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One of the most famous passages of the Didache is its reference to the Matthean baptismal formula:

Didache VII

  1. Concerning baptism, baptise thus: Having first rehearsed all these things, "baptise, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," in running water;
  2. But if thou hast no running water, baptise in other water, and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm.
  3. But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head "in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost."
  4. And before the baptism let the baptiser and him who is to be baptised fast, and any others who are able. And thou shalt bid him who is to be baptised to fast one or two days before.

The Matthean formula is found only in Matthew 28:19:

KJV Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

But in Chapter X he says that thanks are to be given to the Father, who is addressed as "Lord Almighty" and thanks are to be given for "spiritual food and drink and eternal light through thy Child":

Didache X:

  1. But after you are satisfied with food, thus give thanks:
  2. "We give thanks to thee, O Holy Father, for thy Holy Name which thou didst make to tabernacle in out hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever.
  3. Thou, Lord Almighty, didst create all things for thy Name's sake, and didst give food and drink to men for their enjoyment, that they might give thanks to thee, but us hast thou blessed with spiritual food and drink and eternal light through thy Child.
  4. Above all we give thanks to thee for that thou art mighty. To thee be glory for ever.
  5. Remember, Lord, thy Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in thy love, and gather it together in its holiness from the four winds to thy kingdom which thou hast prepared for it. For thine is the power and the glory for ever.
  6. Let grace come and let this world pass away. Hosannah to the God of David. If any man be holy, let him come! if any man be not, let him repent: Maranatha ("Our Lord! Come!"), Amen."
  7. But suffer the prophets to hold Eucharist as they will.

So my question is, what does the Didacher understand the Father's "Holy Name" to be? I see a few options:

  • "Father"
  • "Lord Almighty"
  • "YHVH" (and variants)
  • (Perhaps he doesn't have a name in mind at all, just his "fame")

And does the fact that he teaches that thanks are to be given to "Lord Almighty" for giving light and life through his son suggest that possibly one or more of these is true:

  • the name "YHVH" was edited out
  • the Didacher wasn't Trinitarian
  • the Matthean formula was added later (it is inconsistent with the rest of the NT!)
  • we need to rethink the whole concept of "name" in the scriptures

Personally I don't think that the Tetragrammaton ever was included in the Didache. Aversion to the divine name is evident in the extant "canonical" manuscripts.

But I don't think the Didacher would have been on board with the idea of Jesus and the holy spirit being "eternally co-equal with the Father" or even "same substance" (see Hebrews 1:1-3) though there is no mention of the latter either way.

I think that perhaps the Didache originally had a Markan formula but given the paucity of manuscripts it is impossible to say. But it seems so out of place given chapter 7.

As to "name" ("ONOMA") itself, I do think we may need to revisit its actual usage to not always assume a translation as "name". Often it is "title" or "authority" or "fame" etc. So I think that is a factor here.

It is a bizarre feature of the NT that it extols the name of the Almighty (the Father) without actually declaring what that name might be and no one seems to detect the inconsistency!

So, to what name is the Didacher referring when he says:

Didache X:2. "We give thanks to thee, O Holy Father, for thy Holy Name which thou didst make to tabernacle in out hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever.

  • What do you mean by "but" in "But in Chapter X he says that thanks are to be given to the Father, who is addressed as "Lord Almighty"". As if the "Father" in the formula "the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" is not precisely that? – Sola Gratia Nov 6 '18 at 20:01
  • Doesn't it make you uncomfortable that when the Didacher prays, he prays to the Father and thanks him for Jesus, "thy child" and completely omits "the Holy Ghost"? I mean, he seems to know who God really is: the Father, Lord Almighty. Jesus is his son. "Thou, Lord Almighty, didst create all things for thy Name's sake, and didst give food and drink to men for their enjoyment, that they might give thanks to thee, but us hast thou blessed with spiritual food and drink and eternal light through thy Child." According to him, who is "Lord Almighty"? Not the Trinity, but rather the Father. – Ruminator Nov 6 '18 at 20:13
  • You literally quoted where he says/they say, "the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Sure, Father and Son are categories that don't imply the Holy Ghost, hence, 'Father, thy Child,' the Spirit is the implied medium of prayer of the whole time: Romans 8:26. If I showed you lots of things in the Tridentine Rite of Mass, you'd create the same fallacious dichotomy, too, between the Father being the Lord Almighty, and the Trinity being true (i.e. both have that the Father is God as the premise—the very reason to be His true Son means He is also God in the first place). – Sola Gratia Nov 6 '18 at 20:27
  • 1
    When you say Jesus is God's Son as an argument against His being God, never forget you are importing Unitarianism into a debate on the truth or falsehood of the Trinity—question-begging. Because Christians believe Jesus is God precisely because He is the Son of God. Cf. John 10:36. – Sola Gratia Nov 6 '18 at 20:28
  • God has many sons and there are gods many and lords many but to us (the apostles) there is but one God, the Father (and one KURIOS, who was made KURIOS because he obeyed GOD! "Wherefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name". Eternally co-equal? I think not. – Ruminator Nov 6 '18 at 20:31
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"Didst create all things for thy Name's sake"

This is a phrase which means "for thy glory"

Psalm 23 (DRB)

A psalm for David.

