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The Didache Redefining Its Jewish Identity In View Of Gentiles Joining The Community

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Chapter Summary

The growing scholarly consensus over recent decades is that early Judaism exhibited great variety. More recently, a greater awareness that early Christian communities were long bound up with Judaism has developed. The opening line of the Didache, 'There are two ways, one of life, the other of death' (1:1), introduces the subject treated in its first part. In comparing the Birkat Ha-Mazon with the eucharistic Prayer in Didache 10, one notes that certain linguistic usages, structural patterns, and thematic elements are similar. Louis Finkelstein examined these prayers closely and presented the two texts in parallel columns. The invalidation of former hallmarks of Jewish identity suggests a Gentile Christian influence and a polemic use of the term 'hypocrites' against Jews in general. The Didache community was a congregation in transition from a Jewish-Christian context to an increasingly Gentile one.

Keywords: Birkat Ha-Mazon; Didache; Gentile; Jewish identity; Jews; Judaism; Louis Finkelstein



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