Zetterholm, Magnus. "Chapter Four: The Didache, Matthew, James - and Paul: Reconstructing Historical Developments in Antioch." in Van de Sandt, Huub & Zangenberg, Jürgen K. (editors). Matthew, James, and Didache: Three Related Documents in their Jewish and Christian Settings." Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2008, 73-90.
Zetterholm observes the complexity of interpretation of texts so as to reconstruct historical details in antiquity (Zetterholm 2008, 73). It is often necessary to find adequate historical context in order to interpret a text. However, the historical context may need to be found from within multiple other texts. Paul's relationship to Judaism in general and specifically to the Torah is a challenging question, to which scholars have posited a wide array of answers (Zetterholm 2008, 74).
Zetterholm suggests using a deductive system of creating and testing hypotheses so as to seek overall understanding of the text (Zetterholm 2008, 75-76). The results are necessarily tentative, since, unlike in mathematical proofs, one could expect a number of different hypotheses yielding the same answer. However, in a complex social and historical construct, the method can clarify more plausible conclusions (Zetterholm 2008, 76).
To test the methodology, Zetterholm evaluates an hypothesis of Jonathan Draper, from 1991, in which he considered the relationship of "Torah and Troublesome Apostles in the Didache Community" (NTS 33:355) (Zetterholm 2008, 77). Draper's hypothesis is that Matthew and the Didache influenced one another, and that both originated in Antioch. Draper argues that Didache 11:1-2 is related to Matthew 5:17-20, and that it represents a redaction of Didache 11:3-4 (Zetterholm 2008, 78).
Draper takes the same historical setting to underlie both passages. In the same vein, Draper takes Didache 6:1-3 to speak of keeping the law and food customs to have arisen from a context of Torah-observant Christians in the community (Zetterholm 2008, 79). Draper is able to defend this idea and his suggestion of Antioch as the community in question based on Galatians 2:11-14, where Antioch is the site of a question about dietary laws (Zetterholm 2008, 80). This then suggests to Draper that Paul would be the false apostle of the Didache, teaching something other than Torah. Matthew, then, shows a slightly later tradition, as reconciliation is considered possible Zetterholm notes that Draper took a plausible hypothesis and showed that it could be arrived at by deduction from ideas that could be demonstrated (Zetterholm 2008, 80).
Zetterholm shows that such a conclusion can be altered through use of only a slight shift in hypothesis. If, in fact, we are uncertain of an actual literary relationship between Didache 11:1-2 and Matthew 5:17-20, the path of deduction could lead elsewhere (Zetterholm 2008, 81).
Zetterholm builds an alternative case for the passage in Didache 11, suggesting that the basic concern is not that of ritual impurity (Zetterholm 2008, 81). Eating meat from an unclean animal would result in ritual impurity, but would easily be taken care of. It was not necessarily considered a moral failure (Zetterholm 2008, 82). Moral impurity does not change the ritual status, but a ritual impurity does. Further, "non-Jews, by definition, were exempted from the ritual purity regulations and were not considered intrinsically impure" (Zetterholm 2008, 83). If this is the issue, the actual food was of little importance in the conflict of Galatians 2:11-14. The question in Antioch was related to the means of salvation of the non-Jewish converts (Acts 15:1, 5). The moral impurity involved in living as a Gentile in the Roman world could possibly be dealt with by conversion to Judaism. However it was not deemed necessary by the council in Acts 15. The Gentiles were merely exhorted to avoid certain practices which were offensive to all Jews (Zetterholm 2008, 85).
Zetterholm observes that, following this line of deduction, we can still assume an origin of both texts in Antioch, but that we find a different response. While Matthew would urge observance of Torah, the Didache would not (Zetterholm 2008, 86). This is the opposite of the conclusion Draper reaches, as he takes the Didache to urge Torah observance on Gentiles. Zetterholm suggests based on his line of deduction that Didache 6.2 reflects a time before Paul would have been in Antioch. The non-Jews could worship by keeping Torah but would not be required to do so (Zetterholm 2008, 88).