Reed, Jonathan. "The Hebrew Epic and the Didache." in Jefford, Clayton (editor). The Didache in Context: essays on its text, history, and transmission. Leiden: Brill, 1995, 213-225.
Reed observes that most scholarship related to the Didache has not focused on the Didachist's use of the Hebrew Scriptures, merely providing some cross references (Reed 1995, 213). The absence of multiple manuscripts of the Didache creates challenges to interpretation of the text (Reed 1995, 214). Reed suggests overcoming some of these challenges by evaluating the Didache's references to the Old Testament in terms of how the reader of the Didache's time would understand them as a part of the larger Old Testament context. He calls this an evaluation in terms of its "Hebrew epic" (Reed 1995, 214).
For the purposes of Reed's pattern, the specific wording of a text or the analysis of genre does not matter very much. Rather, he considers it important to enter the thought life underlying a passage or a cultural situation (Reed 1995, 215). Reed specifies that this approach also avoids the necessity, found in much scholarship, of attempting to identify a chronology of different layers of redaction in the Didache. The overall message is its epic (Reed 1995, 216).
Reed considers the epic of the major sections of the Didache separately. In the Two Ways section, chapters 1-6, he finds strong shadows of Leviticus 17-26, Exodus 20, and Deuteronomy 5 (Reed 1995, 216). As Reed describes it, the overarching concept is that of ways of life and death, blessing and curse. The language is somewhat similar, but the philosophy is very similar (Reed 1995, 217). The importation of Jesus' teaching into the passage does not seem to be a departure from the Old Testament concepts or standards. Rather, it is viewed as a natural outcome of the Mosaic ideas (Reed 1995, 219).
The ritual material, from Didache 7-10, makes little reference to the Old Testament (Reed 1995, 219). Reed finds rather than a specific Old Testament reference, that the prescriptions are related to Jewish prayers of the first century. Reed does list several elements of the prayers which would lead to an understanding of considerable continuity with the Old Testament picture of Israel (Reed 1995, 220).
Didache 11-15 is commonly understood as a "church order." The ethics of chapters 1-6 are put into operation in the context of the rituals of chapters 7-10. The community thus gathered has people in roles described in chapters 11-15 (Reed 1995, 221). The various roles and observances are cast in terms ofan Old Testament ethos.
The apocalyptic material in Didache 16 issues warnings which Reed finds gathered from Matthew, Daniel, and Zechariah (Reed 1995, 223). The chapter draws the reader's attention backward to the Way of Death in chapter six, as well as to the rituals which urge regular meeting together. The roles of true prophets are related to those roles laid out in the church order section (Reed 1995, 224).
In conclusion, Reed finds the Didache to have a clear, coherent view of its context in society and in relationship to the Old and New Testaments. It depicts present realities of life in the Christian community (Reed 1995, 225).