Original Research - Special Collection: Africa Platform for NT Scholars

A critical look at Didache 1:4b and its reflection on the non-retaliation of the Nigerian church

Prince E. Peters
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 4 | a6177 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i4.6177 | © 2020 Prince E. Peters | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 June 2020 | Published: 12 November 2020

About the author(s)

Prince E. Peters, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Didache1:4b – ἐὰν λάβῃ τίς ἀπὸ σοῦ τὸ σόν, μὴ ἀπαἱτει, οὐδὲ γὰρ δύνασαι [if anyone takes something from you that is yours, do not ask it back, because you should not or would not be able to] – is discussed in this article as problematic to the present mindset of the Nigerian church, especially as frontal attacks and premeditated persecutions from rival religions daily threaten to exterminate the Christian faith in Nigeria. This article argues that the Christians in Nigeria unwittingly interpreted this first-century document and wrongly so because this interpretation has metamorphosed into an ideology. The article suggests a sharp measure against this ideology.

Contribution: The church in Nigeria is controlled in their attitude towards self-defense by the text of Didache 1:4b. This article’s contribution is a reexamination of the text in comparison to its parallel in the synoptic texts to assert that the synoptic texts, instead of Didache 1:4b, suggests non-violent self-defense.


Keywords

Didache; Church; Violence; Religion; Nigeria

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