The Lord ruleth me: and I shall want nothing. 2 He hath set me in a place of pasture. He hath brought me up, on the water of refreshment: 3 he hath converted my soul. He hath led me on the paths of justice, for his own name's sake. 4 For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me. 5 Thou hast prepared a table before me against them that afflict me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil; and my chalice which inebriateth me, how goodly is it! 6 And thy mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And that I may dwell in the house of the Lord unto length of days.

Ezekiel 20:44 (DRB)

And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have done well by you for my own name's sake, and not according to your evil ways, nor according to your wicked deeds, O house of Israel, saith the Lord God.

Deuteronomy 26:19 (DRB)

And to make thee higher than all nations which he hath created, to his own praise, and name, and glory: that thou mayst be a holy people of the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken.

This could also be a type of Jesus, since "all things have been created through him and for him" (Colossians 1:16).

"We give thanks to thee, O Holy Father, for thy Holy Name which thou didst make to tabernacle in out hearts"

This is, seemingly, an adaptation of or allusion to the priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17 (11-12):

...Holy Father, keep them in thy name [which] thou has given me; that they may be one, as we also are. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in thy name. Those whom thou gavest me have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture may be fulfilled.

A few things:

  • The be "lost" or damned is to not be kept in the Name of the Father
  • Jesus 'has' the Name of the Father (Cf. Exodus 23:21)
  • Jesus prays that the Father will continue to keep them in His name even after He leaves them for heaven

Philippians 2:5-11

5 Let this disposition be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, being by nature in the form of God, did not deem equality with God robbery, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being made in the likeness of men. And being found as man, 8 he humbled himself to the point of death: even the death of the cross. 9 For which reason also God greatly exalted him, and gave him the name that is above every name: 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow—of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth—11 and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

It seems that the divine life, authority, or power is meant by "name" when it is יהוהs given to someone. As such, in the Eucharistic context where God made His name to dwell in their hearts, this is the life-giving body, blood, soul, divinity of Jesus these words are in thanks for (Cf. John 6:57).

There is a similar part in the Tridentine Liturgy which says:

O God, Who in creating man didst exalt his nature very wonderfully and yet more wonderfully didst establish it anew: by the mystery signified in the mingling of this water and wine, grant us to have part in the Godhead of Him Who hath vouchsafed to share our humanity, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God; world without end. Amen.

This is similar to the 'gave man gifts of mundane food and drink, but then gave him spiritual food and drink; humanity, divine life' theme of chapter X.

Cf. 2 Peter 1:3.

It could also therefore be the Holy Ghost, through which the Father and the Son dwell in the hearts of men.

All three share "the Name" (Matthew 28:19), since the Son and the Father are essentially מלכי יהוה—communicators of the presence and divinity of the Father,having it themselves—or rather being the very communication of God itself (John 1:1).

  • I think "I have kept them in your name" is a shepherding term. I have "guarded" the sheep. "In you name" means that everything that Jesus said or did he did on his God's authority: KJV John 5:43: "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." – Ruminator Nov 6 '18 at 22:29
  • There are multiple nuances to the word name in Semitic use. The one here would then be 'capacity or authority'. The name in which the people of God are safe would be 'identity with and thus benefiting from the protection/life of.' – Sola Gratia Nov 6 '18 at 22:48
  • Well, language differences aside, there does seem to be something terribly wrong in the transmission of God's name, don't you think? I mean, it's in the Hebrew Bible thousands of times and always with great import. It sounds that I'm to understand that the whole concept of "name" kind of went soft. – Ruminator Nov 6 '18 at 22:58
  • I think you're taking Name in a way other than the "making a name for himself" kind of 'name.' It's not a name with vowels and consonants. – Sola Gratia Nov 7 '18 at 15:26
  • But 7000 times in the OT it appears in consonants and the vowels were added later by the Masoretes. Please see my answer here: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/35179/… – Ruminator Nov 7 '18 at 15:39

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