Author Topic: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians  (Read 1819 times)

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Offline rakovsky

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List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« on: December 16, 2015, 11:25:04 AM »
On Early Christian Writings' website, they have a list of writings by or about Christianity from the 1st to 3rd century. I notice that they didn't list Justin's Dialogue with Trypho. Are there others that they may have missed?
http://earlychristianwritings.com/

Out of their list of 1st century writings, which are considered acceptable by the Orthodox Church? It was interesting for me to learn that either the Shepherd of Hermes or Epistle of Barnabas is considered an acceptable, non-spurious writing.

Accepted

30-60    Passion Narrative
40-80    Lost Sayings Gospel Q
50-60    1 Thessalonians
50-60    Philippians
50-60    Galatians
50-60    1 Corinthians
50-60    2 Corinthians
50-60    Romans
50-60    Philemon
50-80    Colossians
50-90    Signs Gospel
50-95    Book of Hebrews [Epistle to the Hebrews]
50-120    Didache
65-80    Gospel of Mark
70-100    Epistle of James
80-100    2 Thessalonians
80-100    Ephesians
80-100    Gospel of Matthew
80-110    1 Peter
80-120    Epistle of Barnabas (Is this accepted?)
80-130    Gospel of Luke
80-130    Acts of the Apostles
80-140    1 Clement
90-95    Revelation
90-120    Gospel of John (I think it is a later edition or editing of an earlier work)
90-120    1 John
90-120    2 John
90-120    3 John
90-120    Epistle of Jude
100-150    1 Timothy
100-150    2 Timothy
100-150    Titus
100-160    2 Peter
100-150    Preaching of Peter (AKA Pseudo-Clementine Writings. Is it accepted?)


Not accepted

Gnostic
50-140    Gospel of Thomas
50-150    Apocalypse of Adam (Nag Hammadi)
50-150    Eugnostos the Blessed (Nag Hammadi)
50-200    Sophia of Jesus Christ (Nag Hammadi)
80-150    Gospel of the Hebrews (Is it gnostic editing of Matthew's gospel?)
100-160    Gospel of the Ebionites (Is it the Gospel of the Hebrews?)
100-160    Gospel of the Nazoreans (Is it the Gospel of the Hebrews?)
100-200    Gospel of Eve
100-230    Thunder, Perfect Mind

Docetist (eg. Jesus only appeared to suffer)
50-140    Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel [maybe the Gospel of Peter]
70-160    Gospel of Peter

Uncertain whether it would be accepted
70-120    Egerton Gospel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egerton_Gospel)
70-160    Secret Mark
70-200    Fayyum Fragment
70-200    Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
80-150    Gospel of the Egyptians
80-250    Christian Sibyllines
100-160    Shepherd of Hermas
100-150    Apocalypse of Peter
100-150    Secret Book of James
100-200    Odes of Solomon

Pagans writing on Christianity
73-200    Mara Bar Serapion
93    Flavius Josephus
« Last Edit: December 16, 2015, 11:27:11 AM by rakovsky »

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2015, 12:37:46 PM »
Shepherd and Ps. Barnabas were indeed held in high esteem, at least by some. If I recall one or two people even considered one or the other to be canonical, or for some at least to be placed in a class between scriptures and ordinary spiritual writings (the lateness of his writing put some doubt on whether it could be canonical, for at least one person). As far as others, the only one who comes to mind is St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose martyrdom is sometimes placed before the close of the 1st century, though he probably died a decade or so after that.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2015, 01:14:11 PM »
Are you sure? I am pretty sure I've read the Dialogue there more than once.

And here you go:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-dialoguetrypho.html
« Last Edit: December 16, 2015, 01:15:32 PM by Porter ODoran »
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2015, 01:18:00 PM »
Out of their list of 1st century writings, which are considered acceptable by the Orthodox Church?

I don't think the Church judges sacred literature in quite the harsh way you may be accustomed to. Fathers were interested in pointing out heresy, obviously, and, in some cases, in establishing the authorship of a work. But my feeling is that they would not have prevented themselves or others from reading any of the books on your "Accepted" list.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2015, 06:46:13 PM »
All,

I am unlocking this thread with a warning to get back on topic.  Also, a reminder:


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This forum is for the discussion of issues pertaining to the Orthodox Faith (EO, OO, Old-Cal).  Discussion of topics by those of other faiths should be restricted in this area; this is especially true viz-a-viz their own faith (i.e. non-Orthodox faiths), on which they should only comment to correct misunderstandings or misstatements, not to further their agenda or dispute Orthodox teachings (they should go to the Free-For-All or the Private fora for that).

