I have been doing a thread in response to a reader who asked how we know we have the originals of the books of the Bible.  On one hand, the question involves how we know the words the authors originally wrote.  I’ve been dealing with that question over a number of posts.  But the question has another interesting and less talked about component: what is the “original” for a book that appears to have had chapters or passages added to it here or there?  Or when a book appears in fact to have been several books that were later combined into one book even before scribes started copying what we have today?

There are few examples of that in the New Testament, but before dealing with those, I thought it might be useful to mention a less controversial case — less controversial because hardly anyone has read this particular early Christian writing and even fewer people would regard it as sacred Scripture.  It is one of the “Apostolic Fathers” (the proto-orthodox writers who produced their work soon after the New Testament period, for the most part) and is known as the Didache (pronounced Did-ah-kay).  I have talked about it on the blog before, but it may be most useful to repeat (either to tell or remind you) the basic information about it, before devoting the next post to the issue I’m most interested in for this thread, which is the fact that scholars are widely convinced that what we have now is a scissors and paste job, of three documents being combined into one.

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