tradition they have in common.
The congregation is required to distinguish itself from the “hypocrites” by fasting on different days and observing divergent prayer customs. Opponents are disparagingly characterized as “hypocrites” here and again in the next verse. Who were these hypocrites? A possible suggestion, which is widely advocated, proposes that the term reflects the rivalry between a Jewish-Christian faction within the boundary of Judaism and another Jewish group. It has repeatedly been suggested that the label ‘hypocrites’ might refer to Pharisees in particular. For in the period after the Jewish war, the rise of rabbinism led to promulgations of legal decisions which laid claim to religious authority. Members of the Didache community might have felt bitter about the Jewish central authority’s attempts to manage their lives and resented the rabbis gaining control of the public sphere.
But was the community of the Didache still a competing group within the larger fabric of Judaism in its day or had it already ceased to consider itself a variety of Judaism? And if the latter applies, what may have caused the congregation to move away from its roots? One thing is clear: The Didache obviously was composed for the initiation of Gentiles into the community. This already becomes noticeable in the supplementary long title of the Didache (“Doctrine of the Lord [brought] to the Nations by the Twelve Apostles”). The Two Ways doctrine of chs. 1-6 apparently was intended as a prescriptive code principally for Gentiles who had grown up in households in which pagan gods and pagan standards of morality abounded. The Two Ways dichotomy served as a framework for understanding the radical alteration in behaviour and commitments that the Gentile convert was expected to make. Thus, the rules for Jewish life were modified into a pre-baptismal catechesis for Gentiles entering the community. These circumstances might have moved the Sages to harbour suspicions. Moreover, this is the period during which the Birkat Ha-Minim, the benediction against the heretics, appears to have been inserted into the Jewish liturgy. It not impossible, then, that at this stage the Didache community shared a consciousness of their views being suppressed by contemporary Judaism in general. Jewish Christians are likely to have been a major target of this synagogue denouncement. Within this framework the term “hypocrites” in Did. 8 might reflect the deteriorated relations between the particular Didache community and its Jewish opponents in general.
Chapters 9 and 10 present the prayers, rubrics and regulations for the Eucharist. Binding formulae are given for the pertinent prayers. The eucharistic celebration is introduced in 9:2-4 by blessings over the cup and the bread based on Jewish prayers of blessing. After the first table prayer in 9:2-4, a rubrical comment follows in Did. 9:5, emphasizing that no one who has not been baptized is allowed to eat and drink of the Eucharist. It is the only place in the Didache outside Did. 7 that mentions the verb ‘to baptize’ or ‘baptism’:
Let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist save those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord, for concerning this the Lord has spoken, “Do not give what is holy to dogs” (Did. 9:5).
The term “Eucharist” in this verse not only refers to the utterance of the thanksgiving prayer like that in 9:1, but also to the Eucharistic food over which the blessing is spoken. In Did. 9:5, baptism is indeed referred to as the general prerequisite authorizing participation in the Eucharist and preventing pagans from sharing the meal. Didachic baptism is a ritual act marking the initiation of new members into the community and, at the same time, seems to set the acceptable limits of table fellowship.
As we see in the rubric of Did. 10:1, a regular meal follows upon these prayers which is concluded by an additional prayer of thanksgiving. This is the second part of the eucharistic prayer in Did. 9-10. In recent decades has it come to be generally accepted that the ultimate roots of the eucharistic prayers in Did. 9-10 lay in Jewish liturgical practice. Attempts have been made to link the prayer in Did. 10:2-5 with the rabbinic Birkat ha-Mazon, the prayer that concludes the Jewish meal. In the last few years, however, this supposition has become controversial as Jewish liturgical traditions of Temple times are no longer taken to be as fixed and uniform as was once supposed. We should therefore be cautious and not be too eager to draw the conclusion that these prayers had a standardized form in the first century. On the other hand, it is of importance to note that, in spite of this variation in wording, the Jewish after-dinner prayer Did. have a number of stable elements. The general structure of this prayer was probably already known to the author of the Book of Jubilees in the second century B.C.E. When Abraham says Grace after meals (Jub. 22:6-9), we find him uttering a three-part prayer, i.e. a benediction, a thanksgiving, and finally a supplication, a pattern very much like the later texts of the Birkat Ha-Mazon.
The prayers in Did. 9:2-4 and 10:2-5 encircling a real meal represent some vestiges of Gentile Christian usage as well. The petitions in 9:4 and 10:5 regarding the gathering of the church are bound up with the biblical expectation of salvation that the dispersed of Israel will be collected in the day of salvation (Deut. 30:3-5a; Isa. 11:12b-c; Ezek. 37:21). Later this desire was kept alive in the tenth benediction of the Tefillah. The transfer of this concept to the Christian church in Did. 9:4 and 10:5, however, involving a gathering of the church without further reference to the Jewish people, is a conspicuous characteristic of Christian refashioning. It is clear that a petition for the gathering of the dispersed people of Israel is beyond the liturgical range of the community of the Didache. The formulation reflects a Gentile, rather than a particular Jewish position and perspective. One may therefore assume that the supplications in Did. 9:4 and 10:5 were formulated in a Gentile Christian community. They clearly illustrate the fact that, as the church won more and more Gentiles, it gradually alienated itself from its Jewish background.
What follows next is the section comprising Did. 11-15 with guidelines for good order and church discipline. These chapters present authoritative ‘apostolic’ rules on matters of ecclesiastical organization that end in 15:4, just before the doctrine concerning the things that will happen at the end of the world in Chapter 16. The instructions give a glimpse of the local church or churches for which the Didache was written. A variety of disciplinary measures is presented, designed particularly to correct abuses in the life of the Didache community. The regulations in this section specify how certain classes of visitors must be tested so as to protect the community from troublesome visitors. In Did. 11:1-12:5, the emphasis is on testing Christians who would stop over at the Didache community. The passage provides guidelines by which to ascertain the legitimacy of these Christians, whether they claim to be apostles, prophets or just laymen. Although these preachers could expect a hospitable reception within the community, they all had to be subjected to an examination. The community reserved the right to judge outsiders in order to prevent a number of charlatans from taking advantage of its hospitality.
The apostles are the first class of visitors considered here. They are persons sent out on a mission from elsewhere and because they were in transit, they were not allowed to stay longer than two days or to ask for money (11:4-6). The second class of strangers dealt with here are the prophets. It was rather difficult, however, to equip the community with criteria enabling them to differentiate between true and false prophets. Since prophets were regarded as speaking in the Spirit, they had a privileged status that distinguished them from other teachers. The Didache, however, sanctions the prophetic gifts without endangering the community. While preserving the high valuation of speaking in the Spirit, the manual recommends an examination of a prophet’s lifestyle as a chief criterion for credibility (11:7-12).
Discussing ordinary people who come to the community and claim to be Christians, the Didache in the next chapter demands a further testing and setting of conditions as well. If a travelling Christian layman wants to settle in the community, the general rule is that such a person must earn his own living with a trade (12:1-5). Christians wishing to reside within the community will have to work for a living: “If he wants to settle in with you, … , let him work and [thus] eat” (12:3). In this context, the passage in 13:1-7 is not some peculiar afterthought or a part not reflected upon in Did. 11. The connection between Did. 13 and 12:3-5 is clearly indicated in the phrase “wanting to settle in with you” in 13:1 (and 12:3). Apparently, the instruction in Did. 13 is meant to counteract the wording of 12:3-5 insofar as the classes of the prophets and teachers are regarded. This instruction does not apply in the case of a teacher and a genuine prophet. When true prophets or genuine teachers desire to settle down in the community, they are to be given material support as a reward for their labours (13:1-2).
Visiting prophets (and even traveling apostles) were still active in the church by the time of the redaction of the Didache, and this phenomenon fits the general mobility of contemporary religious teachers of popular Hellenistic religion. At the time when the Didache was composed, the number of itinerant religious propagandists appears to have increased to such an extent, however, that it opened the door for abuses to set in. Because Christians were generally expected to offer a generous and cordial welcome to guests and strangers, this hospitable attitude could easily be misused.
In Did. 14, the concern is no longer with the attitude of the local community towards outsiders, towards those who visit the community, but rather with circumstances within the settled community itself. The successive topics are loosely connected. The confession of sins and reconciliation is the central theme. Both rules are laid down as a requirement for the admission to the celebration of the Eucharist. The pleonastic phrase “on the Sunday of the Lord” with reference to the Eucharist in 14:1 might indicate a polemic against those who still preferred the Sabbath to the Lord’s day for the weekly celebration of the Eucharist. The author once again seems to be taking a stand against Judaizing Christians. Evidence from other sources (Gal 4:8-11; Col 2:16-17 and Ignatius, Magnesians 9:1-2), indicating that some Christian circles conti-nued to observe the Sabbath, strengthens this impression. The phrase, then, might suggest that these Christians should exchange the Sabbath for the Sunday as the day of the celebration of the Eucharist. In 15:1-2, another theme is introduced. The community members are advised to select for themselves bishops and deacons who are qualified for their offices. They are to be honest, unassuming and not greedy. After the digression in 15:1-2, the statement in 15:3 reminds of the admonition in 14:3. Someone who, in spite of the congregation’s correction, continues to wrong his brother has to be peacefully excluded from the community until he repents.
The End Time
The concluding section in ch. 16, which is incomplete in the manuscript left to us (Hierosolymitanus 54), contains a premonition related to the end of human history and the return of Christ to ensure obedience to the preceding provisions in Did. 1-15. The hortatory passage of vv. 1-2 functions as a warning to the reader for the retribution at the end of time. This parenetic passage includes two concrete admonitions, i.e., a call for vigilance (16:1a) and an admonition to meet frequently (16:2a). Both incentives are substantiated by a succinct portentous scenario (16:3-8), which portrays the events at the end, starting with the multiplication of false prophets and corrupters.
The first section specifies how new Gentile members are to be instructed prior to baptism (Did. 1-6/7). There are good grounds for arguing that the materials in Did. 1-6 represent at least two layers of composition, related to two different stages in the literary history of the Two Ways. In fact, it appears that this part of the Didache attests to a separate circulation of a form of the Two Ways, closely related to Did. 1-6 but without the Christian materials in 1:3b-2:1 and 6:2-3.
The ultimate roots of Christian baptism in Did. 7:1-3 lay in the Jewish immersion ceremony carried out whenever one was preparing to visit the Temple. In Did. 7:1c-3a, various types of water are mentioned, which shows a paramount interest in ritual purity as it reflects the central concern that one should use the most appropriate water available for baptism. But, at the same time, baptism in Did. 7 appears to embody concessions with regard to a formerly strict practice. The fading interest in a stringent performance of this purity ritual can be explained by reference to the increasing emphasis on the ethical dimension of baptism by the prefix of the Two Ways in Did. 1-6.
In Did. 7-10, a section follows giving rules for those having been baptized and providing the required text of the Lord’s prayer and the Eucharist (Did. 7-10). It is not unrealistic to assume that at a later stage of the development of the Didache, the community included a variety of groups. There probably was an increasing quantity of Gentiles grown up in non-Jewish households, a number of members who were Jewish in their own self-conception and halakhic practice, and various shades of other believers-in-Jesus in the middle. The Didache attempts to overcome the tension between these groups and movements by replacing Jewish traditions and prayers that might have been operative earlier in his community with a modified and transformed worship reflecting the liturgical traditions that were maintained by the majority at a later time. The presence of the Christianized parts (1:3b-2:1; 6:1-2) in the prebaptismal catechesis, the Lord’s Prayer taking the place of the Jewish Tefillah (8:2), the supplications (9:4; 10:5) in the set of eucharistic prayers and also the substitution of the Sabbath for the Sunday (14:1) are intended to prevent a seemingly irreversible division within the community.
In addition to the admission of Gentiles into the Didache community, also the hospitable treatment of transient outsiders caused significant problems. The manual offers an appropriate set of rules in Did. 11-15 to prevent the community’s hospitality from being exploited. Did. 16, finally, may be regarded as a reaffirmation of the grave importance of the instructions given in the preceding chapters.
To sum up: since the Didache was composed in a time of transition, its major concern was to safeguard the unity and identity of the community against threats from the inside and outside world.
2. The Relevance of the Didache for Understanding the Gospel of Matthew
The common assumption is that Matthew’s gospel took shape at some point in the years between 80 and 100 C.E. If we want to examine this gospel in light of the Didache, we are faced with an array of difficult questions, one of them pertaining to the Jewish parent body and the identity of the Matthean community. Who were the Christians standing behind the Didache and Matthew? Did. the Didache and Matthew indeed emanate from the same geographical, social and cultural setting? Can we trace the developing interests of the respective community or communities in the different textual layers of the Didache and Matthew?
