corner graphic

Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Didascalia

Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

A Greek work, in eight books, containing regulations of Church life, better known under the name of "Apostolic Constitutions," the full title being "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles [composed] by Clemens, Bishop and Citizen of Rome— Catholic Didascalia." Claiming to have been written by the Apostles, the work proves on closer examination to be based, like the Didache , upon an original Jewish work, transformed by extensive interpolations and slight alterations into a Christian document of great authority. There exists another version, bearing the name "Didascalia," in Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, Arabic, and (incomplete) in Latin, which, since the appearance of Lagarde's edition of the Syriac "Didascalia" in 1854, most modern scholars consider to be the original work. On the other hand, Bickell ("Gesch. des Kirchenrechts," 1843, pp. 148-177) has given convincing proofs that the "Apostolic Constitutions" is the original work, and the so-called "Didascalia" a mere condensation. In the latter the Jewish elements are to a large extent eliminated, and the Christian character is more pronounced.

Jewish Original.
Only the first six books of the "Apostolic Constitutions," which correspond with the "Didascalia"— the latter consists of twenty-six chapters and is not divided into books— form the original work the last two, which contain, besides a remodeled version of the "Didache," many liturgical pieces of very ancient character and indisputably of Jewish origin, are later additions, but seem to have belonged in part to the older Jewish original. The work is of very great value to the student of Jewish and Church history, as it contains a large amount of haggadic and halakic material derived from unknown Jewish sources, and casts a flood of light upon Talmudic and New Testament literature. The original writer quotes the Scripture after the Septuagint version, and many apocryphal verses from unknown works and, as will be shown farther on, he furnished to Paul and to other New Testament writers the source for many of their dicta. His style is fresh and vigorous, bearing striking resemblance to that of the "Didache." The Christian interpolator, on the other hand, is easily recognized by interruptions of the context, by ill-fitting New Testament references, and by occasional outbursts of Jew-hatred in glaring contrast to the Jewish spirit of the main work. The name "God" was frequently changed by copyists into "Christ," as was occasionally noticed by Lagarde at times "Christ" is used for "Logos" (the Word).

The name "Didascalia" (given in the Preface and found in 2:39,55 6:14,18 7:36) was borrowed from the Jewish original, the introductory sentence of which, greatly amplified in the "Apostolic Constitutions" and still more in the Syriac "Didascalia," seems to have read as follows:

"The plantation of God and His elect vineyard, those who believe in His unerring worship and hope to partake of His kingdom, sharing in His power and in the communion of His Holy Spirit . . . harken to His holy ' Instruction.' Take care, ye children of God, to do all things in obedience to God and to be agreeable in all things to the Lord our God. For if any man follow unrighteousness and act contrarily to the will of God, such a one will be regarded by God as a lawless heathen [ὡ ς π α ρ ά ν ο μ ο ν ἔ θ ν ο ς = ]."

Dealing with the conduct of individuals, this book begins with a warning against the lighter transgressions ( see Didache ), e.g. , covetousness (Exodus 20:17 ), as coming from the Evil One (Test. Patr., Simeon, 3) the argument, based on the Targumic interpretation of Leviticus 19:18 , as in the "Didache" (not the positive "golden rule" of the New Testament), has its exact parallel in Ab. R. N. xv.-xvi. (ed. Schechter, pp. 60,62, 65). The monition in ch. ii. to bless him who curses is based on Numbers 24:9 and Proverbs 20:22 Luke 6:28 and Matthew 5:44,45 being obviously later interpolations. The warning against lascivious conduct of men, "which may cause the stumbling of women," is based on Exodus 20:14,17 (without reference to Matthew 18:7 ) and rules regarding modesty in the dressing of hair and beard, on Deuteronomy 22:5 and Leviticus 19:27 (compare Sifra, Aḥ are Mot, 9:13). Ch. iv.-vi. recommend a useful occupation and the study of the Scriptures ( Joshua 1:8 Deuteronomy 4:7 and verses from Wisdom and Proverbs), and warn against heathen and diabolical books. Ch. viii.-x. contain rules of conduct for women, beginning with a sentence of which Paul's dictum, I Cor. 11:3, is evidently the copy, not the source (the interpolation made here disturbing the sense). The sentence is as follows:

