Today, my new book, The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing and Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community starts shipping (details for purchase are at the end of this post). And Paraclete Press has been kind enough to arrange a blog tour over the next ten days. I’ll be interacting with the posts by these bloggers as we go along.
Over at Pomomusings, Adam has written an overview of the first chapter and asked,
What was it like to live in a pre-Pauline time? How did followers of the Way of Jesus make sense of their faith and their call to live in a kingdom way before Paul? Perhaps the Didache is one of the documents that can help give us a sense of what that kind of faith-filled life might have looked like.
That, in fact, is one of my strongest points in the book: That the Didache gives us a glimpse of a pre-Pauline Christianity. Some Didache scholars dispute this, but, try as I might, I can find no knowledge of Paul betrayed anywhere in the text of the Didache. Many contemporary Christians struggle with Paul’s writings, and, while we don’t want to discard them, it’s nice to get another version of early Christian life that jibes more with James than Paul.
At Everyday Liturgy, Thomas Turner writes,
The Didache was written at a very early time in the faith when the canon hadn’t been set in stone, the Way of Jesus was illegal, subversive, and underground, and the orthodox theology of the Church was in its infancy. It was an exciting time when people were not really sure what exactly was happening but they knew full well that something had happened: Christ was alive and his Way was good.
As he notes a bit later, I surmise in the book that those first readers of the Didache were not only excited, they were likely very scared. It’s hard for us to even imagine what following Jesus must have meant in those very early days of the faith, but, if the Didache is any indication, it consisted mainly of right living, gathering for meals, listening to visiting preachers and prophets, and sharing in baptisms and communion.
Thanks to Adam and Thomas for their posts. Anyone else have any thoughts on the first chapter?
- Buy the book at Amazon for $10.11
- Buy 3 or more from Paraclete for 40% off (till December 11)
- Read our full translation of the Didache
- Listen to me read the Didache (17 minutes, mp3 file)