The teaching of the twelve apostles.
Also known as the Didache.
The twelve apostles.
On site: Didache
Skeptik (Greek only).
CCEL: Didache (Greek only).
Early Christian Writings:
Didache (English only).
Didache at Early Christian Writings.
Didache in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Didache 16.1-8 and the Olivet
As your father
This Greek work is usually classified amongst the apostolic fathers; its true
author, however, is unknown, its date a rough estimate, and its
point of origin a matter of educated guessing. I list these attributes
in ascending order of ascertainability. No scholar of whom I am aware
has ever ventured to name the author (or authors) by name. Peter Kirby
offers a rather wide dating range of 50-120 on Early Christian
Writings (though he notes
that dates as late as the third century have been posited). And by
far the most common hypothesis as to point of origin is Syria, based
in no small part on similarities between the Didache, the gospel
of Matthew, and the epistles
Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies
Again, therefore, the one who has adopted
the things of the barbarians, and vaunts them as his own, does unjustly,
and has falsified the truth. This man is said to be a thief by the
scripture. It says therefore: Son, do not become false; for falsehood
is the road to thievery.*
Refer to Didache 3.5.
Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies
[The gnostic] himself knows also the enigmas
of the fasting of those days, I mean the fourth [day] and the [day of]
preparation.* For the one is so called from Hermes, but the other from
* The fourth day is Wednesday; the day of preparation
is Friday. Refer to Didache 8.1.
This man, practicing the commandment
according to the gospel, keeps that lordly day* whenever he
should cast away the wrong mindset and takes hold of the gnostic
[mindset], glorifying the resurrection of the Lord within
* Evidently the first day of the week, or Sunday,
the Christian day of worship. Refer to Didache 13.7; 14.1.
Clement of Alexandria, Salvation of the Rich
This is the one who has poured out the wine,
the blood of the vine of David, upon our wounded souls.*
* Refer to Didache 9.2.
One of the least utilized witnesses to the Didache is the so-called Renunciation of Boniface from century VIII.
This brief text is sermon 15 from his collection, and is available
in Latin in Migne, Patrologia
Latina 64, columns 870-872. I present here this text
(also available in
.pdf from the site
on the Didache maintained by Alan
Garrow) and my own translation (another of which is available
from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library):
Audite, fratres, et attentius cogitetis quid in
baptismo renuntiastis. abrenuntiastis enim diabolo et omnibus operibus eius et
omnibus pompis eius. quid sunt ergo opera diaboli? haec sunt superbia,
idololatria, invidia, homicidium, detractio, mendacium, periurium, odium,
fornicatio, adulterium, omnis pollutio, furta, falsum testimonium, rapina, gula,
ebrietas, turpiloquia, contentiones, ira, veneficia, incantationes et sortilegos
exquirere, strigas et fictos lupos credere, abortum facere, dominis inobedientes
esse, phylacteria habere. haec et his similia mala opera sunt diaboli, et his
omnibus in baptismo renuntiastis, et, sicut apostolus dicit: Qui talia agunt
digni sunt morte et regnum dei non consequentur. sed quia credimus per dei
misericordiam ut his omnibus superius dictis corde et opere renuntietis,
ut veniam consequi mereamini, admoneo vos, fratres charissimi, ut reminiscamini
quod omnipotenti deo promisistis.
Listen, brethren, and consider attentively what you
renounced in your baptism. For you renounced the devil and all his works
and all his pomp. What then are the works of the devil? They are pride,
idolatry, envy, murder, defamation, lying, perjury, hatred, fornication,
adultery, all pollution, theft, false testimony, robbery, gluttony,
drunkenness, slander, contention, ire, potions, incantations and the seeking
out of lots, believing in witches and fictive werewolves, performing an
abortion, being disobedient to lords, having phylacteries. These and similar
evil things are the works of the devil, and you have renounced all of them
in your baptism, and, as the apostle says: Whatever men do such things are
worthy of death and shall not attain the kingdom of God. But, because we
have faith by the mercy of God that you will renounce all these things that
were said earlier, by heart and work, in order to become deserving of favor,
I admonish you, dearest brethren, to remember what you promised the omnipotent
Primitus enim promisistis credere in deum omnipotentem,
et in Iesum Christum filium eius, et in spiritum sanctum, unum omnipotentem
deum in trinitate perfecta.
For, first, you promised to have faith in the
omnipotent God, and in Jesus Christ his son, and in the holy spirit,
one omnipotent God in perfect trinity.
