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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

13 May 2006

The Didache

Q: What is the origin of the writing known as the Didache?

ApostlesA: Didache is Greek for “Teaching.” The full title of this brief compilation is The Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles by the Twelve Apostles. While some dispute its antiquity or authenticity, a large number of Christian scholars and historians believe that the Didache, a Syrian Christian document, was written around AD 100, perhaps several years earlier.

From its early date and location of origin, many consider it quite possible that the authors personally knew one or more of the Lord’s apostles. The Didache serves as both a manual of rites and usages and as a handbook of theological interpretation and application. From it, we have a window on the very early Church’s understanding of various Scriptures and can learn about such things as communion practices and the instruction of converts to the Christian Faith.

For more on the Didache, please see Early Christian Writings and Wikipedia. These both include links to Greek texts and English translations, along with supplemental material.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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