Compiled between 50 and 70 CE, The Didache (or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) is one of the earliest Christian writings, which means it may predate the four Gospels. It offers a unique glimpse into how some of the earliest Christian communities lived and worshiped.
Fr. Thomas O'Loughlin shares the story of this first-century manual for training converts, beginning with its discovery in an obscure library in Istanbul in the late nineteenth century, and continuing to the present, while offering an analysis of the text's importance. His new translation, along with a commentary, highlights areas of key interest to Christians today: the faith and hope, discipline and rituals, and anxieties and challenges facing Gentiles being trained for full participation in the earliest Jewish-Christian communities. The book concludes with a discussion of how the Didache relates to other early church texts, particularly the Gospels, and gives answers to the most frequently asked questions about this fascinating and important treatise.
The Didache features a detailed description of the day-to-day faith and step-by-step routines that shaped the movement of the followers of Jesus some twenty years after his death. The focus of the faction at that time was not on proclaiming the titles and deeds of the Christ. Those aspects come to the fore later in the letters of Paul and in the gospel narratives. Instead, the focus of the Didache was on the life and knowledge of Jesus himself.
This is an essential resource for readers interested in history, Scripture, and liturgy in Christianity's earliest period.
Paperback. 204 pages.
1. A Chance Discovery
2. Choosing a Way
3. Joining the Group
4. Prayer and Fasting
5. Meeting and Eating
6. A Network of Service
7. Fears and Hope
8. The Challenge of the Didache
The Teachings of the Lord Given to the Gentiles by the Twelve Apostles
"A valuable and thorough introduction to an important though little-studied work that provides a unique window on a corner of the early Christian world." - Sean Freyne, emeritus professor of theology, Trinity College Dublin
"A truly accessible commentary on this ancient text and on the early Christian communities that lie behind it, and yet one that incorporates up-to-date academic scholarship." - Paul Bradshaw, professor of liturgy, University of Notre Dame
"I highly recommend this informed, engaging, and pastorally sensitive exploration of the Didache. Reading the text within its Jewish roots and in harmony with its New Testament parallels, Thomas O'Loughlin shows how the Didache admirably shaped the faith and practice of second-generation Christians in ways that have relevance for us today." - Aaron Milavec, author of The Didache: Faith, Hope, and Life of the Earliest Christian Communities, 50-70 CE