2.1. The Nature of the Agreements between Didache and Matthew
Both writings, the Didache and Matthew, show significant agreements as these share words, phrases and motifs. The collection of Jesus sayings in the Evangelical Section of Did. 1:3-2:1 is very close to the Sermon on the Mount. The radical exposition about the love of one’s neighbour as love of one’s enemies (Did. 1:3b-d) recalls Synoptic tradition in Matt. 5:44. 46-47 and Luke 6:27-28. 32-33. Besides this paragraph, the Evangelical Section includes two additional passages comparable to the Synoptics articulating the prohibition of violent resistance (Did. 1:4; par. Matt. 5:39-41; Luke 6:29) and the exhortation to be charitable (Did. 1:5-6; par. Matt. 5:25c-26. 40; Luke 6:30; 12:58c-59).
Additionally, the correspondence of the Trinitarian baptismal formula in the Didache and Matthew (Did. 7 and Matt. 28:19) as well as the similar shape of the Lord’s Prayer (Did. 8 and Matt. 6:5-13) apparently reflect the use of resembling oral forms of church traditions. Moreover, both the community of the Didache (Did. 11-13) and Matthew (Matt. 7:15-23; 10:5-15.40-42; 24:11.24) were visited by itinerant apostles and prophets, some of whom were illegitimate. There is also the admonition in Did. 16:1-2 to always be on the alert and watch over one’s life (par. Matt. 24:42.44; 25:13) which are followed by a succinct revelatory scenario in Did. 16:3-8 portraying the events at the end of time (par. Matt. 24-25).
Also other instructions, sayings, phrases and motifs in the Didache are shared with Matthew: Did. 11:2.4 commands that the messengers of the Lord are to be received as the Lord himself (par. Matt. 10:40); in Did. 11:7 the warning is given not to put those who speak in the Spirit to the test since that would be a sin against the Holy Spirit (Did. 11:7; par. Matt. 12:31); according to Did. 13:1-2 it is the community’s duty to provide for the daily needs of a genuine prophet and true teacher because they are “worthy of their food” (par. Matt. 10:10); and in Did. 14:2, the rule is articulated that Christians who have a quarrel with a companion may not participate in worship until they have been reconciled (par. Matt. 5:23-24).
A main obstacle in the investigation of the extent to which the Didache might be relevant to the interpretation of Matthew is of course the question whether the composer of the Didache was familiar with the finished gospel of Matthew or vice versa. Scholars time and again have assumed that the Didache draws on the final form of the Gospel of Matthew. And, indeed, if the document was composed in the second half of the second century or later, as some believed, the Didache would present a strong case for the use of the gospels as we have them. In recent scholarship, however, a new consensus is emerging for a date of the Didache’s composition about the turn of the first century C.E. If the Didache was redacted that early, the view of dependence of the document on one of the Synoptic Gospels becomes all but a certainty. An alternative solution might be that Matthew is dependent on the Didache as a direct source. But this proposal is problematic too, as it would imply a very early date for the composition of the Didache. It is more likely, therefore, that the close relationship between the documents might equally suggest that both documents were created in the same cultural, historical and geographical setting, for example in the Greek-speaking part of Syria.
In comparison with Matthew, the Didache is a ‘primitive’ teaching manual, largely unaffected by theological developments. Now, if the Didache is not dependent on the Gospel of Matthew but reflects materials used by Matthew, it would mean that we have in the Didache a window on the social and religious milieu out of which the Gospel of Matthew arose. In the next subdivision, we will present examples of this ‘primitive’ teaching manual in Did. 9:5 and 15:3. These instances are particularly interesting as they display traces of the historical situation behind Matthew’s text (2.2).
But there is more. One must differentiate between the text as presented in Did. 1-6 and the one offered in Did. 7-16, since the earlier layer of Did. 1-6 is closely connected with a Jewish pattern of the Two Ways. This teaching was conceivably taken as its basic framework. In the above section on the Didache, it was ascertained that this Jewish form was modified once the Two Ways came to be used as an initiatory catechesis for Gentile catechumens in the Didache community. Still, the basic tradition of the Two Ways doctrine put forward in Did. 1:1-3a.2:2-6:1 may have circulated for a long time in Jewish and Christian communities apart from its eventual incorporation and modification in the Didache. We will see that the Two Ways doctrine was also known to the Matthean community. Like the Didache, also Matthew in all probability made use of the Two Ways in both his Sermon on the Mount and the Story of the Rich Young Man (2.3).
2.2. Matthew in Light of Didache 7-16: Two Examples
It is worth noticing that Did. 9:5d and 15:3 are two instances in the Didache unambiguously referring to the “gospel” and “the Lord has spoken” while providing explicit echoes more or less corresponding to particular occurrences in Matt. 7:6a and Matt. 18:15-17, respectively. The following section will demonstrate that the passages in Did. 9:5 and 15:3 are related in their dependence on a common tradition used by Matthew as well.
Matt. 7:6 in Light of Did. 9:5
If we pay attention to the saying “do not give what is holy to dogs” in Did. 9:5 a parallel with Matt. 7:6 can easily be found. Since the saying is introduced by the formula “concerning this the Lord has spoken,” there are scholars who take the Didache to be quoting Matthew’s Gospel here. 
The saying in Did. 9:5d is verbally identical to the first part of the dual saying in Matthew, which has no parallel in Mark and Luke:
Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine lest they trample them under foot and tear you to pieces. (Matt. 7:6)
Does the saying indicate that the Didache has ripped it from its original Matthean context and applied it wrongly to the issue of correct participation in the Eucharistic observance? Since after the instructions for blessing the wine (9:2) and blessing the bread (9:3-4), the Didache verse reads as follows:
Let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist save those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord, for concerning this the Lord has spoken, “Do not give what is holy (to hagion) to dogs.” (Did. 9:5)
The saying in Did. 9:5d (“Do not give what is holy to dogs”) is undoubtedly quoted as a conclusive word of the Lord to emphasize that all those who have not been baptized are to be excluded from the Eucharist.
The tenor of the clause supporting this exclusion (9:5d) is particularly close to that of the Temple purity terminology. The wording “what is holy” (to hagion) probably refers to sacrificial food, a meaning suggested by its usage in the Septuagint translation of Exod 29:33; Lev. 2:3; 22:6.7.10-16; Num. 18:8-19; Ezra 2:63 and its parallel text in Neh 7:65. Particularly relevant to our investigation is the following passage in the Septuagint translation of Lev. 22:6-7.10:
…he shall not eat of the holy things (apo tōn hagiōn) unless he has bathed his body in water. When the sun is down he shall be clean; and then shall he eat of the holy things (tōn hagiōn), for they are his bread. … And no stranger shall eat the holy things (hagia): a sojourner of the priest’s or a hired servant shall not eat the holy things (hagia).
The term “holy things” refers to the animal meat or agricultural produce designated for sacrifice in the Temple. Since the expression in Did. 9:5d deals with “what is holy” (to hagion), it has a cultic ring to it and suggests a customary Jewish sacrificial Temple ritual. The eucharistic prayers in 9:2-4 and 10:2-5, therefore, encircle a real meal and the food consumed is not understood as ordinary food, but as something special. The holy food was set aside exclusively for baptized members of the community, while the non-baptized were prohibited from taking part in the Eucharist “since the Lord has said, ‘Do not give what is holy to the dogs’” (9:5d).
The idea of dogs devouring dedicated food was felt to be particularly horrifying in the Second Temple period. This concern is reflected in the Qumran scrolls. In the halakhic letter 4QMMT (Miqsat Ma’ase ha-Torah or Some Precepts of the Law), written by members of the Qumran community against their opponents, there was a prohibition against dogs in Jerusalem in order to prevent the defilement of the Temple and the holy city (4QMMT 58-62). The saying “Do not give what is holy to dogs” represents a Jewish maxim, which has its roots in the Jewish purity discussions. Maybe the opponents of the sect took precautions to avoid defilement of the Temple by keeping dogs out of the sanctuary, whereas the Qumran group had extended the field of defilement to the whole of Jerusalem. Because Jerusalem is the “camp of holiness” (4QMMT 60), dogs are not allowed to enter.
Also relevant to our subject is a passage in the pseudepigraphic work Joseph and Aseneth, which was probably composed for Jews between the first century B.C.E. and the second century C.E. The pagan Egyptian girl Aseneth, daughter of the priest of Heliopolis, expresses her disgust with her ancestral religion when she converts to the worship of the God of Israel by throwing the sacrifices through the window to the dogs as food (10:14). A similar thought may be expressed in Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities of which the original (Hebrew) form according to many scholars was composed between 70 and 135 C.E. in Jewish Palestine. The pertinent text concerns the rage of God against Jephthah’s rash and careless vow in Judg 11:30-31 to offer to God “whatever meets him first on the way” since his sacrifice might also have consisted of something unclean like a dog (BA 39:11).
The particular antonymy of the holy thing(s) and dogs in Did. 9:5 provides the Eucharist with distinct features of a sacrificial offering in the sanctuary. Whereas the longer Matthean saying is not found in Jewish writings at all, the shorter saying in Did. 9:5 bears a marked similarity with a common expression in rabbinic literature. The adage “Holy things (dedicated sacrifices) are not to be redeemed to feed them to dogs” was widely disseminated and the extent of this spread is attested to by many references in rabbinic writings in the Mishnah, the Tosefta, and the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmud until far into the fourth century C.E. In view of the early examples mentioned above, it is not unlikely that the fixed rabbinic formula itself was widespread as early as the first century C.E.
But what does the verb “to be redeemed” mean in the above adage? For the Jewish Sages, the admonition “holy things are not to be redeemed to feed them to dogs” was obviously a standard reason for prohibiting the sacrificial food belonging exclusively to God ever to coincide with the most forbidden impurity. Holy animals were set apart and dedicated to God. In midrash Siphre on Num. 18:15, it says that even if an animal meant to be sacrificed died, it should be treated as sacred food. The owner was not allowed to pay the Temple redemption money so that the animal could be used to any advantage. Consumption of its meat was prohibited and the animal had to be buried. This accords with another early witness found in the Mishnah suggesting that a dedicated animal, although blemished, still has a lasting status of belonging to the divine sphere (m. Tem. 6:5). It does not lose its holiness and still belongs to God. The release of holy things from divine ownership (by paying redemption money) was forbidden. Blemished animals or those slain were unqualified to be sacrificed in accordance with biblical law, but even so, redeeming them was the equivalent of feeding them to the dogs. The feeding of holy things to dogs was so appalling and scandalous that it underlies the denial of one’s right to dispose freely of sacrificial meat.
In Did. 9:5d the use of “what is holy” (to hagion) involves a degree of transference. The status of being explicitly sacrificial, originally restricted to the Temple service, is conferred on what in essence is not a sacrificial meal. The saying “Do not give what is holy to dogs” shows the application of the cultic terminology to an extra-Temple domain and to figurative dogs. The established proverb is used in a metaphorical way as it is meant to enforce and justify the exclusion of the unbaptized—characterized here as (scavenging) dogs—from the eucharistic food. Dogs represent the Gentiles in their impure state. The Jewish requirement of being in a state of ritual purity became the precondition for partaking in the ceremony of eating holy food within the community of the Didache.
Although it is impossible to say with certainty how the saying in Matt. 7:6 was given its present form, the following reconstruction of its history of transmission seems likely. Initially, there was a separate short statement presupposing the Jewish proverb “Holy things are not to be redeemed to feed them to dogs.” The maxim in the Didache suggesting a different cultic setting and associating “dogs” with Gentiles reflects a second stage in the development of the tradition. It may have been a genuine saying of Jesus (“for concerning this the Lord has spoken”), but it is equally possible that the maxim was attributed to Jesus in a later period. In any case, the verbal identity of the Greek wording suggests the use of a common Greek source as far as the one-member clause in Did. 9:5d and Matt. 7:6a is concerned. The entirety of Matt. 7:6 apparently represents some further point in history where the line about the pearls and the swine came to be coupled to the basic saying about the holy and dogs. The focus on purity as a separate concern disappeared and the former meaning gave way altogether to a new sense. It remains difficult to tell, however, whether the latter modification in Matt. 7:6 emerged only in the final stage of the editing of the gospel or whether it had already taken place in the tradition before it came to Matthew.
Matt. 18:15-17 in Light of Did. 15:3
The section in Matt. 18:15-20 outlines the procedure to be adopted when a fellow believer digresses from the norms of the community. The text in Matt. 18:15-17, missing in both Mark and Luke, contains a halakhic rule for how to respond to a personal offence committed by a fellow believer:
18:15If your brother sins against you, go and reprove him (elenxon), between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector.
