DIDASCALIA (Διδασκαλία = "Instruction"):(Redirected from APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS.)
- Jewish Original.
- Book I.:
- Book II.:
- Origin of the Institution of Bishops.
- Episcopal Powers.
- The Good Shepherd.
- Jewish Courts of Justice.
- Divine Service.
- Books III. and IV.:
- Widows "the Altar of God."
- Forbidden Charitable Gifts.
- Book V.:
- On Heresies.
- Book VI.:
- The "Didache" in an Older Form.
- Books VII. and VIII.:
- God of Our Fathers, etc.
- The Seven Benedictions.
- Prayers for Sabbath and Festivals.
- The Last Three Temple Benedictions.
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 ii. 39, 55; vi. 14, 18; vii. 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 [ὡς παράνομον ἔθνος=
Dealing with the conduct of individuals, this book begins with a warning against the lighter transgressions (
"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," iv. 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 Ẓent'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 Ẓenu'im (Ber. 62a, b; Shab. 118b, 140b; Ta'an. 21b, 22a; Meg. 12b; B. Ḳ. 82a).Book II.: 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
The qualities necessary for an overseer (based on Ex. xviii. 21; compare Mek., Yitro, ad loc.; Sifre, Bemidbar, 92; Debarim, 15; Sanh. 17a) are enumerated in ch. ii., and repeated in I Tim. iii. 2-7. One of these is that he should not be a proselyte (νεόφυτος =
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 Lev. x. 8; Sanh. 42a; 'Er. 64b); show no greediness, especially in dealing with Gentiles (the latter words are omitted in I Tim. iii. 3; compare, however, Yer. B. M. ii. 8c); suffer rather than inflict injury (compare Shab. 88b,
The name "episcopus," taken as "watchman" ("The shepherds should be good watchmen"; compare Jer. vi. 17, LXX., and Ezek. xxxiii. 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 v. 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, Gal. v. 9); therefore sinners should be separated, like Miriam (Num. xii. 14; compare Sifre ad loc.,
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 (II Sam. xii. 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 Ezek. xxxiii. 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 Good Shepherd.
"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 Matt. v. 45 and of II Tim. ii. 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 [Isa. xl. 1, LXX.]; and Noah, Lot, and Rahab are given as instances that conversation and association with the unrighteous do not condemn the righteous."
Likewise is the picture of the good shepherd, who "strengthens the weak, heals the sick, and seeks that which is lost" (derived from Ezek. xxxiv.), elaborately described in ch. xviii.-xx.; accounting for the New Testament similes (Luke xv. 4 and Matt. x. 6), as well as for the haggadic pictures of Moses and David (Ex. R. ii.; Tan., Shemot, ed. Buber, p. 6; Midr. Teh. to Ps. lxxviii. 71). "Like the gentle shepherd [Isa. xlii.], 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 x. 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 Matt. xxiii. 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 [
"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 [
V04p589006.jpg: compare Ḥul. 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 [Num. xviii.], should the administrators of charity be supported out of the charity gifts."
In the following passage, beneath "the Church of Jesus the Savior" (
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 Deut. xvi. 18; Yalḳ. to Ps. cxlvii.,
"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' [Ps. iv. 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 [Prov. xii. 28, LXX.]." It is plain that Eph. iv. 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 ["Hafṭarah"], should the assistant [deacon =
V04p590003.jpg], 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 [Isa. lvii.], 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, 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. Wörterb." s.v.
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
According to ch. lxii., the people should pursue their trades as by-work (
"The younger men of the congregation should work for their own support and for that of the needy [Prov. vi. 6, LXX., xii. 11, xix. 24; Eccl. x. 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 [
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 Ḥasidic origin (see Luke ii. 36-38; Anna and
Of Book IV. the earlier chapters treat mainly of orphans:
"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 [
V04p591006.jpg] 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' (Ps. lxviii. 6 (A. V. 5)] will provide for these, while the fortune of such a one will be spent by prodigal heirs".
Forbidden Charitable Gifts.
"While the overseers have, like husbands, to provide for the widows [compare Sirach (Ecclus.) iv. 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 [
V04p591007.jpg], rescue to the imprisoned [ V04p591008.jpg], 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 [ V04p591009.jpg] in order to become self-supporting [see concerning the bringing up of orphans, V04p591010.jpg, Ex. R. xiv.; Sanh. 19b]. Both widows and orphans receiving gifts shall give thanks 'to the Lord who giveth food to the hungry' . . ."
