NOTES ON THE DIDACHE. II: ON CERTAIN POINTS IN THE FIRST CHAPTER

C. BIGG
1904 Journal of Theological Studies  
relaxed simply on the ground that no sufficient supply of water for the more regular mode of administration is at hand, whether the candidate is sick or whole. Bryennius thought that the compiler must have meant to restrict this indulgence to extreme cases, iav avayicq IKUTTQ TOV ySam-arfiaTos. But Schaff and Harnack do not find this proviso in the text, and indeed it is not there. ' Here', says Harnack, ' we have the oldest testimony for the lawfulness of Baptism by aspersion ; it is
more » ... n ; it is especially important to notice that the author betrays not the slightest doubt as to its validity.' It is true that he has no doubt upon the point, and it is also true that in this he takes a very wise and liberal view. But in the middle of the third century Magnus and many others would have doubted whether a person baptized in this way, even under stress of necessity, was kgitimus christianus, and even Cyprian and Cornelius, and probably Tertullian also, would hardly have said that the difference between immersion (or, if the reader chooses, such a perfusion as Gregory of Nyssa describes) and the pouring of a small quantity of water on the head of a sick person lying on a bed, or of a whole person standing on the ground, made ' nulla distinctio '. To us moderns the teaching of the Didache on this point seems quite unobjectionable. But this is not the impression which it would have produced in the ante-Nicene church. It struck the editor of the Constitutiones apostolicae as novel and risky; hence, when he came, probably after no great lapse of time, to work over this passage of the Didache, he refused to consider the possibility of an insufficient supply of water. ' First,' he says, ' thou shalt anoint with holy oil, then thou shalt baptize with water, and lastly thou shalt seal with ointment. . . But if there be neither oil nor ointment, the water is sufficient' {Const. Apost. vii 22). II. ON CERTAIN POINTS IN THE FIRST CHAPTER.
doi:10.1093/jts/os-v.20.584 fatcat:4kvezomdcjeefngendyi7e4ute