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The Didache: The Epistle of Barnabus, the Epistles and the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, the Fragments of Papias, the Epistle to Diogn (Ancient Christian Writers) Hardcover – December 1, 1948

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The Didache purports to be an instruction based on sayings of the Lord and given by the Twelve Apostles to pagans who wished to become Christians.

About the Author

Sharon Newman has written several books on quiltmaking and quilt history and is nationally recognized for her reproduction fabric lines from Moda(R) fabrics.

Walter J. Burghardt, SJ, a world renowned theologian, writer, and thinker, was cited in a university study as one of the 12 best preachers in the United States. Among his 25 books are 15 collections of his homilies and sermons, and an auto-biography, "Long Have I Loved You."

Quasten, Professor of Ancient Church History and Christian Archaeology.
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Product Details

  • Series: Ancient Christian Writers (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press; No. 6 edition (December 1, 1948)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809102471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809102471
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In this volume four of the most important short sub-New Testament documents are collected together in a scholarly translation with copius notes. Of these, two (The Didache, and the Episle of Barnabas) were seriously considered by some of the Church Fathers to be on a par with the New Testament. In fact, The Didache may well have been written BEFORE some of the Canonical New Testament. In the "Fragments" we see probably the earliest testimony concerning the Apostolic origins of the Synoptic Gospels.
No scholar or student of the Early Church should be without many volumes of the Ancient Christian Writers series. Of this series, this is one of the most important titles.
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This handsome volume six of the Ancient Christian Writers series is one of the half dozen "must have" volumes (along with #1 - Clement and Ignatius, #55 - Ireneaus, #56 - Justin Martyr, and a few others). I have about two dozen of these great books. This particular volume was one of the ones edited by the legendary Patristic scholar Johannes Quasten (the translator, James Kliest) and contains "The Didache," or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, "The Epistle of Barnabas," "The Epistles and Martyrdom of St. Polycarp," "The Fragments of Papias" and the "Epistle to Diognetus." Each work is prefaced by scholarly expository material. The translations are modern and annotated, and the endnotes provide a wealth of detailed study information.

"The Didache" (first to third century, AD) is a document discovered in the 19th century that solved many mysteries. A number of ancient Christian documents that appeared to have a common source appear to have that source in the Didache which probably has elements that were composed as early as the first century. This work purports to contain apostolic teachings for Christian living and worship procedures and includes specific instructions on baptism and the celebration of the Lord's Supper.

"Barnabas" (2nd century, AD) is an ancient Christian letter by an unknown yet probably authoritative author. It was held in very high regard by early Christianity and is an exhortation to persistence in the Christian way. It contains specific admonitions against "Judaizing," the major error of the writer's day and contrasts the Christian understanding of religious history with that of Judaism. This is polemical literature and must be read in that light.
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I own many books from the "Ancient Christian Writers" series. I cannot think of a better edition of the Early Church Fathers out there. There may be cheaper collections, but these translations and notes are solid academically and theologically.

This specific volume, the Didache, is one of two volumes that come off my shelf most regularly. The Didache is essential reading for the Christian. For what little my opinion is worth, I believe that this little work is perhaps the most important early extra-biblical text there is.

This short work was written as a sort of pamphlet (or tract to use the modern jargon) designed to evangelize pagans. It begins with a bold statement. To paraphrase: "There are two ways, one of life and one of death." It then goes on to address the moral teachings of the Church.

After this opening section on Christian morality, there is a section on Christian worship, specifically regarding the Eucharistic celebration.

This text is VERY early, probably written around 90AD. As a believer, what is remarkable for me is the consistency with which the truth has been preached by the Church for 2000 years. Under the section "the way of life" we find the following instruction: "Do not kill a fetus by abortion." It would not be overstating the case to say that all John Paul II did with his pontificate is reiterate, in new and beautiful ways, the constant teaching of the Church, which has not changed drastically in 2000 years. Certainly the Didache, while a short easy read in pamphlet form, speaks volumes about Christian morality and the "culture of life" the successors of Peter would have us build.

This is a monumental (and short!) work that should be in the library of every serious Christian. It is impossible to see how one can advocate new and novel Christian "morality" in light of texts like the Didache, which so clearly point out the differences between Christian and Pagan thought, ethics, and morality.
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Any serious disciple who is or has embarked into ministry MUST read the Didache and the early Church epistles to understand the context and the purpose of what they now are doing. Without a firm link to our earliest Chruch Fathers, contemporary ministry risks falling short of that which links us to Scripture.

Contemporary issues of culture and religion are firmly addressed in the ancient "Teachings" of the Apostles and early Disciples. By bridging the span to our fundamental faith, modern ministers are able to provide greater relevancy to their work, instruction, and Christian modeling.

Reviewed by: Dr. Jeffrey Wincel (D.Min), author of "Climbing The Mountain of God, The Path to Mystical Discipleship" and "Defying the Trend, Business Ethics and Corporate Morality from a Faith Perspective."
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