One hundred twenty-five years ago, Philotheos Bryennios discovered the text of the Didache in an eleventh-century manuscript version. In 1883 he edited the manuscript for publication, and its special fascination for scholars remains undiminished. One of the oldest extracanonical Christian documents, the Didache’s origins can be traced to the first century. It is apparently a catechism, intended to provide basic instruction in the Christian lifestyle and worship for persons preparing for baptism. The Didache exhibits fascinating echoes of Jesus’ teaching in its Matthean form, along with rare glimpses into the life of an early Christian community—its values, its observance of the Eucharist, its leaders, and the character of its hope. Niederwimmer’s wonderful commentary is a model of clarity and learning and a splendid addition to this premier commentary series.
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Kurt Niederwimmer is professor of New Testament at the University of Vienna and an editor of the Commentary on the Apostolic Fathers series (KAV). Among his books are Askese und Mysterium, Jesus, and Der Begriff der Freiheit im Neuen Testament.