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In its present form it represents the Christianization of a common Jewish form of moral instruction.Similar material is found in a number of other Christian writings from the first through about the fifth centuries, including the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didascalia, the Apostolic Church Ordinances, the Summary of Doctrine, the Apostolic Constitutions, the Life of Schnudi, and On the Teaching of the Apostles (or Doctrina), some of which are dependent on the Didache.
It is an anonymous work, a pastoral manual that Aaron Milavec states "reveals more about how Jewish-Christians saw themselves and how they adapted their Judaism for gentiles than any other book in the Christian Scriptures." Hitchcock and Brown produced the first English translation in March 1884.And concerning food, bear what you are able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly careful; for it is the service of dead gods.(Roberts) Comparable to the Didache is the "let him eat herbs" of Paul of Tarsus as a hyperbolical expression like 1 Cor : "I will never eat flesh, lest I should scandalize my brother", thus giving no support to the notion of vegetarianism in the Early Church.The text, parts of which constitute the oldest extant written catechism, has three main sections dealing with Christian ethics, rituals such as baptism and Eucharist, and Church organization.The opening chapters describe the virtuous Way of Life and the wicked Way of Death.The contents may be divided into four parts, which most scholars agree were combined from separate sources by a later redactor: the first is the Two Ways, the Way of Life and the Way of Death (chapters 1–6); the second part is a ritual dealing with baptism, fasting, and Communion (chapters 7–10); the third speaks of the ministry and how to treat apostles, prophets, bishops, and deacons (chapters 11–15); and the final section (chapter 16) is a prophecy of the Antichrist and the Second Coming.
The Two Ways material appears to have been intended, in light of 7.1, as a summary of basic instruction about the Christian life to be taught to those who were preparing for baptism and church membership.
Additionally, apart from two minuscule fragments, the Greek text of the Didache has only survived in a single manuscript, the Codex Hierosolymitanus.
Dating the document is thus made difficult both by the lack of hard evidence and its composite character.
The Apostolic Church-Ordinances has used a part, the Apostolic Constitutions have embodied the Didascalia.
There are echoes in Justin Martyr, Tatian, Theophilus of Antioch, Cyprian, and Lactantius.
Unacknowledged citations are very common, if less certain.