"Let the wife subordinate herself to her husband for the head of the woman is the man, and of the man who walks in the way of righteousness, God, his Father, who is over all [compare "Didache," 4:10] therefore, next to God, O wife, fear and reverence thy husband."
With copious references to Proverbs, woman is warned not to cause men to "stumble" by her enticing attire. She is admonished to go about with covered head in the street not to paint her face, as "all frivolous adornment of what God Himself made beautiful is an affront to the bounty of the Creator" to walk with downward look and be veiled to bathe only in places and at times reserved exclusively for women and, finally, to conduct herself so as not to cause her husband to stumble. All these teachings may be termed "Hilkot Ẓ ent' ut" (Rules of Modesty), and having many parallels in Massek. Kallah, ed. Coronel, Vienna, 1864, and in Massek. Derek ' Ereẓ , were conspicuous features in the life of the Essenes or Ẓ enu' im (Ber. 62a, b Shab. 118b, 140b Ta' an. 21b, 22a Meg. 12b B. Ḳ . 82a).

Origin of the Institution of Bishops.
Dwells on the functions and powers of the head of the congregation, called "episcopus" = "overseer," the Christian "bishop," the (= π ρ ό ν ο ο ς or π ρ ο ν ο ή τ έ ς ) of rabbinical literature (Sifre, Bemidbar, 139 compare π ρ ο ν ο ί α ν π ο ι ο ύ μ ε ν ο ς in "Apost. Const." III. iii.). It begins with the rule: "The shepherd who is ordained overseer must be without blemish and not under fifty years of age" (compare Philo, "De Profugis," vi. Ḥ ag. 14a Sanh. 17a). The modification of this rule for small parishes, which follows, betrays the hand of Christian interpolators.The qualities necessary for an overseer (based on Exodus 18:21 compare Mek., Yitro, ad loc. Sifre, Bemidbar, 92 Debarim, 15 Sanh. 17a) are enumerated in ch. ii., and repeated in I Tim. 3:2-7. One of these is that he should not be a proselyte (ν ε ό φ υ τ ο ς = compare Ḳ id. 76b A. V. "novice," I Tim. 3:6, is incorrect). From Leviticus 21:17 (compare Sanh. 36b) is derived the rule in ch. iii. that the overseer must be examined in order that it may be ascertained whether he is free from blemish but chief stress is laid upon his being a compassionate friend of the widow and the stranger, eager and capable to administer to the poor, this being his principal task (ch. iv.).

In order to fulfil well his other task, that of instructing the people in the Law, he must (ch. v.-viii.) always be sober-minded (compare Sifra to Leviticus 10:8 Sanh. 42a ' Er. 64b) show no greediness, especially in dealing with Gentiles (the latter words are omitted in I Tim. 3:3 compare, however, Yer. B. M. 2:8c) suffer rather than inflict injury (compare Shab. 88b, ) shun heathen festivals and heathen lusts and as a good shepherd lead his flock by a good example (after Leviticus 15:31 , LXX. Hosea 4:9 , LXX.).

