Milavec, Aaron. The Didache: Faith, Hope, & Life of the Earliest Christian Communities, 50-70 C.E. New York: The Newman Press, 2003.
The Didache was known in antiquity but subsequently lost, only to be found in Istanbul, bound with other Christian documents. Only one copy has been recovered. Milavec concludes that by the 4th century there were church manuas and that the Didache may have been considered useless (Milavec 2003, x). Milavec has produced a transcription of the text and has created, “[an} analytic, Greek-English, gender-inclusive translation” (Milavec 2003, xi). His commentary intends to help the reader understand the concerns and process used by Christian mentors as they integrated gentile converts into churches.
Milavec next turns his attention to “The Unity and the Independence of the Didache” (Milavec 2003, xii-xiii). As to the unity, Milavec breaks with the scholarhship which finds a text spliced together from various documentary sources. He finds “a marvelous unity from beginning to end that, up to this point, has gone unnoticed (Milavec 2003, xii). This unity should become more clear throughout the commentary. Milavec also considers that the text does not rely on the canonical Gospels. He finds considerable independence in “the internal logic, theological orientation, and pastoral practice” (Milavec 2003, xii). In fact, Milavec says these “run decisively counter to what one finds in the received Gospels (Milavec 2003, xii). He views the theology to be in a different theological stream. “My conviction that the Didache was xomposed independent of any known Gospel thus means that the Gospels can provide studies in contrast and comparison but they cannot be used to fill in the intent of the framers of the Didache” (Milavec 2003, xii). This view may well imply that Milavec can divorce the Didache from the Christian context which gave rise to the canonical works of Christianity. Then again, he may simply be emphasizing the idea of an independent style of organization and reasoning, but not of actual doctrinal understanding.
In his preface, Milavec previews some of the discoveries to be discussed in the commentary. Among these, he will address the non-Jewish presuppositions. The text seems clearly oriented to training gentiles, and doing it in an orderly manner so they will be able to live in a Christian community which includes Jews (Milavec 2003, xiii). Malavec also finds the idea of sharing resources as a safety net rather than an outward-focused life of charity (Milavec 2003, xiii).
The issue of “food offered to idols” (6:3) is one which is often compared to the biblical council in Acts 15. However, Milavec does not consider this to have been written with any awareness of the events of Acts 15 (Milavec 2003, xiv).