The offender is given three chances to settle the issue. If a brother has sinned against another, the offended party should reprove his brother in private and discuss the issue in such a way as to lead him to accept his fault. If this first admonishment fails, the wronged individual should take along two witnesses according to Jewish law (Deut. 19:15). If this second effort likewise does not bring about a satisfactory resolution, the matter is to be brought before the whole community. When the offender remains recalcitrant and refuses to listen to the “church,” he should be treated like a “Gentile and tax-collector,” meaning that the associations with the sinner are broken off. He is declared to be outside the limits of the community. Verses 18-20, though in contrast to the immediately preceding text addressing the audience in the second person plural, continue the section with some proverbial statements by Jesus that ground the jurisdiction of the church in these matters. The decision of the community after the three-step legal process is immediately ratified in heaven.
In Jesus’ presentation the ill-treated party takes the initiative to resolve a grievance in three well-defined stages: first, privately, then with the help of a few witnesses, and finally with the force of the entire community. Those who have been persistently reluctant to recognize the criticism of their sinfulness end up being shunned. The conditional sentences (eight times in vv. 15-20) are typical of casuistic law as they describe various situations that might arise. The judicial style of our passage is underscored by the reference to witnesses who may be called by the prosecution.
There is widespread recognition that the contents of Did. 15:3 match those of Matt. 18:15-17 as both passages deal with reproof. In Did. 15:3, it is the instruction itself which displays an intense preoccupation with the spirit in which reproof is undertaken:
Reprove one another (elenchete de allēlous) not in anger (en orgē) but in peace (en eirēnē), as you have it in the gospel; and let no one speak to anyone who wrongs another—let him not hear [a word] from you—until he has repented. (Did. 15:3)
Here it concerns the “reproof of a brother,” implying someone being confronted in a friendly manner with an error he or she has committed. If the errant brother (or sister), despite this reproof, continues to wrong his fellow believer, the members of the community are prohibited from further relating to him until he repents. The Didache appeals to “the gospel” here. The directive to reprove one another not in a hostile way, but with a respectful attitude, is something that can be read or heard in the “gospel.” In this specific case where the statement attached to this introduction formula provides a quotation or allusion showing detailed textual agreement with the Gospel of Matthew, one might expect the Didache to be dependent on Matthew.
Before going into the subject, however, it is of significance to point out that in addition to Matt. 18:15-17 and Did. 15:3, the act of reproof is also found elsewhere in the Jewish cultural world at the time. The forensic course of proceedings connected with reproof which probably lies buried in the text of Matt. 18:15-17 was developed exclusively by the Qumran community. It was not part of the legal system in the rest of Palestine. The most relevant passage in this respect is found in the following part of the Community Rule (1QS):
23They shall register them in the rule, one before the other, according to his insight and his works that they may all obey one another, the lower one (in rank obeying) the higher one (in rank). In order to examine
24their spirit and their works year after year that they may promote each according to his insight and the perfection of his way, or to demote him according to his failings. They shall reprove (lehokhiakh)
25one another in t[ru]th, humility, and compassionate love (be’e[met] we’anwah we’ahavat khesed) toward man.—empty space—Let no one speak to his neighbour with anger or with a snarl,
26or with a [stiff] neck [or in a jealous] spirit of wickedness. And he must not hate him [in the fores]k[in] of his heart but let him reprove him (yokhikhenu) on the same day lest
VI, 1he incur a sin because of him. And in addition, let no man bring a matter against his neighbour before the Many except after reproof before witnesses (1QS V, 23b-VI, 1b).
This segment deals with the annual examination of all members of the Qumran community and the reproof of fellow members. Interestingly, in the middle of line 25, the scribe of 1QS left a space, and made a mark in the margin as a paragraph sign. Since this is also the point at which the third person plural changes into the singular, these features may indicate a distinct break in the literary pattern and leave us with a basic division of the passage. The lines 24b-25a are closely linked to 23c-24a, which describe the annual inspection of the position of each member of the community’s complex hierarchic system. The statements are linked grammatically by the third person plural. The reproach is to be administered “in truth, and humility and compassionate love.” This passage thus reveals a particular concern for the offender. Reproof in 23b-25a seems to belong to the private sphere of relationships where the precepts are formulated in terms of warm encouragement. In this segment, reproof does not function within the judicial framework of a violation of the Law of Moses but serves as part of the annual examination and classification of the Qumran members. The notion of reproof occurs in 1QS V, 23b-25b in the context of the setback in status due to disloyalty to the community’s moral instruction in the preceding year.
The substance of the second part (1QS V, 25b-VI, 1) enlarges on the exegesis of the biblical reproof passage in the Damascus Document, that is, CD IX, 2-8, 16-23. In the two units, not presented here for brevity’s sake, reproof is part of a judicial procedure. Reproof in front of witnesses, it is stated in CD IX, 2-8, was a legal requirement to be carried out prior to the judicial decision. The other passage in the same document (CD IX, 16-23) deals with the duty of witnesses to reprove. Reproving is again a necessary part of the legal process. At variance with CD IX, 2-8, however, in which the “elders” are the instance before whom the reproof is brought, here it is the “Examiner” (or the “Overseer”) in whose presence the process must take place. Anyway, the statements in CD IX, 2-8 (3-4) and 16-23 (17-19) show that reproof in front of witnesses is required when carrying out a legal action. Instead of reproving a fellow privately, it must be part of a formal procedure in the presence of witnesses. Also in 1QS, the reproaching of one’s fellow seems at first sight to be presented as a preliminary step in the judicial process: one must reproach one’s fellow before bringing the case before witnesses and in a later stage before “the many” (ha-rabim), a technical term referring to the full members of the community. The statements in 1QS VI, 1; CD IX, 3-4 and 17-19 show that reproof in front of witnesses is required when carrying out a legal action. Instead of reproving a fellow privately, it must be part of a formal procedure in the presence of witnesses. In general, reproof had a juridical character in Qumran.
It is doubtful, however, whether 1QS shows the same extent of legality as do the two passages in the Damascus Document. The passage V, 23b-VI, 1b reveals a particular concern for the offender. Even if it belongs to a forensic procedure that must be executed in accordance with specific legal norms, it has no judicial air to it. Each year, the community is to convene in a special session to examine the spiritual qualities and actions even of full members so as to re-allot their positions in the community. The verb lehokhiakh (‘to reprove, expose, uncover, demonstrate the mistake or guilt’) in line 24 conceivably prepares for the phrase “let him reprove him (yokhikhenu)” in the second part of the unit (V, 25b-VI, 1). The members are apparently stimulated to solve their difficulties between themselves, and they should appeal to the legal system when this fails. In 1QS the first act of the reproach is to take place privately (in the form of a moral exhortation) between the two contenders alone whereas, in CD, the presence of witnesses is vital for reproving from the very first step. While in CD IX, 2-8, 16-23, the process of reproving occurs in two stages, in 1QS, the member at fault has three chances to have the problem solved. Since the judicial scenario of reproach was developed uniquely by the sect, the Matthean tradition must have been influenced by (a document or oral tradition from) Qumran or a similar community. Reproof in 1QS V, 23-VI, 1, as in Matthew, involves a three-step process: in private (V, 23-26 = Matt. 18:15), before witnesses (VI, 1 = Matt. 18:16), and before the Many (VI, 1 = Matt. 18:17).
The evidence is thus almost completely against the hypothesis that the composer of the Didache took the reproof materials from Matt. 18:15-17. Comparing the reproof passage in Did. 15:3 with the one in Matt. 18:15-17, one can only conclude that these passages are very different, as the former displays a striking concern for charity toward the offender. Whereas Matthew emphasizes reproof as a necessary part of the legal process, any legal connotation is missing in Did. 15:3. On the contrary, Did. 15:3 does not even mention witnesses! The act of reproving is marked by brotherly love. Moreover, the Didache limits the duration of expulsion to the moment of repentance whereas in Matthew we find a rigidly official procedure emphasizing the possibility of permanent expulsion without any indication that the offender can be received back again in the community.
It might be appropriate, therefore, to suggest that 1QS V, 24b-25 or a similar text was the source for Did. 15:3a:
They shall reprove one another (lehokhiakh ish et re’eho) in t[ru]th, humility, and compassionate love (be’e[met] we’anwah we’ahavat khesed) toward man. Let no one speak to his neighbour with anger (be’af) or with a snarl,…. (1QS V,24b-25)
The Greek phrase “reprove one another” (elenchete de allēlous) in Did. 15:3a may even be a translation of its Hebrew counterpart “they shall reprove one another” (lehokhiakh ish et re’eho) in 1QS V, 24b-25. Moreover, the circumstances in which mutual correction is to take place should not be rage or agitation (en orgē // Hebrew par. be’af) but harmony and friendliness (en eirēnē // Hebrew par. be’e[met] we’anwah we’ahavat khesed). Both passages, Did. 15:3a and 1QS V, 24b-25, emphasizing fraternal reproof in a spirit of generosity, friendliness, and compassion demonstrate similarity in that they are almost identical verbally. The reproof passages in Matthew and the Didache show clear indications of having been developed from a text closely related to the one in 1QS V, 23-VI, 1.
Conclusion: The Relevance of Did. 7-16 for the interpretation of Matthew
The term “gospel” in Did. 15:3 or the phrase “the Lord has spoken” in Did. 9:5c do not seem to entail a dependence on Matthew. On the contrary, these designations are probably best understood as references to oral or written collections of sayings ascribed to the authority of Jesus upon which both Didache and Matthew drew. The text of these collections was likely to be circulating among its hearers and readers.
As we have seen, there are more instances in Did. 7-16 showing agreement with Matthew. They too may be reproducing Jewish or Jewish Christian sources. Apparently independently of each other, Didache and Matthew drew these materials from a common pool of traditions, but reworked and contextualized them differently. In any case, it is significant to know that the Didache, in specific cases, reflects sayings at an earlier stage of their development than their parallels in Matthew.
2.3. Matthew in Light of Didache 1-6: The Two Ways
The motif of the Two Ways in Matthew 7:13-14 recalls the beginning of the Two Ways teaching in the first six chapters of the Didache. The Matthean passage has often been taken to be the source of Did. 1:1. We have seen that in the Didache, the statement on two contrasting moral ways serves as a framework for the subsequent exposition of two sets of opposing ethical characteristics or antagonistic groups of people associated with the way of life (Did. 1-4) and the way of death (Did. 5), respectively. In Matt. 7:13-14, however, the metaphor has a different function. There it refers to reactions to the main body of Jesus’ explanation of the Law in the preceding part of the Sermon on the Mount (5:17-7:12). This brings us to a range of difficult questions about the Law in Matthew’s gospel. How does Matthew understand Jesus’ attitude towards the Torah? How does this Sermon relate to the Greek Two Ways? What was the relationship of Matthew’s community to Judaism? What is the role of the Torah in Matthew’s Gospel? How should we portray the type of Judaism Matthew is in dispute with?
As seen above (section 1.1), early versions of the Two Ways, found in Did. 1-6, Barnabas 18-20, and the Doctrina Apostolorum, attest to a separate circulation of a form of the Two Ways very much akin to Did. 1-6 and prove that the doctrine was widely known in the first Christian centuries. For our purposes it is important to realise that the (hypothetical) version generally reflects the wording of the Two Ways in the Didache, except for the Christianised sections 1:3b-2:1 and 6:2-3. Therefore, this paper will stick with the Christian Didache excluding those parts and details differing from the hypothesized Greek Two Ways.
The following pages will clarify that Didache 1-6 Did. not draw on Matthew but, rather that Matthew in all probability made use of the Two Ways in both his Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:3-7:27) and the Story of the Rich Young Man (Matt. 19:16-30).
The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:3-7:27) in Light of the Two Ways
Within first-century Christian circles, the doctrine of the Two Ways was employed in pre-baptismal instruction. This is explicitly stated in Did. 7:1, in a verse that directly follows the rendering of the Two Ways section: “As for baptism, baptize this way. After you have said all these things [i.e., all that is written above], baptize” (7:1). The candidate who applied for baptism was instructed in the ethical catechesis as contained in a written or oral Two Ways tradition. It is possible that the supposed life situation of a Two Ways tradition used by Matthew—that is the setting of the Two Ways before it was introduced into the present context of the Gospel—might have also been a catechetical situation, perhaps even an instruction for neophytes.
Essentials of the Two Ways are particularly similar to elements of Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 5:3-7:27. The Sermon on the Mount, bracketed by the ascent of and descent from the mountain in 5:1 and 8:1, is the first detailed portrayal of Jesus as a teacher in Matthew’s Gospel. In the Sermon we can distinguish three main parts:
- the introduction (5:3-16),
- the main body (5:17-7:12) and
- the last section representing concluding warnings (7:13-27).
