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Consonance and Communal Membership in the Didache

Examining the Structure of Did. 1-7 in Light of Qumran Induction and Rabbinic Proselytism

In: Vigiliae Christianae
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  • 1 University of Toronto, Canada
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Abstract

The Didache community reflects a group of Jewish Christ-devotees receiving both Jews and Gentiles into communal membership through the entrance pattern outlined in Did. 1-7. In light of Jewish and Gentile co-membership, the statement concerning Torah obedience in Did. 6:2-3, which promotes full Torah obedience and yet provides room for selective degrees of adherence for Gentile members, is a point of interest. Do the varying degrees of Torah adherence generate dissonance for the Jewish members? How is this apparent equanimity maintained? The argument advanced here is that since the ritual structure for communal entrance reflects conceptual and structural affinities with sectarian induction (1QS) and Rabbinic proselytism (b. Yeb 47a-b), the Jewish audience is able to draw associations between the ritual pattern used for the Didache community and wider Jewish processes for communal entrance. Did. 1-7 is then available as a resource to preserve consonance by providing a holistic association with a Jewish heritage.

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