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=rules

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The Gospel is quite clear: both saints and sinners love God. "Religious" people do not love him, and whenever they can, they crucify him.

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Offline wgw

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2015, 07:48:52 PM »
My understanding is that the Shepherd has never been refarded as spurious, simply, not scripture.  If memory serves, St. Arhanasius endorsed its use as an extra-liturgical catechtical aid.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2015, 08:12:15 PM »
My understanding is that the Shepherd has never been refarded as spurious, simply, not scripture.  If memory serves, St. Athanasius endorsed its use as an extra-liturgical catechtical aid.

"Scripture" means "writing" (in Latinate), in this case writing for sacred purposes. And after all, the Revelation is not used liturgically in almost any tradition, yet we would not say it is not "scripture."
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are

Offline wgw

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2015, 08:47:45 PM »
My understanding is that the Shepherd has never been refarded as spurious, simply, not scripture.  If memory serves, St. Athanasius endorsed its use as an extra-liturgical catechtical aid.

"Scripture" means "writing" (in Latinate), in this case writing for sacred purposes. And after all, the Revelation is not used liturgically in almost any tradition, yet we would not say it is not "scripture."

It is used to varying degres in the Coptic and western rites.  Which covers quite a lot of ground, by the way.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2015, 08:52:32 PM »
We still cannot say "Shepherd" is not a scripture on the basis it was not put into liturgical rotation. While seeking for this kind of exclusion and security is in itself a fraught relationship to our holy past, if you ask me. As it threatens to become a compulsion with diminishing returns, hurtful to us as to our brethren -- many Western churches extant or dead are proof enough of the outcome of this dangerous appetite.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2015, 11:07:46 PM »
Pliny the Younger writes a letter (10.96) to the Roman Emperor Trajan regarding his treatment of Christians which is significant because we also have Trajan's response.  The letter doesn't quite meet the cutoff date of 1st century, but it's pretty close, c. 113 A.D. 

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2015, 02:06:14 AM »
We still cannot say "Shepherd" is not a scripture on the basis it was not put into liturgical rotation. While seeking for this kind of exclusion and security is in itself a fraught relationship to our holy past, if you ask me. As it threatens to become a compulsion with diminishing returns, hurtful to us as to our brethren -- many Western churches extant or dead are proof enough of the outcome of this dangerous appetite.

We can, on the basis of the Athanasian canon.  See Paschal Encyclical no. 39.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 02:06:39 AM by wgw »
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2015, 02:12:43 AM »
We can, on the basis of the Athanasian canon.  See Paschal Encyclical no. 39.

More people will see this statement of yours than ever saw that Paschal letter in the generation in which St. Athanasius lived. It didn't mean anything. Stop using literary archaeology to revise history.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2015, 02:49:23 AM »
We still cannot say "Shepherd" is not a scripture on the basis it was not put into liturgical rotation. While seeking for this kind of exclusion and security is in itself a fraught relationship to our holy past, if you ask me. As it threatens to become a compulsion with diminishing returns, hurtful to us as to our brethren -- many Western churches extant or dead are proof enough of the outcome of this dangerous appetite.

We can, on the basis of the Athanasian canon.  See Paschal Encyclical no. 39.

What am I supposed to say to this, that so openly ignores what we were discussing in order to drop an arcane datum?
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2015, 05:53:51 AM »
Quote
Shepherd of Hermas


Some passages, such a 2.4.3 quoted above (" I say to you, that if any one is tempted by the devil, and sins after that great and holy calling in which the Lord has called His people to everlasting life, he has opportunity to repent but once. But if he should sin frequently after this, and then repent, to such a man his repentance will be of no avail; for with difficulty will he live."), can easily be taken in a Donatist sense. When the Shepherd says that there is but one chance to repent after baptism, it is uncertain whether this is to be taken in the sense we expressed above (i.e., that it was common for the Sacrament of Penance to be administered only once, and after that, sins had to be atoned by extended durations of penitence) or rather in the absolute sense the Donatists inferred - that there is no repentance or penitence that can atone for certain serious sins committed after baptism.
http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/history/79-history/356-shepherd-of-hermas.html

