Schröter, Jens. "Chapter Ten: Jesus Tradition in Matthew, James, and the Didache: Searching for Characteristic Emphases." 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, 233-255.
Schröter, while acknowledging Matthew, James, and the Didache as arising from and speaking initially to particular contexts, also finds "sound evidence that they are not, or at least not exclusively, addressed to a specific community, but to 'all Christians'" (Schröter 2008, 2334). They also show distinct concepts of divergence from Judaism.
In Matthew, while Jesus clearly affirms the law, he is critical of the defects in the righteousness of the Pharisees (Schröter 2008, 234-235). The Jewish identity as evidenced in synagogue life is therefore less important. The ideal community is centered on Jesus' interpretation of the law and contains both Jews and Gentiles.
In the Didache, Schröter considers that Christianity was distancing itself from both Jewish and Gentile identities (Schröter 2008, 235). Analysis of this trend is made more difficult due to the composite nature of the document. Schröter finds that some passages show a separation from Judaism more clearly than others (Schröter 2008, 236).
In regard to the relationship with Judaism, James is more complex. James creates a view of the perfect life in relation to God's gift (Jas 1:17) (Schröter 2008, 236). There is a strong element of Jewish wisdom tradition, but simultaneously an ethic which is distinct from an actual Jewish identity.
Schröter's discussion of "Jesus tradition" begins with an attempt at definition of the term. He does not consider much of what we would identify as Jesus tradition as actually coming from Jesus himself, but as concepts which were ascribed to him by others (Schröter 2008, 237). Further, it may have been quite common for ideas to be articulated by authors, taking them as those of Jesus, but with no attribution (Schröter 2008, 238). Schröter's assumption that the author of James was not present with Jesus draws him to conclude that "it is by no means self-evident that James had access to traditions that originated with Jesus himself" (Schröter 2008, 238).
The Didache makes several references to "the Lord" or to "the Gospel" as an authority (Schröter 2008, 238). Schröter details a number of passages, assigning them to a redactor who did not seem to be referencing a written Gospel (Schröter 2008, 239).
Schröter concludes that the only way we can clearly discern traditions in James or the Didache as Jesus traditions is through our knowledge of the Synoptic Gospels (Schröter 2008, 240). Matthew singularly assigned the teachings in his Gospel to Jesus, describing them as what we would call "Jesus traditions."
The three documents do all have a clearly discernible call for "perfection" (Schröter 2008, 241). Additionally, the three documents share significant elements in their ethic.
In James, gaining wisdom is a means of approaching perfection (Schröter 2008, 242). Enduring trials is seen as a catalyst for gaining wisdom. The trials produce endurance, which leads to wisdom. Schröter relates James to 1 Peter and the Pauline epistles, as they also tend to speak of trials as leading to growth in divine wisdom (Schröter 2008, 243-244). The concept is related to a Synoptic tradition in which one is given rewards from God in conjunction with humility (Schröter 2008, 244-245).
Matthew describes perfection in terms of the perfect nature of God the Father (Schröter 2008, 246). Schröter considers Matthew to describe this perfection as being achieved through a fulfilling of God's law. Counter to James' view of perfection through wisdom, Matthew emphasizes obedience. This is done through association with Jesus (Schröter 2008, 247).
On the three occasions that perfection is mentioned in the Didache, Schröter notes it is tied to holding to the teaching presented (Schröter 2008, 249). The teaching leads to a lifestyle of obedience, in which people participate in the liturgy of baptism, prayer, and Eucharist. These all have elements of mercy, forgiveness, and humility. The prayer and fasting rituals have a close affinity to Jewish customs, as part of the liturgy of life (Schröter 2008, 252).
Schröter concludes that in Matthew, James, and the Didache, there is considerable continuity with Judaism, but a subtle shift in the locus of authority (Matthew), the emphasis on ethic rather than ritual (James), and an introduction of Chrsitian liturgy (Didache) shows a distinct Christian point of view (Schröter 2008, 254).