Moral Instruction in Didache 3

Inspired by yesterday’s post about γίνομαι with a predicate substantive, here’s a passage with quite a bit of that construction, and with quite a bit of interesting moral instruction:

My child, flee from everything evil — even  flee from everything similar to evil. Do not prove to be quick to anger (since anger is the path that leads to murder), or jealous, or contentious, or hot-tempered, because each and every one of these things gives birth to murder.

My child, do not prove to be lustful (since lust is the path that leads to illicit sex), or foul-mouthed, or someone who lets their eyes roam, because each and every one of these things gives birth to adultery.

My child, do not prove to be a fortune-teller (since it is the path that leads to idolatry), or use charms and incantations to get what you want, or practice astrology, or use magic to try and purify people — or even wish to see such things — because each and every one of these things gives birth to idolatry.

My child, do not prove to be a liar (since untruthfulness is the path that leads to theft), or fond of money, or conceited, because each and every one of these things gives birth to theft.

My child, do not prove to be a grumbler (since it is the path that leads to blasphemy), or be arrogant and stubborn, or evil-minded, because each and every one of these things gives birth to blasphemy.

But be humble, since the meek will inherit the earth. Become patient, and compassionate, and innocent, and quiet, and good, and continually in awe of the things that you heard.

Do not exalt yourself, and do not admit arrogance into your soul. Do not let your soul be united with the arrogant; rather, associate with the righteous and the lowly. Receive the things that happen to you as if they were good things, since you know that nothing happens apart from God.

(A note about this translation: this is from a translation of the Didache that I did a year or so ago. I use italics to represent emphasis in the Greek that is normally lost in English translation; Greek emphasizes words and phrases through changing word order, while in English, we have to change the formatting of the text to achieve the same effect.)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s