Return to Synagogal values? The Didache’s religious purpose

PhD thesis

Sorrell, J. 2023. Return to Synagogal values? The Didache’s religious purpose. PhD thesis Middlesex University / London School of Theology (LST) School of Law
TypePhD thesis
TitleReturn to Synagogal values? The Didache’s religious purpose
AuthorsSorrell, J.

Does the Didache favor a return to synagogal values? The scholarly stalemate surrounding the Didache requires a new set of interpretive questions. Scholarship lacks the empirical evidence of the provenance of the Didache creating uncertainty regarding its composite or unified nature. This, in conjunction with the decades long argument around the Didache’s relationship with Matthew have all led to the current scholarly quagmire. This project examines the potential for the Didache to have an unexpected voice in the early church.

The goal of this study is to examine the potential that the Didache accessed Matthew to disagree and return to synagogue. This research will establish viable intertextual links between Matthew and the Didache in response to the differing scholarly views. These intertexts will show the Didache’s propensity for Jesus’ teachings in Matthew. Reading the Didache as one unified document, this research will consider early Christianity (30-100 CE) as it parted ways with Judaism.

Taking into consideration the implied author/audience of the Didache while addressing the text’s speech acts will reveal the reasons for the Didache’s use of Matthew. This utilization of Matthew reveals a complex Christology in the Didache stopping short of recognition of Jesus’ salvific actions. While Jesus in Matthew teaches a decentralization of the community relating with God, the Didache relegates Jesus’ mission in favor of recentralizing. The Didache assumes the narrative world of the Matthean Jesus as it utilizes his five teaching discourses.

While this study is not the first to address Didache’s relationship to Matthew, distinct in this research is the Didache’s circumventing Matthew to promote institutionalization of the church. The Didache functions as a hinge between the first and second century as Christianity separated from Judaism. This subversion of Matthew by Didache leads to a re-synagogalization of the community instead of the decentralization as Jesus intended.

Sustainable Development Goals16 Peace, justice and strong institutions
Middlesex University ThemeCreativity, Culture & Enterprise
Department nameSchool of Law
Business and Law
Institution nameMiddlesex University / London School of Theology (LST)
Collaborating institutionLondon School of Theology (LST)
PublisherMiddlesex University Research Repository
Publication dates
Online20 Mar 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted30 Dec 2022
Deposited20 Mar 2024
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
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