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An edifying first century work, probably written or compiled somewhere between the last part of the first century and probably the first part of the second I like this version I Give this The Didache 5 star Good translation Like this book fantastic
Indispensible First and Second Century Christian Literature
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.
The letters (one fragment and a second, fuller epistle) of Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna to the Philippians (about AD 135) is also an important early Christian document. Polycarp is believed to have been a disciple of St. John who lived to an old age before his martyrdom in the middle of the second century. This letter of his is a warm, fatherly letter to fellow Christians (similar to the spirit of Ignatius of Antioch) who were probably struggling with the doctrines of Marcion. Polycarp relies heavily on the writings of Paul and Peter as he exhorts his readers.
"The Martyrdom of Polycarp" is a mid-second century writing that purports to tell the story of how the beloved Polycarp died. The tension between the Christians and Jews of the day is described and there are mythic elements to the manner in which the fire consumes the holy man. With this writing, the cult of the martyrs begins in earnest as Christians begin to rely more on the memories of those who had died for the cause.
The "Fragments of Papias" (bishop of Hierapolis, disciple of John, friend of Polycarp) are taken from the writings of Irenaeus (late 2nd century) and Eusebius' "History of the Church" (early 4th century), and date to the middle of the 2nd century. Papias is highly esteemed as having experienced apostolic teaching. He is important for observing the importance of the "rule of faith" received authoritatively, in addition to sacred writings. His themes would be carried on by Irenaeus and others in succeeding generations.
Finally, the epistle of "Mathetes" (Greek for "Disciple") to "Diognetus" is Greek Christian apologetic material that attempts to convince a friendly pagan ("Diognetus") of the truth of the Christian way. This intelligent, moving letter probably dates from the 2nd century and refers to the growth of the Churches in spite of the martyrdoms that God is behind the young Christian movement.
These are necessary source documents for students of Christian history and doctrine and, in my opinion, can't be found in a more accessible yet scholarly English translation.
A MUST READ for an understanding of the Early Church.
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.