Milavec, Aaron. The Didache: Faith, Hope, & Life of the Earliest Christian Communities, 50-70 C.E. New York: The Newman Press, 2003.
“The Life-Transforming Training Program” pp. 49-172
Milavec divides his commentary proper into ten chapters, followed by five chapters working with a number of special issues. The first chapter he calls “The Life-Transforming Training Program” (Milavec 2003, 49-172). This program constitutes “the f irst six chapters of the Didache (Milavec 2003, 53). Milavec sees this as a type of formal training to make converts from paganism fit into a distinctive Christian community.
The opening of the Didache defines two different “ways.” One leads to life and the other to death. Milavec notes this as a departure from the greater culture of the first century Roman Empire. It allows considerable diversity within the greater economic and political culture (Milavec 2003, 53). Milavec focuses on the fact that Jesus was executed a nd that he was known as “Son of God” and “Son of David.” However, he considers conversion to be based not on any claims of Jesus’ resurrection but rather “on the basis of the[ir] experience of the way of life of members who were very much present to” the community at large (Milavec 2003, 54).
Milavec questions whether the text originally had a title. In the sole manuscript it bears two different titles. “The first and short title is Training of the Twelve Disciples” The second and long title is Training of the Lord through the Twelve Apostles to the Gentiles” (Milavec 2003, 54). Milavec considers that the ascriptions of the canonical Gospels were attached to anonymous documents by groups wishing to assert antiquity of their roots and traditions (Milavec 2003, 55). He does rightly note that the text of the Didache does not refer to “twelve” apostles. He considers that the tradition of twelve may have arisen later than the time of the Didache. Further, the text mentions the idea of wandering apostles who should remain in a community only for a short time (Milavec 2003, 55). Milavec takes the entire composition to have been an oral creation. At some point it would have been written down. At a later time, maybe to try to assert canonicity, it was given titles which would be later copied, both at the start, as was typical in a codex (Milavec 2003, 57).
Milavec finds the Didache to divide naturally into five parts, signalled by topic sentences and summary statements (Milavec 2003, 58). The first segment discusses initiation prior to baptism (Milavec 2003, 59).The five parts show a good deal of coherence. Different segments are closely related to each other and show a logical progression.