For our purpose, it is important to note that the outlook and practice promoted in the Beatitudes of the first part of the Sermon are thoroughly Jewish.
1. These proclamations (5:3-12) are pervaded with a tone of promise but, at the same time they breathe an atmosphere of exhortation and moral admonition on appropriate attitudes and correct conduct. Matthew shares four Beatitudes with Luke (6:20-22), referring to the poor, the hungry, those who weep, and those who are persecuted.
The additional five Beatitudes in his gospel (Matt. 5:5-9) show a great interest in highly developed ethical behaviour. This advanced standard of morality, permeating the entire Sermon on the Mount, reflects the views operative in Hasidic Jewish circles, a distinct group within the society of Pharisees and rabbis practising an austere interpretation of halakhoth, performing good deeds and showing a far-reaching trust in God and providence. Rather than emphasising a strictly legal, halakhic approach to the Law, their instructions display a moral, personal and ethical attitude to life. As seen above (section 1.1), it was especially the early layer of this Derekh Erets literature that embodied a refined human ethic, highlighting acts of charity, modesty and humility. Prominent in this doctrine is a rigorous attitude towards the prevailing halakha and the propensity for good deeds in public life, such as the redemption of captives, the restoration of property, the consolation of mourners, the giving of alms, etc. Because they believed that a literal interpretation of the commandments resulted from a lack of positive motivation, they Did. more than the Law required. In Matt. 5:5-9, God’s blessing is promised to those disciples who exhibit attitudes of meekness, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, and peace making.
2. The central section of the Sermon in Matthew opens and closes with references to “the Law and the Prophets” (5:17 and 7:12). This section in turn is divided into two further parts. The first part is the unit in 5:17-48, which presents a collection of materials dealing with the Law. This unit begins with an introduction containing a programmatic statement on the validity of the Torah in Matt. 5:17-20. In the next segment of this first unit (5:21-48), the so-called “antitheses” occur, each of which is made up of two parts including an initial quotation from the Law and, so it seems at first glance, Jesus’ refutation of it. The second half of the Decalogue is likely to be at the background of this section.
Both the introduction (Matt. 5:17-20) and the antitheses (5:21-48) presuppose a similar spiritual and ethical thought that can also be found within the pious Jewish circles mentioned above. They believed that fulfilment of explicit halakhic duty was not in itself enough in that it Did. not exhaust one’s moral responsibility and, as a consequence, they Did. more than the literal interpretation of the Law required. The traditional material behind Matt. 5:17-48 may have been derived from a source that was identical or similar to the child (teknon) passage in Did. 3:1-6. In order to really appreciate the relevance of this unit a more detailed comment is needed.
Did. 3:1-6 consists of five small strophes, each structured according to the same distinctive, symmetrical pattern not present elsewhere in the Two Ways. Apart from some slight changes, they are built in the same framework and employ the same terminology. The verses 2-6 display a particular repetitive pattern in that each is divided into two parallel halves. The first half contains a warning against a specific minor transgression because such a sin, so it says, “leads to” a major transgression. Then, in the second half, an admonishment is offered against two or more minor sins, for these too are considered to “give birth to” a major transgression. With respect to Matt. 5:17-48 the first three verses are rendered here:
(3:1) My child (teknon mou), flee from all evil and from everything like it.
(3:2) a. Be not angry,
b. for anger leads to murder,
c. nor jealous nor irascible nor hot-tempered
d. for from these murders are born.
(3:3) a. My child, be not desirous,
b. for desire leads to sexual immorality,
c. nor foul-mouthed nor indiscreetly peering
d. for from all these adulteries are born.
Theme and terminology of Did. 3:1-6 betray close affinities with material collected and preserved in the pious milieu of early Hasidic Sages. The concept presupposed in Did. 3:1-6 is the Jewish distinction between “minor and major” or “light and heavy” commandments. The emphasis is on minor transgressions like, for example, in 4 Macc. 5:19-21. Dismissing the suggestion that less weighty sins are less serious, these verses say:
Accordingly, you must not regard it as a minor sin for us to eat unclean food; minor sins are just as weighty as great sins, for in each case the Law is despised.
The focus on the light commandments also occurs in instances of rabbinic literature like m. ’Abot 2:1; m. ’Abot 4:2 and in various other cases. Moreover, an echo of the rabbinic usage of “light” and “weighty” precepts is found in the wording of Jesus: “and you have neglected the weightier matters of the Law” in Matt. 23:23b. Although explicit statements with regard to light and weighty directives are not found in the Greek Two Ways, the section in 3:1-6 is related to these views. It explains the connection between a light sin and a heavy one as the transgression of a minor precept (no anger, envy, irascibleness, etc.) leading to a transgression of a major one (murder etc.). The passage not only requires strict observance of the major precepts, but adherence to the minor commandments as well.
The most pertinent parallel to the preamble in Did. 3:1 and the subsequent strophes in 3:2-6 is found in the rabbinic Derekh Erets tractates. In these tracts, the following ethical rule serves as a résumé of moral codes:
Keep aloof from that which leads to transgression, keep aloof from everything hideous and from what even seems hideous. Shudder from committing a minor transgression, lest it leads you to commit a major transgression. Hurry to (perform) a minor precept, for this will lead you to (perform) a major precept.
Certain things, not forbidden by the Law, were taken in these pious circles to be actual transgressions and are referred to as light sins. The saying shows that the popular adage, to be as careful of an unimportant precept as of an important one, in its original meaning was an alternative form of the counsel:
My child, flee from all evil and from anything resembling it. (Did. 3:1)
The preoccupation of this teknon-section as a whole, with its repetitive use of the phrase teknon mou (“my child”) is expressed in the introductory sentence of 3:1. It is intended to highlight the avoidance of anything resembling evil because it leads to evil itself. The tradition is the basis upon which the hasidically-oriented materials have been formulated as a moral guide for Derekh Erets.
The opening unit in Matt. 5:17-20 has the programmatic significance of supplying the reader with a clue as to the right interpretation of the Scripture quotations in the subsequent antitheses. In this opening section, we face the transparent principles of hermeneutics which are applied to the traditional commandments of the Scripture in Matt. 5:21-48. It is not difficult to envisage that the sayings in Matt. 5:19 and GTW 3:1 belong to the same particular strand of Jewish tradition:
5:18For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
When Matthew has Jesus demand that the disciples’ righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees (5:20), he not only validates the maintenance of the Torah (v. 18) but also the keeping of the “least of these commandments” (v. 19). The jot and tittle stand for both the smallest graphic elements of the Law in a literal (v. 18) and figurative (v. 19) sense. The Matthe-an features become particularly clear in Matt. 5:20, which certainly exhibits Matthew’s favorite diction, that is, his choice of words and phraseology. Through redactional shaping Matthew seems to be countering contemporary issues of authority. The “scribes and Pharisees,” his opponents, are negative counterparts to the disciples. The expression about “righteousness” going “beyond” that of the scribes and Pharisees (5:20) is echoed in 5:48: “You, therefore, must be perfect (teleioi), as your heavenly Father is perfect (teleios).” The idea of greater righteousness is found again in the idea of perfection in 5:48 and both verses 5:20 and 48 serve to frame the six antitheses in 5:21-47.
In Matt. 5:21-48, Jesus is presented as an authoritative teacher in order to establish a binding interpretation of the Torah against the views of a contending party. His counterstatement radicalises, intensifies and transcends the premise rather than revoking or changing it. The sayings concern anger and murder, lust and adultery, divorce, and teachings about oaths, retaliation, and love of one’s enemy. Their meaning boils down to the following: Not only must you not kill, you must not even reach that level of anger (5:21-22). Not only must you not commit adultery, you must not even look desirously at another man’s wife (5:27-28) and so forth.
This was also the quintessence of pious ethics. The maxim “be heedful of a light precept as of a weighty one” (m. ’Abot 2:1) serves as a recapitulation of morality found in the refined ethics represented by the Derekh Erets tracts. The saying provides the critical principle by which the Law is to be read, interpreted and evaluated within the early milieu of Derekh Erets and within the circles in which the Two Ways and Matt. 5:17-48 were originally kept alive. In Matt. 5:21-48 Jesus carries forward the teaching already implicit in the weighty commandments by expounding them within the parameters of the maxim that a light commandment is as important as a weighty one.
The second division (Matt. 6:1-7:12) of the central section of the Sermon on the Mount is only indirectly connected with issues of the Law and is somewhat loosely related to the other Sermon elements as well. In 7:12, finally, this middle section is brought to a close by a positive formulation of the Golden Rule:
So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew’s version of the Golden Rule is somewhat peculiar as compared with Luke since in Matt. 7:12c the ensuing phrase is provided, indicating that the Golden Rule can serve as an underlying principle of “the Law and the Prophets.” The clause is missing in the parallel verse in Luke 6:31. It may have been inserted by Matthew to create a deliberate link between the Golden Rule and the almost identical phrase in 5:17.
The vv. 5:17 and 7:12, then, form a thematic inclusion around the core of the middle section. Inserted at the end of the main body of the Sermon, the Golden Rule occupies a significant position. Matthew perceives the Golden Rule as an eminent summary and decisive climax of the preceding demands, prohibitions, and ethical discussion in 5:17-7:12. In the final resolution, the Law is reaffirmed and joined with the principle of love of neighbour. To love God and one’s neighbour embraces the entirety of the Law and the prophets (Matt. 22:34-40). At this point it is essential to note that the same phenomenon occurs in the teaching of Didache 1-6. In the Greek Two Ways 1:2, the double love commandment, i.e., love of God and love of neighbour, and the Golden Rule serve as the essential components of the Way of Life.
The importance of this observation increases when one sees that Matthew—unlike Mark and Luke—places the Golden Rule in close proximity to a statement on the Two Ways in Matt. 7:13-14:
Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life (zōē), and those who find it are few.
These verses show close affinities to Luke 13:23-24:
And someone said to him: ‘Lord, will those who are saved be few?’ And he said to them, ‘Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.’
Both Matthew and Luke might have drawn on the common Q source. We cannot deal with this verse extensively here, but suffice it to note that according to many scholars Luke has retained the statement in a more authentic form. Because the Two Ways motif in Matthew appears to seriously interfere with the structural pattern of the statement on the gates in Luke, it may have been added to the proclamation at a later stage. In that case, Matthew or his tradition adapted and expanded the original gate saying by the inclusion of the Two Ways emphasis.
3. At the beginning of the final section of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew opens a general drift of two opposing paradigms by presenting the Two Ways (7:13-14), contrasting the way that leads to destruction with the way that leads to life. In these concluding units he confronts the readers with an ultimatum. The choice is between these alternatives and there is no middle way. They represent the dualistic trend of answering Jesus’ call for acceptance of his words. The metaphor of the Two Ways and its elaboration in Matt. 7:13-27 reflects the reactions to Jesus’ explanation of the Law in the preceding part of the Sermon on the Mount. The admonition against false prophets (7:15-23) offers a polarity of good trees and virtuous fruit (good natures generating good deeds) with bad trees and evil fruit (bad natures producing bad deeds). The community is warned against false prophets who are hard to identify. But since a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bad fruit, the disciples can discern these disguised false prophets by their practices and lifestyle. In 7:19 the Matthean Jesus depicts their fate at the final judgment. The tree that bears bad fruit will be cut down for firewood.
This subject of false prophets continues through vv. 21-23, mentioning those who do the will of the Father as opposed to those who do not. Although the false prophets confess Jesus as Lord, prophesy in his name and perform other mighty works, Matthew has Jesus radically dismiss them with the words from Ps 6:9 as “workers of lawlessness” (7:23). They fail to do the will of the Father. In the subsequent parable of the two builders (7:24-27), the antithesis is between those hearing and obeying the words of Jesus and those hearing but not obeying them. He who hears Jesus’ words and obeys them is compared to a wise man who built his house upon a rock. On the other hand, he who hears Jesus’ words and does not obey them is compared to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. The first house built on the solid foundation (that is, those who hear and follow the teachings of Jesus) will survive the overwhelming and threatening storm and flood, that is, final judgment, whereas the latter (those who hear but do not follow Jesus’ teachings) will be entirely devastated.
The Way of Life and the Way of Death as metaphor in Matt. 7:13-14 have been given an orientation toward the ultimate destiny of humankind. Closely related to the ethics of the Greek Two Ways, Jesus is the one who definitively interprets the Law so that his words provide the basis for “life” (5:21-48; 7:24-27; 12:1-14). Entering the narrow gate or going down the constricted way by means of bearing good fruit (7:17), performing the will of the Father (7:21), or complying with the words of Jesus (7:24) ultimately leads to a state of unending blessedness. Going the right way is responding to the words of Jesus which, in fact, comes down to living in accordance with his exposition of the Law (5:17 and 7:12) as it is delivered in the Sermon on the Mount.
