Friday's Focus - Didache Articles
Middleton, R.D. "The Eucharistic Prayers of the Didache." Journal of Theological Studies 36:143, July 1935, 259-267.
Middleton recognizes that a good deal of work has been done with literary and biblical references in the Two Ways material of the Didache. He also sees a methodical system of organization in the Didache which has not been adequately analyzed. Middleton postulates three main sections (chapters 1-6, 7-11, and 12-16), each divided into five sections (Middleton 1935, 260). He also sees a division of the Eucharistic prayesr of chapters 9-10 into three portions.
Middleton observes that numerical and structural patterns were typical in Jewish literature, especially as an aid to memory (Middleton 1935, 260). He gives numerous examples, showing this as a common device.
The eucharistic prayers in chaptesr 9-10 of the Didache are built on Jewish patterns. Middleton identifies structural roots of the prayers (Middleton 1935, 261). Middleton sees that the language, as well as the unexpected use of κλάσμα for "piece of bread" follows patterns of rabbinic prayers (Middleton 1935, 262). Chapter 10 can easily be seen as an adaptation of Jewish prayers for after meals. In short, Middleton considers the structure and many of the ideas of these chapters to be rooted in particular Jewish prayers (Middleton 1935, 264). There is considerable rearrangement and reworking. Yet the ideas are parallel, as illustrated by placing the prayers next to each other (Middleton 1935, 265).
Middleton is clear that although the prayers are rooted in Jewish practice, Didache 9-10 bring in "numerous New Testament references and phrases, giving these Eucharistic prayers a thoroughly Christian character" (Middleton 1935, 266). All in all, Middleton finds the work of the Didachist to be a careful, thoroughly Christian expression of historic practices of prayer.