I was surprised to see that in the Didache the form of the Golden Rule is in the negative.  I’ve read that the positive formulation in the Sermon on the Mount may be original to Jesus.  If the Didache used Matthew as a source, how does one account for that reversion?



I started writing up a simple answer to this question but then I realized that the answer doesn’t make much sense without some more extended background.  Just a few months ago on the blog – this past December — I talked about the intriguing early Christian writing known as the Didache.  But everything I said then may not be fresh in everyone’s mind (I know it’s not fresh in *my* mind: I had forgotten I even posted about it!!).  So let me explain again what the book is – not in the same terms as I did as before but by way of a general overview, as I lay it out in my undergraduate textbook on the New Testament.  In my next post I’ll give then a direct answer to the question this reader has raised.


The early second-century book known as The Didache of the Twelve Apostles (didache literally means “the teaching”) was virtually unknown until the end of the nineteenth century, when it was discovered in a monastery library in Constantinople. Since then it has made a tremendous impact on our understanding of the inner life of the early Christian communities. Among other things, it (a) preserves our earliest account of how the early Christians practiced their rituals of baptism and the eucharist, (b) discloses the kinds of prayers that early Christians said, (c) indicates the days on which they fasted, and (d) demonstrates the existence of itinerant Christian apostles, prophets, and teachers who roved from town to town, addressing the spiritual needs of the Christian communities in exchange for daily food and shelter.

The first six chapters of the book …

I’m afraid the rest of this post is for members of the blog.  If you don’t belong yet, now’s the perfect time to rectify that serious problem in your life.  JOIN!  It won’t take much and it will give you lots.