This afternoon we had the first of this years postgraduate seminars in which we welcomed Rev. Dr Alan Garrow His talk was in two parts. In part one he offered a whistlestop but deep introduction to the Didache. In part 2 he sought to show how 1 Thessalonians is related to the eschatological discourse of the Didache.
Rev. Dr Garrow argues, persuasively that the parts of the Didache have an early date (50’s) . In a JSNTS monograph he argues that that Matthew is dependent on the Didache. The part of his talk which struck me was that Matthew and Didache have many parallels and that most of these parallels (96%?) are found in Special Matthew material. This suggests that Matthew is dependent on the Didache rather than the other way round. I found this convincing.
This has got me thinking about the relationship between the gospel of Mark and the Didache.
Here is chapter 16 of the Didache from Roberts-Donaldson translation, with Markan parallels in brackets.
Chapter 16. Watchfulness; the Coming of the Lord. Watch for your life’s sake (Mark 13:33,37). Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come (Mark 13:35). But come together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied (Mark 13:22-23), and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another (Mark 13:11-13), and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God (Mark 13:14,21) , and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning(Mark 13:19). Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself(Mark 13:13). And then shall appear the signs of the truth: first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet. And third, the resurrection of the dead — yet not of all, but as it is said: “The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him.” Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.(Mark 13:24-27)
I don’t know what ot make of these parallels between the Didache and Mark 13. If they are speaking of the same events, irrelevant of issues of dependance, then it rules out a N.T Wright and Perriman reading of the Mark 13:24-27 for the Didache is clear that the parousia is visible and will usher in the final judgement. I have recently written a paper which follows, with some nuancing, a Wright/Perriman/France approach. I would not write the same paper again without researching the date and eschatology of the Didache.