Episcopal Powers.
The name "episcopus," taken as "watchman" ("The shepherds should be good watchmen" compare Jeremiah 6:17 , LXX., and Ezekiel 33:6 ), is dwelt upon as enjoining him to expel bad sheep from the flock (ch. ix.-x, with references to Achan and Gehazi, but without mention of Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-10 ). Ch. xvi.-xix.: "One scabbed sheep, if not separated, infects the rest with disease" "A little leaven infects the whole lump" (hence, also, Galatians 5:9 ) therefore sinners should be separated, like Miriam (Numbers 12:14 compare Sifre ad loc. , ), for longer or shorter periods, and avoid "the wrath of divine judgment pronounced by the overseer, the watchman of righteousness," who has the power of binding and loosing who is like Moses and Aaron, being made to bear the sins of all (Numbers 18:1 ) and who, as shepherd, is held to account for every single sheep of his flock (Ezekiel 34 ). The whole disciplinary system in use among the Essenes and the Pharisees as well as among the early Christians (see Anathema Excommunication ) is here (ch. xlii.-xliii. and xlvii.) fully presented, the excommunicated being characteristically called ἀ π ο σ υ ν ά γ ω γ ο ς = "expelled from the synagogue" (ch. lxiii., p. 71, line 5, ed. Lagarde [compare p. 72, line 8] book III., ch. viii., id. , p. 105, line 6 book IV., ch. viii., id. , p. 119, line 23).

The overseer also offers remission of sins to the transgressor who repents, exactly as, when David confessed his sin before God, the Holy Spirit answered (2Samuel 12:13 , LXX.): "The Lord also hath put away thy sin be of good cheer, thou shalt not die" (ch. xviii. and xxii.). Moreover, "he who does not receive the penitent is a murderer of his brother, like Cain" (ch. xxi.). The sinner's claim upon compassion is especially illustrated by a remarkable portion of a Midrash relating more elaborately than in any other work the story of Manasseh's idolatry and repentance, Manasseh's prayer forming an integral part of the whole haggadic legend, while the fruitlessness of hypocritical repentance is illustrated by the singular story of Amon (see Amon Manasseh ). Ch. xxii.-xxiv.: The weak, malapropos Apostolic testimony here added by the Christian redactor only serves to establish the Jewish character of the remainder.

Still more remarkable are ch. xii.-xv., which, dwelling upon the proper treatment of the penitent sinner, refer to Ezekiel 33:11 et seq. Ch. xiv. and xviii. contain arguments in favor of mingling with the wicked in order to win them over to righteousness and to obtain God's pardon for them, without even a reference to the life work of Jesus— a fact which excludes the very possibility of a Christian authorship of the book. On the contrary, remonstrating against those "relentless" fanatics who would let the wicked perish in their sin, the author says (ch. xiv.):

"The lovers of God who commune with the sinners are not guilty of sin, but are imitators of their Father in heaven, who maketh His sun rise on the righteous and on the wicked, and sendeth His rain alike upon the evil and the good. [Compare Agadat Shir ha-Shirim, ed. Schechter, p. 4. This is the source also of Matthew 5:45 and of II Tim. 2:5.] Victors and vanquished are in the same arena, and only those are crowned who have nobly striven." "Nor is the teacher defiled by coming nigh to the sinners [compare the controversy between the Shammaites and the Hillelites in Ab. R. N. iii. (ed. Schechter, p. 14), and Ber. 22a]. The sinners should be offered comfort and hope [ Isaiah 40:1 , LXX.] and Noah, Lot, and Rahab are given as instances that conversation and association with the unrighteous do not condemn the righteous."

The Good Shepherd.
Likewise is the picture of the good shepherd, who "strengthens the weak, heals the sick, and seeks that which is lost" (derived from Ezekiel 34 ), elaborately described in ch. xviii.-xx. accounting for the New Testament similes (Luke 15:4 and Matthew 10:6 ), as well as for the haggadic pictures of Moses and David (Ex. R. ii. Tan., Shemot, ed. Buber, p. 6 Midr. Teh. to Psalm 78:71 ). "Like the gentle shepherd [Isaiah 42 ], the overseer should endeavor to save all the members of his flock, and say to the sinner, ' Do thou but return, and I will accept death for thee.' " This is the original of "the good shepherd" who "giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11-13 , quoted in the interpolated passage). "Like a father he should love them as his children, and rear them as the hen rears her chickens" (hence Matthew 23:32 ).

