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“One of Life and One of Death”


Apocalypticism and the Didache’s Two Ways


This book explores the apocalyptic influence upon the Two Ways metaphor in antiquity and more particularly the influence of the Two Ways in the Didache as veering from an apocalyptic worldview. The argument includes essential critical evaluation of the apocalyptic genre and assesses the apocalyptic features in ancient Two Ways texts. The predominant focus of the book will document and critically assess how the Didache veers from maintaining an apocalyptic worldview in its expression of the Two Ways (Did. 1–6).
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4025-7
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jul 23,2019
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 395
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4025-7
$95.00
$76.00

In this book, Wilhite assesses the apocalyptic influence upon the ancient Two Ways metaphor and, more specifically, how the Didache neglects to include a broadly standardized apocalyptic Two Ways genre. His argument will include essential critical evaluation of the apocalyptic genre and assess the apocalyptic features in ancient Two Ways texts, while the predominant focus of the book will document and critically assess how the Didache veers from maintaining an apocalyptic worldview in its expression of the Two Ways (Did. 1–6). This study portrays how ancient Two Ways texts comprise of a constellation of apocalyptic themes. In antiquity, the Two Ways often conveys the following five apocalyptic motifs: (1) angelic or otherworldly figures; (2) angelic or otherworldly ethical influence; (3) dualistic cosmological structures; (4) divine determinism; and (5) anthropological telic ends. Given this historical assessment of ancient Two Ways literature, Wilhite addresses the following question: if ancient Jewish and early Christian Two Ways texts have a common literary structure and reoccurring apocalyptic dualisms, how and why does the Didache neglect to frame the Two Ways with an apocalyptic worldview? With these prominent apocalyptic features in ancient Two Ways literature, the Didache’s Two Ways (Did. 1–6) does not include the common apocalyptic features normally found in an ancient Two Ways genre and primarily maintains an ethical Two Ways orientation. The argument progresses in two stages that correspond to the topics of external texts and traditions, and literary readings of Did. 1–6. These two foci enable the argument to find historical correspondence with other literary traditions as well as identify a particular literary logic in the Didache itself.

In this book, Wilhite assesses the apocalyptic influence upon the ancient Two Ways metaphor and, more specifically, how the Didache neglects to include a broadly standardized apocalyptic Two Ways genre. His argument will include essential critical evaluation of the apocalyptic genre and assess the apocalyptic features in ancient Two Ways texts, while the predominant focus of the book will document and critically assess how the Didache veers from maintaining an apocalyptic worldview in its expression of the Two Ways (Did. 1–6). This study portrays how ancient Two Ways texts comprise of a constellation of apocalyptic themes. In antiquity, the Two Ways often conveys the following five apocalyptic motifs: (1) angelic or otherworldly figures; (2) angelic or otherworldly ethical influence; (3) dualistic cosmological structures; (4) divine determinism; and (5) anthropological telic ends. Given this historical assessment of ancient Two Ways literature, Wilhite addresses the following question: if ancient Jewish and early Christian Two Ways texts have a common literary structure and reoccurring apocalyptic dualisms, how and why does the Didache neglect to frame the Two Ways with an apocalyptic worldview? With these prominent apocalyptic features in ancient Two Ways literature, the Didache’s Two Ways (Did. 1–6) does not include the common apocalyptic features normally found in an ancient Two Ways genre and primarily maintains an ethical Two Ways orientation. The argument progresses in two stages that correspond to the topics of external texts and traditions, and literary readings of Did. 1–6. These two foci enable the argument to find historical correspondence with other literary traditions as well as identify a particular literary logic in the Didache itself.

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Contributor Biography

Shawn Wilhite

Shawn J. WIlhite (Ph.D., New Testament, Th.M., Patristics, Southern Seminary) is Assistant Professor Christian Studies at California Baptist University and Ph.D. candidate in historical and theological studies (Patristics) at Durham University. He is director and research fellow for the Center for Ancient Christian Studies. His primary field of research and research interests include the New Testament and Early Christianity, which include the Christian scriptures (Matthew and Hebrews), Patristic Theology and Patristic Spirituality, Scripture in early Christian thought, and history of New Testament interpretation, Theological Interpretation of Scripture, and Patristic Hermeneutics. 

