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Two Ways


A method of paraenesis used in the didache and other church documents for purposes of moral catechesis. The Didache begins, "There are two ways, one of Life and one of Death," and proceeds to describe behaviors that foster life and excoriate conduct that leads to destruction and death. Another second-century work, the Epistle of Barnabas, using very similar language, speaks of "two ways of instruction," the way of light and the way of darkness. The first is "controlled by God's lightbringing angels, the other by angels of Satan" (c. 18). The dualism in this approach expounds in detail the "great difference between the two ways." This approach to moral teaching, a prominent theme in the Wisdom literature of the ancient world, is found in the earliest books of the Bible (Deut 30: 1520). Citing Matthew (7: 1314), the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "The Gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation" (1696).

Bibliography: r. e. aldridge, "Peter and the 'Two Ways,"' Vigilae Christianae, v. 53 (1999), 233264. b.b. butler, "The 'Two Ways' in the Didache," Journal of Theological Studies, v. 12 (1961) n.s., 2738. k. niederwimmer, The Didache: A Commentary, tr. l. maloney (Minneapolis, MN 1998). w. rordorf, "Un Chapitre d'Éthique Judéo-Chrétienne: Les Deux Voies," Recherches de Science Religieuse, v. 60 (1972), 109128. a. seeberg, Die beiden Wege und das Aposteldekret (Leipzig 1906). m. j. suggs, "The Christian Two Ways Tradition," in d. aune ed., Studies in New Testament and Early Christian Literature: Essays in Honor of Allen P. Wikgren (Leiden 1972), 6074. j. van oort, Jerusalem and Babylon: A Study into Augustine's City of God and the Sources of His Doctrine of the Two Cities (Leiden and New York 1991).

[p. j. hayes]

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