A genuine piece of halakic legislation occurs in ch. xxiv.-xxv. concerning the use of charity-offerings: "The overseer should not use the godly things [] as if they were profane [ = ἀ λ λ ό τ ρ ι α ], but with restraint " he may, as "a man of God" (compare 2 Kings 4:42 Ket. 105b "Didache," 13:3-6), use as godly things the tithes, first-fruits, and all the freewill offerings brought in for the poor, the orphan, the widow, the sick, and the stranger, but may not misuse them in selfish greed. Here follows, with references to Numbers 32:22 (compare Yer. Sheḳ . 3:47c), Ezekiel 34:3 , Isaiah 5:8 , and Leviticus 19:18 (34?), the passage which is obviously the source of Paul in I Cor. 9:7-9. Referring to Deuteronomy 25:4 , it says:

"In the same manner as the ox that labors on the threshing-floor without a muzzle eats indeed, but does not eat it all up, so do you who labor for the threshing-floor [: compare Ḥ ul. 5a]— that is, for the congregation of God— eat of the congregation. In the same manner as the Levites who served in the Tabernacle partook of the things offered to God [Numbers 18 ], should the administrators of charity be supported out of the charity gifts."
In the following passage, beneath "the Church of Jesus the Savior" (), there is discernible "the congregation of God that escaped the Ten Plagues and received the Ten Commandments, and has yod (=ten) as its first letter, while named after God (Yhwh ), whose first letter is also yod (= ten)." Here the overseer is recommended to the people's love and reverence as their high priest, as "the father ["abba" see Kohler in "Jew. Quart. Rev." 13:567 et seq. ] who caused you to be born anew as God's children through baptism and the Holy Spirit" (see Essenes ), and as "the earthly god," after Psalm 82:6 Exodus 22:27 . As without the priest no one could approach the altar, so the means of support for the widows and orphans, which is a type of the altar of burnt offering, may not be offered without the overseer, lest punishment, as in 1Samuel 13:13 , 2Chronicles 22:16 , and Numbers 16 , follow (ch. xxv.-xxvii.). Ch. xxxii.: "The overseer, who adopts thee as God's child, is thy father, and his right hand, with which he imbues thee with the Holy Spirit, thy mother so honor them as thy spiritual parents" (Exodus 20:12 comp. B. M. 2:11 ).

Jewish Courts of Justice.
Great stress is laid in ch. xlv. et seq. upon the avoidance of heathen courts of justice for the adjustment of differences (comp. Tan. Yelamdenu to Deuteronomy 16:18 Yalḳ . to Psalm 147 , ). On Sabbath no judicial debates should take place peace only is to prevail wherefore the court sessions should be on the second (and the fifth [?]) day of the Sabbaths, so that the controversy may be settled in the interval, and the contestants may have peace again on the Lord's Day (see Syriac "Didascalia," xi. Ket. 1:1 Beẓ ah 5:2 compare "Didache," 8:11 against the Jewish "Ma' amadot"). According to ch. lxvii., the assistants ("diacones") and elders give their votes as "men of God," and the overseer decides God, whose Shekinah (the text has Χ ρ ί σ τ ο ς ) is present, confirming the judgment (after Ps. lxxxii 1 compare Midr. Teh. ad loc. ).

"Even the heathen judge, before passing the final decree of capital punishment, lifts his hand toward the sun and swears that he is innocent of the blood of the culprit so much the more should your verdict be given only after careful investigation."

"Be, therefore, righteous judges, peacemakers, and free from anger. If it happen that by some evil influence you become angry at anybody, let not the sun go down upon your wrath for, says David, ' Be angry, and sin not' [Psalm 4:4 , LXX.]: that is, Be soon reconciled, lest your wrath, lasting long, become hatred and work sin.' For ' The souls of those that bear a settled hatred are to death,' says Solomon [Proverbs 12:28 , LXX.]." It is plain that Ephesians 4:26 is based upon this passage (compare Resch, "Agrapha," p. 210, Leipsic, 1899).

