Friday's Orality/Rhetoric Lesson
Layton, Bentley. "The Sources, Date and Transmission of Didache 1.3-2.1." Harvard Theological Review 61 (1968), 343-383.
Layton, observing that the manuscript evidence for the Didache is unsatisfactory, concludes that it is "through study of the sources of Did. 1.3b-2.1 that more pressing textual problems have received received clarification" (Layton 1968, 344). However, in attempts to harmonize texts, Layton does not think there have been adequately convincing explanations. He proposes that a combination of prallel comparison and evaluation of rhetorical and literary devices will yield more conclusive evaluations (Layton 1968, 345).
As an important example, Layton considers Didache 1.4d-e, which contains a very odd statement. "If someone should take your [possession] from you, do not ask [it] back: for not to be able" (personal translation). Layton summarizes years of commentary by saying, "If one is really powerless to reclaim stolen goods, there is little virtue in not demanding their return" (Layton 1968, 346).
Harnack and others have taken this as a parallel to Joannes Klimakos' Scala Paradisi 26.347 (Migne PG 88.1029A) (Layton 1968, 346) but Layton finds it more closely resembling Luke 6:30. Commentators have remained puzzled over the cryptic nature of the statement (Layton 1968, 347).
Layton suggests the last line was corrupted. With the change of a vowel and an assumption that the goal is holiness, the last line which I italicized above reads, "for thus (you are_ able (to be complete)" (Layton 1968, 348, personal translation). This resolves the confusion and also restores the passage to having a tidy example of homoioteleuton, the parallel ending of balanced lines (Layton 1968, 349).
Layton continues to hypothesize based on this balanced structure that the entire passage may be derived from different sources which can be identified based on line by line analysis (Layton 1968, 349). He considers that it must have been common practice to draw lines from different sources together. For this theory, Layton notes "the familiar and annoying habit of many ancient Biblical scribes to introduce readings from one gospel into the parallel text of another . . . (as well as) Tatian's Diatessaron" (Layton 1968, 350).
Layton continues by illustrating his method, comparing Did. 1:3b, Matthew 5:44, and Luke 6:27f (Layton 1968, 352). Here he finds some parallel wording and similar rhetorical devices, which allow him to see the Didache passage as a rhetorical "improvement" on the verses in Luke (Layton 1968, 353). Layton continues this analytic method by comparing Did. 1:3C with Matthew 5:46ff and Luke 6:32, 27, 36 (Layton 1968, 353-355), concluding again that the Didachist drew from Synoptic material and refined the rhetorical style. Layton then moves on to Did. 1:4 compared to Matthew 5:39b, 41, 40, 42 and Luke 6:29f (Layton 1968, 355-358). Examples of the same method continue through p. 372.
Layton goes on to describe his method as a means of comparing the text to sources or later parallels so as to evaluate whether or not the text we retain is correct, or whethe the other parallels may be more authentic (Layton 1968, 373). He goes on to illustrate the process by comparing some passages. Layton additionally creates a complex history of textual changes and corruptions based on the emergence of different possible parallel texts at various times in history (Layton 1968, 376).
Layton further concludes that, because of a relation he finds to "the Pastor which contained the Mandates" the Didache cannot come from before the second half of the second century (Layton 1968, 378-379). He does see a "Two Ways" work that antedates the Pastor. However, it is not a Christian work (Layton 1968, 380). He concludes that the best explanation is that the specifically Christian content in 1:3b-2:1 was a second century insertion (Layton 1968, 382).