The Way of Life: A Scholarly Book Review

Last week I had the honor of attending the Society of Biblical Literature in Boston, Massachusetts. I helped run the First Fruits of Zion table along with my colleague Ryan Lambert. It was our first year having a table there, but both of us felt we accomplished quite a bit. Attending were the top scholars of all the fields of biblical study, and a few of them even came and visited our table.

Having just finished my work on the Didache entitled The Way of Life, I was especially excited about meeting some of the world-renowned Didache scholars who had so greatly influenced me in my work. Unbeknownst to me one Didache scholar, Daniel Nessim, had written a full review of The Way of Life. Nessim is a Messianic Jew who is currently working on his doctoral thesis on the Didache. I have read some of his papers before, but I eagerly await to see his full work.

Needless to say, I was incredibly honored that he would take the time to read my work and write a review. Nessim writes:

In turn, the overview is followed by verse-by-verse commentary on the Didache. This is where Janicki’s contribution shines. Each verse is dealt with in depth, with reference not only to Didache scholarship but also comparable writings of the early church. Especially useful is his careful incorporation of insights from the Talmud and other Jewish writings. While somewhat questionable, because the Mishnah and Talmud were not committed to writing until later centuries, the insights do provide a Jewish frame of reference from which to view the teachings of the Didache. Further, they accentuate the Didache’s affinity of thought to that of other Jewish literature, as opposed to that of Christianity in those same later centuries, which was rapidly distancing itself from Jewish modes of thinking.

He concludes by saying:

For those who want to get an idea of how at least some early Messianic Jews taught regarding personal and congregational life, in more than just a dry, scholarly way, Janicki’s book is well worth the $35 asking price. I have a suspicion that Janicki’s contribution will be welcomed not only by laypersons but also Didache scholars for his fresh contribution and integration with contemporary Messianic Jewish thought.

The review is very positive and I, too, pray that The Way of Life contributes to the greater breadth of Didache scholarship as time goes on. You can read Daniel Nessim’s full review here.

For more on the Didache, check out First Fruits of Zion’s new Messianic Jewish translation and commentary on the Didache entitled The Way of Life: The Rediscovered Teachings of the Twelve Jewish Apostles to the Gentiles.

Source: First Fruits of Zion