|Alan Garrow Didache
BNTS 2023 Exeter
What are the Didaches?
The Didache Discoveries booklet serves as a handout for this presentation.
Further conference presentations are also available.
This paper was presented at the Early Christianity Seminar on Saturday 2nd September 2023. A fuller version was presented at The University of Manchester (June 2023), Kings College London (October 2023) and The University of Edinburgh (January 2024).
On the one hand, the discovery of the Didache is commonly regarded as one of the great manuscript finds of the nineteenth century. On the other, its discovery has had remarkably little impact on how scholars think and talk about early Christianity. The reason for this disconnect is not merely that the Didache makes little sense alongside the other texts available to us but also because it fails to make sense on its own terms: simple, practical instructions in one part are sometimes directly contradicted by instructions in another. In response to this puzzle, this paper proposes that the Didache is not one document but two, which have been spliced together and overlaid with further additions. When this process is reversed, two Didaches emerge. Initial indications suggest that these are: the Complete Apostolic Decree (cf. Acts 15) and the Missing Epistle of John (cf. 3 John 9).