Dwight Friesen has attempted to answer the compelling and important question,
Does the Didache teach or advise anything that substantively differs from what was decided at the earliest ecumenical church councils (such as Nicaea)?
In The Teaching of the Twelve: Beleiving and Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community, I make a lot of how much the Didache is like the synoptic Gospels, and how little it resembles the Fourth Gospel, Paul, even more so, those who established the ecclecial hierarchy, like Ignatius. I date the Didache early (AD 50-70) — we can talk about that more here if we need to. But the point is that the Didache was seemingly unfamiliar with the writings of Paul.
So, the question this raises for me is, if the Didache portrays a different version of Christian faith than the early church councils, were the Councils overly Pauline in their perspective?
While the Didache is a one of our earliest glimpses into the practical life of primitive Christians; a glimpse into how the people gathering together in Christ and seeking to live in the way of Jesus actually engaged culture, economics, community, and ritual etc. it is striking at how little doctrine it presents. While just the opposite could be said of the Creed born of our First Church Council at Nicæa (325) . . . in the document out of Nicæa we have a fairly clear confession of beliefs with no practices or rituals.
This to me is the primary difference between the two documents. One is concerned with how we should live, the other what we confess.
You can go to Dwight’s blog to read his conclusion.
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