Harnack, Adolf. “Prolegomena, § 6. "Die Bearbeitungen der Διδαχὴ τῶν ἀποστόλων und ihre Geschichte in der kirchenrechtlichen Literature" pp. 170-268
“2. Die Διδαχή und die sog. apostolische Kirchenordnung.” pp. 193-241.
The tradition of a “church order” comes from Eastern Christianity. Harnack, seeing that the Didache also comes from the East, asks whether it is an example of a church order (Harnack 1884, 193). Harnack provides a review of some church orders, which has been collated and combined at various times, gathering the common statements, from different sources (Harnack 1884, 194-195). He finds reference to works such as Apostolic Constitutions, the Didache, writings of Hippolytus and Clement, among others. This points to early roots of the content (Harnack 1884, 196). The content is consistent with early 3rd century writings. Harnack, along with other scholars, would readily admit that the various documents and traditions exercised an influence on others.
A question arose in 1854 whether the Didache might have been translated into Latin as part of the ‘Duae viae vel iudicium Petri” of Rufinus (Harnack 1884, 198). Though comparative studies could be made, without a Greek manuscript of the Didache, it was impossible to be certain. A further challenge has been the actual presence of the Latin work, which was attributed in antiquity to various authors, and seems to come possibly as early as the second century (Harnack 1884, 203).
In 1883 a new edition of the Apostolic Church Orders was released. Harnack notes that in this edition, Lightfood concludes that the Ethiopic text tradition seems to follow that from Thebes, probably beint a translation of the Thebaic manuscript (Harnack 1884, 205l The etiology of the Two Ways narrative is thus pushed back to a possible Egyptian source, though there is a claim that the idea came from Peter. The proximity of the church order and the epistle of Barnabas is made more plausible (Harnack 1884, 206). The source becomes more clearly earlier than the time of Apostolic Constitutions (Harnack 1884, 207). Harnack takes all this analysis to urge a very early existence of the Two Ways material. His assumption, probably valid, is that the narrative was in circulation somehow before being adopted by a number of sources, apparently around the second century (Harnack 1884, 208).
Based on the conclusions he has made of the early time and place likely for the Two Ways narrative, Harnack provides a series of further conclusions or propositions for debate. They center around the material common to different documents, the possibility that any or all could be based in reality or a literary fiction, and what work or works may have influenced others (Harnack 1884, 210-211). He asks how much influence on the Church Order there may be from the Didache, outside of the Two Ways narrative, as well as what parts of either document may be original or the work of an interpolator (Harnack 1884, 212). If, in fact, the Church Order is largely a compilation of material from the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, and other unspecified texts, by the end of the 2nd century, the editorial selection and choice of texts could be very enlightening to our view of early Christianity (Harnack 1884, 216).
Harnack continues with a discussion of the manuscript tradition of the Church Order and the codices in which it is found. He also considers the documentation of the title to some degree. The claims to apostolic origins are a matter of considerable debate. They also, clearly, would have an influence on the authority granted to the text. Harnack does not consider that dispute to be one which can be resolved definitively (Harnack 1884, 223). The time span between the time of the apostles and the earliest evidence of a title is too great to be certain.
The section closes with a text of the Apostolic Church Order in Greek (Harnack 1884, 225-237). There follows a table of the probably literary influences leading to the Apostolic Church Order (Harnack 1884, 237-238). Harnack concludes that there is an influence, dating back at least nearly to the apostolic period, but that the credit of particular apostles for different segments is probably an overstatement (Harnack 1884, 240).