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The Didache: Text, Translation, Analysis, and Commentary Paperback – October 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Glazier (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814658318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814658314
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This little book is a gem—learned, accessible, illuminating and challenging to both scholarly conventions and conventional Christianity. Students of early Christianity are in Milavec's debt, not least for his innovative website, www.Didache.info.
Pacifica


. . . a useful means of introducing the Didache to beginners.
Theoforum


Any future bibliography on the Didache will have to include this ambitious, impressive work.
Theological Studies


This is a book of rare quality and importance that has already been recognized by the most prominent scholars in the field as the fundamental reference work of the study of the Didache.
Robert J. Daly, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts


This is a book of rare quality and importance that has already been recognized by the most prominent scholars in the field as the fundamental reference work for the study of the Didache . . . Extensive indexes make the book an extrodinarily valuable research work.
Fourth R


Will undoubtedly challenge many who seek to understand the background and perspectives of the Didache.
The Catholic Biblical Review


Milavec’s work merits wide study and discussion especially because it presents alternative views and profound challenges to what has been the scholarly consensus on the development and interpretation of the text.
Worship


This volume, however, is significant by itself and provides for a wider audience a very accessible introduction to Milavec’s work on this important document.
Worship

Customer Reviews

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After reading this short book most hungry minds will want even more.
Keith Drury
If you are interested in understanding Jesus better, and you've already studied the gospels in depth, I highly recommend reading the Didache.
Nancy Butler
The Didache is from a time in the very early Christian church that is frequently overlooked in favor of the gospels.
Margarite Landry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Triesch on August 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
In recent years there has been an enormous explosion of interest in Gnostic Christian texts such as "The Gospel of Thomas" and "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene". Almost overlooked in this fascination with early, non-canonical (i.e., omitted from the Bible) Christian texts has been The Didache ("The Teaching"), a "training manual" for Gentile converts to an early Jewish-Christian community. (Most scholars date "The Didache" to about 90-120 A.D., but Milovec opts for an earlier date between 50-80 A.D.)

"The Didache" is a manual of initiation, not theology, but Milovec attempts to read between the lines to discern glimpses of the underlying theology. Although Milovec's speculations sometime stray a bit too far from the available evidence, I think he is basically correct in seeing "The Didache" as reflecting a Jewish-Christian community who viewed Jesus primarily in prophetic and messianic terms, and not as the literal God incarnate of later Christian theology. Of particular interest in this context are the eucharistic prayers found in "The Didache," prayers which do not reflect the "this is my body . . . this is my blood" phraseology of the New Testament sources. Also, "The Didache" provides perhaps the earliest specific Christian condemnation of abortion, and reiterates the Pauline critique of homosexuality (or, at least, one form of it, characterized as "the corruption of boys"). Thus "The Didache" perhaps has relevance to today's "What would Jesus say?" debates.

What gives "The Didache" credibility to me is its absence of Gnostic influence and its general similarity in language to the gospels, "The Acts of the Apostles," and the "Letter of James".
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Keith Drury on December 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Here is high quality scholarly work on a shelf reachable by an average Sunday School teacher! The book has greek text one the left (average SS teachers may skip this ;-) and his own english translation on the right, for the 16 chapters of the Didache. His delightful commentary follows and gives the reader a quick grasp of the basic use of the Didache as a first century oral means of "membership training" under a "membership mentor." After reading this short book most hungry minds will want even more. Thanks to DaVinci Code the laity are interested in works that did not make the Canon-cut... the Didache (and Clement I) are considerably more helpful reading than books by Dobson, Hybels, Rick Warren (or me). Aaron Milavec has helped the ordinary person understand the early church through study of the Didache --Keith Drury, Associate Professor of Religion, Indiana Wesleyan University
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful By lifelong learner on September 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
While Milavec does do well in lifting up the implications of the text for the lives of women, and it is the most inexpensive commentary on the Didache available, I found his work to be full of a number of unexamined (or undefended, anyway) sociological and theological assumptions about the life of the community that produced the Didache. To give just one example, he presumes that the "prophets" referred to in the text were economic refugees with a primarily (entirely?) class-justice agenda, all with little explicit grounds in the Didache itself. But given obvious affinities with the language of the Gospel of Matthew and its even clearer Jewish-Christian milieau, isn't it just as likely that these "prophets" were the respected Christian leaders the text indicates they are (meaning they preached social justice as one part of the overall good news of Jesus and God's kingdom), and that they were understood to (or actually did!) hear the voice of God for the benefit of the community?

For only five bucks more, the Ancient Christian Writers series volume 6 (edited by James Kleis) or "Apostolic Fathers" by Michael Holmes gives both a translation and an introduction not only to the Didache but also many other early Church documents, though their commentary is not nearly as extensive as Milavec.

Somewhat pricier but worth it for a more thorough and balanced understanding, I would strongly recommend either of Van de Sandt's works ("The Didache: Its Jewish Sources" is a detailed scholarly commentary, while "Matthew and the Didache" is a collection of essays), or the paperback edition of Marcello del Verme's "Didache and Judaism."
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Didaskalex VINE VOICE on March 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
"... Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles has continued to be one of the most disputed of early Christian texts. It has been depicted by scholars as anything between the original of the Apostolic Decree and a late archaising fiction of the early third century." J. Draper, Gospel Perspectives

Didache, Church Manual:

The Didache (Greek; the teaching, a word related to Didactic). An ancient Church manual, that drew upon early Church traditions, repeatedly revised, it existed in varying forms at various communities. The Didache was a sort of church catechetical instruction book for novice Christians, probably in rural areas, remote from metropolis, mostly dependent on traveling preaching ministers. The subjects, style and source material of the Didache make of it one of the most disputed Early Church texts, hard to determine either a date of composition or a point of origin.

The 'Teaching of the Two Ways' were included in the first six chapters, followed by four sections of liturgical practices. Five chapters followed on disciplinary matters for the congregation, and presbyters (prophets, bishops, and deacons.) A concluding encouragement to stay faithful until the second coming, posts a warning against the antichrist.

Didache's Development:

Fragments of the Didache (Papyrus No. 1782) were found at Oxyrhyncus, upper Egypt from the 4th century, and in a Coptic translation from 3rd or 4th century. Quotations showing traces of this instruction text are widespread in the writings of the second and third centuries, in Syria and Egypt. This testifies to the wide use and the high regard it enjoyed.
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