This essay mentions another problem:
Quote
More serious is the Shepherd's defective pneumatology. The author of the work seems uncertain of the place of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity. This is not surprising, since Trinitarian and Christological disputes occupied the greater portion of the patristic era and a solid pneumatology was not worked out until the early Middle Ages. Still, the Shepherd apparently takes a view of the Spirit that few Catholics today would be comfortable with:
Quote
"After I had written down the commandments and similitudes of the Shepherd, the angel of repentance, he came to me and said, I wish to explain to you what the Holy Spirit that spoke with you in the form of the Church showed you, for that Spirit is the Son of God. For, as you were somewhat weak in the flesh, it was not explained to you by the angel."(3.9.1)

This may be a misunderstanding of 2 Cor. 3:17, "Now the Lord is the Spirit", which has traditionally been taken to mean that Christ is present to us through the Holy Spirit, as is suggested in that very same verse where the Holy Spirit is referred to as "the Spirit of the Lord", or in a more general sense, that the Lord is God, and the Holy Spirit, being God, is also to be called Lord. Orthodox Christianity, however, does not and cannot affirm the personal identification of the Son with the Spirit. The Shepherd seems to take the language of 2 Corinthians one step too far.
http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/history/79-history/356-shepherd-of-hermas.html
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 05:57:36 AM by rakovsky »

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2015, 02:33:19 PM »
That website is being unnecessarily pedantic and opprobrious. Nothing in the "Shepherd" is heretical, or even surprising considering its very early author. Nicaea was necessary not just to combat heresy, but to clarify the thoughts of the saints.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2015, 03:20:47 PM »
We still cannot say "Shepherd" is not a scripture on the basis it was not put into liturgical rotation. While seeking for this kind of exclusion and security is in itself a fraught relationship to our holy past, if you ask me. As it threatens to become a compulsion with diminishing returns, hurtful to us as to our brethren -- many Western churches extant or dead are proof enough of the outcome of this dangerous appetite.

We can, on the basis of the Athanasian canon.  See Paschal Encyclical no. 39.

In that letter, St Athanasius excludes the book of Wisdom from the Scriptural canon, while nevertheless saying it is among those books "appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness".  Even so, passages from Wisdom are read in the course of the liturgical year at the Liturgy according to the lectionary of your Church, effectively treating it as Scripture. 

St Athanasius places Shepherd in the same category as Wisdom and other books. 

Other authoritative canonical sources of your Church describe Shepherd as part of a NT deutero-canon in the same way that Wisdom is part of an OT deutero-canon, which more or less echoes St Athanasius.  At least one source says flat out that "the Church has received it", and the Church currently treats others of those books as Scripture.  The same canonical sources also list two epistles of St Clement as among the canonical (NB: not deutero-canonical) books of the NT, even though they are never once read in the course of the liturgical year at any service (just like Revelation) of your Church.  Shepherd (and other books in its category) is definitely on a "higher" level than patristic writings according to these canonical sources, since it is dealt with among the Scriptural books and not among the patristic and philosophical writings for which they also give "canonical" lists.   
Quote from: Fr Alexander Schmemann
The Gospel is quite clear: both saints and sinners love God. "Religious" people do not love him, and whenever they can, they crucify him.

Of course, OC.net is not reflective of the Church, but is rather a surreal bubble. I have visited a lot of different parishes around the world and have listened to many hours of AFR...

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2015, 03:21:55 PM »
We still cannot say "Shepherd" is not a scripture on the basis it was not put into liturgical rotation. While seeking for this kind of exclusion and security is in itself a fraught relationship to our holy past, if you ask me. As it threatens to become a compulsion with diminishing returns, hurtful to us as to our brethren -- many Western churches extant or dead are proof enough of the outcome of this dangerous appetite.

We can, on the basis of the Athanasian canon.  See Paschal Encyclical no. 39.

