Why no mention of Jesus as God in the Didache

the Didache may be the oldest document in the Church-are you surprised by the absence of referring to Jesus as God and the absence of the present day concept of the Eucharist-

one interesting theory is that it was written by Jewish Christians -presumably many who knew Christ or knew someone who did -perhaps the Jewish Christians being closer to Jesus the Man struggled with or were not aware of His Divinity

while I am at it-the Letters of James and Jude ( presumably the “brothers” of Christ-at least relatives) do not mention Christ as God

one english cleric ascribes this to an intentional supression of the desposyni by the Church which increased as the number of Gentile Christians increased

any thoughts

Or maybe that document was only dealing with teachings/practices that were in dispute at the time. Remember that not every historical document was intended as an exhaustive treatise. Some of the most valuable ancient documents are those that were dashed off quickly, because they give us a snapshot of the mindset of the time.

The Didache was apparently written as a very basic introduction to proper practices (not beliefs) of the Christian community.

To state in a 1st-century document (knowing that they had the writings of Paul, then Peter, then the Gospels and the catholic epistles) that Jesus is God the Son or that the Eucharist is the real presence of Christ would have seemed like “Captain Obvious”.

In fact, most 1st-century christian writings, especially the NT epistles, were written to correct specific errors and heal specific schisms within the Church, and not as a catechism or a statement of what the entire church faithful already believed. Those beliefs, as St. Paul cited, were first delivered to the saints orally by the apostles and their successors. Remember, at that time and throughout most of history, most people were illiterate and could only receive the gospel as taught to them orally by representatives of the Church. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that literacy was common in the West. It is still not common in much of the developing world.

If you want debates about the defections and schisms in the early church, read the Early Church Fathers. They wrote in great detail about the conflicts, small apostasies and rebellions and some really wicked sins involving the early church (yep, warts and all). I like “The Faith of the Early Fathers” by Jurgens in 3 volumes. There are many others that go into more or less detail. There is a good one called “The Fathers Know Best” that many people find helpful.

I think that that is what makes Christian history (and all history) so much fun. We try to put ourselves in the ancient authors’ shoes, or moccasins or boots, learn about the way they lived and then try to figure out why they were writing what they wrote.

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)

P.S.: I am currently fascinated by a series of historical books on ancient America, before and after Columbus. They are “1491”, “1492” and “1493” by Charles C. Mann. These are some of the best books I have ever read.

Chapter 7 is the earliest written testimony to the actual use of the Trinitarian formula for baptism outside of the gospels themselves.

Chapter 9 on the Eucharist is intended to document the form of the liturgy, based on the assumption of the Real Presence. If it is not Christ present, then to what does the text refer with the reference “do not give what is Holy to the dogs”? Do you think this is a reference to bread and wine? Did it become holy through the prayer of thanksgiving cited there?

Actually, that is what a lot of Evangelicals will claim. But that is only because they read the ECFs selectively, looking to justify their core doctrines. Interesting that they feel the need to seek out the most ancient Church writings to excuse their teachings. But those writings taken in context with no editing, contradict their teachings, wherein everything is symbolic and nothing means what it says (unless, of course, it appears to agree with their doctrine)…

Why fight so hard against the plain meaning of John 6?


It is all together TOO CATHOLIC, and the CC must be wrong. :shrug:

All Protestants define themselves by the nature and extent of what they deny in Catholicism.

Some Jewish scholars have argued that it was written before the time of Jesus, thus no mention of Jesus at all.

Yeah, this just seems to lack merit. The Trinity is a uniquely Christian formulation.

I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch. Judaism already had binitarian elements by the first century; refer to the now classic article by Daniel Boyarin:


The Divine aspect of Jesus, known as the Word, is also distinguished from God by Justin Martyr.

Justin calls the Word, the first born “of” God…


I am a little confused. Jesus is mentioned throughout the Didache. He is referred to as Jesus, as Lord, as the Son of God, as Jesus Christ and as part of the Baptism rite" “the father, son and holy spirit” aka the Trinity. So what do you mean there is no mention of Jesus?

I think Jesus is mentioned a few times, you’re right, but I honestly haven’t gone back to look. One of the things that has puzzled scholars is that Jesus isn’t more prominent in such a text and the references that exist are so few and concentrated. There are a number of theories about this as I recall, including that the references to “Jesus your servant” are later interpolations, or that the second on the Eucharist was a later addition. Others argue that even though Jesus is mentioned there’s nothing that sounds particularly Christological about him. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard presentations on the topic, so I honestly don’t remember exactly how the arguments go.

Some scholars think the Didache started as a Jewish text that underwent Christianizing. See this article for an overview.

First Born has always had a special legal connotation in middle-eastern thought and in some other cultures as well. First Born means “the one who is heir to all that his father has and all that his father is”. This includes all of the father’s material possessions, status, relationships, titles, authorities and privileges.

Throughout history, the term has been used this way. There are many people in the bible and in secular history who were call “First Born” even though

1: They were an only child, therefore the term used as you would have it would be redundant.


2: They were adopted, and so not really “born” of those parents at all, but still called First Born because they were the ones who would inherit. There are several cases in Roman history where a childless man would adopt a son and proclaim him “First Born”, with all of its ramifications. And everyone understood what he meant.

When Jesus is called the First Born of the Father, it is the same. It is pointing out something that is explicitly stated in Hebrews 1:1-2; that Jesus is heir to all things.

But yes, when we speak of God, we usually mean God the Father, unless the context indicates otherwise. God the trinity exists as a family of three persons, of the same divine substance.

This does not mean that the Father and the Son are two Gods, but that they are two distinct persons, the Holy Spirit being also a distinct person, yet of the same substance as the Father and the Son.


I personally do not read it as meaning two Gods either Paul :slight_smile:

It most certainly gives an insight into the separation of realms between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the Word. Something that post-Nicene Christian teaching has tried to unify but I believe that the Truth lies in their separation.

The Word is “with” God, but the Word is not God, but is the “first-born” of God, the “first emanation”, and God’s “Primal Will”



I read a good theory recently, it was someone asking what would have happened if Jesus had not died so young, if he had had a little more tact and patience. Maybe he would have outgrown his younger views. It’s really such a pity, he thought, that Jesus died so young, so much promise cut short.

Lol, where did you read that? It sounds pretty amusing.

Is this the belief of all those who espouse your faith?

Bahai belief separates the World of the Essence of God (or in Catholicism it is known as Deus a se) and the first emanation, the World of the Kingdom. In the Bahai Faith, yes, the First-Born of God is the Word.

You can read more here:



Yes, it is. They profess to embrace the Christian Scriptures but believe nothing they contain, completely disregarding the Christian understanding of our own Scriptures. Instead, as Servant has made clear, they unilaterally change the clear meaning of our Scriptures, as well as the Quran, I might add, and then swirl them together into a concoction of contradiction which they call harmony. White is black and black is white and up is down and down is up.

Sorry, I guess I need to lay off the Baha’i threads for awhile.

Since I can’t delete the above, post let me instead offer an apology to all for going off the deep end for a bit. :o

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