Connolly introduces his article with reference to a proposed enlarged edition of Armitage Robinson’s Barnabas, Hermes, and the Didache, an edition short-circuited by Robinson’s death (Connolly 1934, 113). The edition would reconsider literary dependence. After Robinson’s death in 1933, Connolly received papers which Robinson had prepared, consisting of an extensive revision of the first and third chapters of the book (Connolly 1934, 114), a few minor changes to the second chapter, and some notes indicating that the fourth chapter, dealing with literary dependence, needed to be thoroughly revised, based on new evidence (Connolly 1934, 115). Connolly takes notes in the Appendix section to indicate that, while Robinson had originally considered the Two Ways narrative to depend on an earlier Jewish source, he was now considering it dependent on the canonical Gospels.
Because Robinson’s work was by no means complete, Connolly sought publication of the revised portions in a journal rather than as a partially revised book (Connolly 1934, 117). Robinson’s material follows, on pp. 118-146, with promise of another chapter to follow in the next issue of JTS.
Robinson introduces the topic of dating and influences on the Didache by noting the original theory of dependence on the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas. That theory was called into question in 1886 by the work of C. Taylor, suggesting a rabbinic source for the Two Ways material (Connolly 1934, 118). Subsequently, there were suggestions that the specifically Christian material in the Two Ways was a later interpolation. This theory allowed dating in the first century, with later insertions. Robinson asserts of Barnabas “that its closing chapters which treat of the Two Ways are wholly in character with the rest of the book, and are undoubtedly the original composition of this rabbinically minded author” (Connolly 1934, 119-120). He considers Hermas and the Didache to draw on Barnabas. Robinson further takes the intent of the Didache as to present the form of Christianity presented by the apostles and active at the author’s time.
Robinson goes on to address the Epistle of Barnabas as a source for the Didache. He observes that the canonical Hebrews and the non-canonical Epistle of Barnabas both addressed the same issue, that of Christians who were not Gentiles, and their life in Christianity, which was coming to be dominated by Gentiles (Connolly 1934, 121). The entire relation between Christians and the Old Testament was under consideration. Early Christians accepted as fact that Jesus, the Christ, affirmed the validity of the Old Testament. At the same time, in a sense, they viewed it as having become obsolescent (Connolly 1934, 122). Hebrews, addressed to Jewish Christians, resolved the problem by showing Jesus as the fulfiller, the completer, of the Old Testament. The Epistle of Barnabas, addressed primarily to Gentiles, and referenced widely in early Christianity, uses the Old Testament as a text of moral instruction (Connolly 1934, 123). The text is variously dated between about 79 and 130 A.D. (Connolly 1934, 124).
Robinson proceeds to summarize the content and main arguments of Barnabas. From the start, the commands and the knowledge of God are important themes (Connolly 1934, 124). These are seen in contrast to the powers of the evil one, referred to in various terms. By learning God’s will, we eventually reach an understanding of the truth (Connolly 1934, 125). Barnabas sees spiritual sacrifices and worship as the true spirituality. For this reason he rejects the sacrificial system of Judaism. Barnabas sees the people of Israel as having fallen from the promises and commands of God (Connolly 1934, 126). Robinson traces a number of Barnabas’ arguments for allegorical understandings of th eOld Testament. Through special secret knowledge comes an understanding of Christ (Connolly 1934, 127ff). Barnabas further describes all the Old Testament ceremonies as actually being the property of Christianity because the Jewish scriptures pointed to a future fulfillment (Connolly 1934, 129).
After making this argument, Barnabas turns to the Two Ways narrative. Robinson considers this to be a not unexpected transition, as the author has already made numerous rapid jumps to apparently disjointed ideas (Connolly 1934, 130). Robinson proceeds to give a translation of the Two Ways material with comments interspersed. Robinson particularly notes that the text distinguishes between “knowledge” and “power,” with “knowledge” being the positive characteristic (Connolly 1934, 132). I observe that the text proceeds with commands not to do certain things, which would be the way of death. This contrasts with the Didache which simply describes the way of death. Robertson notes a great deal of Barnabas’ material has roots in Ephesians, an opinion which he elaborates on in some detail (Connolly 1934, 135). Particularly Robinson notes the conceptual similarity of Barnabas 19.7 and Ephesians 6.5ff, as both speak to the relationship between masters and slaves (Connolly 1934, 136-137).
Barnabas’ conclusion is that it is good to “learn the ordinances of the Lord” (Connolly 1934, 141). He speaks in many passages of a need to be familiar with the Scripture, and his writing shows many quotations and allusions. Robinson’s assessment of Barnabas is “as a man of earnest piety, claiming no position as a leader or teacher, yet accustomed to pour out his peculiar wisdom for the edification of such as would hear him” (Connolly 1934, 144). He seems to think like an Alexandrian Jew, but he does not think Judaism has any understanding of God (Connolly 1934, 145). Robinson’s conclusion about the Two Ways material in Barnabas is that it was composed by the author, showing the same characteristics as the rest of the text (Connolly 1934, 146).