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The Transformation of Moral Exhortation in Didache 1-5

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Chapter Summary

The Two Ways section of the Didache (chapters 1-5) affords a unique opportunity to trace the literary development of an early Christian moral tract through its several redactional stages and to examine the framework and context for a particular stream of early Christian moral reflection. What makes the Two Ways section so important is the existence of several parallel versions whose basic genealogical relationships can be surmised. This allows for the same sort of synoptic comparison that is possible with the synoptic gospels-comparisons that reveal both diachronic development between documents and the redactional profiles of each document. Various noteworthy transformations of the earlier Two Ways traditions are in evidence. The Two Ways document stops short of two steps which are taken by Matthew, the use of Lev 19:18 as an explicit hermeneutical principle and the rigorous identification of individual precepts.

Keywords: Christian moralreflection; Matthew; synoptic gospel; Two Ways section



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