The Didache: A Commentary

By Shawn J. Wilhite

An introduction and commentary to the Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, one of the earliest writings of the Christian Church.

ISBN: 9780227177235


Shawn J. Wilhite’s commentary on the Didache complements the study of early Christianity through historical, literary, and theological readings of the Apostolic Fathers, seeking to be mindful of the critical while commenting on a final-form text. The Didache includes a brief introduction to this relevant text, the use of Scripture by the Didachist, and the theology of the Didache. The commentary proceeds section by section with a close ear to the text of the Didache, relevant early Christian literature, and current scholarship.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 326

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Shawn J. Wilhite received a PhD in New Testament and a ThM in Patristics from Southern Seminary. He is Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at California Baptist University and PhD candidate in Patristics at Durham University. He is director and research fellow for the Center for Ancient Christian Studies.


Series Preface
Foreword by Clayton N. Jefford
List of Abbreviations
List of Tables

Translation of the Didache

Part I: Introductory Articles
1. An Introduction to the Didache
     MS Tradition of the Didache
     Use of Didache in Antiquity: Canon Lists and Possible Quotations
     Date and Provenance of the Didache
     Structural Overview of the Didache

2. The Reception of Sacred Scripture in the Didache
     Reception History, Intertextuality, and Literary Identity
     Reception History of Biblical Tradition in the Didache
     Concluding Remarks: The Reception of Sacred Scripture in the Didache

3. The Theology of the Didache
     Theology and Trinitarianism
     Communal Liturgies: Baptismal, Fasting, Prayer, and Eucharist Liturgies
     Communal Preservation and Soteriology
     Corporate Gathering and Ecclesial Structures
     The “Last Days” and the Didache’s Eschatological Orientation

Part II: Commentary on the Didache
Didache 1.1-6.2: Ethical Instruction of the Two-Ways Ethic
Didache 6.3-10.7: Liturgical Rituals
Additional Commentary: [Coptic Addition] Concerning the Ointment (Didache 10.8)
Didache 11.1-15.4: Ecclesial and Communal Order
Didache 16.1-8: Eschatological Ethics and Teaching
Additional Commentary: Lost Ending (Didache 16.9-12)

Commentary Index


Endorsements and Reviews

Wilhite’s introduction is thoughtfully balanced – elucidating the beliefs, practices, and authoritative texts of the Didachean community as seen synchronically through the window of the Jerusalem manuscript, while still acknowledging the questions concerning, and engaging the critical scholarship on the ‘journey’ of the text and the communities along the way. Most refreshingly, he is not afraid to think outside the box, and I found myself forced to reconsider points I thought long settled.
Nancy D. Pardee, University of Chicago

In this introductory commentary Wilhite spills his extensive knowledge of primary and secondary sources, including the most reliable recent studies, in a volume of value to specialists and nonspecialists alike. This prized contribution imparts a freshness and urgency rarely encountered in works on the Apostolic Fathers. I recommend it without qualification.
Clare K. Rothschild, Lewis University

Though intended as an introductory commentary on the Didache, not only does Wilhite’s book provide an entrĂ©e into the backgrounds, contents, theology, and reception of the Didache, it also steers a reliable path through the critical thickets that currently surround its interpretation. All of this makes the book a valuable companion to the study of the Didache, and a worthy contribution to this exciting new series on the Apostolic Fathers.
Charles E. Hill, Reformed Theological Seminary