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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  • Funny- I’d say the Didache shackles the Church to Western Cultural Captivity- in fact, I’d call it the foundational document of the Episcopate.

  • Great book Tony, and I’m looking forward to participating in the blog tour.

  • Wow. This sounds fascinating, Tony. Can’t wait to read it!

  • Len

    Looking forward to reading it and sharing my thoughts.

  • Looks interesting. Is Paraclete going to do a Kindle version or am I stuck with the old paradigm of paper?

    BTW, congrats. I know it feels good to get this one done.

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  • Looking forward to reading it, Tony. i love this:

    ‘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.’

    This sure sounds to me like a start in breaking from western cultural idolatry!


  • I look forward to hearing more. There as been alot of research recently, that is sketching an image of two streams of faith practice, that by James, and Paul. It is interesting that Paul’s christianity was started outside its origins, and his letters before the gospels. That Paul likely had no contact with the disciples until four years after his spiritual experience. It’s no secret James and Paul did not see eye to eye. That Acts wasn’t written until after both were dead, and whose authorship is still unclear might served as a document to merge the the two streams. Paul’s faith practice certainly applealed to a broader audience, and certainly caught the imagination of Rome. This may be the first incident where the megachurch swallowed up a small traditional church. Will these recent findings change things, likely not…but historically these findings are important if we are to truly understand the family story.

  • Annie

    I would love to hear your historical evidence for such an early date.

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  • The snippets on the blog have been enough to inflame my appetite I just ordered 3! Timely release. In my travelling around the world I pick up that people are yearning for a more simple – yet far from simplistic – faith and church structure that is portable, that they can journey with. Rather than an edifice that they are tied to and is too big for the journey

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  • – colorful line –

    “The Mission of Jesus and the Mission of the Father in the Didache”
    Click to view [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGNPPkyraV0] an hour-long video of the Invitational lecture given by Aaron Milavec
    at the University of Nottingham (UK) 16 Nov 2011
    with an introduction by Prof. Thomas O’Loughlin

    – colorful line –