Peculiarly instructive are the regulations concerning the acceptance of charitable offerings. Being considered as holy sacrifices for the altar of God, the Law (Deut. xviii. 12, xxiii. 19 [A. V. 18]; Prov. xvii. 12) was applied, and no gift was to be received from unjust dealers in merchandise (
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 Ḳid. 29a; Tosef., Kid. i. 11; Yeb. 62b).Book V.:
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
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; Matt. vi. 13], yet when we are called upon to give testimony [as martyrs; compare LXX. to Isa. xliii. 10-12], while confessing His precious name with defiance [
V04p592006.jpg; 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 [ V04p592007.jpg: compare Sifre, Deut., 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 [ V04p592008.jpgin 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 V04p592009.jpgin Eighteen Benedictions], for the whole world is held together by the hand of God." Here references are made to Dan. xii. 2-3; Eccl. xii. 14; Ezek. xxvii. 11; Isa. xxvi. 19, lxvi. 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 (Dan. ii.-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 [Gen. i. l; Jer. i, 5; Zech. xii. 1; Job. x. 10; Ps. ciii. 14: cxix. 73; cxxxix. 5, 16], so will He raise all men by His will either to crown them or to punish them [Dan. xii. 3], man being His workmanship made by His word [Gen. i. 26 et seq.; text has "Christ"], just as He raises the wheat out of the ground [compare Sanh. 90b] and as He made Aaron's dry rod put forth buds [Num. xvii. 8]."
Martyrs should be held in honor, according to Ps. cxvi. 15; Prov. x. 7; Isa. lvii. 1, lxx. "A faithful martyr ["witness"] is he who strove by his own blood for the cause of faith" (ch. viii.-ix.).
On Sabbath and holy days, which are days of joy (Isa. lviii. 13), all obscene talk and song should be avoided, according to Ps. ii. 11: "Rejoice with trembling." Names of heathen gods are not to be mentioned, nor should one swear by any of the luminaries or elements (ch. x.-xi.).On Heresies. Book VI.:
Ch. i.-iv. warn against heresies and schisms, dwelling at great length on the sedition of Dathan and Abiram against Moses—who "exhibited the Law of God in the perfect number of Ten Commandments," and of whom God said: "There arose not a prophet like unto Moses" (Deut. xxxiv. 10; no Christian could without considerable modification have written of Moses all that is stated here)—and on Sheba the son of Bichri (the name is twice misspelled almost beyond recognition); and on Joshua the son of Josedech, who also was tempted by Satan (Zech. iii. 1). In ch. vi. the Sadducees and Dositheans seem to have originally been characterized as heretics among the Jewish people. The present text enumerates all the Jewish sects, and what follows to the end of the book—with the exception of some parts of ch. xxvii.-xxix., which dwell on Levitical impurity in connection with prayer and the Holy Spirit (Ber. iii. 5; compare Kayser, "Die Canones Jacob's von Edessa," 1886, pp. 12, 81)—is altogether of Christian origin and anti-Jewish in character.The "Didache" in an Older Form. Books VII. and VIII.:
These contain, besides third-century Church canons and the like, diverse subject-matter—probably thrown out by the late Christian redactor of the "Didascalia" on account of its Judæo-Christian character. The first thirty-two chapters of Book VII. contain a version of the "Didache,"which, while betraying, like the rest of the "Didascalia," the hand of a Christian redactor, rests nevertheless upon a more complete Jewish original than the one discovered by Bryennios. Its whole tenor is characteristically Jewish in so far as it has each single precept or sentence based upon some Scriptural verse; and its mode of teaching, like any haggadic or halakic work, is argumentative. It begins the "Two Ways" with an apt reference to Deut. xxx. 15 and I Kings xviii. 21; the reference to Matt. vi. 24 is manifestly an interpolation. In ch. ii. the verse "Love the Lord thy God" (Deut. vi. 5) is given (compare Iselin's [Coptic] "Apostellehre," p. 6, Leipsic, 1895). The rule, "Love those that hate you, and ye shall have no enemy," in itself decidedly Jewish in tone (see Bousset, l.c. p. 393), is derived from Deut. xxiii. 7: "Thou shalt not hate any man, Egyptian or Edomite, as they all are the works of God" (
The principle "Flee from all evil and whatever is similar to it" (
God of Our Fathers, etc.
A striking parallel to the Mishnaic statement, "The ancient Ḥasidim used to spend a full hour in silent meditation before prayer in order to turn their hearts in true devotion to their Father in heaven" (Ber. v. 1), is preserved in ch. xxiv.: "Pray thrice a day, preparing yourselves beforehand that ye may be worthy of being received as children by the Father, lest, when you call Him 'Father' unworthily, you be reproached by Him, like Israel, 'If I be a Father, where is My glory? And if I be a Lord, where is my fear?'".
