The Didache’s Use of the Old and New Testaments

Will C. Varner | August 25, 2009

The Didache has attracted widespread attention among scholars interested in early Christian writings since being discovered in 1873. Of particular interest has been the way it uses the Old and New Testaments because it reflects the way earliest Christian leaders approached the same issue. The document shows a special familiarity with the Gospel of Matthew and cites passages frequently from that source. Evidence supports the conclusion that the Didachist had access to the canonical Gospel as currently known and not just to oral tradition about Jesus. His use of Matthew often followed very closely to the exact wording of that Gospel. His only use of noncanonical works was in a negative way. He also cited two OT passages and apparently followed the wording of the LXX most closely. He did not endorse an allegorical interpretation of the OT as came to be the practice in other early Christian writings. A personal translation of the Didache is included.

Vol. 16, no. 1 (Spring 2005)

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Varner, Will C.. "The Didache’s Use of the Old and New Testaments." The Master's Seminary Journal 16, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 127-51.