The Epistle of Barnabas and the Two Ways of Teaching Authority

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Julien C.H. Smith 1300 Chapel Dr Valparaiso in 46383

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Although much attention has been given to the literary development of the Two Ways form of paraenesis within the Epistle of Barnabas, comparatively little analysis of its function within the letter’s argument has been undertaken. This lacuna in scholarship is addressed by (i) analyzing the function of Two Ways imagery in chs. 1-17 and (ii) investigating the relationship between the Two Ways form in chs. 18-21 and the preceding argument. The Two Ways imagery throughout the letter aims to strengthen the communal identity of the audience by fostering a strong sense of in-group awareness. That is, it sharpens the contrast between those who accept the author’s negation of Jewish identity through scripture and those who do not. The Two Ways form found at the end of the letter (chs. 18-21) both recapitulates this imagery and seeks to orient the audience’s identity around the author’s teaching authority.

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