NT in the Didache using Accordance 11

Here is a 2 minute video (no sound) showing how to use the INFER-search in Accordance to find potential citations and allusions to the NT in the Didache. You can open the video in a new tab by clicking in the top right of the embedded video.
The steps:

  1. Type an asterisk and press ENTER to search a tagged NT for all the words it contains.
  2. Open an Apostolic Fathers tagged text, limit the search range to the Didache, and run an INFER-search on the NT window.
  3. Highlight a string of hits in the Didache, right click, and shift+click on “Search Back Linked Text” to find NT texts that contain the same words.

Echoes of Cain in the Prophecy of Isaiah

When I read Isaiah 1, I can’t help but hear echoes of the story of Cain. I’m sure this has everything to do with the fact that I have been thinking and posting about Genesis 3-4 lately. Hear me out, and let me know what you think. First the text, and then an explanation.

Doing and getting “good” (טוב, red text): The context of Isaiah 1:18ff. is similar to that of Genesis 4:6ff. In both passages, God addresses the guilty party. In both passages, the terms of law are stated similarly–the combination of the אִם conditional clause and the טוב root.

Spilling blood (דם, yellow text): In Isaiah 1, the hands of the people of God are said to be “full of blood.” Cain washed the blood off his hands, yet it cried out to the Lord from the ground.

Murder (הרג ,רצח, green text): This makes explicit that the bloody hands of Isaiah 1 are those of a Cain-like, murderous people.

How/Where (אי ,איכה, purple text): The connection here is more clear in Hebrew, but still, some might think it a stretch. To me, this expression resonates with Genesis 4 more loudly than any of the others, besides the טוב connection. In a previous post, I mentioned the similarity between Genesis 3:9 and 4:9. After Adam sinned, the Lord asks, “where are you (איכה)?” After Cain killed his brother, the Lord asks, “Where is Abel (אי הבל)?” So when I hear אי in Genesis 4, I think of איכה in Genesis 3. Though איכה is usually translated “how” in Isaiah 1:21, in light of the previously mentioned connections, when I read איכה in Isaiah 1, I recall the violence of Genesis 4.

What does all this matter? Hearing the echoes of Cain in Isaiah 1 adds another layer of richness and meaning to both Isaiah 1 and the story of Cain in Genesis 4.  Violence, no less than that of Cain, crouches at the door. You don’t have to slash someone with a knife to be in Cain’s predicament. Turning a blind eye to “justice and righteousness” will suffice (Isaiah 1:21-23).

Insights from My Wife on Intertextuality

I walked into the room and said to her, “I’m gonna take a shower.”
She responded, “What you do, do quickly.”

I stopped dead in my tracks, turned, and stared at her for a moment with squinted eyes. “Did you just call me Judas?”

She giggled and said, “Nooo. I just used Jesus’ words to say, ‘I gotta get ready too, so hurry up.'”

Though I immediately imported the broader context of John 13, that wasn’t her intent. She merely used the allusion to add “emotive punch”–in this case, playfulness. Sometimes the punch is dependent upon the subtle carryover of the broader context. Not in this case. I stood seconds from the original utterance and shared a very similar worldview with the speaker, yet the meaning of the allusion was not quite clear.

Nevertheless, the allusion, the emotive punch, was effective. Wasn’t it?

Intertextual connections are a little more elusive than I sometimes imagine, at least at the level of authorial intent.