Examining the Sermon on the Mount as a whole, one establishes that the Two Ways motif (Matt. 7:13-14) appears close to the Golden Rule (7:12), which is the essential scope and climax of the preceding rules of conduct for believers. Furthermore, it was observed that the section in 5:17-48 reflects the second half of the Decalogue and emphasizes a distinct characteristic of Derekh Erets. Finally, the macarisms (beatitudes) in 5:3-12 embodied the type of norms and values which pious Hasidic Jews strived for. The same elements are found in the Greek Two Ways, albeit in an inverted position. There the metaphor of the Way of Life (1:1) is followed by the Golden Rule and the double love command as the fundamental principles underlying the further explanation of the Way of Life (1:2). Did. 2:2-7 contains a list of precepts clearly meant to illustrate, expand and expound upon the second half of the Decalogue. A similar catalogue of Decalogue materials is found in the vices listed in the teknon-unit in Did. 3:1-6. This part of the Two Ways is followed by and concluded with a list of moral values in which counsel about social conduct, acquiescent meekness and a gentle heart prevails (3:7-4:14). The portions Matt. 5:3-12, 17-48; 7:12, 13-14 probably represent a reworking of a pre-Matthean Q source which is also reflected in Luke 6:20-49 and 13:23-24. Matthew may have considerably revised the Q sermon here under the influence of an ancient Two Ways version.
The Story of the Rich Young Man (Matt. 19:16-30) in Light of the Two Ways
In addition to the Sermon on the Mount, the Matthean version of the story of the Rich Young Man is also coloured by a form of the Two Ways. Matthew’s acquaintance with the Two Ways suggests the possibility that he read the Markan version of the rich man’s account in a similar vein.
The story—as reported by Matthew—consists of three parts. In the first subsection (19:16-22) a rich young man asks Jesus what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus tells him to keep the commandments of the second half of the Decalogue. The young man claims he has observed them and Jesus then instructs him to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow him. This proves too much to ask of the young man. He goes away sad. The second and third subsections render Jesus’ discussions with his disciples. He first (vv. 23-26) instructs them about wealth, emphasizing that it will be as impossible for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom as it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. The disciples ask whether anyone can be saved and Jesus replies that God is able to do everything. The third subsection (vv. 27-30) contrasts the rich man’s refusal to give away his wealth with the disciples’ response of leaving families and possessions. Peter asks what he and the other disciples who have left everything and followed Jesus will receive as their reward.
The Matthean version of the story as a whole is based upon Mark 10:17-31. Both accounts evidence the basic idea of a fundamental contrast between possessions and property in this life and the treasures of the coming kingdom. Closer examination, however, shows that Matthew has exercised considerable freedom in rewriting Mark’s account. The story of the rich young man opens with the question in Matt. 19:16: “What good deed must I do to have eternal life (zōē aiōnion)?” The first usage of the word “life” in Matthew’s Gospel is found in Matt. 7:13-14, where there is mention of an easy way “that leads to destruction” and a hard way “that leads to life (zōē).” The antithetical parallelism recalls the beginning of a teaching of the Two Ways section passed on in the first six chapters of the Didache.
Matthew might have read the Markan version of the rich man’s story along the same lines. What changes does he make to his Markan source? Right at the beginning, Matthew has the rich young man ask: “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life? (19:16). Matthew has Jesus reply in v. 17 by replacing the man’s wording of “to have” with “to enter” and changing “eternal life” to just “life”: “If you wish to enter life (zōē), keep the commandments.” A first indication suggesting an image of a way or road is found right at the beginning of Jesus’ dialogue with the rich man. This revision is redactional and seems to reflect an attempt to conceive the question within the framework of the Two Ways. It “transfers the man from the market to the road and implies that he must make a pilgrimage instead of a purchase.”
Another remarkable change in comparison to Mark is Matthew’s transformation of the man into a young man in v. 20. Matthew drops the phrase “from my youth” in Mark 10:20 and labels him “the young man” twice (19:20, 22). In Luke 18:18 the young man is called a “ruler” which may be considered another hint of his being mature in age. Why Did. Matthew alter the man’s age? Matthew may have identified the questioner as a “young man” so as to emphasize the instruction needed to enter a new life. We have seen that the Two Ways often served as a basic catechetical instruction preceding the ritual of baptism. Since the life situation (Sitz-im-Leben) of the teaching used by Matthew was a catechetical one, perhaps even an instruction for neophytes, Matthew compared the rich man to a convert and calls him “young.”
Additional alterations introduced in Mark’s version of the story betray Two Ways traits as well. Matthew’s negative formulation of the commandments—all having the Greek negative ou (“not”) followed by a second person future indicative instead of mē (“not”) followed by an aorist subjunctive—deviates from Mark’s wording. Matthew Did. not assimilate the rendering of Scripture here to the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, but instead adapted Mark’s rendering of the commandments to the phraseology of his Two Ways version. In his usage of the negative ou followed by a second person future indicative, Matthew falls back on the Two Ways wording that exhibits the same phraseology.
More important is the adjustment in Matt. 19:18-19. Jesus instructs the questioner to keep the second table of the Decalogue in order to enter life. The link between “life” and commandments was quite common in Jewish tradition. Matt. 19:18-19 might thus reflect traces of a common catechism, a view that is substantiated by the Greek article to (“the”) preceding the Decalogue commands in Matt. 19:18. When Matthew, deviating from Mark 10:19 (and Luke 18:20), appends this to, he as much as says he is reproducing familiar (catechetical) material. And there is something else here that is significant. Unlike Mark, Matthew attaches the summary command of Lev. 19:18 as well. The commands from the second table of the Decalogue are associated with neighbourly love:
You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honour your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. (Matt. 19:18b-19)
By stressing the triad of life (zōē in v. 16 and again in v. 17), the second table of the Decalogue (vv. 18b-19a), and the principle of neighbourly love (v. 19b) Matthew’s version of the Rich Man’s episode reflects a substantial part of the Two Ways teaching. For we have seen that the reconstructed Way of Life is defined first by a fusion of the commandments of divine and altruistic love, the subsequent Golden Rule and a list of precepts covering the second table of the Ten Commandments in Did. 2:2-7. By introducing this material through the article to Matthew was able to recall the whole of the common instruction about the Way of Life.
The term “perfect” (teleios) in the clause “if you wish to be perfect” (v. 21) has no Markan counterpart and, aside from the additional occurrence in Matt. 5:48, it is not found anywhere else in the Gospels. In Matt. 5:48 it serves to conclude 5:21-48, the pericope which presents examples of what it means to abide by a “greater righteousness.” Jesus’ requirement in 5:20 that the disciples’ righteousness must “go beyond” than that of the scribes and Pharisees is echoed in 5:48: “You, therefore, must be perfect (teleioi), as your heavenly Father is perfect (teleios).” The charge in Matt. 19:21 corresponds to the greater righteousness announced in Matt. 5:20, implying that more Torah must be done than the legal minimum. Following Jesus requires observing the commandments along with their explanation by Jesus. Since the word teleios is lacking in the other Gospels it is surprising to find it in the Didache twice. In Did. 1:4 the phrase “and you will be perfect” occurs in a context of non-retaliation, while in Did. 6:2a those who are able to carry the “whole yoke of the Lord” are called “perfect.” As already indicated, I believe Did. 1:3b-2:1 and 6:2-3 to be later Christian additions to a basic Jewish Two Ways tradition. On the other hand, the repeated occurrence of the term “perfect” in precisely those Matthean contexts which display a close affinity with the Two Ways may indicate that Matthew was acquainted with a copy of the Two Ways that included Did. 6:2-3. Matthew might have used a Christianized Two Ways since the instruction probably preceded baptism in his community.
We can draw the conclusion, then, that the Two Ways teaching sheds light on the story of the rich young man in Matt. 19:16-22 in two respects. First, it is clear that observance of the second table of the Decalogue in vv. 18-19 does not suffice to be qualified for eternal life. In Matthew the rich man asks: “What do I still lack” (v. 20b)? Obviously the speaker believes he has faithfully observed the Law, but in spite of his obedience Matthew shows him to be aware of his failure to enter life. Matthew has Jesus reply in v. 21: “If you wish to be perfect (teleios), then go, sell all your possessions and give to the poor.” This higher ethical standard is not an additional requirement but the concrete enactment of the command to love one’s neighbour.
This brings us to the second point. There appears to be a significant distinction between keeping Torah within a normal Jewish framework of expectations (vv. 18-19) and keeping Torah as defined by the love command (vv. 18-22). In Matthew, the emphasis on obeying the second half of the Decalogue is far more than simply a quantitative demand for compliance with every commandment; it is a requirement to live out all the implications of loving one’s neighbour. Of course, Matthew’s presentation varies from the pattern in the Two Ways tradition since he relies significantly on Mark’s Gospel and largely follows his word order. Yet, by adding the love commandment to the second part of the Decalogue, Matthew indicates that rather than considering all injunctions of the Torah of equal weight, he prioritizes values. In Matthew and the Two Ways the love commandment is a principle of primary significance. The Law is subordinated to a single dominant perspective through which all the other commandments and directives are interpreted.
It is important to establish that in describing Jesus’ general statement about the rich in vv. 23-26, Matthew still follows Mark’s narrative quite closely and preserves the same solution: ultimately only God makes salvation possible (v. 26). In v. 23 Matthew largely agrees with the phraseology of Mark 10:23 where Jesus turns from the rich man to his disciples commenting on what has just happened: “And Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’” The next verse in Mark, however, is not found in Matthew: “And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard is it to enter the kingdom of God!’” It is striking that after 19:23 Matthew omits the wide-ranging statement of Mark 10:24. Whereas Mark has changed the subject from the rich man to all men, Matthew keeps the discussion on the subject of riches and the kingdom. He finds it impossible for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom.
According to Matthew, one either lives by God’s values or by those based on wealth. A similar dualistic trend is found in Matt. 7:13-14 where the Two Ways theme sets the stage for the contrasting replies to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that follow in the final section (7:13-27). The Two Ways represent the dualistic trend of answering Jesus’ call for acceptance of his words. The deeds or behaviour of the false prophets (7:15-23) offers a polarity of good trees and virtuous fruit with bad trees and evil fruit. This subject continues through vv. 21-23, mentioning those who do the will of the Father as opposed to those who do not. Also, in the subsequent parable of the two builders (7:24-27) the antithesis is between those hearing and practising the words of Jesus and those hearing but not practising them.
The call for voluntary poverty in Matt. 19:21 was not answered in v. 22. For the sake of his wealth the rich man rejected Jesus’ offer of eternal life by walking the right path. In 19:23-26, the image of the two ways is applied in terms of a behavioural contrast between the wealthy and others. Wealth and prosperity is a power that forces a rich man to choose between God and his possessions, between treasure in heaven and treasure on earth. In Mark 10:21, Jesus looks at the man and loves him. In Matthew there is no mention of Jesus’ love for the rich young man. After all, this man has forfeited life (see also 6:24 and 16:26) since when given the choice he opted for mammon.
At the beginning of the final section (vv. 27-30), Peter, picking up on Jesus’ promise to the rich man of a “treasure in heaven” (19:21), asks about the disciples’ future and reward (19:27). For in contrast to the rich man, they were not trapped by wealth but “left everything and followed you.” Where the rich man fails, Peter and others succeed. Jesus responds in vv. 28-30. It would take too much space to enter into details here. Suffice it to say that Jesus’ response focuses on the disciples’ fortune at the Last Judgment.
In order to understand we must turn to Matt. 7:13-27 again since that passage closely parallels 19:23-30. We noted above that Matt. 7:13-27 offers the Two Ways (7:13-14) as interpreting two mutually exclusive modes of answering Jesus’ call. The ways of life and death take on new meanings here. In 7:19 the Matthean Jesus depicts the fate at the final judgment of trees that bear bad fruit. They will be cut down for firewood. This is followed by the solemn declaration of a primary criterion of divine judgment in 7:21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” The concluding passage in 7:24-27 sets out stark alternatives again. The first house built on the solid foundation will survive the overwhelming and threatening storm and flood, that is, Last Judgment, whereas the latter will be entirely shattered. The Way of Life and the Way of Death as metaphor in Matt. 7:13-14 have been given an eschatological connotation, an explanation targeted at the End Time. Closely related to the ethics of the Greek Two Ways, Jesus is the one who definitively interprets the Law such that his words provide the basis for “life” (5:21-48; 7:24-27).
A similar Two Ways interpretation seems to be presupposed in Matt. 19:27-30. Since following Jesus involved complete fulfilment of the Torah’s requirements in accordance with Jesus’ exposition, the Twelve are rewarded with the special privilege of sitting on twelve thrones and judging the twelve tribes of Israel (v. 28c). The themes of life and death are interpreted in the perspective of the ultimate destiny of the world. Obedience to the right way is not determined by its puny earthly reward, but instead is remunerated by the infinitely greater post-Judgment reward. This reward is not expected in this mortal life, but as an eschatological good to be realized in immortality. With respect to the approaching End, the word “life” comes to indicate divine exoneration and acquittal contrary to conviction and being found guilty. The interpretation of the terms “life” and “death” is updated to eternal life and eternal death. By his present conduct, by following Jesus, that is, by carrying out the ethical mandates provided, man can also become worthy of eternal life.
3. General Conclusions
It is worth noticing that Did. 9:5d and 15:3 are two instances in the Didache unambiguously referring to “the Lord has spoken” and the “gospel” while at the same time reflecting explicit quotations more or less corresponding to particular occurrences in Matthew. If this meant that the text of the manual derives from Matthew then it would be hard to corroborate, substantiate or readjust a portrayal of the historical situation behind Matthew’s text. In light of the above evidence the conclusion seems justified, however, that rather than the Didache referring to Matthew, both Matthew and the Didache independently transmuted and rewrote similar Jewish traditions. This practice may have been a result of the immediate ties each work had with the community where these traditions were transmitted. It is thus not far-fetched to suppose that at least parts of the text of the Didache 7-16 were compiled in fairly close contact with the community in which Matthew’s gospel arose.
It seems unlikely that the Two Ways teaching, orally or in writing, was restricted to the community from which the Didache is derived. The instruction might have been used as a pre-baptismal catechesis in many local Christian communities other than the Didache. This opens up a whole new area of research that awaits further fruitful exploration with respect to New Testament literature because it allows us additional insight into the situation of the writer and hearers. If familiarity with the Two Ways’ catechesis preceding the rite of baptism was indeed widespread among first-century Christian communities, we will gain a deeper insight in the preconception of early Christians and this would help us better understand their documents. The identification of a pre-literary tradition in literary texts grants us knowledge about the situation of the writer and hearers that otherwise may be overlooked. When we restrict ourselves to the example of the Rich Young Man in Matt. 19:16-30, this line of approach helps us to discover the significance of various themes in vv. 16-22, that is, the question about life, the second half of the Decalogue, the addition of the love command and the reference to perfection. Moreover, this approach also clarifies why Matthew left out most of Mark 10:24 and inserted the eschatological role of the Twelve in Matt. 19:28. Matthew applies the conceptual tool of a choice between life and death by drawing a sharp contrast between voluntary poverty and wealth. Wealthy people cannot enter eternal life (vv. 16-22. 23-26). Only when one observes the rulings of the right Way, “life” becomes “eternal life” which lies entirely in the future (vv. 27-30). Choosing the right way leads to eternal life. Matthew probably envisaged a role for the Two Ways in this Rich Man narrative because he and his intended readers—all baptized followers of Jesus—might have been reminded of their initiation into the Matthean community by reading Mark’s story of discipleship, wealth and eternal life. For this reason, Matthew even emphasizes the rich man’s youth.
It would be conjectural to restore here the form of the Two Ways version that guided Matthew in systematizing his material for the gospel. The tradition of the Two Ways was kept alive within virtuous Jewish factions but developed within the Didache community into a pre-baptismal catechesis for Gentiles. As a result of their education, Jews generally would have grasped what God required of them. For non-Jews, however, the Jewish Two Ways dichotomy served as a framework for understanding the radical alteration in behaviour and commitments that the Gentile convert was expected to make. On the other hand, Matthew also assumed there to be a great difference between his community’s ethos and that of Jewish outsiders. He describes the substantial discrepancy between the tougher standards of his group’s elevated ethics and the circles of scribes and Pharisees as a “going beyond” relation expressed in the ideal of attaining a “perfect” (teleios) moral behaviour. In order to set apart his community from its Jewish environment he probably used a Christianized version of the Two Ways. The insiders were considered a Law-fulfilling community whose righteousness—based on Jesus’ interpretation of the Torah—was even greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees (5:20).
The basic ethical unit of the Two Ways finds its best explanation in the light of traditions that were current in Jewish Hasidic circles, i.e., those pious Jewish groups responsible for the formation of the earliest kernel of Derekh Erets literature. The early portions of Derekh Erets and the Two Ways as well as the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (which I did not deal with here), represent a well-defined trend in early Judaism, which met a definite local need in providing humane ethical principles. It is possible that Jesus belonged to these Hasidim. In any case, his moral views of life and humanity, especially his position in the Sermon on the Mount, are so closely related to the ethics of the Greek Two Ways that his approach seems to have evolved out of these very circles.
Of course, Matthew’s portrait of Jesus’ attitude towards the Law must not be separated from Matthew’s own attitude towards the Law and that of his community. We should constantly be aware that in exploring Jesus’ attitude towards the Law, one is, in fact, investigating Jesus’ attitude towards the Law according to Matthew. This is not to deny, however, that some form of the Golden Rule, being a summary of all provisions of the Torah, may have its ultimate roots in Jesus’ ministry. As seen above, the diverse precepts in the Sermon on the Mount in Matt. 5:17-7:12 and the Way of Life in Did. 1:2-4:14 are organized by and subsumed under the love command (Matt. 7:12 and Did. 1:2). In Matthew, the absolute importance of this principle of love for interpreting the law is also emphasized in many other ways. The love command of Lev. 19:18 is quoted as many as three times in Matthew (5:43; 19:19; 22:39). Moreover, it is also repeatedly articulated with the help of cognates expressing the concept of “mercy” like eleos (9:13; 12:7; 23:23), eleein (“to have pity” in 9:27; 15:22; 17:15; 20:30. 31) and splanchnizesthai (“feel compassion / mercy” in 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 18:27; 20:34). The emphasis on the love commandments and mercy serve both the community in its internal orientation and in its contrast to other groups.
However, this theme is not just found in Matthew. Evidence in other New Testament writings (Mark 22:31 par.; Luke 6:27-36; Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:14) indicates that also for Jesus himself the love commandment probably served as the centre of Law. Thus, although the precise formulation and location of the Golden Rule in Matt. 7:12 might be Matthew’s, it hardly seems likely that it would not represent what Jesus actually taught.
-  Huub van de Sandt and David Flusser, The Didache: Its Jewish Sources and its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity, (Compendia rerum iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum 3/5; Assen: Van Gorcum-Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002), 16-24. ↩
-  This latter rule is not only reflected in the Two Ways 1:2c but is frequently found throughout Jewish, Christian, and Hellenistic sources. About the so called “Golden Rule,” see Philip S. Alexander, “Jesus and the Golden Rule,” in Hillel and Jesus: Comparative Studies of Two Major Religious Leaders (ed. J. H. Charlesworth and L. L. Johns; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997), 363-388. ↩
-  Willy Rordorf and André Tuilier, La Doctrine des douze Apôtres (Didachè) (2nd ed.; Sources Chrétiennes 248 bis; Paris: Cerf, 1998), 24; Kurt Niederwimmer, The Didache: A Commentary (trans. L. M. Maloney; Hermeneia, Minneapolis; Fortress, 1998), 36-38.59-63. ↩
-  Such as the Apostolic Church Order, the Epitome of the Canons of the Holy Apostles, the Arabic Life of Shenute, the Ps.-Athanasian Syntagma Doctrinae, and the Fides CCCXVIII Patrum. ↩
-  Van de Sandt and Flusser, The Didache, 155-182. ↩
-  The early layer of these tractates reflects a lifestyle which is called “derekh hasidut,” the way of the pious. It reveals the teachings of the early Hasidim who, according to Myron B. Lerner, “The External Tractates,” in The Literature of the Sages (ed. S. Safrai; Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum 2/3; Assen: Van Gorcum-Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987) 367-404 (380), “placed extreme stress on self-deprival and the performance of good deeds and acts of loving kindness.” ↩
-  See, e.g., “Hasidim,” Encyclopaedia Judaica (16 vols.; Jerusalem: Keter, 1962), 7:1383-1388; Heinz Kremers, “Die Ethik der galiläischen Chassidim und die Ethik Jesu,” in K. Ebert, Alltagswelt und Ethik (Wuppertal: Peter Hammer Verlag, 1988), 143-156. ↩
-  Everett Ferguson, Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 202. ↩
-  Ferguson, Baptism in the Early Church, for example, considers the “allowance of pouring instead of immersion” as an “anomaly” and “a break with Jewish practice” (206). However, this need not necessarily be a rupture with its Jewish environment. The highlighting of “moral purity,” common in early Christian literature, was also widespread in in Philo’s works and in the Qumran scrolls, see Jonathan Klawans, Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 64-66; 48-56, 67-91. One may thus view this change in emphasis as an inner-Jewish phenomenon. ↩
-  This is not the appropriate place to dig deeper into the distinction between “ritual” and “moral” impurity. Whereas the sources of ritual impurity are mostly confined to natural phenomena, including childbirth, the carcasses of animals, menstrual and seminal emissions, skin disease, or a human corpse, moral impurity results from immoral acts such as sexual sins (Lev. 18:24-30), idolatry (Lev. 19:31; 20:1-3), and bloodshed (Num. 35:33-34). See Klawans, Impurity and Sin, 21-31. ↩
-  See for instance Dan. 6:11; 2 En. 51:4; m. Ber. 4:1 (and see also 4:3.7). ↩
-  See for example Peter J. Tomson, “The wars against Rome, the rise of Rabbinic Judaism and of Apostolic Gentile Christianity, and the Judaeo-Christians; elements for a synthesis,” in The Image of the Judaeo-Christians in Ancient Jewish and Christian Literature (ed. P. J. Tomson and D. Lambers-Petry; Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 158; Tübingen: Mohr, 2003), 1-31 (9-10 and n. 40); Marcello Del Verme, Didache and Judaism: Jewish Roots of an Ancient Christian-Jewish Work (New York-London: T&T Clark, 2004), 185; Jonathan A. Draper, “Christian Self-Definition against the ‘Hypocrites’ in Didache VIII,” in The Didache in Modern Research (ed. J. A. Draper; Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums 37; Leiden: Brill, 1996), 223-243. ↩
-  Peter J. Tomson, “The Lord’s Prayer (Didache 8) at the Faultline of Judaism and Christianity,” in The Didache: A Missing Piece of the Puzzle in Early Christianity (ed. J. A. Draper and C. N. Jefford; Early Christianity and Its Literature 14; Atlanta: SBL, 2015), 165-187 (183-185). ↩
-  See for example Enrico Mazza, The Origins of the Eucharistic Prayer (trans. R. E. Lane; Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1995), 13-18; Niederwimmer, The Didache, 156-160; Alan J. P. Garrow, The Gospel of Matthew’s Dependence on the Didache (Journal for the Study of the New Testament—Supplement Series 254, London: T&T Clark, 2004), 17-19; Van de Sandt and Flusser, The Didache, 309-329; etc. ↩
-  See also Aaron Milavec, The Didache: Faith, Hope, and Life of the Earliest Christian Communities, 50-70 C.E. (New York: Newman, 2003), 416-421; Jonathan A. Draper, “Ritual Process and Ritual Symbol in Didache 7-10,” Vigiliae Christianae 54 (2000): 121-158; Matthias Klinghardt, Gemeinschaftsmahl und Mahlgemeinschaft: Soziologie und Liturgie frühchristlicher Mahlfeiern (Texte und Arbeiten zum neutestamentlichen Zeitalter 13, Tübingen: Francke Verlag, 1996), 407-427. ↩
-  Jonathan Schwiebert, Knowledge and the Coming Kingdom: The Didache’s Meal Ritual and its Place in Early Christianity (Library of New Testament Studies 373, London: T&T Clark, 2008), 119; Mazza, Origins of the Eucharistic Prayer, 156-159; Van de Sandt and Flusser, The Didache, 316-318. ↩
-  Huub van de Sandt, “The Gathering of the Church in the Kingdom: The Self-Understanding of the Didache Community in the Eucharistic Prayers,” in Society of Biblical Literature—Seminar Papers 42 (Atlanta: SBL, 2003), 69-88. ↩
-  See Van de Sandt and Flusser, The Didache, 340-341. ↩
-  The community is required to “break bread, and give thanks,” expressions that correspond with “broken bread” and “giving thanks” in Did. 9-10. The descriptions in Did. 14:1 seem to refer to one and the same eucharistic ritual. The text associates this meal with the idea of sacrifice (thysia); see Schwiebert, Knowledge and the Coming Kingdom, 167. ↩
-  Rordorf and Tuilier, La Doctrine, 64-65. ↩
-  William D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, The Gospel according to Saint Matthew (3rd ed.; International Critical Commentary; vols. 1-3, London-New York: T&T Clark, 2004), 1:127-138 and see the list of scholars there adopting a similar position (128). ↩
-  For references, see John S. Kloppenborg, “The Use of the Synoptics or Q in Did. 1:3b-2:1,” in Matthew and the Didache: Two Documents from the same Jewish-Christian Milieu? (ed. H. van de Sandt; Assen: Van Gorcum-Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005), 105-129 (105, n. 2). ↩
-  R. Hugh Connolly, “Canon Streeter on the Didache,” Journal of Theological Studies 38 (1937): 364-379 (367-370); Frederick E. Vokes, The Riddle of the Didache. Fact or Fiction, Heresy or Catholicism? (The Church Historical Society 32; London: SPCK, 1938), 51-61. ↩
-  Minus Did. 8:2b; 11:3b; 15:3-4 and 16:7 according to Garrow, The Gospel of Matthew’s Dependence. ↩
-  Édouard Massaux, Influence de l’Évangile de saint Matthieu sur la littérature chrétienne avant saint Irénée (Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium 75; Leuven: University Press-Peeters, 1950; repr. Leuven, 1986), 604-646 (618); Donald A. Hagner, The Use of the Old and New Testaments in Clement of Rome (Novum Testamentum Supplements 34; Leiden: Brill, 1973), 280; Kurt Wengst, Didache (Apostellehre): Barnabasbrief. Zweiter Klemensbrief. Schrift an Diognet (Schriften des Urchristentums 2; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1984), 28; Helmut Köster, Synoptische Überlieferung bei den apostolischen Vätern (Texte und Untersuchungen 65, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1957), at first leaves the question open (198-200), but after having dealt with other similar instances in the Didache, he is inclined to believe that the document is not dependent on (one of) the Synoptic Gospels (240). For a more elaborate version of this section, see my ‘“Do not Give What is Holy to the Dogs” (Did. 9:5d and Matt. 7:6a): the Eucharistic Food of the Didache in its Jewish Purity Setting’, Vigiliae Christianae 56 (2002): 223-46. ↩
-  See Elisha Qimron and John Strugnell, Qumran Cave 4 5: Miqsat Maʻaśe ha-Torah (Discoveries in the Judaean Desert 10; Oxford: Clarendon 1994), 52-53. A similar ban applied to chickens as well; see also Elisha Qimron, “The Chicken and the Dog and the Temple Scroll,” Tarbiz 64 (1994) 473-476 (Hebrew) (for an English translation of Qimron’s article, click here). Joshua Tilton kindly provided me with this publication. ↩
-  It has been noted that the acquaintance with the above halakha was not restricted to the Qumran community only since it is probably echoed in Rev 22:15 where it says: “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practises falsehood” (compare 21:8). The author of Revelation apparently was familiar with the established halakha of 4QMMT and explains the rule in a spiritual way (See Marc Philonenko, “’Dehors les chiens.’ Apocalypse 22.16 et 4QMMT B 58-62,” New Testament Studies 43  445-450). He applies it to the heavenly Jerusalem and considers the “dogs outside” to represent the apostates and false teachers. The text suggests the disciplinary measure of excluding false teachers and those who commit the most grievous sins (the sorcerers, fornicators, murderers and idolaters) from the city. ↩
-  Such as in m. Temurah 6:5; t. Temurah 4:11; y. Maʻaśer Šeni 2:5, 53c; b. Temurah 17a; 31a; 33a-b; b. Bekorot 15a (2x); b. Šebuʻot 11b. For the specific quotations of these instances, see the notes in my ‘“Do not Give What is Holy to the Dogs,”’ 229-231. ↩
-  Pisqa 118; see H. S. Horovitz (ed.), Siphre d’be Rab I: Siphre ad Numeros adjecto Siphre zutta (Corpus Tannaiticum 3/1; Leipzig 1917; corr. repr Jerusalem: Wahrmann, 1966), 138. ↩
-  The Qumran Essenes seem to have anticipated the propensity to extend the sacred meals beyond the altar and the temple in Jerusalem and, like the Qumran group, many other Jews of the Second Temple period observed ritual purity when participating in secular meals; see Huub van de Sandt, “Why does the Didache Conceive of the Eucharist as a Holy Meal?” Vigiliae Christianae 65 (2011): 1-20. ↩
-  The wording “as a gentile and tax-collector” in Matt. 18:17b, referring to the punishment of expulsion, stands out from the Matthean gospel as a whole with respect to its pejorative tone. The gist of the expression applies neither to the life of Jesus nor to the Gospel of Matthew. It is improbable that the historical Jesus, who extended the possibility of conversion to the toll-collectors and sinners, would have used this phraseology in such a context. With regard to Matthew, the expression appears to contradict the favourable attitude toward pagans and tax-collectors displayed throughout Matthew’s gospel. It is therefore unlikely that we are dealing here with words pronounced by Jesus or created by Matthew. ↩
-  For references, see Niederwimmer, The Didache, 204, n. 10. For a more detailed treatment of this subject, see my “Two Windows on a Developing Jewish-Christian Reproof Practice: Matt. 18:15-17 and Did. 15:3,” in Van de Sandt (ed.), Matthew and the Didache, 173-192. ↩
-  See Lawrence H. Schiffman, “Reproof as a Requisite for Punishment,” in Sectarian Law in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Courts, Testimony and the Penal Code (ed. L. H. Schiffman; Brown Judaic Studies 33; Chico Calif.: Scholars, 1983), 89-109 (97-98); this article was published in an almost identical version as “Reproof as a Requisite for Punishment in the Law of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Jewish Law Association Studies 2: The Jerusalem Conference Volume (ed. B. S. Jackson; The Jewish Law Association. Papers and Proceedings; Atlanta Ga: Scholars, 1986), 59-74; Moshe Weinfeld, The Organizational Pattern and the Penal Code of the Qumran Sect: A Comparison with Guilds and Religious Associations of the Hellenistic-Roman Period (Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus 2; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1986), 74-76; Bernard S. Jackson, “Testes singulares in Early Jewish Law and the New Testament,” in Essays in Jewish and Comparative Legal History (ed. B. S. Jackson; Studies in Judaism in Late Antiquity 10; Leiden: Brill, 1975), 172-201 (175-76) and n. 6. ↩
-  See Van de Sandt, “Two Windows,” 185-186. ↩
-  Florentino García Martínez, “La Reprensión fraterna en Qumrán y Mt 18,15-17,” Filologia Neotestamentaria 2 (1989): 23-40; trans. “Brotherly Rebuke in Qumran and Mt 18:15-17,” in The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Writings, Beliefs and Practices (ed. F. García Martínez and J. Trebolle Barrera; Leiden: Brill, 1995), 221-232; Schiffman, “Reproof as a Requisite for Punishment,” 94-96. ↩
-  See Weinfeld, The Organizational Pattern, 38-41, 75; Jacob Licht, The Rule Scroll: A Scroll from the Wilderness of Judaea: 1QS – 1QSa – 1QSb (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1965), 137 (Hebr.); Michael Knibb, The Qumran Community (Cambridge Commentaries on Writings of the Jewish and Christian World 200 BC to AD 200; Cambridge: University Press, 1987), 115. ↩
-  “There is nothing to indicate that he can be received back again;” see Goran Forkman, The Limits of the Religious Community: Expulsion from the Religious Community within the Qumran Sect, within Rabbinic Judaism, and within Primitive Christianity (Coniectanea neotestamentica or Coniectanea biblica: New Testament Series 5; Lund: Gleerup, 1972), 129. See also Ingrid Goldhahn-Müller, Die Grenze der Gemeinde: Studien zum Problem der Zweiten Busse im Neuen Testament unter Berücksichtigung der Entwicklung im 2. Jh. bis Tertullian (Göttinger Theologischer Arbeiten 39; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1989), 181; Alois Schenk-Ziegler, Correctio fraterna im Neuen Testament: Die “brüderliche Zurechtweisung” in biblischen, frühjüdischen und hellenistischen Schriften (Forschung zur Bibel 84; Würzburg: Echter Verlag, 1997), 298.
On the other hand, Matthew may have incorporated this unit precisely at this very position in his gospel for a special purpose. In Matt. 18, the forensic process passage is set within a literary context of humility (1-5), responsibility (6-9), individual loving care (12-14), forgiveness, and mercy (21-35). Matthew surrounds the traditional segment on fraternal reproof with material promoting a spirit of generosity and unbounded compassionate love. In the light of the wider context of Matt. 18, the regulation in Matt. 18:15-17 displays an essential correspondence with the reproof passage in Did. 15:3. The act of reproach here might have the same purpose as the one in Did. 15:3, that is, to gain a brother by having him listen to the evidence of his culpability and admit his sin. ↩
-  See Jean-Paul Audet, La Didachè: Instructions des apôtres (Études bibliques; Paris: Gabalda, 1958), 180 and Schenk-Ziegler, Correctio fraterna, 126-58 (130-32). A more distant parallel is found in T. Gad 6:3: “Therefore, love one another from the heart, and if a man sins against you, speak to him in peace (en eirēnē)….” ↩
-  Like for example Did. 7:1.3 (par. Matt. 28:19); Did. 11:2.4 (par. Matt. 10:40); Did. 11:7 (par. Matt. 12:31); Did. 13:1-2 (par. Matt. 10:10); Did. 14:2 (par. Matt. 5:23-24); Did. 16:1-2 (par. Matt. 24:42.44; 25:13); and Did. 16:3-8 (par. Matt. 24-25). See also above, pp. 12-13. ↩
-  See Philip Schaff, The Oldest Church Manual, Called the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1886), 18 (on top); James Muilenburg, The Literary Relations of the Epistle of Barnabas and the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, (Marburg, n.p., 1929), 73; Frederick E. Vokes, The Riddle of the Didache: Fact or Fiction, Heresy or Catholicism? (The Church Historical Society 32; London: SPCK; New York: Macmillan 1938), 19; etc. ↩
-  Georg Braumann, “Zum Traditionsgeschichtlichen Problem der Seligpreisungen MT V 3-12,” Novum Testamentum 4 (1960): 253-260 (259-260); Wiard Popkes, “Die Gerechtigkeitstradition im Matthäus-Evangelium,” in Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche (1989), 1-23 (17). ↩
-  See Martin Hengel, “Zur matthäischen Bergpredigt und ihrem jüdischen Hintergrund,” Theologische Rundschau 52 (1987): 355-356; see also 379-380. For the ideological and literary affinity of the first three Beatitudes with the Dead Sea Scrolls, see David Flusser, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit,” in Judaism and the Origins of Christianity. Collected articles (ed. D. Flusser; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1988), 102-114; repr. from Israel Exploration Journal 10 (1960): 1-13; idem, “Some Notes to the Beatitudes,” in Judaism, 115-125; repr. from Immanuel 8 (1978), 37-47.
-  See Shmuel Safrai, “Teaching of Pietists in Mishnaic Literature,” Journal of Jewish Studies 16 (1965), 15-33 (32-33); idem, “Hasidim we-Anshei Maase,” Zion 50 (1984-85), 133-154 (144-154); idem, “Jesus and the Hasidim,” Jerusalem Perspective (1994) 3-22; idem, “Jesus and the Hasidic Movement,” in The Jews in the Hellenistic Roman World. Studies in Memory of Menahem Stern (ed. I. M. Gafni, A. Oppenheimer and D. R. Schwartz; Jerusalem: Graphit, 1996), 413-436 (415) (Hebr.). ↩
-  The second half of the Decalogue is even more likely to stand in the background of Matt. 5:21-48 since the last unit (5:43-48) stresses the love of one’s neighbor which, as we have seen, is often used in early Judaism to express in crystalized form the second table of the Decalogue (see Matt. 19:18-19; Rom. 13:8-10; Jas 2:8-11). Rather interestingly, the items “murder” and “adultery” (in this order) also head the rather long catalogue of prohibitions in GTW 2:1-7 and again the list of vices that serves as an explication of the Way of Death in Greek Two Ways 5. Altogether, it does not seem unreasonable to suppose that the first two items in the arrangement of the lists, which are modeled after the second tablet of the Decalogue, are more strung together by tradition than the remainder, which rather seems a haphazard and free adaptation in the various lists. ↩
-  b. Menah. 44a, top; b. Ned. 39b; y. Pe’ah 1,15d; Siphre Deut. 79 to Deut. 12:28 in Louis Finkelstein (ed.), Siphre ad Deuteronomium (Corpus Tannaiticum 3/2; Berlin: Jüdischer Kulturbund, 1939; repr. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1969), 145; Siphre Deut. 82 to Deut. 13:1 (ibid., 148), Siphre Deut. 96 to Deut. 13:19 (ibid., 157). ↩
-  See the treatise Yir’at Het (“fear of transgression,” and a separate denotation of chapters I-IV and IX of the Derekh Erets Zuta tract) II, 16-17 or Derekh Erets Zuta II, 16-17 according to Marcus van Loopik, ed., The Ways of the Sages and the Way of the World (Texte und Studien zum antiken Judentum 26: Tübingen: Mohr, 1991), 229-231 (with commentary) = Massekhet Derekh Erets I, 26 according to Michael Higger, ed., The Treatises Derek Erez: Masseket Derek Erez; Pirke Ben Azzai; Tosefta Derek Erez (2 vols.; New York 1935; repr., Jerusalem: Makor, 1970), 1:78-79 (Hebr.) and 2:38 (English Translation). ↩
-  See Ulrich Luz, “Die Erfüllung des Gesetzes bei Matthäus (Mt 5,17-20),” Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 75 (1978): 398-435; repr., in trans. “The Fulfilment of the Law in Matthew (Matt. 5:17-20),” in Studies in Matthew (ed. U. Luz; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 185-218 (197); Robert Guelich, The Sermon on the Mount: A Foundation for Understanding (2nd ed.; Waco TX: Word, 1983), 135. 156; Luz, Matthäus, 1:230; Albert Descamps, “Essai d’interprétation de Mt 5,17-48: Formgeschichte ou Redactionsgeschichte?,” Studia Evangelica 1 (1959): 156-173 (163); Jacques Dupont, Les Béatitudes 3: Les évangélistes (Études Bibliques; Paris: Gabalda, 1973), 251, n. 2; J. P. Meier, Law and History in Matthew’s Gospel: A Redactional Study of Mt. 5:17-48 (Analecta biblica 71; Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1976), 116-119; Davies and Allison, Matthew 1:501. ↩
-  See also Matt. 23, where Matthew levels the usual charge of hypocrisy (vv. 4-7) against the “scribes and Pharisees” and attacks the Jewish community leadership (of his own post A.D. 70 situation?) in seven woe oracles, in which Jesus condemns the “scribes and Pharisees” seven times; see David C. Sim, The Gospel of Matthew and Christian Judaism: The History and Social Setting of the Matthean Community (Studies of the New Testament and Its World; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1998), 130-131. See also Petri Luomanen, Entering the Kingdom of Heaven: A Study on the Structure of Matthew’s View of Salvation (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2/101; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1998), 85. 120. ↩
-  See also Matthias Konradt, “Rezeption und Interpretation des Dekalogs im Matthäusevangelium” in The Gospel of Matthew at the Crossroads of Early Christianity (ed. D. Senior; Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium 243; Leuven: Peeters, 2011), 131-158 (135-154). ↩
-  Most commonly, the specific antithetical formulations of the first, second, and fourth antitheses (Matt. 5:21-22. 27-28. 33-34a) are considered pre-Matthean while the antithetical pattern in the remainder of the series is assumed to be a secondary arrangement on the basis of the earlier three. This means that those antitheses, showing a radicalisation of the commandments rather than a direct opposite character, are generally considered to have been received by Matthew in antithetical form. In short, the first, second and fourth antitheses are traditional (pre-Matthean) while the other three (with Lukan parallels) are assigned to Matthew’s redaction; see Rudolph Bultmann, Die Geschichte der synoptischen Tradition (8th ed.; Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments 29; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1970), 143-144; Ulrich Luz, Matthäus: Mt 1-7 (Evangelisch-katholischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament 1/1; Zürich: Benziger-Verlag, 1985), 246 (though he is inclined to believe that the fourth antithesis is redactional too); Maarten J. J.Menken, Matthew’s Bible: The Old Testament Text of the Evangelist (Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium 173; Leuven: University Press-Peeters, 2004), 265-266; Jan Lambrecht, The Sermon on the Mount. Proclamation and Exhortation (Good News Studies 14; Wilmington Del: Glazier, 1985), 94-95; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 1:504-505 and many others. ↩
-  See Van de Sandt and Flusser, Didache, 176-179, 216-234. ↩
-  See above, p. 26 (“keep aloof from everything hideous and from what even seems hideous”) and compare also the following statement:
Keep aloof from everything hideous and from whatever seems hideous lest others suspect you of transgression
in Yir’at Het I, 13 according to Van Loopik, The Ways, 194-197 (with commentary) = Massekhet Derek Erets I, 12 according to Higger, The Treatises Derek Erez, 1:63 (Hebr.) and 2:35 (English translation). ↩
-  Graham N. Stanton, A Gospel for a New People: Studies in Matthew (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1992), 303-304; Guelich, The Sermon on the Mount, 360-363, 379-381; Hans Dieter Betz, The Sermon on the Mount: A Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, including the Sermon on the Plain (Matthew 5:3-7:27 and Luke 6:20-49) (Hermeneia; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), 518; etc. ↩
-  Jewish tradition attributes a negative form of this saying to Hillel who presents the Rule as the summation of the Law. According to b. Shab 31a, Hillel summarized the essence of the whole Law by rendering the negative form of the Golden Rule (“Whatever is hateful to you, do it not unto your fellow”) and adding: “the rest is a mere specification.” The reduction of the laws to basic principles very much resembles our passage in Did. 1:2-3. In 1:2, the essential core of the Way of life is found in the double love commandment combined with the negative form of the Golden Rule. These three precepts which have special prominence and serve as the basic elements of the Way of Life are then followed by the clause: “The explanation of these words is as follows.” ↩
-  See Georg Strecker, Die Bergpredigt: Ein exegetischer Kommentar (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1984), 161; Luz, Matthäus 1:395-396; Clayton N. Jefford, The Sayings of Jesus in the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 11; Leiden: Brill, 1989), 25-26 and the Appendix A (146-159). See also Davies and Allison, Matthew, 1:696-698. ↩
-  Adelbert Denaux, “Der Spruch von den zwei Wegen im Rahmen des Epilogs der Bergpredigt (Mt 7,13-14 par. Lk 13,23-24): Tradition und Redaktion,” in Logia. Les Paroles de Jésus—The Sayings of Jesus (ed. J. Delobel; Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium 59; Leuven: University Press-Peeters, 1982, 305-335 (322-323); Davies and Allison, Matthew, 1:696-698. ↩
-  John the Baptist had previously employed this image of judgment in Matt. 3:10 against the Pharisees and Sadducees. In Matthew everyone, whether disciples, Pharisees and Sadducees, are judged by one law. ↩
-  See Davies and Allison, Matthew, 1:721-722; Luz, Matthäus, 1:537-538; Joachim Gnilka, Das Matthäusevangelium (Herders theologischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament 1/2; Freiburg: Herder, 1988), 1:282; W. Wiefel, Das Evangelium nach Matthäus (Theologischer Handkommentar zum Neuen Testament 1; Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1998), 156; Floyd V. Filson, A Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Matthew (2nd ed.; Black’s New Testament commentaries; London: Black, 1971), 108 ↩
-  In his treatment of the minor sins, Jesus’ argument in Matthew seems rather more rigorous than the line of reasoning in the Two Ways or in the early stratum of Derekh Erets. Although the loss of temper, a lustful look, or the taking of an oath do not replace the acts of murder, infidelity and perjury, they are valued in the Sermon on the Mount as sins in their own right, incurring the same penalty as murder or adultery. The view that anger equals murder and that lust equals adultery, is toned down in the Greek Two Ways 3:1-6 (and in, say, Yir’at Het II, 16-17 as well). The passage in the Greek Two Ways 3:1-3 appears largely to represent preventive measures to protect someone from transgressing weighty commandments. ↩
-  In addition to the double love commandment and the single commandment to love one’s neighbour (or its variant version in the Golden Rule) also the second table of the Decalogue was commonly seen as summarizing the essentials of the Law as may be derived from instances in Pseudo-Phocylides, Sentences 3-7 and Rom. 13:8-10. ↩
-  See, e.g., Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3:38; Warren Carter, Matthew and the Margins: A Sociopolitical and Religious Reading (The Bible and Liberation Series; Maryknoll NY: Orbis, 2000), 387; Luz, Matthäus, 3:120. For a more elaborate version of this section, see my “Eternal Life as Reward for Choosing the Right Way: The Story of the Rich Young Man (Matt. 19:16-30),” in Life Beyond Death in Matthew’s Gospel: Religious Metaphor or Bodily Reality? (ed. W. Weren, H. van de Sandt, J. Verheyden; Biblical Tools and Studies 13; Leuven: Peeters, 2011), 107-127. ↩
-  Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3:43. ↩
-  See Pierre Bonnard, L’Évangile selon Saint Matthieu (Commentaire du Nouveau Testament 2/1; 4th ed.; Genève: Labor et Fides, 2002), 288: “ce mot est peut-être une allusion aux catéchumènes de l’Église matthéenne.” ↩
-  See also Menken, Matthew’s Bible, 211-212. ↩
-  See Deut. 30:15-20; Lev. 18:5; Prov. 6:23; Mal. 2:4-5; Bar. 3:9; Ps. Sol. 14:2; Rom. 7:10; 4 Ezra 14:30; m.’Abot 2:7. ↩
-  See for example also Jefford, The Sayings of Jesus, 54-56. 62; Garrow, The Gospel of Matthew’s Dependence, 240-241, 247-248. ↩
-  The second table of the Decalogue has nevertheless been expanded here with specific elements, including pederasty, magic, sorcery, abortion, infanticide and additional injunctions. ↩
-  See Guelich, The Sermon on the Mount, 135. 156; Luz, Matthäus, 1:230; Meier, Law and History, 116-119; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 1:501. ↩
-  Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3:46; Warren Carter, Households and Discipleship: A Study of Matthew 19-20 (Journal for the Study of the New Testament: Supplement Series 103; Sheffield: JSOT, 1994), 117; Luz, Matthäus, 3:46. 123-125; Joachim Gnilka, Das Matthäusevangelium (1988), 2:165. ↩
-  See also Wim J. C. Weren, “The Ideal Community According to Matthew, James, and the Didache,” in Studies in Matthew’s Gospel: Literary Design, Intertextuality, and Social Setting (ed. W. J. C. Weren; Biblical Interpretation Series 130; Leiden: Brill, 2014), 222-247 (232-235); Matthias Konradt, “Die volkommene Erfüllung der Tora und der Konflikt mit den Pharisäern im Matthäusevangelium,” in Das Gesetz in frühen Judentum und im Neuen Testament (ed. D. Sänger, M. Konradt and C. Burchard; Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus 57; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006), 129-152 (152); idem, “The Love Command in Matthew, James, and the Didache,” in Matthew, James and Didache: Three Related Documents in Their Jewish and Christian Settings (ed. H. van de Sandt and J. K. Zangenberg; Society of Biblical Literature Symposium Series 45; Atlanta: SBL, 2008), 271-288 (274-278); William R. G. Loader, Jesus’ Attitude towards the Law: A Study of the Gospels (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2/97; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997), 226-227. 269. ↩
-  As seen above, the diverse precepts in the Sermon in Matt. 5:17-7:12 and the Way of Life in Did. 1:2-4:14 are organized by and subsumed under the love command (Matt. 7:12 and Did. 1:2). ↩
-  See also C. Coulot, “La Structuration de la péricope de l’homme riche et ses différentes lectures (Mc 10,17-31; Mt 19,16-30; Lc 18,18-30),” Recherches de Science Religieuse 56 (1982): 240-252 (249). ↩
-  For more specifics, see my “Eternal Life as Reward,” 121-124. ↩
-  Jacques Dupont, “Le logion des douze thrônes (Mt 19,28; Lc 22,28-30),” Biblica 45 (1964): 355-92 (378); Filson, Gospel According to St. Matthew, 210. Jesus was the judge who authoritatively interprets Torah. In the Antitheses of Matt. 5:21-48 Jesus seems to use the controlling clause “but I say to you” to expound the demands of Torah and in Matt. 11:27 the power to disclose “these things” to infants is delivered to the Son so as to reveal the Father to whom he chooses. ↩
-  See also Huub van de Sandt, “James 4,1-4 in the Light of the Jewish Two Ways Tradition 3,1-6,” Biblica 88 (2007): 38-63; Darian R. Lockett, “Structure or Communicative Strategy: The ‘Two Ways’ Motif in James’ Theological Instruction,” Neotestamentica 42 (2008): 269-287. See also Matthew Larsen, and Michael Svigel, “The First Century Two Ways Catechesis and Hebrews 6:1-6,” in Draper and Jefford, The Didache, 477-496. ↩