Irrefutable proof of the Jewish provenience of the "Didache" and, as will be seen, of the whole "Didascalia," is given in the words "O God of our holy and perfect fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Thy faithful servants," preserved in the thanksgiving prayer after a meal (ch. xxvi.), which also contains a thanksgiving "for the Law which Thou hast planted in our souls" (compare
"Our eternal Savior, King of the godly beings, who alone art the Almighty and Lord, God of all things, God of our holy and perfect forefathers, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, merciful and compassionate, long-suffering and abundant in mercy, to whom every heart is naked and every secret thought revealed, to Thee the souls of the righteous cry aloud; upon Thee do the hopes of the holy ones rest in confidence, Thou Father of the perfect, who hearest the prayer of those that call upon Thee in uprightness and knowest the supplication unuttered. . . . Thou hast made this world a place of combat for righteousness and hast opened to all the gate of mercy [
V04p593008.jpg], having shown to each man by the knowledge implanted [ V04p593009.jpg, by natural judgment [ V04p593010.jpg, and by the admonition of the Law [ V04p593011.jpg], that riches, beauty, and strength vanish and only the guileless conscience of faith [ V04p593012.jpg] abides throughout the heavens, and walking with truth receives the right hand of victory, exulting in hope before even the world is regenerated. For Thou didst guide our forefather Abraham when he found the way of truth, and didst teach him in a vision what this world is, faith preceding his knowledge [γνῶσις]; and the covenant was the consequence of his faith [Gen. xv. 6, xxii. 17]. And when Thou gayest him Isaac as son, Thou saidst, 'I will be a God to thee' [Gen. xxvi. 3], and when our father Jacob was sent to Mesopotamia Thou showedst him the Word [text: "Christ"], and through him spakest, 'Behold I am with thee' [Gen. xxviii. 15]. And so spakest Thou to Moses, Thy faithful and holy servant, at the vision of the bush: 'I am He that is' [Ex. iii. 14, 15]. O Thou shield of the posterity of Abraham, be blessed forever".
The prayer which follows in ch. xxxiv. is the second of the Seven Benedictions; it has not been preserved intact. It begins as follows:The Seven Benedictions.
"Blessed art Thou, O Lord, King of the worlds, who by the word [
V04p593014.jpg; text has "Christ"] hast made the universe and by the same hast brought order into chaos." Here follows an enumeration of the whole work of Creation ( V04p593015.jpg), after Gen. i., closing with the formation by the divine Wisdom of man as "the citizen of the world," "the cosmos ["ornament"] of the cosmos" (κόσμου κόσμον); his body being formed of the four bodily elements, his soul endowed with five senses as a new creation out of nothing, and his mind being the charioteer of the soul. 'The closing sentence reads: "When man was disobedient Thou didst not destroy him forever, but laidst him to sleep for a time, and by an oath didst promise him resurrection and didst loose the bond of death. Blessed be Thou, O Reviver of the Dead" ( V04p593016.jpg; "through Jesus Christ our hope" is the Christian addition).
The prayer in ch. xxxv. begins, "Great art Thou, O Lord Almighty, and great is Thy power," exactly as the second of the Seven Benedictions in the Jewish ritual (
"Thou art glorious and highly exalted, invisible and unsearchable; Thy life without want; Thy operation without toil; Thy work without assistance; Thy dominion unchangeable; Thy monarchy without succession; Thy kingdom without end; Thy strength irresistible; Thine army very numerous. Thou art the Father of Wisdom, the Creator of Creation, the Bestower of Providence, the Giver of Laws, the Supplier of Wants, the Punisher of the Ungodly, and the Rewarder of the Righteous, the God and Father [here "Christ" is interpolated] and Lord of those that worship Him whose promise is infallible, . . . whose thanksgiving is everlasting, to whom adoration is due from every rational and holy creature." Here the blessing formula,
V04p594001.jpg, is omitted.
Ch. xxxvi. contains the following portions of the original Jewish prayers for Sabbath and festivals:
Prayers for Sabbath and Festivals.
"O Lord Almighty, Thou hast created the world by Thy Word [text: "Christ"], and hast appointed the Sabbath as a memorial thereof, because on that day Thou hast made us rest from our works that we may meditate upon Thy laws.
"Thou hast appointed festivals for the rejoicing of our souls, that we may remember the Wisdom created by Thee. . . . Wherefore we assemble on the Day of the Lord and rejoice with Thy Word which has lit up life and immortality. For through it Thou hast made Israel, the God-beloved, Thy peculiar people. For Thou, O Lord, didst bring our fathers out of the land of Egypt and didst deliver them out of the iron furnace, from brick-making, and didst redeem them out of the hands of Pharaoh and those under him, and didst lead them through the sea as through dry land, and feed them in the wilderness with all kinds of good things.
