Publishers Weekly Reviews The Teaching of the Twelve

Publishers Weekly Reviews The Teaching of the Twelve December 18, 2009

PW has posted their review of my new book:

The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing and Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community Tony Jones. Paraclete, $14.99 paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-55725-590-7

Calling the Didache “the most important book you’ve never heard of,” Emergent leader Jones (The New Christians) briefly unpacks the theological and practical lessons to be gleaned from one of early Christianity’s most overlooked texts. Less than half the length of the shortest New Testament gospel, the Didache (“teaching”) informed new Christians about spiritual practices like baptism, prayer, hospitality, fasting, Eucharist, generosity, and basic morality. Dated between 50 and 130 C.E., it is one of the oldest extant Christian texts not found in the New Testament. Jones writes engagingly, explaining the Didache’s meaning and importance while also introducing a surprising interlocutor called “Trucker Frank,” a Missouri truck driver whose house church has based its life together on the Didache. The great and unique value of this book is its vision of how Christians today might put the Didache in practice, rather than as a contribution to early Christian studies; in fact, biblical scholars and historians may raise eyebrows at a few of the book’s assumptions, particularly its oversimplifications about Gnosticism. Jones, however, has done a great service by recovering and interpreting this neglected classic for the ancient-future church. (Feb.)

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  • How can one oversimplify gnosticism? It’s the simplest heresy there is!

  • Annie

    good gracious, ted. Are you serious?

    Consider my eyebrows raised. Then again, it’s a great text and one every Christian should read, so I must concur that you’ve done a good service.

  • Ted Seeber

    How much simpler can you get than denying the humanity of Christ?

    It’s far simpler, than say, proclaiming the 1600 years of Christianity previous to your birth as being full of apostasy and corruption.

  • Annie

    I see you know very little about the multitude of movements that scholars groups under the heading Gnosticism.

  • Ted Seeber

    The many always like the simple- it allows them to weave the most amazing tales. But Gnostics always came back to one simple idea: That this world is unavoidably evil, created so. And that Christ could not have been human, because he was good.

    Gnostics aren’t that different than our modern day athiests, who often come to the same conclusion about God, just on a universal scale.

  • Congrats Tony – that’s a big deal review!