"Wherefore, brethren, it is your duty to pray continually and to remove enmity. God hears not those who are at enmity with their brethren on account of unjust anger" (compare Ber. 19a).

"Before the prayer which follows the reading from the Law and the psalm-singing and the instruction ["didascalia"] out of the Scriptures ["Hafṭ arah"], should the assistant [deacon = ], while standing near you, say with a loud voice: ' Let no one have a quarrel with another. Let none come in hypocrisy!' For the greeting of peace [Isaiah 57 ], offered on entering private houses, is all the more applicable to those that enter the congregation of God, as the name ' bet ha-keneset' ["synagogue") indicates the gathering of all who belong to the Lord and the augmentation of the number of those ' saved by concord' " (ch. lv.).

Divine Service.
Divine service, under the direction of the overseer, "as the commander of a great ship" (compare Clement's Epistle to James xiv.-xv. B. B. 91b Ber. 28a Levy, "Neuhebr. Wö rterb." s.v. ), and under the supervision of the deacons (), begins with the reading of the two lessons from the Torah and the Prophets, while "all stand in silence" (according to Deuteronomy 5:28 [A. 5:31], 27:9). This is followed by expositions by the seven elders, and finally by the overseer ("maftir") then prayer is offered for the land and its produce, for the high priest and the king, and for the peace of the universe, the faces of all being turned eastward "toward the site of Paradise" and the overseer then gives the closing benediction (ch. lvii.).

Ch. lviii. states that the overseer should enjoin the people to attend the service regularly, and not by their absence to cause the body of the divine glory, Shekinah (text, "Christ"), to lose a member (compare and Yeb. 64a Ber. 6a, 8a) especially on the Sabbath day, on which "we pray thrice standing, in memory of the exodus from Egypt and the manna, and on which the reading of the Prophets takes place" (ch. lix. see further regarding the Sabbath prayer). In ch. lx. it is stated that the people should emulate the heathen, who rally in the theaters, as in a synagogue, for "things that do not profit," while deprived of the power of the Word and of the power of the name "Judah," which is interpreted "confession" ( Ezekiel 5:6,7 16:47 Jeremiah 2:10,11 ).

According to ch. lxii., the people should pursue their trades as by-work () and the worship of God as their main work (), avoiding the shows and theaters of the Hellenes and the Hellenic oracles, and adhering to the congregation of the Lord, "the daughter of the Highest" (Psalm 26:4,5 50:1,2 Jeremiah 15:17 , LXX. Job 31:5,6 compare ' Ab. Zarah 18b). They should also avoid the indecent spectacles, the sports, and the feasts of the heathen ( Numbers 23:23 2Samuel 15:23 , LXX. Leviticus 19:26 Jeremiah 9:2 ). "There is no fellowship between God and Satan" (hence Cor. 6:14,15). Only for the sake of redeeming a captive and saving a soul () and other necessary objects may such places be visited (compare Shab. 150a).

Work.
"The younger men of the congregation should work for their own support and for that of the needy [Proverbs 6:6 , LXX., 12:11, 19:24 Ecclesiastes 10:18 ]: ' And if any one will not work, neither shall he eat among you,' for the Lord our God hateth the slothful. For no one of those who are dedicated to God [ Targ. to Judges 5:9 I Macc. 2:42 see Deborah in Rabbinical Literature ] ought to be idle." Here again Paul (II Thess. 3:10) copies from the "Didascalia."

These, as well as part of Book V., contain regulations concerning the support of widows, orphans, and other persons in distress but the order in which they are presented is scarcely the original one. The fundamental idea underlying the book which deals with widows as a special class, or holy order, is that they are "types of the altar of God" (Book III., ch. vi., vii., xiv. compare Book II., ch. xxvi., and Altar ) they pray for him who gives alms (Book III., ch. xiii., xiv.).

