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The Didache: Text, Translation, Analysis, and Commentary [Paperback]

By Aaron Milavec (Author)
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Item description for The Didache: Text, Translation, Analysis, and Commentary by Aaron Milavec...

In this study edition, Aaron Milavec provides an overview of his pioneering efforts to surface the hidden unity governing the progression of topics in the Didache, a mid-first-century pastoral program for training converts. Milavec's commentary uses literary and sociological insights to reconstruct the faith and hope, the discipline and rituals, the anxieties and challenges facing gentiles being trained for full, active participation in the earliest Jewish-Christian communities, 50-70 C.E. His analytic, Greek-English side-by-side, gender-inclusive translation is included as well as a description of how the only surviving manuscript was discovered. Women's voices and women's issues surface throughout. His study questions, bibliography, and flowcharts enable even first-time users to grasp the functional and pastoral genius of the Didache.

Publishers Description

Most Christians believe that everything about Jesus and the early church can be found in their New Testament. In recent years, however, the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas and the reconstruction of the Q-Gospel have led scholars to recognize that some very early materials were left out. Now, due to the pioneering efforts of Dr. Aaron Milavec, the most decisive document of them al, namely, the "Didache" (Did-ah-Kay"), has come to light. Milavec has decoded the "Didache" and enabled it to reveal its hidden secrets regarding those years when Christianity was little more than a faction within the restless Judaisms of the mid-first-century.

The "Didache" reveals a tantalizingly detailed description of the prophetic faith and day-to-day routines that shaped the Jesus movement some twenty years after the death of Jesus. The focus of the movement then was not upon proclaiming the exalted titles and deeds of Jesus - aspects that come to the fore in the letters of Paul and in the Gospel narratives. In contrast to these familiar forms of Christianity, the focus of the "Didache" was upon "the life and the knowledge" of Jesus himself. Thus, the "Didache" details the step-by-step process whereby non-Jews were empowered by assimilating the prophetic faith and the way of life associated with Jesus of Nazareth.

Milavec's clear, concise, and inspiring commentaries are not only of essential importance to scholars, pastors, and students but also very useful for ordinary people who wish to unlock the secrets of the "Didache." Milavec's analytic, Greek-English side-by-side, gender-inclusive translation is included as well as a description of how this document, after being fashioned and used 50-70 C.E., was mysteriously lost for over eighteen hundred years before being found in an obscure library in Istanbul. The study questions, bibliography, and flowcharts enable even first-time users to grasp the functional and pastoral genius that characterized the earliest Christian communities."

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Michael Glazier Books
Pages   128
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.36"
Weight:   0.51 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2004
Publisher   Michael Glazier Books
ISBN  0814658318  
ISBN13  9780814658314  

Availability  11 units.
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More About Aaron Milavec

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Aaron Milavec is Professor of Church History and Historical Theology with the Lay Pastoral Program at Mount St. Mary's Seminary of the West in Cincinnati.

Aaron Milavec currently resides in Piqua, in the state of Ohio. Aaron Milavec was born in 1938.

Aaron Milavec has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Rediscovered Discipleship

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Education

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Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Didache: Text, Translation, Analysis, and Commentary?

5 stars for actual document, 1 star for intro  May 7, 2007
The translation is quite adequate, the commentary . . . not so much.

The introduction closes with the most laughable paragraph included in any book that I actually own.

Included are prayers to trees to forgiveness, an equation with virtually all modern industry with "The Way of Death", a more than comic helping of self-loathing, and a warning that poor children in the Pacific Northwest may have to bathe in polluted water because of the paper mills (no, even in Washington, are there people so poor that they must bathe out of doors-- while there are some who do, but out of mental illness). Upon reading such drivel, I thought it more than likely that the author wrote it in lip-stick on his bathroom wall.

I am sorry to be so rude to the author of such a competent translation, but I can't help it because it is just so wickedly absurd.
Valuable for studies of the early church  Mar 10, 2007
This short book is highly recommended for anyone interested in understanding the development of the early Christian church. I read with fascination about the practices of one early group. At least some of the writings must date back to the very earliest years when there were several distinct "Jesus sects", probably before the writings of Paul were well known. Specifically, I found that the text for the eucharist (Section 9) is truly a thanksgiving, without the Christology of the later church added. (The word "eucharist" comes from the Greek for "thanks".) However, one can find traces of later additions, such as the Trinity added in Section 7. Thus we can see layers as the church developed.

