LaVerdiere, Eugene. "Chapter Nine: On the Lord's Day: The Eucharist in the Didache." The Eucharist in the New Testament and the Early Church. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press (Pueblo), 1996, 112-147.
LaVerdiere asserts that the Didache underwent a process of collecting, collating, and redacting statements amounting to about fifty years, resulting in the form of it which we now have (LaVerdiere 1996, 128). The eucharist appears in chapters 9-10 and 14, along with a reference to "the Lord's Day." Because of its early representation of Christianity outside of the canonical tradition, the Didache is a valuable witness.
Of interest to LaVerdiere is the fact that the eucharistic prayers in the Didache "were not integrated into the New Testament while so many other traditions were" (LaVerdiere 1996, 129). Traditions, however, exist only within a community. For this reason, it is important to identify the community and its relationship with other communities such as those which are related to the canonical writings. LaVerdiere asserts that, while the community surrounding Matthew's Gospel was open to change, the Didache community was not (LaVerdiere 1996, 130-131). Traditions were held and were not to be altered.
LaVerdiere reviews the traditional scholarly view of development of the Didache in several redactional layers (LaVerdiere 1996, 132ff). The various sections are considered earlier or later based on how explicitly they discuss Christology. LaVerdiere thinks the ideas brought in at the different stages were not new. Their incorporation was intended to deal with particular problems the community had at the time (LaVerdiere 1996, 138).
The eucharistic prayers, like other parts of the Didache, incorporate traditional materials (LaVerdiere 1996, 139). They surround a meal, which would have already been a meaningful context within a Jewish or early Christian community. LaVerdiere considers that the prayers from Didache 9-10 come from the early development of the community (LaVerdiere 1996, 139). These prayers fit into Jewish patterns, particularly a Kiddush and an Amidah (LaVerdiere 1996, 140). The prayers are simple and straightforward. In the second stage of the development of the community, still referring to chapters 9-10, LaVerdiere considers there to be some minimal insertion of Christological elements (LaVerdiere 1996, 141). Finally, LaVerdiere sees the material about true and false apostles and prophets, including what they do in the eucharist on the Lord's Day as development in the third stage (LaVerdiere 1996, 143). Though LaVerdiere is not convinced that this passage describes a eucharist as celebrated today, he does take the event to be, in the minds of the community, a eucharist, but that it was not understood in terms of the passion and resurrection of Christ, so was not "a real Eucharist" (LaVerdiere 1996, 145).