Widows "the Altar of God."
The institution of pious widows spending their time in prayer goes back to pre-Christian times, and can not but be of Essene or Ḥ asidic origin (see Luke 2:36-38 Anna and Serah Bat Asher ) the Therapeutes had their class of aged women who led a holy life, and who were regarded as virgins because they would not marry a second time (Philo, "De Vita Contemplativa," § 8 see especially Conybeare in his edition, pp. 305,353 compare Kohler, "Testament of Job," in Kohut Memorial Volume, pp. 287-292). These "virgin widows," whose type was Judith (see Judith 11:17 , 12:6-8, 16:22), are called "the pious women" ( ) that "save their generation" (Ex. R. i. Num. R. xxi. Targ. Yer. to Exodus 38:8 Soṭ ah 12a). These widows had to be sixty years of age ( compare Abot 5:21) before they were admitted into the order of women (hence I Tim. 5:9 the Syriac "Didascalia" has "sixty" changed into "fifty"). On entering the order they had to take the vow of virginity— that is, that they would not marry again wherefore they were to be of an age when remarrying was no longer thought of. Exceptionally young widows after a brief marriage were admitted when they had an "especial gift of widowhood," to be blessed like (? Judith and) the widow of Sarepta mentioned in 1 Kings 17:9 (Book III., ch. i.). Widows not belonging to the order might marry a second time, lest they be ensnared by Satan ( ib. ch. ii.). "The widows who are supported as consecrated to God must be sober, chaste, faithful, and pious they must have been married only once, have brought up their children well, and have entertained strangers without blemish" (ch. iii.). The widow "should be meek and not hasty of speech, and leave to the rulers doctrinal questions to be answered for the young applicants. Only the unity of God she should defend against polytheistic errors, but in regard to the mysteries of the Shekinah [the text has "Christ"] she must use caution in order not to blaspheme God" ( Isaiah 52:5 , LXX.). "She should not teach in the assembly, but pray, and listen to those that teach" (hence Paul in I Cor. 14:34). "Being the altar of God, she should go to the houses of the faithful to obtain alms, not to the houses of strangers [Syriac "Didascalia": "to become a stumbling-block to men"]. Nor should she indulge in foolish prattle instead of going to the synagogue on the Day of the Lord for rest and watchfulness like the angels ["watchers"]. Nor should she, dissatisfied with her support by the congregation, be solicitous about mammon and make her bag her God, ' worshiping mammon instead of God' [hence Matthew 6:24 compare Sifre to Deuteronomy 6:5 ] but, like Judith, she should pray unceasingly for the congregation, remaining in her house, singing psalms, reading the Scripture, holding vigils and fasts, communing with God continually in songs and hymns and let her take wool for work to help others, but not for her own use" (ch. vi.-vii.). "As little as the priests were allowed to accept free-will offerings from a rapacious person or a harlot [Deuteronomy 23:18 Malachi 1:13,14 ], is the widow allowed to accept any gift from improper sources, nor indeed from any one who has been excommunicated from the Synagogue for prayer ought not to be offered by the recipient for such a one, this being an offense against the Holy Spirit [the text has "Christ"]" (ch. viii.). "Any widow who fosters strife acts like Cain, and will be cast out of the kingdom of God and delivered to eternal punishment as doing the work of Satan" (ch. ix.). "It is by appointment of God that the overseer distributes the gifts among the widows, and they have to pray both for him and for the giver" (ch. xiii.-xiv.). In ch. iii.-iv. it is stated to be the overseer's duty, as the steward of God, to provide for the wants of all the needy, the widows and orphans, the friendless and the afflicted, without any partiality, and to mention the name of the giver so that the recipients may be able to pray for him (Isaiah 58:7 Daniel 4:27 Psalm 41:2 [A. 5:1], exii. 9 Proverbs 16:6 , 19:17 , 21:13 ). Also those who assist the overseer in the administration of the needy ( compare Kohler, "Testament of Job," in l.c. p. 318 hence "diacones" = "deacons") are required to be spotless like him and still more energetic ( ), ever ready to travel, to carry messages, and to minister to the needy. Women should attend to women in need. They should not be ashamed to attend to those in want, but, if needs be, should lay down their lives for a brother, imitating the Lord of heaven and earth (compare Targ. Yer. Genesis 35:9 ), acting only for His name's sake. They should visit all who are in need of visitation, and report to the overseer (ch. xix.).

