The Didache Calls Abortion Murder

You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born….

Didache (early 2nd century)

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  1. I’m about to attempt a document study on the Didache for my Church History subject at the Presbyterian Theological College in Melbourne, Australia.

    Dr Clark, I was wondering if you had had a look yet at the new publication “Reformed Catholicity” by Michael Allen and Scott Swain? Reformed Forum have just done an interesting interview with them, and they may be talking about “retrieving” the richness of the reformed confessional heritage, also acknowledging its debt to earlier expressions of orthodoxy, in a similar way to your “recovery”project.

  2. I got hold of the Apostolic Fathers (Loeb Classical Library–unfortunately, the Ehrman edition rather than the Lake one) and read the documents. Considering that the Didache speaks of a world in which there are still prophets and apostles roaming around (not all known to the churches), it probably dates to the first century. I also note that it gives the Lord’s Prayer in a form all but identical to that in Matthew, and has a few points where it seems to cite NT documents.

    Given the frequency of infanticide in the Graeco-Roman world, I’m not surprised at the Didche making a point against it. Further, it is clear as well from this position that the church of those days was not taking its cue from the wider culture, but condemning it when it went against the Word of God.

    • Peter,

      It’s not always clear to me what is meant by some of those terms, e.g., “prophets” and “apostles” in that context. Most of the time they seems to be used in a less that strict sense.

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