Who needs an infallible pope in Rome when you have one in Alexandria?
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 03:22:37 PM by Cyrillic »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2015, 03:44:12 PM »

Quote
Shepherd of Hermas


Some passages, such a 2.4.3 quoted above (" I say to you, that if any one is tempted by the devil, and sins after that great and holy calling in which the Lord has called His people to everlasting life, he has opportunity to repent but once. But if he should sin frequently after this, and then repent, to such a man his repentance will be of no avail; for with difficulty will he live."), can easily be taken in a Donatist sense. When the Shepherd says that there is but one chance to repent after baptism, it is uncertain whether this is to be taken in the sense we expressed above (i.e., that it was common for the Sacrament of Penance to be administered only once, and after that, sins had to be atoned by extended durations of penitence) or rather in the absolute sense the Donatists inferred - that there is no repentance or penitence that can atone for certain serious sins committed after baptism.
http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/history/79-history/356-shepherd-of-hermas.html

This essay mentions another problem:
Quote
More serious is the Shepherd's defective pneumatology. The author of the work seems uncertain of the place of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity. This is not surprising, since Trinitarian and Christological disputes occupied the greater portion of the patristic era and a solid pneumatology was not worked out until the early Middle Ages. Still, the Shepherd apparently takes a view of the Spirit that few Catholics today would be comfortable with:
Quote
"After I had written down the commandments and similitudes of the Shepherd, the angel of repentance, he came to me and said, I wish to explain to you what the Holy Spirit that spoke with you in the form of the Church showed you, for that Spirit is the Son of God. For, as you were somewhat weak in the flesh, it was not explained to you by the angel."(3.9.1)

This may be a misunderstanding of 2 Cor. 3:17, "Now the Lord is the Spirit", which has traditionally been taken to mean that Christ is present to us through the Holy Spirit, as is suggested in that very same verse where the Holy Spirit is referred to as "the Spirit of the Lord", or in a more general sense, that the Lord is God, and the Holy Spirit, being God, is also to be called Lord. Orthodox Christianity, however, does not and cannot affirm the personal identification of the Son with the Spirit. The Shepherd seems to take the language of 2 Corinthians one step too far.
http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/history/79-history/356-shepherd-of-hermas.html

That website is being unnecessarily pedantic and opprobrious. Nothing in the "Shepherd" is heretical, or even surprising considering its very early author. Nicaea was necessary not just to combat heresy, but to clarify the thoughts of the saints.

Oh, and also, your source seems to have ignored or overlooked, in the paragraph where they explain the "Shepherd" author's "misunderstanding" of the scriptures, that "the Spirit of Christ" is in the Apostles themselves, e.g., Rom. 8:9.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2015, 04:10:46 PM »
We still cannot say "Shepherd" is not a scripture on the basis it was not put into liturgical rotation. While seeking for this kind of exclusion and security is in itself a fraught relationship to our holy past, if you ask me. As it threatens to become a compulsion with diminishing returns, hurtful to us as to our brethren -- many Western churches extant or dead are proof enough of the outcome of this dangerous appetite.

We can, on the basis of the Athanasian canon.  See Paschal Encyclical no. 39.

Who needs an infallible pope in Rome when you have one in Alexandria?
;D
The term planet earth is an innovation which has arisen in recent centuries with the error of heliocentrism.

If one wants to confess a pure doctrine of Orthodoxy, they should be careful not to refer to the earth as a planet, unlike the current Pope as well as Patriarch Kirill and Patriarch Bartholomew, who regularly speak in error when they refer to our planet earth.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2015, 04:34:55 PM »
I think I should have switched the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd in the lists above. I am more doubtful that the Epistle of Barnabas is accepted.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2015, 04:37:01 PM »
We still cannot say "Shepherd" is not a scripture on the basis it was not put into liturgical rotation. While seeking for this kind of exclusion and security is in itself a fraught relationship to our holy past, if you ask me. As it threatens to become a compulsion with diminishing returns, hurtful to us as to our brethren -- many Western churches extant or dead are proof enough of the outcome of this dangerous appetite.

We can, on the basis of the Athanasian canon.  See Paschal Encyclical no. 39.

Who needs an infallible pope in Rome when you have one in Alexandria?

