Milavec, Aaron. The Didache: Faith, Hope, & Life of the Earliest Christian Communities, 50-70 C.E. New York: The Newman Press, 2003.
The life of prayer is very important in the Didache. Milavec will discuss thevarious prayers in his commentary.
Milavec’s work extends to a discussion of the prayers in the Didache. He views the eschatological expectations of the community as leading to a vivid spontaneity. “My commentary will disclose how it can be shown that none of the prayers given in the Didache was ever read or recited word for word from memory. Prayer leaders were expected to be entirely familiar with the prayer symopsis that guided the opening phrases, the thematic flow, and the concluding refrain(s)” (Milavec 2003, xiv). He draws distinctions between the traditional Birkat Ha-Mazon in the eucharistic prayer and the format presented in the Didache.
The relationship to prophets is also significant in the Didache. Milavec asserts “that the Didache communities never created or sent out wandering prophets. Rather, they attracted and absorbed them (Milavec 2003, xiv).Milavec’s view is that the absorption of prophets was a means of healing in the traumatized life of the prophets (Milavec 2003, xv).
The history of source criticism to which the Didache has been subjected suggests a rather clumsy construction, a collage of components. Milavec sees this process as problematic. It obscures any reason for inclusion of particular materials. The purpose becomes one of celebrating the past, reforming practices to reflect a past practice, or enforcing an authoritarian position (Milavec 2003, xv). The process of source criticism removes unity and coherence. As an example, Milavec describes, in brief, the work of five different scholars, all of whom reject the work of all the others (Milavec 2003, xvi). Counter to the efforts of source criticism, Milavec “willconcentrate on hearing the text as a whole” (Milavec 2003, xvii). Milavec’s thesis is built on an organizational key which he h as identified. “The key is this: the Didache was the comprehensive, step-by-step program used for the formation o f a gentile converting to Christianity. By adhering to the order of the Didache, mentors training novices were assured of following the progressive, ordered, and comprehensive path t hat master trainers in the community had effectively culled from their own successful practices in apprenticing novices” (Milavec 2003, xvii).