Of Book IV. the earlier chapters treat mainly of orphans:(Leviticus 26:16 or Ecclesiastes 6:2 , according to Midrashic interpretation Isaiah 1:7 )"When the son or daughter of any brother [the Christianized text has "Christian"] becomes an orphan, some one of the brethren should adopt the same, and, if feasible, marry the girl to his son. They who do so, perform a great work [] and will receive reward from God and if, because such orphans are poor, he, being rich, is ashamed to do so, the Father of the fatherless and the ' judge of the widows' (Psalm 68:6 (A. 5:5)] will provide for these, while the fortune of such a one will be spent by prodigal heirs".( Psalms 104:14-15 145:15-16 Ecclesiastes 2:25 , LXX. Zechariah 9:17 )"While the overseers have, like husbands, to provide for the widows [compare Sirach (Ecclus.) 4:10, Hebrew text] to give work to the mechanics to show compassion to the feeble to give shelter to the strangers, food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, visitation to the sick [], rescue to the imprisoned [], they must take especial care of the orphans, give the marriageable maiden in marriage to a brother, and cause the young man to learn a trade [] in order to become self-supporting [see concerning the bringing up of orphans, , Ex. R. xiv. Sanh. 19b]. Both widows and orphans receiving gifts shall give thanks ' to the Lord who giveth food to the hungry' . . ."

Forbidden Charitable Gifts.
Peculiarly instructive are the regulations concerning the acceptance of charitable offerings. Being considered as holy sacrifices for the altar of God, the Law (Deuteronomy 18:12 , 23:19 [A. 5:18] Proverbs 17:12 ) was applied, and no gift was to be received from unjust dealers in merchandise ( Ecclus. [Sirach] 26:29 Isaiah 1:22,23 ), from fornicators or such as abuse their own female servants (, Lev. R. xxv.), from sodomites, idol-makers, blasphemers, thieves, publicans, informers, any subverter of justice, usurer, or from any one acting against the will of God. Acceptance of gifts from any of the foregoing would evoke divine punishment, as in the case of the prophet (IKings 13:1-5) and the prayer of those who received such gifts would not be heard (Jeremiah 7:16 , 15:1 ). "Neither did Elisha accept gifts from Hazael nor Abijah from Jeroboam's wife" (IIKings 8:10 1 Kings 14:3 ). "Ye have received the gifts of the Levites and should not receive from the wicked. It is better to perish from want than to accept from the enemies of God" (Psalm 114:5 ). "Receive only from such as are found, on examination, to walk in holiness, and not from those who are expelled from the Synagogue." "The Lord is honored only out of righteous labor" (Proverbs 3:9 , LXX.). "Only righteous money is to be used for the ransom of captives and imprisoned ones" (Proverbs 24:11 ). "Should, however, the acceptance of money from ungodly persons be enforced upon any, it is to be used only for fuel, like the forbidden holy thing [] which is to be consumed with fire, being evil not by nature, but only in the minds of those that offer it" (Leviticus 19:7 compare Sifra thereto). Compare with these regulations those regarding "ẓ edaḳ ah" practised by the Jewish charity administrators ( Tosef., B. Ḳ . 11:6-9 Sanh. 26b B. B. 10b see also Charity ) the interpretation of the Law, (Deuteronomy 23:19 ), with reference to charity, was a matter of controversy between the Christian Jacob the Gnostic, and the Rabbis (' Ab. Zarah 17a).

