One of the most famous passages of the Didache is its reference to the Matthean baptismal formula:
- 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;
- But if thou hast no running water, baptise in other water, and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm.
- But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head "in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost."
- 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":
- But after you are satisfied with food, thus give thanks:
- "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.
- 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.
- Above all we give thanks to thee for that thou art mighty. To thee be glory for ever.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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:
- "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.