No one seems to listen when I say that  :P
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #21 on: Yesterday at 12:37:32 PM »
Reading these early texts reminds me of why I am drawn to seeing Orthodoxy as the church representing and continuing early Christianity. For example, in Protestantism, one of the big debates is over whether to have priestly roles or not (Anglicans do, Lutherans don't). In the Didache though from the 1st c., it talks about priestly roles.
Quote
The Didache ("Teaching"), also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles...
Itinerant apostles and prophets are important, serving as "chief priests" and possibly celebrating the Eucharist. ... Lost for centuries, a Greek manuscript of the Didache was rediscovered in 1873 by Philotheos Bryennios, Metropolitan of Nicomedia in the Codex Hierosolymitanus. A Latin version of the first five chapters was discovered in 1900 by J. Schlecht.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didache
The fact that the document was discovered in the 19th century after being lost for so long gives me the idea that there could still be 1st c. Christian manuscripts out there, buried or in archives, that we don't have today. The manuscript we found wasn't transcribed in the 1st c. though:

Quote
The text was lost, but scholars knew of it through the writing of later church fathers, some of whom had drawn heavily on it.[19] In 1873 in Istanbul, metropolitan Philotheos Bryennios found a Greek copy of the Didache, written in 1056, and he published it in 1883... 

Chapter 8 suggests that fasts are not to be on Monday and Thursday "with the hypocrites" — presumably non-Christian Jews, such as the Pharisees — but on Wednesday and Friday. Fasting Wednesday and Friday plus worshiping on Sunday constituted the Christian week. Nor must Christians pray with their Judaic brethren, instead they shall say the Lord's Prayer three times a day.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didache

Here in the first century we can see the separation already between Christian and rabbinical communities, which further goes against the modern Messianic movement that sees 1st c. Christianity as compatible with rabbinical practices and community. For those of you who know Greek, here is how the Didache gives the Lord's Prayer. Let me know if you see any major differences.

Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου, ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου, γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς· τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸ ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς οφειλέταις ἡμῶν, καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ· ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. 3. τρὶς τῆς ἡμέρας οὕτω προσεύχεσθε.

Burton Mack makes an interesting observation about Christian communities' skepticism towards itinerant Christian "prophets" in the Didache:
Quote
Generosity was obviously thought to be a prime Christian virtue, but in practice one had to be careful, for others could easily take advantage of the Christian. This was especially the case with "false" prophets who showed up and wanted the congregation to feed them. The instruction was not to "receive" any prophet who asked for food or money while speaking "in a spirit" (Did. 11:12), and not to allow any "true" prophet (who did not do that) to stay longer than two or three days unless he was willing to settle down, learn a craft, and "work for his bread" (Did. 12:2-5). It is obvious that the Didache was written with resident congregations in mind...
http://earlychristianwritings.com/didache.html

It's hard for me to know what to make of the fact that the Didache does not clearly mention the doctrines about Christ's unique divine Sonship and Godhood, the Incarnation, and Real Presence in the elements of the Eucharist. For example, in the section on the Eucharist, it says:
Quote
THE THANKSGIVING SACRAMENT
1) Now concerning the Thanksgiving meal, give thanks in this manner.
2) First, concerning the cup:
We thank You, our Father,
For the Holy Vine of David Your servant,

Whom You made known to us through Your Servant;
May the glory be Yours forever.
3) Concerning the broken bread:
We thank You, our Father,
For the life and knowledge
Which You made known to us through Your Servant;
May the glory be Yours forever.
As this broken bread was scattered over the mountains,
And was gathered together to become one,
So let Your Body of Faithful be gathered together
From the ends of the earth into Your kingdom;
for the glory and power are Yours forever.
5) But let no one eat or drink of your Thanksgiving, unless they have been baptized; for concerning this is taught, "Do not give what is holy to dogs."
Calling Jesus the "Vine of David" and saying that this "concerns" the communion "cup" implies to me that Jesus is the vine juice in the cup.

Some modern writers have claimed that this implies that these supernatural doctrines were unknown to the authors of the Didache. An alternate, more likely explanation in my mind is that the Didache's writings on the topic were not meant as an open revelation of the teachings known to Baptized Christians who had undergone catechumenates, but rather were for public exposition and were meant primarily to teach observances. For example, just because the Didache does not explain the theological meaning of its instruction to "baptize in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" doesn't mean that the Didache's writers didn't attach central theological value to this idea in the form of Trinitarianism.

