Teaching of the Twelve Drops Tomorrow

Teaching of the Twelve Drops Tomorrow November 30, 2009

Teaching of the Twelve by Tony Jones

My latest book, The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing & Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community officially releases tomorrow (it should ship from Amazon tomorrow, but it may already be available at some retailers; starting tomorrow, Paraclete Press will be offering a special deal: Buy three or more and get 40% off).

It’s a short, breezy read — on Amazon, David P. Robinson says that he read it in two hours, and he recommends it to youth pastors.  Chad Estes’s review reads, “I found the writing to be encouraging and thought provoking and certainly worth discussing in communities of faith today.”

If you don’t know what the Didache is, it is an early Christian document, only rediscovered in 1873 in a dusty library in Nicomedia.  At first, many considered it a forgery, but it was quickly determined to be authentic and attested in other ancient documents.  Some scholars date it early 2nd century, but there’s a growing consensus that it’s earlier than that.  I date it between 50 and 70 CE, contemporaneous with Paul’s letters and before the Gospels.

The Didache is not a particularly theological book.  It’s actually a manual for Christian communal life, and if I had to sum up its message, I’d say it it, Do your best.  The Didache lays out a very pragmatic approach to Christian living.  The line that sums that up is Didache 6:2:

For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able, then at least do what you can.

The raw, simple, primitive Christianity described in the Didache is a great model for those of us attempting to free the church from its Western cultural captivity, so I hope this book will be a small step in that process.

In celebration of the release of The Teaching of the Twelve, I’ll be tweeting my favorite lines from the Didache all week, and Paraclete has arranged a blog tour.  Every day, I’ll respond here to the bloggers as they post about the book.

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