Revolutionary commentaries unlock the faith, hope, and life of Christian communities before the written Gospels

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Most Christians believe that everything about Jesus and the early church can be found in their New Testament. In recent years, however, the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas and the reconstruction of the Q-Gospel have led scholars to recognize that some very early materials were left out. Now, due to the pioneering efforts of Dr. Aaron Milavec, the most decisive document of them all, namely, the Didache (“Did-ah-Kay”), has come to light. Milavec has decoded the Didache and enabled it to reveal its hidden secrets regarding those years when Christianity was little more than a faction within the restless Judaisms of the mid-first-century.

Milavec’s thousand-page volume unlocking the hidden secrets of the Didache has been nominated for the 2004 American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence.Most Christians believe that everything about Jesus and the early church can be found in their New Testament. In recent years, however, the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas and the reconstruction of the Q-Gospel have led scholars to recognize that some very early materials were left out. Now, due to the pioneering efforts of Dr. Aaron Milavec, the most decisive document of them all, namely, the Didache (“Did-ah-Kay”), has come to light. Milavec has decoded the Didache and enabled it to reveal its hidden secrets regarding those years when Christianity was little more than a faction within the restless Judaisms of the mid-first-century.

The Didache reveals a tantalizingly detailed description of the prophetic faith and day-to-day routines that shaped the Jesus movement some twenty years after the death of Jesus. The focus of the movement then was not upon proclaiming the exalted titles and deeds of Jesus--aspects that come to the fore in the letters of Paul and in the Gospel narratives. In contrast to these familiar forms of Christianity, the focus of the Didache was upon "the life and the knowledge" of Jesus himself. Thus, the Didache details the step-by-step process whereby non-Jews were empowered by assimilating the prophetic faith and the way of life associated with Jesus of Nazareth.

Milavec’s clear, concise, and inspiring commentaries are not only of essential importance to scholars, pastors, and students but also very useful for ordinary people who wish to unlock the secrets of the Didache. Milavec’s analytic, Greek-English side-by-side, gender-inclusive translation is included as well as a description of how this document, after being fashioned and used 50-70 C.E., was mysteriously lost for over eighteen hundred years before being found in an obscure library in Istanbul. The study questions, bibliography, and flowcharts enable even first-time users to grasp the functional and pastoral genius that characterized the earliest Christian communities.

Clayton N Jefford, Professor of Scripture at Saint Meinrad School of Theology, describes Milavec’s commentary as a “masterful presentation of the text and an intriguing perspective upon the ancient origins and unique purposes of the work.” Dr. Philip Culbertson, Auckland University, New Zealand, adds, “This insightful new edition should appeal as much to erudite scholars as to the plainest of faiths.” The internationally known scholar, John Dominic Crossan, declares, "The works by Milavec have revolutionized my own understanding of the Didache and I recommend them as the best introduction to a new and more profitable way of studying the document."

Aaron Milavec, Ph.D., is founder and director of EasyGreek Software. He has served as a seminary and university professor for twenty-five years and currently chairs the new program unit of the Society of Biblical Literature “The Didache in Context.”

The Didache (the "mouse") is available in religious and trade bookstores or directly from Liturgical Press. Call: 1-800-858-5450; fax: 1-800-445-5899; or e-mail: sales@litpress.org. A complete catalog is also available online: http://www.litpress.org. The Didache (the "elephant") is available directly from Paulist Press. Call 1-800-218-1903, fax: 1-800-836-3161.

Other sources:

Author Weeps While Embracing his Elephant and his Mouse @ http://didache.info/PressRelease.htm

Interview on the Hidden Life of the Earliest Christians @ http://didache.info/Interview.htm

Opening Introduction:

The latest issue of Newsweek asks, "Is there a secret cache of documents that reveal the true history of Christianity?" The response makes reference to the Gnostic Gospels. What even the researchers did not know, however, is that a cache of ancient documents has been discovered in an Orthodox library in Istanbul. Concealed within a medieval codex was a document used in the earliest Jesus communities (50-70 C.E.) and then mysteriously lost for over eighteen hundred years. This document bears the long title, The Training of the Lord through the Twelve Apostles to the Gentiles, and is customarily referred to as the Didache (the Greek word for "training"). Tonight, we have Professor Aaron Milavec in the studio with us. He is quickly gaining the reputation as the "hairy potter" who decoded the Didache and enabled it to reveal its hidden secrets regarding those hidden years when Christianity was little more than a faction within the restless Judaism of the mid-first-century.

Aaron Milavec can be reached at Milavec@woh.rr.com or 937-778-9123         22 Mar 04

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