I am very skeptical that a document that scholars now called Q ever existed. Q is a compilation of the passages that are in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark. To explain the origin of those passages, some modern Western scholars invented the idea that there was a separate document they called Q that those passages were taken from. Church fathers never mentioned Document Q. It's more likely to me that Matthew or Luke just took the "Q" passages from each other's texts.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:41:21 PM by rakovsky »

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #22 on: Yesterday at 01:36:22 PM »
Or, here's a shocker, the stories come from community traditions and personal experiences?
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #23 on: Yesterday at 02:35:56 PM »
Or, here's a shocker, the stories come from community traditions and personal experiences?
Mina,
I think you are referring to the Q passages.
The issue here is that the Q passages are so closely worded between Matthew and Luke, that it looks like they were carried over from a written source, either the theorized document called "Q", or else directly from each other. Luke said that he set out to make an investigation of the accounts, and so he could have come across Matthew's gospel and taken it directly from there.

What you are proposing, I think, is that there was no Q Document "Source" and Luke didn't copy from Matthew, but each writer took the Q passages from oral histories. Considering how lengthy and word for word consistent the Q passages are across these two books, I think it's more likely that the source was written down, rather than being oral.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #24 on: Yesterday at 10:23:24 PM »
Or, here's a shocker, the stories come from community traditions and personal experiences?
Mina,
I think you are referring to the Q passages.
The issue here is that the Q passages are so closely worded between Matthew and Luke, that it looks like they were carried over from a written source, either the theorized document called "Q", or else directly from each other. Luke said that he set out to make an investigation of the accounts, and so he could have come across Matthew's gospel and taken it directly from there.

What you are proposing, I think, is that there was no Q Document "Source" and Luke didn't copy from Matthew, but each writer took the Q passages from oral histories. Considering how lengthy and word for word consistent the Q passages are across these two books, I think it's more likely that the source was written down, rather than being oral.

Could there have been a Q source or copying one from another? Maybe, I have no problem with that.  But oral tradition is not as weak as scholars think.  It's not a game of telephone.  And the stories were not just stories:  they were lived, experienced, retold probably hundreds of times to the point that it gives the illusion of some Q source.  That's my opinion in the matter.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #25 on: Today at 09:34:36 AM »
Could there have been a Q source or copying one from another? Maybe, I have no problem with that.  But oral tradition is not as weak as scholars think.  It's not a game of telephone.  And the stories were not just stories:  they were lived, experienced, retold probably hundreds of times to the point that it gives the illusion of some Q source.  That's my opinion in the matter.
You are right that oral history is not a game of telephone. In fact, if a story is repeated collectively word by word by an assembled group, I think it can be transmitted with word for word consistency. This consistent performance would be like saying the Our Father as a group every Sunday.

But I think that it's unlikely that the gospels were transmitted by chanting or by collective group word for word transmission. I think it's more likely that a single narrator like Peter told the story again and again. When a single person tells a story, the words can differ dramatically and details can differ too. Think of a family story that a grandfather might tell his grandchildren every week. The story's details, and especially its words can differ severely from one year to the next.

The Q passages are more like something written down or collectively chanted in their word for word consistency and great length than a story freely narrated by a single speaker, and the more so than a story freely narrated by separate speakers in separate locations (eg. Matthew telling the story in one place and Thomas telling it in another).

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #26 on: Today at 10:13:29 AM »
The issue here is that the Q passages are so closely worded between Matthew and Luke, that it looks like they were carried over from a written source, either the theorized document called "Q", or else directly from each other. Luke said that he set out to make an investigation of the accounts, and so he could have come across Matthew's gospel and taken it directly from there.

People were reciting whole blocks of the Old Testament from memory at the time (not to mention the Iliad and the Odyssey) so I'm not sure why it's so crazy that much shorter bits of text from Jesus could be memorized.
Quote
But it had not been in Tess's power - nor is it in anybody's power - to feel the whole truth of golden opinions while it is possible to profit by them. She - and how many more - might have ironically said to God with Saint Augustine, "Thou hast counselled a better course than thou hast permitted."
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #27 on: Today at 11:35:14 AM »
People were reciting whole blocks of the Old Testament from memory at the time (not to mention the Iliad and the Odyssey) so I'm not sure why it's so crazy that much shorter bits of text from Jesus could be memorized.
This sounds like the Q Source thesis, in that it proposes teachings about or by Jesus were written down in "shorter bits of text" and then recited or narrated, finally being brought into the canons of Matthew and Luke. If such bits of text existed, it would seem even easier and more appealing for Luke to seek them out or be given them when he went to research his gospel. Thus when composing his book, he would be most directly relying on bits of text, rather than writing down a narrator talking to him from recitation.

Anyway, it just seems most likely to me that if Matthew was written before Luke, then since Luke wanted to research the story of Jesus he would go to Jerusalem and other such places, and in the course of his research he would come across Matthew's gospel. And coming across it, he would use it as a source.
« Last Edit: Today at 11:36:42 AM by rakovsky »

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #28 on: Today at 12:03:02 PM »
The issue here is that the Q passages are so closely worded between Matthew and Luke, that it looks like they were carried over from a written source, either the theorized document called "Q", or else directly from each other. Luke said that he set out to make an investigation of the accounts, and so he could have come across Matthew's gospel and taken it directly from there.

People were reciting whole blocks of the Old Testament from memory at the time (not to mention the Iliad and the Odyssey) so I'm not sure why it's so crazy that much shorter bits of text from Jesus could be memorized.

It's quite possible.  But also, consider Luke 1.1.
Quote from: Fr Alexander Schmemann
The Gospel is quite clear: both saints and sinners love God. "Religious" people do not love him, and whenever they can, they crucify him.

Of course, OC.net is not reflective of the Church, but is rather a surreal bubble. I have visited a lot of different parishes around the world and have listened to many hours of AFR...

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #29 on: Today at 01:46:30 PM »
It's quite possible.  But also, consider Luke 1.1.
Good catch.

"Many people have already applied themselves to the task of compiling an account of the events that have been fulfilled among us."

It sounds like there was already a compiled account that Luke knew about and had access to.
« Last Edit: Today at 01:46:52 PM by rakovsky »

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #30 on: Today at 02:16:58 PM »
Could there have been a Q source or copying one from another? Maybe, I have no problem with that.  But oral tradition is not as weak as scholars think.  It's not a game of telephone.  And the stories were not just stories:  they were lived, experienced, retold probably hundreds of times to the point that it gives the illusion of some Q source.  That's my opinion in the matter.
You are right that oral history is not a game of telephone. In fact, if a story is repeated collectively word by word by an assembled group, I think it can be transmitted with word for word consistency. This consistent performance would be like saying the Our Father as a group every Sunday.

But I think that it's unlikely that the gospels were transmitted by chanting or by collective group word for word transmission. I think it's more likely that a single narrator like Peter told the story again and again. When a single person tells a story, the words can differ dramatically and details can differ too. Think of a family story that a grandfather might tell his grandchildren every week. The story's details, and especially its words can differ severely from one year to the next.

The Q passages are more like something written down or collectively chanted in their word for word consistency and great length than a story freely narrated by a single speaker, and the more so than a story freely narrated by separate speakers in separate locations (eg. Matthew telling the story in one place and Thomas telling it in another).

While it may be that there is a Q source, I still believe there is a huge portion of the gospels orally transmitted.  Consider this really poor analogy:

Politicians who run for office travel from place to place giving the same exact speech in different ways and orders until it is inscribed in people's minds for them to repeat these same words to others in order to get people to vote for that politician.

With the Apostles, they as eyewitnesses were also repeating many of these stories whether during a prayer service or outside it.  Parables and stories with a particularly organized structure (like the temptation of Christ) are easily reproducible in a speech or homily (one can contemplate the homily as the most important part of the liturgy of the Word simply because of its foundational position in the making of the written accounts).  Consider the author of the second epistle of Peter writing this:

For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease. (2 Peter 1:12-15)

Sometimes homilies seem to bore people because they're "reminders".  But that's the thing, they are reminders, in hopes that at some point, the same exact message transmitted would finally stir a change.  It eventually stirred a few men to even write them down for the sake of posterity.

So I wouldn't throw away the oral tradition hypothesis in support of the Q hypothesis just because of word-for-word accounts. 
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #31 on: Today at 02:49:34 PM »
While it may be that there is a Q source,
My guess is that Matthew's gospel was written before Luke and, being a good investigator and stating in Luke 1:1 that an account had been compiled, Luke used Matthew's gospel.

