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Comparison of the "Two Ways" section with several other "Two Ways" documents suggests that Didache 1-6 is itself the result of multistage editing.
The document began with rather haphazard organization (cf.
It bears no date itself, nor does it make reference to any datable external event, yet the picture of the Church which it presents could only be described as primitive, reaching back to the very earliest stages of the Church's order and practice in a way which largely agrees with the picture presented by the NT, while at the same time posing questions for many traditional interpretations of this first period of the Church's life. Traces of the use of this text, and the high regard it enjoyed, are widespread in the literature of the second and third centuries especially in Syria and Egypt.
Fragments of the Didache were found at Oxyrhyncus (P. It was used by the compilator of the Didascalia (C 2/3rd) and the Liber Graduun (C 3/4th), as well as being absorbed in toto by the Apostolic Constitutions (C c. Patterson comments on the dating of the Didache (The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus, p.
Especially important are two Greek fragments, Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1782, dated to the "late fourth century" and published by Greenfell and Hunt in 1922 (12-15).
These tiny scraps, about two inches by two inches apiece, contain verses 1:3c-4a and 2:7-3:2.
That is very important confirmation for the basic accuracy of Codex Hierosolymitanus 54, given the gulf of centuries between it and the earlier fragments. Mirecki offer a photographic reproduction along with an excellent transcription, translation, and commentary on this document.
1-6 has a prehistory that connects with Jewish ethical concerns (see Harnack 1896) which probably took shape in both Greek and Semitic formulations.
This helps to explain the similarities and differences between the two ways in Didache, Barnabas, Doctrina, and elsewhere (e.g., Goodspeed 1945; Rordorf 1972).
To this basic substratum, the Didache form of the two ways has attracted addititional sections in 1:3b-2:1 (gospel sayings and related admonitions; see especially Latyon 1968; Mees 1971) and 3:1-6 (the 'fences' tradition).
Similarly, the apparent intrusion of such sections as 12:1-5 (compare 11:4-6) and 14:1-3 into the flow of the community instructions, and the evidences of developmental language even within the existing instructions (e.g., the concessions in 6:2 and 7:2-3, the change from itinerant to local ministry in 15:1-2) illustrate the evolving nature of this material even outside the two-ways section.The Didache is written from the view point of a community leadership that distrusts, and yet respects, Christian prophets, one that wishes the prophets to leave town as quickly as possible, yet would have them welcomed in town when they arrive.