The Apostolic Fathers


by Robert A. Kraft



General Orientation

§1. Barnabas and the Didache as "Evolved Literature"

1. "Evolved Literature" and the Role of Author-Editor. Both the so-called Epistle of Barnabas and the Teaching (in Greek, Didaché) of the (Twelve) Apostles, are examples of what may be called "evolved literature," in contradistinction to writings which have a single author in the modern sense of the word.\1/ That is to say, both Barnabas and the Didache, as we now have them, show clear evidence of being products of a developing process. Some individual, it is true, has put them into the form(s) preserved for us. But that person is at best an "author-editor," who reproduces and reworks older materials. Thus we sometimes are able to uncover in such evolved literature various layers of composition (!!!see below, §2, §4, §8). The latest stage may provide some information about the final author-editor, that person's thought and situation, but equally important for a real appreciation of such literature are the vestiges which remain from earlier stages of its history.

\1/ Numerous ancient writings, and not only those in the Judeo-Christian tradition, can be included in this general category--e.g., the Historical Books of the Old Testament, the Synoptic Gospels and Revelation in the New Testament, the Jewish Talmud and Midrashim, etc. The same principle is evident in our own times on an even more impersonal plane in various reference works dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks) which continually are being streamlined and re-edited.


Usually no clear-cut method by which this final author-editor has selected the sources and compiled the treatise can be discovered. Sometimes older materials are simply juxtaposed with little or no attempt at harmonizing whatever minor disagreements may exist between them. In one way or another they are supposed to be relevant for the purpose—he may have decided that they should be included, or the compiler's [[2]] background tradition may have decided it. Sometimes an older source consciously or unconsciously is turned to a new end; again, it is not always easy to determine at what stage of the evolution the reinterpretation was introduced. Finally, there are times when the evolved literature appears to embody further elaboration of the attitudes of its sources. In such cases the viewpoint of the final author-editor is seen to be closely related to, or derived from, that of certain of the traditional materials that are used.

Thus the end product of this process, or better, the stage which has been preserved for us to examine (for still further elaboration and editing often occurs, as is clear from the history of the Didache; !!!see §7, §8.5), is as much the product of its sources as it is the work of any individual. It provides an avenue into a living, many-sided tradition—it is a "school" or "community" product, if you wish. What the author-editor has received, he transmits. The transmitter may add certain of his own insights and emphases; he may apply the materials to new situations and embody them in new contexts; he may apply personal judgment as to what is or is not relevant. But the transmitter does not usually rise above the tradition to appear as a clearly defined personality who has produced a piece of original literature in accord with our usual ideas of authorship. The transmitter has not consistently digested the materials so that they become second nature; the transmitter has not integrated them by means of a perspective that may be considered characteristic of that person. Rather, the tradition speaks through the tradent. It is of prime importance. The transmitter is its vehicle, but the focus remains on the traditional material, not on the author-editor.

2. Barnabas and the Didache as Representatives of School and Community. Within this general category of "literature," however, various types are distinguishable. For example, the two writings with which we are concerned, Barnabas and the Didache, differ greatly between themselves as to the precise kind of evolved literature which they respectively represent. Barnabas, on the one hand, takes the form of an epistle. Thus it contains several personal touches mixed in [[3]] with its wealth of traditional instruction.\2/ The author-editor, Pseudo-Barnabas, is attempting to deal with what he considers to be a significant need within a community known to him. Thus the elements of personality, time, and space are relatively prominent in the framework into which Pseudo-Barnabas has chosen to incorporate his traditions (!!!§4.3). The Didache, on the other hand, is in the form of a fairly impersonal community manual. We do not even catch a glimpse of the individual responsible for the publication of the manual. Its instructions are presented as timeless "apostolic" teachings to successive generations in the community. Even the eschatological section in chapter 16 shares this flavor of impersonal timelessness.

\2/ Sometimes, however, even these apparently personal touches may simply be the reaction of accepted literary conventions; cf., e.g., Barn. 4.9a with Ign. Eph. 8.1; 18.1 (similar to the English idiom "I am your humble servant"); or Barn. 1.5; 17.1; 21.9 with Irenaeus, Ap. Preach. 1 (the emphasis on a "brief" communication of "necessary" things, as the writer "is able").


As far as the respective contents of Barnabas and the Didache are concerned, another important difference is apparent. The Didache transmits community instructions for proper conduct and worship. It is in that sense a "community" product. Barnabas, however, is concerned with correct understanding of how to interpret the past (present and future), as well as how to live in the present. Thus Barnabas transmits instructions which, in origin, may more helpfully be called "school" interests (exegetical traditions, commentary, etc.) than "community" materials in a strict sense (liturgical conduct, church order, etc.). Nevertheless, in their different ways, both writings are interested in catechesis, in instruction, in exhortation, and thus find their use and preservation in the community. [[4]]

§2. The Two Ways Tradition Common to Barnabas and the Didache

1. Background of the Two Ways Approach. The most obvious piece of common ground between Barnabas and the Didache is the "Two Ways" tradition of ethical exhortation (Barn. 18-21; Did. 1.1-6.2). It has long been debated whether, for this material, (1) Barnabas has used the Didache, (2) the Didache used Barnabas, or (3) both independently used a common source.\3/ The present tendency, which is shared by this writer, is to prefer the last alternative (!!!see §2.4)—especially in the light of the Qumran Manual of Discipline 3.18 ff., which shows that a similar Two Ways device was also in vogue in a predominantly Semitic-speaking Jewish community in pre-Christian times.

\3/ The originality of the Didache has been defended by a minority of commentators, such as O. Bardenhewer, F. X. Funk, and R. D. Hitchcock-F. Brown. Those who have argued for Barnabean priority include F. C. Burkitt, R. H. Connolly, J. Muilenburg, and J. A. Robinson. Among advocates of a "common source" hypothesis are J.-P. Audet, J. M. Creed, E. J. Goodspeed, A. von Harnack (later view), K. Kohler, R. Knopf, B. H. Streeter and C. Taylor. For a recent treatment of the Two Ways material and the New Testament, see E. Kamlah, Die Form der katalogischen Paränese im NT (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum NT 7, Tübingen, 1964); on related Hellenistic material see also H. D. Betz, Lucian von Samosota und das NT...(TU 76, Berlin, 1961), 205 n.2.


But there is no reason to think that the form of the Two Ways tradition shared by Barnabas and the Didache had direct and immediate ties with Semitic Judaism. Rather, it seems to have flourished in the Greek schools of Hellenistic Judaism for decades, if not centuries, before early Christian writers came to adopt it. Its ultimate origins are obscure and its family tree in terms of Greek and Semitic (and even Egyptian) developments cannot be reconstructed with any assurance. In its Jewish form(s), probably Deuteronomy 30.15-19 and Psalm 1 played a central role along with passages such as Jeremiah 21.8; Proverbs 2.13; 4.18 f., and so [[5]] forth. In any event, the theme is ancient and is by no means exclusively Jewish or Judeo-Christian in popularity (see, e.g., the "Choice of Heracles" in Xenophon, Memorabilia 2.1.21 ff.). Thus it is impossible to say precisely how, when, or where the Two Ways theme took the form which became known to Barnabas and the Didache. The least that can be said is that it seems to have been a separate written tractate, in Greek, which came into early Christianity by way of Greek speaking Judaism and its practices (a "proselyte catechism"?).

2. Pervasiveness of the Two Ways in Barnabas. A close examination of Barnabas reveals that the influence of the Two Ways motif is not limited to chapters 18-20. This is one of the themes that pervades the entire epistle (!!!§5.4-5), and it comes to expression most clearly in the references to the "way of righteousness" (1.4; 5.4; cf. 11.7+; 12.4+) or "of light" (18.1; 19.1, 12) in contrast to the "way of wickedness" (4.10; cf. 10.10+; 11.7+), "of darkness" (5.4; 18.1; cf. 20.1) and "of death" (19.2c; 20.1b) -- cf. also "the error" which now ensnares some men (2.9; 4.1; 12.10; 14.5; 16.1). But it can scarcely be explained simply as an original contribution of the final author-editor himself. This becomes clear from a closer examination of the characteristic emphases shared by Pseudo-Barnabas and his school tradition -- emphases which presuppose the Two Ways scheme, presented in an eschatological setting, for their very existence (!!!see §5.1-5) -- as well as from the growing awareness of the antiquity of this approach (§2.1). To be more specific, the obviously traditional ethical interpretations offered in Barnabas 10 (!!!cf. 19.2c, 6b), which in form resemble Didache 3.1-6, but which do not seem to have come from the common Two Ways source, help illustrate the degree to which Pseudo-Barnabas' school tradition was oriented toward such material. And when the author-editor abruptly appends the Two Ways material of chapters 18-20 to his treatise, he as much as says he is reproducing extant catechetical material -- "another gnosis and didache" (18.1; cf. the conclusion at 21.1, "as many [[6]] ordinances as have been written"). Far from being a creation of Pseudo-Barnabas, the Two Ways tradition which he transmits has played a formative role (along with "gnostic" exegesis [!!!§5.1] and eschatology [!!!§5.3]) in the particular type of Christianity to which he subscribes.

3. The Two Ways in the Didache. By way of contrast, the Two Ways theme in the Didache is almost exclusively limited to Didache 1.1-6.2. Its absence from Didache 6.3-15.4 is perhaps explicable in view of the subject matter (liturgical-cultic, ecclesiastical). It is possible that some connection once existed between the apocalyptic appendix to the Didache (ch. 16) and a Two Ways tradition presented in a vivid eschatological setting, as in Barnabas. But this is part of a larger problem that requires special treatment (!!!see §2.7). For the present, it suffices to note that some material present in the Two Ways (Did. 4.2; Barn. 19.10b) is echoed both in Didache 16.2a and in Barnabas 4.10b, and probably in Hermas, Similitudes 9.26.3b--

Didache 4 Didache 16 Barnabas 4 Hermas
(see Barn. 19) (cf. 14.1)
Do not retire [some believers
to yourselves criticized
and live alone for]
and daily and ...but gather
frequently be together in ... not
gathered harmony fellowshiping
seek out the seeking the seeking what with the
faces of the things necessary is of common servants of
saints to your benefit God, but
that you souls [cf. 19.8a; living alone
might find [cf. Barn. 21.2b; Heb. they destroy
rest in their 17.1 var.; Ign. 10.25]. their souls.
words. Eph. 13.1;
2 Clem. 17.3].

Furthermore, Didache 16.2b is almost verbally identical to Barnabas 4.9b-- [[7]]

Didache: For the whole time of your faith will not profit you unless in the last time you are perfect. Barnabas 4.9b: For the whole time of our life and faith will profit us nothing unless now, in the lawless time and in the scandals to come...we resist.

--and Barnabas 4.9b-14 clearly incorporates Two Ways imagery.

Whatever the solution to this complex situation, Didache 1-6 shows no real interest in eschatology. This is especially striking by comparison to Barnabas 18-20, which shares with the rest of the epistle an atmosphere charged with present eschatological drama (!!!see §2.2; §5.3). Contrast, for example, Barnabas 18 with Didache 1.1, or Barnabas 19.10a with Didache 4.1a. In the Didache, eschatology either is subsumed under liturgy (8.2*; 9.4; 10.5-6) or forms an appendix (ch. 16) in which the reader is admonished to be ready when the last times finally do arrive, and is made aware of certain future preludes to the consummation. Barnabas and the Didache are in two different worlds at this point. Their common ground is almost entirely limited to the Two Ways ethic.

4. Source of the Two Ways Material in Barnabas and the Didache. Thus we are faced with the knotty problem of trying to suggest how this situation could have come about. The evidence is almost completely against the hypothesis that Barnabas took its Two Ways material from the Didache. By comparison with Barnabas 18-19, the first part of the Two Ways tradition in Didache 1-4 is both more systematically arranged and is significantly longer. There can be little doubt that Didache 1.3b-2.1 is a late, Christian addition to the basic tradition (!!!see §8.2); similarly, Didache 3.1-6 contains a separate, carefully structured tradition of prohibitions (see also §8.4). Neither of these sections has left any clear imprint on Barnabas (the variant to Barn. 19.11a almost certainly is secondary). Furthermore, the [[8]] organization of such passages as Didache 1.2; 2.2-3 (cf. 5.1); 4.1-11, stands in marked contrast to the haphazard (at least by our standards) presentation of the same material in Barnabas. On the other hand, there is one relatively extensive passage in which Barnabas and the Didache follow exactly the same sequence and have almost exactly the same wording (Barn. 20.2 = Did. 5.2). It is not at all tempting to believe that Barnabas systematically eliminated these two blocks of Didache material (including those vices in Did. 5.1 which are also mentioned in Did. 3.1-6), and then scrambled the remaining items except for Didache 5.2.

In order to accept the hypothesis that the Didache took the Two Ways material from Barnabas, however, one must be willing to attribute the Didachist with the following editorial functions: He first purged the entire tradition of characteristically Barnabean emphases such as eschatology (§2.2-3), "darkness" (and "light"?) in ethical symbolism (Barn. 5.4; 10.10; 14.5 ff.; 18.1; 20.1, etc.), "gnosis" (!!!§5.1-2), glory/glorification (Barn. 2.10+; 8.2; 11.9; 19.2 f., etc.), theology of the word (!!!§5.8)—as well as several seemingly "Jewish" ideas (e.g., Barn. 19.2a, 9b; 20.2d, 2h) and even one of the "ten commandments" (Barn. 19.4e—but note the textual problems). He then reorganized and extensively expanded the first part of the material, while retaining the last part (Barn. 20) with very little alteration.

Surely the difficulty, if not impossibility, of either of these alternatives is reason enough to invoke the aid of a hypothetical common source. In short, both Barnabas 18-20 and Didache 1-5 provide strong indications that the Two Ways ethic which they share had already been through a significant amount of development in the respective background traditions from which these two documents come before it was finally incorporated into the present forms of Barnabas and the Didache. The basic "common source" probably was not directly used by either Pseudo-Barnabas or the Didachist (almost certainly not by the latter; !!!see §2.5) -- it is "common" [[9]] to their traditions but seems to lie at some distance in the shadowy background.

5. The Separate Circulation of the Two Ways Material. In addition to the various direct witnesses to the present forms of Barnabas (!!!§3) and the Didache (!!!§7), early Christian literature attests the separate circulation of a form of the Two Ways ethic that is closely related to Didache 1.1-6.1 but without the material in 1.3b-2.1. Indeed, Goodspeed has argued that this separate Two Ways tradition actually represents the source common to Barnabas and the Didache. But to put the case in just that way is to oversimplify the relationship (!!!see §8.5) . The differences between this independent Two Ways tract and the Didache are slight in comparison to its differences from Barnabas -- for example, it includes the twofold command of love (Did. 1.2; contrast Barn. 19.2) along with most of the Didache 3.1-6 "supplement," and it lacks most of Barnabas' eschatological preoccupation (although it is more "mythological" than the Didache at the outset, mentioning two "angels"). Thus it would seem to represent the immediate source upon which the final author-editor of the Didache drew for the Two Ways material. But as we have seen, Barnabas 18-20 must have been derived from an earlier form of this ever-growing tradition (lacking Did. 3.1-6, and less ordered), a form which already was united with eschatological emphases in the school tradition on which Pseudo-Barnabas depends. Thus of the three Christian forms of this Two Ways tradition, Barnabas 18-20 represents the most primitive offshoot from the ancient common stock, while the following witnesses attest a later stage which came to be incorporated directly into the Didache.

(1) Dctr = the Latin "Doctrina." It is known from two manuscripts, the oldest of which (ninth-tenth centuries) is incomplete and parallels only Didache 1.1-3a plus 2.2-6a, while the other (eleventh century) contains the complete Dctr -- paralleling (in general) Didache 1.1-3a plus 2.2-6.1. [[10]] The points of unique agreement between Dctr and Barnabas against the Didache are almost completely limited to the opening words of the Two Ways, where Dctr-Barn. use the imagery of light/darkness and refer to corresponding angelic powers. There are also some faint similarities between the closing words of Dctr and Barnabas 21 (cf. Barn. 4.9b = Did. 16.2b).

(2) CO = the "Apostolic Church Order" (or "Ordinances"), also known as the "Ecclesiastical Canons of the (Holy) Apostles" (!!!see also §7.6). This form of the church manual tradition probably dates from the early fourth century and circulated widely in the East (Egypt-Syria). The shortest form is contained in four Greek manuscripts dating from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries, and has sometimes been called (among other titles) the "Judgments of Peter." It contains, roughly, the material of Didache 1.1-3a plus 2.2-4.13, with some adaptations and additions, and a few smatterings of peculiarly Barnabean wording (!!!see §3.7). The general order follows the Didache, but the teaching is sectioned off and put into the mouths of various apostles -- for example, Peter gives Didache 2.2-7, Andrew gives 3.1-2, and so on. In one Greek manuscript from the twelfth century, as well as in the Latin, Syriac, Sahidic, Ethiopic, and Arabic versions, this reworked Two Ways tradition forms the first part of a much longer manual which continues with regulations governing church offices, and so forth (clearly related to the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus; !!!see §7.6). The textual problems between these various forms of the Apostolic Church Order are often very complex. Most witnesses also include brief verbal parallels to Didache 10.3b and 13.1/2 (?) in the expansion which follows the admonitions of Didache 4.2, but this material is not extensive enough to encourage the belief that our full Didache was used for the Two Ways of CO. Rather, CO seems to have added excerpts from at least Barnabas and possibly the Didache to the Dctr-like form of the Two Ways on which it is based. [[11]]

(3) Shenuti = the Arabic (but not Coptic) form of the Life of Shenuti, from the seventh century (?). This hagiogaphy opens with parallels to the Dctr-CO form of the Two Ways. Didache 1.3b-2.1 is not represented and the negative approach of 5.1-2 is severely abridged (cf. CO, where it is lacking). The personal catechetical approach is heightened through the frequent insertion of "my son," and there is a great deal of expansion and adaptation of the basic Two Ways material.

(4) Syntagma = the Syntagma Didascalias ("Summary of Doctrine") attributed (wrongly?) to Athanasius. The Syntagma dates from the fourth century, and contains some teachings which obviously depend on the Two Ways, but which constitute only a small portion of the rules for Christian (especially monastic) life enjoined therein. It is imposible to say with complete assurance that the Syntagma rests solely on the Dctr-CO form rather than on the larger Didache. A passage on giving may be related to Didache 1.4d-e, but is not necessarily so -- otherwise the Didache 1.3b-2.1 material is lacking. Similarly, the practices of fasting and giving reflected in Didache 8.1 and 13.3 are taught in the Syntagma, but this cannot be pressed as a proof of literary dependence.

(5) Fides = "The Faith and Teaching of those in Nicaea." This fourth-century Greek manual especially for clerics and monastics unites a form of Athanasius' "Confession of Faith" with a slightly variant form of the Syntagma. At one or two points, the Fides includes Two Ways phraseology not paralleled in the Syntagma, but usually the two documents present the same material in the same order and almost identical wording.

6. General Characteristics of the Two Ways Teaching. A closer examination of these materials permits some general observations about the common Two Ways source. If one is permitted to make a very subjective judgment on the basis of the relatively stable (but limited) context in Barnabas 20.2 = Didache 5.2, the order of items in the source would [[12]] seem to have been more "haphazard" than "systematic." This tends to support the suspicion that the Doctrina-Didache form of especially the Way of Life has been extensively reworked with respect to sequence. In terms of content, it is not clear whether, or to what extent, eschatology appeared in the source; what has remained as common to Barnabas and Doctrina-Didache is almost exclusively ethical -- duties toward God (Barn. 19.2a, d, f = Did. 1.2a; 4.12b, 13a), neighbor (Barn. 19.3d, 6a, 8a = Did. 2.6b, 2c; 4.8), children (Barn. 19.5c, d = Did. 2.2b; 4.9), rulers and slaves (Barn. 19.7b, c = Did. 4.11, 10); vice lists (Barn. 19.4a; 20.1= Did. 2.2f.; 5.1); etc. In style, there is a marked tendency to parallelistic couplets which are strongly reminiscent of Jewish Wisdom Literature, such as Proverbs and Sirach (cf. also Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs) -- we find the linking of two ideas that are roughly synonymous (e.g., Barn. 19.2d-e, 5c = Did. 4.12a-b, 2.2b; cf. Did. 3.9a), or sometimes antithetical (e.g., Barn. 19.8a = Did. 4.8; cf. Barn. 19.3a, Did. 3.9b), or in which the second part builds on the first to supplement and strengthen the teaching (e.g., Barn. 19.7a, 8b = Did. 2.4; see also Did. 4.14). There are also straightforward prohibitions and positive admonitions, as well as occasional teachings with properly "theological" overtones (e.g., Barn. 19.6c, 7c-8a = Did. 3.9c; 4.8, 10; cf. Did. 4.1b). Finally, it should be noted that at several places Barnabas uses a stylistic device of grouping three items together (not always related in context) -- for example, l9.2a, 4a, 4d, 6b. The fact that the number three plays a special role in the Barnabean tradition (!!!see §5.5.3), however, causes some hesitation in claiming this as a stylistic tendency of "original" Two Ways source.

7. Didache 16, the Eschatology of Barnabas, and the Two Ways. There remains the problem of how Didache 16 is related (a) to Barnabas, and (b) to the Two Ways. We have already noted that Didache 16.2 and Barnabas 4.10b, 9b use the same admonitions (!!!§2.3). There are, in fact, several [[13]] other apparent parallels between Didache 16 and Barnabas (esp. 4.9h-14):

The admonition to watchfulness (Did. 16.1) is a frequent theme in Barnabas (see esp. 4.9b; !!!§5.4);
Both documents refer to the Christian quest for salvation as "your/our life" (Did. 16.1a; Barn. 2.10b, 4.9b);
Both can describe salvation as "perfection" (Did. 16.2b; cf. !!!§9.5; Barn. 6.19; cf. Barn. 4.11b; !!!§5.4);
Both warn of lawlessness and error/deceit "in the last days" (Did. 16.3-4; Barn. 4.1, 3a; see !!!§5.3);
Both recognize that some men, including the "sheep" (Did. 16.3; Barn. 16.5+), will fall away from salvation in the time of crisis (Did.   16.5; Barn. 4.3, 9b, 13-14);
At least Barnabas (7.9) and perhaps Didache (16.5b) picture the victorious Jesus as one who previously had been cursed;
Possibly the "sign spread out in heaven" (Did. 16.6) is related to the "type" of the cross described in Barnabas 12.2-4;
Both speak of the world/unbelievers "seeing" the Lord when he comes (Did. 16.8a; Barn. 7.9, cf. 5.10);
Finally, the role of the "world-deceiver" who "resembles a son of God" and who conquers earth with "signs and wonders" (Did. 16.4)   sharply contrasts with Barnabas' picture of Jesus, "God's Son" (!!!see §5.7), who is rejected despite "signs and wonders" (Barn. 5.8f.;   see 4.14a); similarly, Christians should also act as "God's sons" (Barn. 4.9b), and should "endure" (Did. 16.5b) as Jesus "endured"   (Barn. 5.1-12; 14.4).

It is obvious that some of these items reflect apocalyptic commonplaces current in early Christianity (see also Koester on Did. 16); nevertheless, this material is extensive enough to at least suggest the possibility that the undeniable relationship that exists between Didache 16.2 and Barnabas 4.10b, 9b may be only part of a larger problem concerning Didache 16 and Barnabas 4 in general. [[14]]

(1) One possibility to be tested, then, is that the whole of Didache 16 is somehow related to Barnabas. But in that event, it is unlikely that the Didache has directly used Barnabas,\4/ since that would necessitate a systematic reorganization and expansion of the "borrowed" material along more strictly apocalyptic lines (like Mark 13, etc.), plus the systematic elimination of many Barnabean peculiarities (the immediacy of the crisis, emphasis on judgment, etc.). Might Barnabas have used the Didache, then? Again, this is unlikely since numerous allusions in Didache 16 which would have been congenial to Barnabas are not, in fact, adopted -- for example, "world-deceiver" (16.4) or even "deceiver" (!!!see §5.3), the "fiery trial" (16.5; cf. Barn. 15.5), or the coming of the Lord "on the clouds" (16.8, cf. Barn. 7.9; 15.5). And where minor parallels between Barnabas and the Didache do exist, they usually are more characteristic of the former, which indicates that Barnabas' tradition spoke in such a way, and thus that (mechanical) "borrowing" from the Didache is precluded. In short, if we begin with the possibility of a large-scale relationship, the best solution is to postulate a common apocalyptic source which roughly followed the Didache 16 pattern (call to vigilance, last days in the Lord, judgment). Pseudo-Barnabas knew such apocalyptic material -- and much more -- but has admittedly refrained from dealing with "things future" as such (17.2). But ps-Barnabas cannot hide the widespread influence that the apocalyptic has had on the tradition, and this background is especially obvious in chapter 4.

\4/ Despite B. C. Butler, JTS 11 (1960), 265-283.


(2) An alternative approach would be to reject the suggested minor parallels between Didache 16 and Barnabas as superficial and coincidental, and to concentrate on the clear relationship between Didache 16.2 and Barnabas 4.10b, 9b (for the texts, !!!see §2.3). From a close analysis of the wording, it is impossible to determine whether one has borrowed [[15]] from the other, or which form is more "original" -- for example, the general thought-world of Barnabas is reflected in such concepts as "faith" = "life" (i.e., the salvation quest; !!!see 2.2, 10b; §5.4), "lawless time" (15.5; 18.2), "scandals to come" (4.3a); but the Didache also elsewhere contains this idea of "faith" (10.2; 16.5) and of "perfection" (1.4b; 6.2; 10.5). Thus Barnabas might have originated the material and the Didache adapted it, or vice versa, or both adapted a common source. There is some additional evidence to support the last alternative. As we have noted (!!!§2.3), Didache 16.2a = Barnabas 4.10b may be a variant form of Two Ways material known from Didache 4.2. This possibility is greatly stengthened by the Hermas parallel (!!!§2.3), since Hermas also knew the Two Ways tradition (see to Did. 1.1). Furthermore, 1 Clement 34.7-35.6 preserves ideas similar to Didache 16.2 = Barnabas 4.10b, 9b in a Two Ways setting:

Therefore we should come together in harmony with one mind....Therefore let us strive to be found among the number of those who endure, that we may receive a share of the promised gifts. But how?...If we seek out the things which are him, if we bring to perfection the things necessary...and we follow in the Way of Truth...[a vice list follows].

Not only does Barnabas 4.9b-14 also employ Two Ways imagery, but the idea of the "lawless time" is used in Barnabas' introduction to the Two Ways (18.2b). Didache 16 also may contain some faint echoes of such a setting -- does "life" = Way of Life in 16.1a?; note also the contrast between love and hate in 16.3, and especially the contrast between the "signs of the truth" (16.6) and "the one who leads the world into error" (16.4). There is a good possibility, then, that Didache 16.2b = Barnabas 4.9b derive from the original conclusion to the common Two Ways source (cf. the Dctr conclusion), and partly fill the gap left by the present divergent endings in Didache 6 and Barnabas 21.

(3) It would also be possible to solve the problem at hand [[16]] by synthesizing various aspects of the two preceding hypotheses: for example, at one time the common Two Ways source circulated in connection with an apocalyptic appendix similar to Didache 16;\5/ or, at one time the admonition of Didache 16.2b = Barnabas 4.9b formed part of the Two Ways conclusion, but it later came to be incorporated into an apocalyptic tradition which circulated separately and was used by the Didache and Barnabas.

\5/ Such a combining of ethical catechism with apocalyptic ideas can be illustrated from many Judeo-Christian sources--see esp., the Testaments. Indeed, K. Baltzer, Das Bundesformular (1960), has argued that such a combination is expected in the kind of literature represented by the Didache (and Barnabas).


Admittedly such hypotheses are extremely complicated and highly speculative. But the situation itself is so complex that any simpler "solution" (the Didache made direct use of Barnabas, or vice versa) actually creates more problems than it solves. Thus, until some fresh evidence is uncovered which can illuminate these matters, some sort of "common source" theory must be invoked with reference to Didache 16 = Barnabas 4, as well as for the Two Ways material shared by Didache 1-5 and Barnabas 18-20.