Tour of Christian History
van de Sandt, Huub, & David Flusser. "Chapter 7: A Jewish-Christian Addition to theTwo Ways: Did 6:2-3." The Didache: Its Jewish Sources and Its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002, 238-270.
Didache 6:2-3 reiterates the importance of holding to the Two Ways teaching, but, as van de Sandt, the passage makes allowances for those who cannot keep the entire Law (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 238). Because of the lenient nature of the passage, it may well represent an insertion. The material bears a strong resemblance to Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25, and Revelation 2:14, 20. However, it is not identical.
Van de Sandt and Flusser first question where the overall language of the insertion would originate (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 239). The statement expresses and opinion which would not be compatible with that of 8:1-2, where Jews are considered hypocrites (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 241). However, the similar ideas presented in Acts 15 were a well accepted part of Christian piety. The language of Didache 6:2-3 and Acts 15:20 and 29 is very similar (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 242). Later Christian documents seem to associate the ideas of the Didache and Acts 15. Similar concepts can be found in Jewish documents of the period (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 245-247). Idolatry, sexual immorality, and consumption of blood were fairly universally prohibited among Christians and Jews (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 249). Van de Sandt and Flusser discuss at length whether the sin prohibitions of Revelation 2:14, 20 are related to Acts 15 or more closely to Numbers 25:1-2. Their consideration based on vocabulary usage is inconclusive, but they do recognize this cluster of behaviors as significant and bearing weight in first century Christianity (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 257).
The text in Didache 6:2-3 retains the language of "things sacrificed to idols" rather than "idolatry," thus indicating the language had become reasonably common (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 258). It also allows for imperfect or incomplete obedience. This is also consistent with the account in Acts (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 259). Van de Sandt and Flusser conclude that Gentile converts are to keep the same laws which would bind them when they were considering Judaism. The reference to "dead gods" seems to be a reference to any idol (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 261). Van de Sandt and Flusser find this as common language within Judaism applied to any eating and drinking with Gentiles (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 262).
In light of the Apostolic Decree about forbidden practices, van de Sandt and Flusser discuss two views found in early Christianity. On the one hand, some were clear that converts were welcome to participate in as many of the precepts of Jewish law as they could (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 265). Didache 6:2-3 suggests this view, as "perfect" Christians receive the yoke of the Tora. On the other hand, Paul warns against requirements of the Jewish law (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 266). The former view was taken by the majority in early Christianity. Judaism likewise encouraged all to take up Tora as much as possible. However, van de Sandt and Flusser do observe that by the third century there were voices within Judaism which would condemn attempts on the part of Gentiles to keep any of the Law (van de Sandt & Flusser 2002, 267).