Another [Early] Account of Christian Worship. . .continued

Mr. Timothy T. Dickens (
Thu, 12 Dec 1996 18:02:08 -0500 (EST)

Timothy T. Dickens wrote:

> While Pliny's account is an earlier than Justin's "Apologia" and is
>an explicit account about Christian meetings on a "fixed day" of the week,
>it does not make mention which specific day the meetings occurred.
>Personally, I think it was Sunday, but this is my opinion and has not yet
>been proven.

Alistair Stewart-Sykes wrote:

There are also (inexplicit) descriptions of worship at Ignatius _Eph._ 13.1 and
_Phil._ 4.

>>Thus, is it likely that the Justin Martyr narrative would incorporate
>>the "Didache's" text?
>TTD; possibly.

Alistair Stewart-Sykes wrote:
Highly unlikely, seeing that the Didache is (probably) eastern, perhaps from
Syria (or, I am inclined to think) Transjordan and the account in Justin is
Roman. There was no sacred Congregation of Rites ;} in the second century,
indeed every church in every area was pretty much a law unto itself.

If you are interested see W. Rordorf et al _The Eucharist of the Early
Christians_ (New York: Pueblo 1978)

TTD: Dear Alistair,
Thank you for mentioning this very significant point of location
between the two documents. I remember reading today about the location of
the "Didache" being assigned to Syria in Koester's book _History and
Literature of Early Christianity_. I had totally forgot that Justin was
writing to the emperor.

But here is hopefully another interesting question to think about in
the process. Let's ask what can be said for sure about the 'textual'
transmission of Justin's work. In other words, *where* did Justin get his
sources from when writing "First Apology?" According to Koester (once again):

[Justin's] "First Apology" and "Dialogue" are not of one piece,
but include smaller tractates composed by Justin previously
for different purposes. One example is the commentary on
Psalm 22 in "Dialogue" 98-106. The psalm is quoted in its entirety,
then interpreted sentence by sentence. . . . Justin discloses
valuable information about the activities of the early Christian
schools. . . . It has been demonstrated recently that the numerous
special readings in Justin's quotations from the Old Testament
derive from a Jewish tradition of textual revision in which the
Greek text was brought into closer agreement with the further
developments of the Hebrew text.
_History and Literature of Early Christianity_ p.342.

If Koester is taken seriously --which he usually is -- then a
question come to mind: Since Justin traveled throughout the empire, isn't
it conceivable that Justin composed certain "smaller tractates" when he was
in the East, namely, Syria? I know that this will mean I will have to
mention specific passages in his "First Apology" and show the connection
between them and the "Didache," but when we realize that Justin's "Apology"
is essentially a combination of pieces compiled together which shows a
symbiotic relationship with a Jewish tradition (Palestine, Syria?), why is
it absurd to think that Justin's "Apology" would not have incorporated parts
of the Didache?"

Peace and Love,
Timothy T. Dickens
Smyrna, GA Home School

Please visit my website at:

Near Eastern specialist and Egyptologist. . .are too aware of the
isolationism often seen in traditional classics--or more precisely in
studies of Greek civilization--with its emphasis on the events of a
relatively short period, primarily in a particular exemplar of a single
group of cultures. Studies that appear to see fifth-century B.C.E Athens as
the defining experience of all civilization puzzle those whose interest lie
in other areas of the Mediterranean antiquity, and still more those
concerned with other regions of the world.

"On The Aims And Methods of Black Athena"
by John Baines in Black Athena Revisited