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Book Reviews > New Testament > The Didache: A Commentary

Thomas R. Schreiner

Thomas R. Schreiner
Professor of New Testament, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Didache: A Commentary
Kurt Niederwimmer (Linda M. Maloney, trans. and Harold W. Attridge, ed.)
Details: 1998, Fortress Press, Amazon.comISBN: 0800660277
Posted: July 15, 2004


The Hermeneia series is well-known for its technical expertise in which the biblical text is examined critically and primary and secondary sources are referenced extensively. The Hermeneia series is also including commentaries on the Apostolic Fathers, and this volume represents the work of Kurt Niederwimmer on the Didache. Niederwimmer's introduction treats the following matters with reference to the Didache: its structure and genre, references to the work in other historical sources, the manuscript tradition, the early versions that translated the work, its relationship to the Apostolic Constitutions, the relationship between the Didache and the "Two Ways" tradition, and a reconstruction of the origin of the work. The discussions on these matters are technical and thorough and would be of significant interest to specialists. Two matters warrant comment here. Virtually all scholars date the Didache very early, and Niederwimmer opts for a date between A.D. 110-120. Other scholars, however, date the document even earlier. J. P. Audet posits a date of A.D. 70, and Michael Holmes suspects that it was written by at least A.D. 80. Assigning a date is difficult since the Didache was stitched together from various sources. It is also clear that some portions of the work draw on gospel tradition, particularly the gospel of Matthew. The commentary examines the text carefully from a critical point of view, interacting with other interpretations. As with most volumes in the Hermeneia series, the theology of the document is not the focus of the commentary. If the reader desires a technical and thorough discussion of the text, then this volume will serve admirably.

Thomas R. Schreiner

Previously appeared in The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology