Discussion in 'Church History' started by Aidan, Dec 9, 2017.
How authoritative and orthodox is this work?
Thoroughly. I refer to it frequently.
Firstly it must be said that the Didache is not canonical. That means from a point of view of authority it needs to measure up to scripture to meet the tests of orthodoxy.
On the other hand it represents a true insight into the life of the Christian Community and Church in the early post apostolic period. It is quite colear that the Eucharist and Baptism were both central to the life of the community, and the liturgy was not as fully shaped as it came to be by the conciliar period.
What we cannot say is that it was universal, however we can say that we know that we now have some records of the late first or early second century Church. I used it the other day in talking about the Lord's Prayer, as they used it, because it shows an interesting insight. The Early Christian Church was I suspect much more eschatologically focussed than the contemporary Church is, and in part that was because they expected the eschaton at any moment.
I think that the Didache helps understand how we got from the New Testament Church to the Church of the conciliar period. I believe that the Didache should be received as helpful.
We should take care about what we mean by authortitative... As Anglicans, for us nothing can trump Scripture, and although the Didache, the epistles of Clement and other such documents are exceedingly early and even in the orbit of the apostles, they aren't said to be the Word of God
That being said in the Anglican worldview we adopt tradition as an essential interpreter of Scripture, and thus the Church Fathers and the early consent of the undivided Church, according to the Canon of St. Vincent of Lerins forms the lens for how we understand the truth of God's Word
It follows therefore that the Didache functions as on the very highest of levels in terms of informing us how the apostles and their followers lived the Christian life and what the apostolic nature of the Divine Service, the sacraments, and worship looked like on the ground, so I would say it is very important
Of what other works from the same period are forum members aware?
Personally, 1 Clement, the Epistles of Ignatius, Hermas, Polycarp to the Philippians, and a few fragments of Papias, I believe.