Didache Blog Tour – Day Two, Chapter Three

Didache Blog Tour – Day Two, Chapter Three December 2, 2009
Philotheos Bryennios who discovered the Didache in 1873

Today, Amy Moffit and Ted Gossard tackle chapter three of my new book, The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing and Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community. (The blog tour skipped chapter two of the book, because that is the complete text of the Didache, which you can also find here.)

Amy writes that at first, the Didache seemed to her like a cut-and-paste job from Matthew’s Gospel, in which the authors simply took the parts of Matthew they liked and slapped them together.  It’s true that I think the Didache authors had access to Quelle, which was also the primary source of Matthew.  So she’s right to find parallels.

On a more existential level, Amy writes,

I’ve studied early Christian history, and I know that things have changed a lot, but reading about the Christians who would have been familiar with the Didache brings it home to me that their faith may well have been NOTHING like mine, not just in practice, but in substance as well.

She’s right about this, too, of course.  The Didache is quite shocking, especially for those of us who were fed lots of Paul and lots of John’s Gospel growing up.  And I know that for me, those were the staples of my youth group diet.  As I wrote yesterday, the Didache is much more Matthean and Jamesian than it is Pauline or Johanine.

Ted writes,

I found both the Didache and Tony’s take on it for both the past and the present fascinating. When one reads the Didache (which might be roughly as long as the book of Ecclesiastes) one encounters a number of Jesus’ sayings, and directions for the way of life as opposed to the way of death, as well as directions for Christian and church practice. It is not a dull read at all; in fact one will appreciate insights and want to ponder what is said.

And they both mention that it’s in chapter three that I introduce the readers to The Cymbrogi, a Christian community in rural Missouri that uses the Didache as a rule for their communal life.  Readers of my last book will recognize Trucker Frank as one of the Cymbrogi.  Their present-day embrace and application of the Didache really brings the ancient document to life for me.

Online Resources:

Previously: Adam, Thomas, and me on chapter one.

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  • Tony,

    I’ve read your blog now for a little over six months after being introduced to your work by a fellow pastor friend of mine. I’ve yet to pick up one of your books, but I look forward to reading your newest book very soon. I wanted to say that I appreciate your faithful “blogging” a great deal and it has been a huge source of enourgagement to me over the last several months.

    I am a recent graduate from seminary and have found the transition back home extremely difficult, as the area of the country that I live in — at least in the particuliar denomination I was raised in — does not place much value on education or progressive thinking of any sort and it is in turn demonized.

    I realize this is probably not the correct forum to contact you through, but I’ve reach a point of frustration and thought I’d give it a try. If you ever have a minute for any email correspondence, it would be greatly appreciate, but I also understand if you can’t.

    Thanks again and God’s Peace.

  • Greg

    Really looking forward to reading the book! Is it actually shipping though? I checked on Amazon and its still listed as a pre-order. Barnes and Noble doesn’t have any at their warehouse, and at Borders its listed as on backorder and likely won’t ship until 4-8 weeks.

  • I love the opening paragraph in Wiki about the theoretical Quelle document:

    Qhelle “is a POSTULATED lost textual source for the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of Luke. It is a THEORETICAL collection of Jesus’ sayings, written in Koine Greek. Although many scholars believe that “Q” was a real document, NO ACTUAL DOCUMENT OR FRAGMENT HAS BEEN FOUND.”

    So, apparently some scholars theology now has a missing link too.

    That being said I am interested in historical works like the didache but we must be careful not to make them equal to inspired scripture (not saying that is being done). They can be quite helpful if seen from primarily a historical context.

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