The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing and Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community

Tony Jones, Author . Paraclete $14.99 (125p) 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.)

Reviewed on: 12/14/2009
Release date: 12/01/2009
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-1-55725-466-5
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