Connolly opens this article in much the same way he did his 1933 article on the same topic, by introducing the interrupted work of Dr. Armitage Robinson, who died while workingo n a new edition of his book, Barnabas, Hermes, and the Didache (Connolly 1934, 113). While engaged in significant revisions, Robinson contracted influenza and died. His widow passed his papers on to Connolly, who elected to publish updates as journal articles rather than as a new book (Connolly 1934, 114). Connolly describes Robinson’s character and interactions with him in some detail.
Robinson introduces the Didache and its modern publication in brief, noting the publication by Bryennios in 1883 and by Harnack in 1884 (Connolly 1934, 118). The relationship with the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas was easily recognized, and a view of the Didache’s dependence on Barnabas was quickly accepted, though the work of C. Taylor in 1886 suggested the work originally consisted of the ‘Two Ways’ material and the ortions related to Matthew 5-7 and Hermas were later interpolations 118). This idea allowed scholars to consider even dates in the first century.
Robinson considers that the Two Ways material in Barnabas was composed by that author, not adopted from elsewhere 119-120). He sees the Two Ways in the Didache as adapted from and dependent on the material in Barnabas.
Robinson describes the situation in which Gentiles, by the middle of the 1st century, were coming to a prominent position in Christianity 121). The validity of Judaism and the Old Testaent became an issue, as Christians debated the relationship of Old and New Testaments.
The Old Testament was highly regarded by the apostles, by the testimony of Jesus, and throughout the New Testament writings. It could not simply be abandoned. Robinson recognizes that the Epistle to the Hebrews solves the problem by showing Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament 122). The Epistle of Barnabas, on the other hand, addressing Gentiles, rejected Judaism but did not make a case for a high Christology 123). Robinson considers that the specifics of Barnabas have largely been neglected but his overall ideas spread through many interpreters and have had a profound influence on Old Testament interpretation 124). Barnabas has been variously dated from 79-130, but not with much confidence 124).
Robinson identifies the two main themes of Barnabas as “the ordinances of God” and “knowledge” 124). Barnabas sees the conflict between God and the devil to be very present and real. In this battle, we are aided by various forces. “The helpers of our faith in this extremity . . . are fear and patience; our allies are longsuffering and self-restraint. If we have these, then in joyful train come wisdom, understanding, learning, knowledge” 125). This involves a rejection of the sacrificial system and a replacement of physical sacrifices with spiritual commitment.
Robinson continues with a fairly detailed survey of the Epistle of Barnabas, quoting and commenting on main points. The Two Ways material comes after other exhortations to leave behind the futility of Hebrew practice and to turn to true inner knowledge. In this, Robinson sees a Pauline structure, as the work makes theological introduction followed by concrete application 130). Robinson gives a word for word translation of the Two Ways, interspersing his comments, largely in the form of a grammatical/exegetical commentary. Of potential interest are marginal cross references, not only to barnabas but also to biblical texts. I note that many of the references are to Ephesians. This is also Robinson’s conclusion, as he observes that Barnabas almost certainly wrote the Two Ways material but based many of its ideas on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 138).
After the way of life material, Robinson notes that Barnabas goes on with a smattering of other commands, not clearly organized 139). but describing the way of death. The closing of the Two Ways is couched in terms of finding knowledge, though obedience is somehow tied up in the concept 142). There follows a brief conclusion and benediction.
Robinson observes that the goal of Barnabas is to urge moral purity, which is found through gaining a grasp of the true knowledge of God. Robinson sees this as acocmplished through use of an Alexandrian allegorical exegesis of the Old Testament 145).
Connolly concludes with a brief statement that a chapter specifically dedicated to the Didache will follow in a subsequent issue of Journal of Theological Studies.