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A Coptic papyrus containing Didache 10:3b-12:2a, dated to the end of the fourth or start of the fifth century, was bought in 1923 for what was then the British Museum and catalogued as British Library Oriental Manuscript 9271. They conclude that "this sheet was originally cut from a roll of papyrus in order to serve as a double-leaf in a codex," but instead it was used "as a space for scribal exercises" (87).
Earlier Coptic and Ethiopic versions also exist for a few chapters of this text.To this basic substratum, the Didache form of the two ways has attracted addititional sections in 1:3b-2:1 (gospel sayings and related admonitions; see especially Latyon 1968; Mees 1971) and 3:1-6 (the 'fences' tradition).Similarly, the apparent intrusion of such sections as 12:1-5 (compare 11:4-6) and 14:1-3 into the flow of the community instructions, and the evidences of developmental language even within the existing instructions (e.g., the concessions in 6:2 and 7:2-3, the change from itinerant to local ministry in 15:1-2) illustrate the evolving nature of this material even outside the two-ways section.It does not really remove many "difficulties" in the logical flow of the text, and it hardly leaves an adequate ending for the writing. Crossan comments on the provenance of the Didache (op. They noted that the text is addressed to "rural communities of converted pagans" (98).To these points, Crossan adds the consideration that the reading of the Coptic text of is likely to be secondary, while the Greek text is more difficult and earlier, and that this "would render doubtful Patterson's proposal that the Coptic fragment represented an earlier and shorter edition of the Didache" (op. It "reveals a Christianity established in rural communities who have broken with the radicalism of earlier converts" (100).The Didache, an early second-century Christian composition, is also clearly composite, consisting of a "Two Ways" section (chaps.1-6), a liturgical manual (7-10), instructions on the reception of traveling prophets (11-15), and a brief apocalypse (16).1-6 has a prehistory that connects with Jewish ethical concerns (see Harnack 1896) which probably took shape in both Greek and Semitic formulations.This helps to explain the similarities and differences between the two ways in Didache, Barnabas, Doctrina, and elsewhere (e.g., Goodspeed 1945; Rordorf 1972).Marked divergences in style and content as well as the presence of doublets and obvious interpolations make plain the fact that the Didache was not cut from whole cloth.The dominant view today is that the document was composed on the basis of several independent, preredactional units which were assembled by either one or two redactors (Neiderwimmer 19-70, ET 19-52).