Are there Echoes of Paul in the Didache?

It is believed by some that the Didache was written before, or without knowledge of the Pauline Epistles. It is obvious that the Didachist had a well grasped knowledge of Matthew’s gospel, especially the Sermon on the Mount. But as I read through the Didache, I cannot help but wonder if the beliefs that the Didachist wrote his writing without Pauline exposure is accurate. The date of the Didache writing swings over as many as three centuries; from as early as 50AD all the way until the 3rd century. Most scholars though believe a writing between 60-100AD. If this is the case, I find it somewhat difficult to believe that the Didachist did not know himself the contents of the Pauline writings, or heard them read in a local congregation. Even if he does not quote Paul himself, he most likely was influenced in his writing by what Paul had wrote in his writings. Here is where Source Criticism is fun. How do we know what sources (Pauline) that the Didachist may have used if he never quoted, alluded to, or referenced Paul directly? I believe that we are all Source Critics, be it willingly or unwillingly. We are all influenced by what we read, see, hear, etc. So much so that we are most of the times not even aware that we are being influenced. For example, I am somewhat of a musician. I have written a couple of songs in my life (nothing that is radio worthy). There have been a few times I have finished writing a song and think, “Wow, this is a great song!” Well months later I play it for a friend and he is says, “That sounds like so and so’s song.” When I wrote the song, I was completely unaware of the song that mine sounds like. It may have been years since I even heard the song that I copied without even knowing. All of this to say, even if the Didachist does not quote directly Paul, I still believe that he had knowledge of Pauline writings and was no doubt influenced by it.


Didache 4.11: ὑμεῖς δὲ οἱ δοῦλοι ὑποταγήσεσθε τοῖς κυρίος ὑμῶν ὡς τύπῳ θεο̂υ ἐν αἰσχύνῃ καὶ φόβω

“And you slaves will be submissive to your masters in modesty and fear, as to a symbol of God.”

Ephesians 6.5: Slaves obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling.

This is all just a hypothesis and needs to be better explored when I have the time to do so.

PS: I have also picked up my Hebrew again after almost dying all of last year.


2 thoughts on “Are there Echoes of Paul in the Didache?

  1. Pingback: biblicalia » Blog Archive » Biblical Studies Carnival VIII

  2. Pingback: Eucharist? Not bloody likely — The Gospels, Didache, Joseph and Aseneth, and Reality “#thelostgospel” | Unsettled Christianity

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