"Thou didst give them the Law, the Ten Words pronounced by Thy voice and written with Thy hand. Thou didst enjoin them to observe the Sabbath not for the sake of affording them an occasion of idleness, but as an opportunity of piety that they might learn to know Thy power; having, in order to prevent them from evil things, kept them as within a holy circuit [
V04p594002.jpg V04p594003.jpg] for the sake of instruction that they might rejoice in the number seven (for there are the seventh day and the seven weeks and the seven months and the seventh year and the jubilee year for remission) [a marginal note probably; compare Philo, "De Septennario," §§ 7-8], so that men might have no cause for pretending ignorance. Wherefore, He permitted men to rest every Sabbath so that no one should send forth one word in anger on the Sabbath day; for the Sabbath is the cessation of the creation, the completion of the world, [given for] the study of the Law, and the thanksgiving hymn to God for the blessings bestowed upon men. As the Mediator, Provider, and Lawgiver of all this, does the Lord's Day hold forth the word of God as the first-born of the entire creation, so that the Lord's Day commands us to offer unto Thee, O Lord, thanksgiving for all."
Obviously the fourth benediction,
Ch. xxxvii., xxxviii., and Book VIII., ch. xxxvii., have preserved portions of the last three benedictions recited both in the synagogue and in the Temple, the
The Last Three Temple Benedictions.
The first commences: "Thou who hast fulfilled Thy promise made by the prophets, and hast had mercy on Jerusalem by exalting the throne of David Thy servant, do Thou now, O Lord God, accept the prayers of Thy people who call upon Thee in truth as Thou didst accept of the gifts of the righteous in their generations. [Here follows an enumeration of all the righteous men from Abel to Mattathias and his sons.] So receive Thou the prayers of Thy people, offered to Thee with knowledge [the phrase "through Christ" is a Christian addition; there is no mention of Christ in the prayer itself] in the Spirit."
The Modim prayer begins exactly like the Jewish benediction: "We give thanks to Thee for all things. O Lord Almighty, that Thou hast not taken away Thy mercies and loving-kindnesses from us, but generation after generation dost Thou save, deliver, assist, and protect. Thou didst assist in the days of Enos and Enoch, of Moses and Joshua, of Samuel and Elijah, of David and the Kings, of Esther and Judith, and of Judas Maccabeus and his brethren ["Christ" very inappropriately interpolated here]. For He has delivered us from the sword and from famine, from sickness and from an evil tongue. . . . For all these things do we give Thee thanks [compare
V04p594008.jpg]." Here follows a special thanksgiving for the wonderful creation of man, for the immortal soul, and for the laws given to him, and for the promise of resurrection. The closing sentences are as follows: "What life is sufficient—what length of ages will be long enough for men to be thankful! For Thou hast delivered us from the impiety of polytheism. [Then follows a Christian addition quite characteristic, "and from the heresy of the murderers of Christ!"]. Thou hast delivered us from error and ignorance. Thou hast set angels over us, and hast put Satan to shame. Thou hast created us and provided for us. Thou measurest out life to us, and affordest us nourishment, and hast provided repentance. Glory and worship to Thee for all these things for ever and aye."
Of the closing benediction only the following portion has been preserved as the bishop's benediction:
"O God of our fathers, Lord of mercy, who didst form man by Thy Wisdom. . . . look down, O Lord Almighty, and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy people and bless them by Thy Word [text: "Christ"], through which Thou hast enlightened us with the light of Thy knowledge, and hast revealed Thyself unto us. Adoration is due to Thee from every rational and holy creature forever."
As all these prayers go back to pre-Christian times, they are of incalculable importance to the student of Jewish and Christian liturgy. Here is also the origin of such names as "the Lord's Day" for Sabbath (Sunday).
There are a number of other benediction formulas given in Books VII. and VIII. which betray an adaptation from Jewish prayers and anthems. Especially is the "Trisagion," or "Thrice Holy," in Book VIII., ch. xii.—which has, in more or less modified form, been universally adopted in the various churches—based on a somewhat older form of the Jewish sanctification than the one in ch. xxxv. of Book VII., mentioned above; while the prayers for penitents and for the various classes of people (Book VIII., ch. ix. and x.) have striking parallels in the older portion of the Jewish litanies (see SekiḤot). See also Essenes; Gnosticism; Liturgy; Sabbath.
- Lagarde, Constitutiones Apostolorum, Leipsic and London, 1862;
- idem, Didascalia, 1854;
- Funk, Die Apostolischen Constitutionen, Rothenburg, 1891;
- Bickell, Gesch. des Kirchenrechts, i., Giessen, 1843;
- Kohler, in Monatsschrift, 1893, p. 447.