Connolly, R.H. “The Didache in Relation to the Epistle of Barnabas.” Journal of Theological Studies 33:3 (1932), 237-253.
Connolly notes that most Didache scholarship has been based on conjectures which consider dating in comparison with development of churchly authority structures and growing clarity of articulation of the Eucharist. These studies have normally placed the text “very early in the second century, or even well within the first” (Connolly 1932, 237). However, Robinson’s lectures, published as Barnabas, Hermas and the Didache (1920) began to treat the issue of dating through literary criticism, in a method similar to that used in considering the synoptic problem.
Robinson particularly concentrated on the Two Ways portion of the Didache, as that is the area of greatest overlap with both Barnabas and Hermas (Connolly 1932, 237). Robinson’s conclusion was that Barnabas was the source of the Two Ways narrative, that Hermas used it as a source, and that the author of the Didache used both
(Connolly 1932, 238).
Connolly sets out to apply Robinson’s methods in detail to the second part of the Two Ways, the Way of Death (Connolly 1932, 238). To make matters more straightforward, he compares only the Didache and theEpistle to Barnabas, rather than working with a three way comparison.
Connolly’s comparison begins with a rendering of Barnabas 20:1 and Didache 5:1 in parallel columns, with the elements of the Way of Death cross-referenced for easy comparison (Connolly 1932, 239). Connolly then observes the significant distinctions between the two lists (Connolly 1932, 240). The one in Barnabas has no hint of organization, while that in the Didache has some level of classification, particularly between acts (all plural) and the mantal states (all singular). Connolly observes that the Didachist lists sins in the same order as Matthew 15:19 (also plural) (Connolly 1932, 241).
Connolly continues then by considering each of the elements of the list of sins found in Didache but not in Barnabas (Connolly 1932, 242). He draws detailed comparisons of those two works to mentions of the same sins in the canonical Scriptures, regularly understanding the Didachist to have taken the languagefrom the Scripture.
When he considers the overall content of the list of sins, Connolly points out that Barnabas has relatively little internal self-reference, but that the Didache does. Precepts brought up in one place are almost always referenced later, in the same terms and the same order (Connolly 1932, 244). He observes, then, with Harnack, that if Barnabas borrowed from the Didache, he seems to have systematically stripped it of much of its order and all of its genuine Gospel (Connolly 1932, 245).
Harnack’s view of the matter was that both Barnabas and the Didache took the Two Ways material from an older, Jewish source. Connolly proceeds to test that theory (Connolly 1932, 246). For this test, rather than looking for differences, Connolly looks for similarities which would not be likely accidents. He provides the text of Barnabas 20:2 and notes the differences found in Didache 5:2. The differences arefew and normally insignificant. What is striking to Connally is that “they have this long and amorphous list of evil persons in exactly the same order” (Connolly 1932, 247). Connally considers this as evidence that the two documents are in a direct relationship to one another. The earlier evidence persuades Connolly that Barnabas existed first and that the Didachist elaborated and re-organized some of the material (Connolly 1932, 247).
Connolly next traces a number of other statements from various locations in Barnabas which are supported by similar statements in the Didache (Connolly 1932, 248-252). With discursive remarks inserted in the list Connolly notes catch phrases used by both texts, as well as similarities in the context surrounding the different statements.
Connolly concludes that there is adequate evidence, even merely from Barnabas 20:2, that the Didache is dependent on Barnabas (Connolly 1932, 252). He also thinks, but has not explored in detail, the parallel texts show origin in Barnabas and editorial development in Didache.