Quote
Politicians who run for office travel from place to place giving the same exact speech in different ways and orders until it is inscribed in people's minds for them to repeat these same words to others in order to get people to vote for that politician.
The politicians write down their own speeches and it's extremely rare for some prodigy to memorize the words of the speech as they hear it. When they "repeat these same words", you are talking about a few memorable lines, not something anywhere near as long as all the lines in the Q passages.

I value your input though, and there is a lot to be said about the 1st century writings. If you want to propose that they were listening to apostles' narrations and memorizing it all orally for decades.... Ok....

Peace.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #32 on: Today at 03:50:17 PM »
There is one major problem with the idea that Luke copied off of Matthew that I can think of at the moment:  genealogy.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #33 on: Today at 04:14:26 PM »
There is one major problem with the idea that Luke copied off of Matthew that I can think of at the moment:  genealogy.
Do they contradict each other?

I'm sure that Matthew's gospel was not Luke's only source. But Matthew contains the "Q passages".

« Last Edit: Today at 04:15:18 PM by rakovsky »

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #34 on: Today at 04:21:27 PM »
So then if there was something written, it's more plausible that it was the mysterious Q, not Matthew.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #35 on: Today at 04:42:15 PM »
So then if there was something written, it's more plausible that it was the mysterious Q, not Matthew.
Why do you think that?

If Matthew and Luke share some passages with eachother (Q), but not some other passages (like one genealogy covering Jesus' mother's side and another covering the father's side), how does this make it more plausible that Luke did not use Matthew, but rather a written Q source?

It seems most likely to me that since Matthew was written before Luke and Luke talks about relying on a previous compilation, that Matthew was a source that he got the Q passages from. But for some differences, he had his own reasons for why he didn't use them. For example, he might choose to set his genealogy along a different parental line for a good reason, such as if he wanted to emphasize Jesus' paternal trace to King David, since kingship passed through the paternal line.

I see no persuasive reason why differences between Matthew and Luke mean that Luke did not use Matthew as a source, since Luke could have used it as a base but then made corrections or else preferred to say something different on some subject. Rather, my best guess is that Matthew was Luke's source. The church fathers did not mention a Q source, but rather suggested that Matthew's gospel was written first.
« Last Edit: Today at 04:48:41 PM by rakovsky »

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #36 on: Today at 04:44:48 PM »
What brought this on?
Quote from: Fr Alexander Schmemann
The Gospel is quite clear: both saints and sinners love God. "Religious" people do not love him, and whenever they can, they crucify him.

Of course, OC.net is not reflective of the Church, but is rather a surreal bubble. I have visited a lot of different parishes around the world and have listened to many hours of AFR...

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #37 on: Today at 04:49:02 PM »
What brought this on?

I responded to Rakovsky's small statement that he doesn't believe the Q document ever existed, and we snowballed from there :P
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #38 on: Today at 04:51:24 PM »
What brought this on?
Supporters of the Q source theory claim that a single Q Document preceded the writing of Matthew and the other gospels.

Mina, I think, is proposing that Matthew and Luke were compiled independently from oral traditions rather than a Q Document, whereas my guess is that the Q passages were not compiled together as a single Q Document.
« Last Edit: Today at 05:03:32 PM by rakovsky »

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #39 on: Today at 04:55:40 PM »
What brought this on?
Supporters of the Q source theory claim that a single Q Document preceded the writing of Matthew and the other gospels.

Mina, I think, is proposing that Matthew and Luke were compiled independently from oral traditions rather than a Q Document, whereas my guess is that the Q passages were not compiled together as a single Q Document.

Yes, I'm familiar with Q, I am not familiar with your sudden interest in it. 
Quote from: Fr Alexander Schmemann
The Gospel is quite clear: both saints and sinners love God. "Religious" people do not love him, and whenever they can, they crucify him.

Of course, OC.net is not reflective of the Church, but is rather a surreal bubble. I have visited a lot of different parishes around the world and have listened to many hours of AFR...

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #40 on: Today at 04:55:46 PM »
It seems most likely to me that since Matthew was written before Luke and Luke talks about relying on a previous compilation, that Matthew was a source that he got the Q passages from.

"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #41 on: Today at 05:12:22 PM »
People were reciting whole blocks of the Old Testament from memory at the time (not to mention the Iliad and the Odyssey) so I'm not sure why it's so crazy that much shorter bits of text from Jesus could be memorized.
+1
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