France, Dick. Evangelical Quarterly 79.4 (2007). “Review of The Gospel of Matthew’s Dependence on the Didache by Alan J.P. Garrow, Journal for the Study of New Testament Supplement Series 254, London: T&T Clark International, 2004. xxiii + 272 pp.
France’s review of Alan Garrow’s 2004 book describes a scholarly consensus. The Didache “is generally agreed to have a specially close relationship with the Gospel of Matthew, and scholars have divided as to whether it shows direct literary dependence on Matthew or whether both depend on common traditions. Alan Garrow now weighs in with the novel proposal that there is indeed a direct literary dependence, but that it goes the other way: Matthew depended on the Didache” (France 2007, 357). France observes the text of the Didache printed in Greek in the book does contain some misprints. He also notes that the book is very detailed and intended for a specialist reader. The first, longer part of the book speaks of a “compositional history.” “Everyone agrees that it is a composite text involving a variety of sources and stages of redaction, but there is little agreement on the details. Garrow proposes five layers or stages of composition” (France 2007, 358). French compares the analysis method to that used of the Pentateuch in the mid 20th century, assuming “a predominantly literary process of composition, with little allowance for oral influences” (France 2007, 358). He takes Garrow’s argument to be novel and to have some weaknesses, especially in that the materials which seem to lead to Matthew’s Gospel are all in the alleged latest layer and may have been drawn from Matthew. The second part of the book walks through the passages which show contact between the two documents. The premise of the book is interesting and France considers the arguments worthy of careful review (France 2007, 359).