Milavec has a good introduction to the material, and then gives a strong argument for why the Didache is organized as it is.
The Didache-Great Translation, Gear Analysis  Jul 6, 2006
This book is required reading in our Permanent Diaconate training program. I found it to be a very easy read without any of the difficulties of ancient language to get in the way of your reading or understanding. I found myself saying "Yes, of course! I know that!" as I read every line, but the key to understanding the greatness of this text is to remember that it was written before any of the canonical scriptures in today's Bible. It was written down after many years of being passed from small early Christian group to another. It was really a training manual for newcomers to Christian communities.

Not only did I enjoy the ancient text--by the way the early Greek from which it is translated appears on the left page with modern English on the right-I found the analysis that follows to be crisp and concise, lending a level of understanding that I probably would have missed had the analysis not close at hand. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand the roots of early Christian teaching that pre-dates the Bible.
Didache: A Most Disputed Early Church Manual  Mar 25, 2006

"... Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles has continued to be one of the most disputed of early Christian texts. It has been depicted by scholars as anything between the original of the Apostolic Decree and a late archaising fiction of the early third century." J. Draper, Gospel Perspectives

Didache, Church Manual:
The Didache (Greek; the teaching, a word related to Didactic). An ancient Church manual, that drew upon early Church traditions, repeatedly revised, it existed in varying forms at various communities. The Didache was a sort of church catechetical instruction book for novice Christians, probably in rural areas, remote from metropolis, mostly dependent on traveling preaching ministers. The subjects, style and source material of the Didache make of it one of the most disputed Early Church texts, hard to determine either a date of composition or a point of origin.
The 'Teaching of the Two Ways' were included in the first six chapters, followed by four sections of liturgical practices. Five chapters followed on disciplinary matters for the congregation, and presbyters (prophets, bishops, and deacons.) A concluding encouragement to stay faithful until the second coming, posts a warning against the antichrist.

Didache's Development:
Fragments of the Didache (Papyrus No. 1782) were found at Oxyrhyncus, upper Egypt from the 4th century, and in a Coptic translation from 3rd or 4th century. Quotations showing traces of this instruction text are widespread in the writings of the second and third centuries, in Syria and Egypt. This testifies to the wide use and the high regard it enjoyed. It was used by the compiler of the Didaskalia (Ca 2/3rd) and referred to by the Liber Graduun (Ca 3/4th), as well as being absorbed by the Apostolic Constitutions (Ca 3/4th) and by various Egyptian and Ethiopian Church Orders, partly.
Athanasius describes it as 'appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of goodness' [Festal Letter 39:7]. Hence a date for the Didache in its present form later than the second century must be considered unlikely.
The Greek 'Apostolic Constitutions' with many references to the Didache, was revised and edited with supporting Scriptures, and endorsed with church traditions, to form the 'Ecclesiastical Canons of the Apostles'. Arabic versions, after becoming the state language in Syria and Egypt, both add and subtract from the Didache. Hence after, it ceased to circulate as authoritative.

Milavec's Commentary:
As a complementary overview to his lengthy academic tome: 'The Didache: Faith, Hope, & Life (of the Earliest Christian Communities, 50-70 C.E.), of over a thousand pages, Aaron Milavec provides a concise analytical commentary which uncovers the unity of its topics and governs their progression. The early Church communities in Alexandria and Antioch, where these instructions are suspected to have built up, constituted of a majority of Diaspora Jews who converted to Christianity while preserving the Therapeutae liturgical practices, including the use of the Septuagint. These were slowly joined by their Gentile neighbors.
Milavec utilizes literary tools and insights of social tradition to reconstruct the challenges and anxieties of the early church community of faith and hope, figuring out how the converts trained in liturgical rituals towards a participant group discipline.
A spiritual gem!  Jan 5, 2006
If you are interested in understanding Jesus better, and you've already studied the gospels in depth, I highly recommend reading the Didache. It re-words the teachings of Jesus in the language of another group of early Christinas. This gives those of us who have read the gospels a million times a fresh appreciation of Jesus' teachings and the variety of early Christian interpretations. As a result I felt a spiritual bond with these early followers who were trying to pass the teachings of Jesus on, just like I am.

If you are looking for the best Didache translation, this is the one we used at Yale Divinity School so I am sure it is one of the best.

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