Posted by: sean | March 7, 2009

Didache a.d. 80-120

Didache 1.1-6, perhaps the earliest post-biblical Christian teaching:

The Lord’s Teaching to the Heathen by the Twelve Apostles:

1 There are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference.

2 Now, this is the way of life: “First, you must love God who made you, and second, your neighbor as yourself.” And whatever you want people to refrain from doing to you, you must not do to them.

3 What these maxims teach is this: “Bless those who curse you,” and “pray for your enemies.” Moreover, fast “for those who persecute you.” For “what credit is it to you if you love those who love you? Is that not the way the heathen act?” But “you must love those who hate you,” and then you will make no enemies. 4 “Abstain from carnal passions.” If someone strikes you “on the right cheek, turn to him the other too, and you will be perfect.” If someone “forces you to go one mile with him, go along with him for two”; if someone robs you “of your overcoat, give him your suit as well.” If someone deprives you of “your property, do not ask for it back.” (You could not get it back anyway!)  5 “Give to everybody who begs from you, and ask for no return.” For the Father wants his own gifts to be universally shared. Happy is the man who gives as the commandment bids him, for he is guiltless! But alas for the man who receives! If he receives because he is in need, he will be guiltless. But if he is not in need he will have to stand trial why he received and for what purpose. He will be thrown into prison and have his action investigated; and “he will not get out until he has paid back the last cent.” 6 Indeed, there is a further saying that relates to this: “Let your donation sweat in your hands until you know to whom to give it.”

read the rest of the Didache

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