Of the four chapters which close Book IV., only partly preserved in the Syrian "Didascalia," the eleventh is, with the exception only of the words "and our divine words," certainly Jewish. It enjoins parents to train their children well, have them learn useful trades, familiarize them with holy Scripture, guard them against bad company, and, finally, to join them in wedlock in due time (compare Ḳ id. 29a Tosef., Kid. 1:11 Yeb. 62b).

This book, treating of martyrdom, resurrection, heathenism, and the feast-and fast-days, rests, in spite of the pronounced Christian character which it now has, upon a Jewish substratum, "Christ" having often, and at times very awkwardly, been substituted for "God." The idea presented in ch. i.-iv. is that "he who is condemned by the heathen to the games and the beasts for the name of the Lord God is a holy martyr, the son of the Highest, and a vessel of the Holy Spirit" (compare the expression in the Midr. ha-Gadol, quoted by I. Lewy in his "Ein Wort Ueber die ' Mechilta des R. Simon,' " p. 38, note), and "whosoever aids or rescues these martyrs by means of his work shares in their glorious martyrdom." "He who denies being God's in order not to be hated by men, loving his own life more than he does the Lord in whose hand his breath is held, is wretched, an enemy of God, who has his portion with the accursed and not with the saints, and inherits the eternal fire prepared for Satan and his angels, instead of the reward of the blessed" (compare Sifre, Debarim, 32 Philo, "Quod Omnis Probus Liber," xiii. Wisdom of Solomon 3:11-19 Bousset, "Die Religion des Judenthums," 1902, p. 168).

The Essene principle is set forth in ch. vi.-vii.:

"Let us then renounce our parents, kinsmen, and friends, wife and children, all possessions and enjoyments of life, if they become an impediment to piety [compare Philo, "De Vita Contemplativa." § 2, and parallels in Conybeare's ed., p. 49]. For while it behooves us to pray that He may not lead us into temptation [Ber. 60b Matthew 6:13 ], yet when we are called upon to give testimony [as martyrs compare LXX. to Isaiah 43:10-12 ], while confessing His precious name with defiance [ Sifra, Emor, 9], let us rejoice, hastening toward immortality. And when persecuted, let us not be perplexed and let us love neither this world nor the praise of men nor the glory and honor of rulers but let him who has been deemed worthy of martyrdom rejoice in the joy of the Lord as obtaining thereby a great crown, and ending life with a confession [: compare Sifre, Deuteronomy 32 Ber. 61b]. For the Almighty God will Himself raise us up, according to His infallible promise, and grant us a resurrection with all those that have slept from the beginning of the world [ in the Eighteen Benedictions], whether we die in the sea, are scattered on earth, or torn to pieces by wild beasts or birds. He will raise us by His own power [compare in Eighteen Benedictions], for the whole world is held together by the hand of God." Here references are made to Daniel 12:2-3 Ecclesiastes 12:14 Ezekiel 27:11 Isaiah 26:19 , 66:24 then to Enoch and Elisha, to the raising of the dead by Ehjah and Elisha to Jonah (ii:11), to Daniel and his three youths ( Daniel 2 -iii.), and finally, to convince heathen readers, to the Sibylline Oracles (iv:178-190), and to the mythical phenix.

"In this hope we undergo stripes, persecutions, and deaths. Just as God by His will made heaven and earth [Genesis 1 l Jeremiah 1:5 Zechariah 12:1 Job 10:10 Psalm 103:14 : 119:73 139:5,16 ], so will He raise all men by


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Didascalia'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tje/d/didascalia.html. 1901.

Search for…
Enter query in the box:
 or 
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

 
Prev Entry
Didascali
Next Entry
Diderot, Denis
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology