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The Curse That Saves (Didache 16.5)

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Chapter Summary

The translation of kαΤάθ∈μα per se is not difficult. The standard glosses which are used for the word are "accursed thing" and "curse", the second meaning having arisen metonymically from the first. But in Did 16.5, what is the accursed thing/curse that "saves"? The author seems consciously to employ the rhetorical figure of paranomasia between δώζω and kαΤάθ∈μα. Throughout the history of the interpretation of the Didache the term kαΤάθ∈μα has been widely understood as a covert reference to Christ, that is, it is Christ who will save the faithful from the fiery testing. The chapter presents the results of the author's investigation into the term kαΤάθ∈μα and uses this information to clarify the translation of Did 16.5. The term kαΤάθ∈μα is rare and seems to be a creation of the Judaism of the Greco-Roman period.

Keywords: Christ; Curse; Didache 16.5; Judaism



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