Table of Contents (v) 
List of Abbreviations (xi) 
List of Tables (xxi)
Preface (xxiii)
Foreword (xxvii)

Chapter 1. Introduction (1)
   Initial Warrant for Thesis and an Apocalyptic Two Ways Genre (5)
   Two Ways and Didache Apocalypticism in Contemporary Studies: A Review of Modern Research (10)
   Overview of Argument (35)

Part One. Two Ways and Apocalypticism in Antiquity (39) 

Chapter 2. ‘The Master will Instruct all the Sons of Light’: The Literary Structure and Apocalyptic Motifs in the Two Ways Metaphor (41) 
   Apocalypticism and Its Heritage in Modern Scholarship: John J. Collins and Reception of Semeia 14 (46) 
   Two Ways as an Apocalyptic-Sapiential Sub-Genre of Ancient Jewish and Early Christian Literature (50) 
   Two Ways Texts and Two Ways Traditions: A Consideration of Terminology and Structure (54) 
   Summary and Consideration of a Two Ways Heuristic Taxonomy (59) 
   Summary of Selected Apocalyptic Two Ways Texts (59) 
   Summary of Apocalyptic Features in Two Ways Texts (66)
   Summary of Apocalyptic Features in Two Ways Traditions (70)

Chapter 3. ‘The Path of Light and of Darkness’: Apocalyptic Ancient Jewish and Early Christian Two Ways (75) 
   Treatise of the Two Spirits (1QS III, 13–IV, 26) (77)
   Testament of Asher 1–8 and the Two Ways (88)
   Galatians 5:16–24 and the Two Ways (102)
   Epistle of Barnabas 18–21 (118)
   De Doctrina Apostolorum 1–6 (126)
   Shepherd of Hermas, Mandate 6.1–2 (35–36) (129)
   Summary: Ancient Two Ways as an Apocalyptic Worldview (138)

Part Two. Two Ways and Apocalypticism in the Didache............141

Chapter 4. ‘The Difference is Great Between the Two Paths’: The Textual Integrity and Structure of the Didache’s Two Ways Frame (143) 
   Selected Summary of Scholarship: Suggested Structures of the Didache’s Two Ways (145) 
   Delimitation Markers and the Didache’s Two Ways (149) 
   Didache 1.1–6.2 and the Literary Structure of the Didache’s Two Ways (152)
   Didache 1.1–6.2 and the Structure of the Two Ways Literary Frame (163)
   Summary: Didache’s Two Ways Structure and Implications for the Present Study (166)

Chapter 5. ‘This is the Way of Life’: An Apocalyptic Worldview and the Didache’s Two Ways Literary Frame (169) 
   Didache Scholarship and the Apocalyptic Redaction of the Didache’s Two Ways (170) 
   Didache 1–6 and Continuities with an Apocalyptic Worldview (176)
   Didache 1–6 and Absence of an Apocalyptic Worldview (184)
   Summary: Literary Frame of Didache 1–6 and an Apocalyptic Worldview (212)

Chapter 6. ‘The Meek will Inherit the Earth’: Apocalypticism And Internal Readings of the Didache’s Two Ways (215) 
   ‘Since the Meek Will Inherit the Earth’ (Did. 3.7) (216)
   ‘Remember the One Who Speaks the Word of God to You’ (Did. 4.1–2) (237)
   ‘Bear the Entire Yoke of the Lord ... and You Will be’ (Did. 6.2) (243)
   Didache’s Two Ways and the Mini-Apocalypse in Didache 16 (268)
   Summary: Apocalypticism and Internal Readings of Didache 1–6 (275)

Chapter 7. Conclusion (277)
   Summary of Argument (278) 
   Hypotheses and Further Areas of Research (281)

Appendix. Two Ways Texts and Traditions: A Taxonomy of Apocalyptic motifs (285) 
Bibliography (315) 
Index (351)

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