Haec sunt mandata dei quae facere et conservare debetis,
ut deum, quem confessi estis, diligatis ex toto corde, ex tota mente, et
ex tota virtute, deinde proximos vestros tanquam vosmetipsos. in his omnibus
mandatis tota lex pendet et prophetae. estote patientes, estote misericordes,
benigni, casti, impolluti. filios docete ut deum timeant, familiam similiter.
discordes pacate. qui causas audit, iuste iudicet; munera non accipiat,
quia munera obcaecant etiam sapientes.
These are the commandments which you ought to do and
keep, to love God, whom you confessed, from all your heart, from all your
mind, and from all your strength, then to love your neighbors just as
yourselves; the whole law and the prophets depend on these commandments.
Be patient, be merciful, benign, chaste, unpolluted. Teach your sons to fear
God, your family likewise. Pacify those who are in discord. He who hears cases,
let him judge justly; let him receive no bribes, because bribes make even
the wise blind.
Diem dominicum observate; ad ecclesiam convenite, ibi
orantes et non verbositantes. eleemosynas date iuxta vires, quia sicut
aqua exstinguit ignem, ita eleemosyna exstinguit peccatum. hospitales
invicem peregrinos suscipite, infirmos visitate, viduis et pupillis ministrate,
decimas reddite ecclesiis, et quod tibi non vis, alii ne facias. deum solum
ubique timete. servi subditi estote dominis, et domini iustitiam conservate
servis. orationem dominicam et symbolum tenete, et filiis vestris tradite
et filiolis vestris, quorum in baptismo fideiussores exstitistis. ieiunium
amate, iustitiam diligite, diabolo resistite, eucharistiam per tempora sumite.
haec sunt opera quae deus iussit facere et conservare, et his similia.
Observe the day of the Lord; convene in church,
praying there and not chattering. Give alms according to your power, because
as water extinguishes fire so alms extinguish sins. Receive pilgrims hospitably
in turn, visit the sick, minister to widows and orphans, give tithes to the
churches, and what you do not wish done to you do not do to another.
Everywhere fear God only. Let servants be submissive to lords, and let lords
keep justice for their servants. Maintain the dominical prayer and the symbol,
and transmit them to your sons and to your godsons, whose sponsors in baptism
you happen to be. Adore the fast, love justice, resist the devil, take the
eucharist from time to time. These and similar things are the works which
God orders you to do and keep.
Venturum Christum credite, et carnis resurrectionem, et
iudicium omnium hominum. ibi discernuntur impii in ignem aeternum, iusti
autem in vitam aeternam. ibi est vita cum deo sine morte, lux sine tenebris,
salus sine aegritudine, satietas sine fame, felicitas sine timore, gaudium
sine tristitia. ibi aeterna gloria, ibi fulgebunt iusti sicut sol, quoniam
oculus non vidit, nec auris audivit, nec in cor hominis ascendit quantum
praeparavit deus diligentibus se.
Have faith that Christ will come, and in the
resurrection of the flesh, and in the judgment of all men. For then will
the impious be separated into eternal fire, the just, however, into the
eternal life. Then there is a life with God without death, light without
shadows, health without sickness, satiety without hunger, blessedness without
fear, joy without sorrow. Then there is eternal glory, then shall the just
shine like the sun, since no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has it ascended
in the heart of a man how much God has prepared for those who love him.
Hoc etiam vos moneo, fratres charissimi, quia natalis domini
imminet, ut abstineatis vos ab omni luxuria et ab omni fornicatione, et ab
omni immunditia, et ab omnibus operibus malis. iracundiam et odium et invidiam
velut venenum de vestris cordibus respuite. castitatem etiam cum propriis
uxoribus conservate. ornate vos bonis operibus. eleemosynas pauperibus Christi
erogate; ad convivia lautiora pauperes frequenter revocate. pacem cum omnibus
custodite; discordes pacate. hoc si fideliter, Christo adiuvante, volueritis
adimplere, et in hoc saeculo ad altare domini securiter potestis accedere,
et in futuro ad aeternam beatitudinem feliciter pervenire.
I yet admonish you in this, dearest brethren, that
the birthday of the Lord is imminent, in order that you may abstain from
every luxury and from all fornication, and from all uncleanness, and from
all evil works. Spit all malice and hate and envy from your hearts as poison.
Keep chaste even with your own wives. Adorn yourselves with good works.
Distribute alms to the poor of Christ; call them frequently to your joyous
feasts. Maintain peace with all men; pacify those who are in discord. If,
with Christ helping, you are willing to implement this faithfully, then you
will be able to securely approach the alter of the Lord in this age, and in
the future you will obtain everlasting bliss.
According to Bart Ehrman (on pages 413-414 of volume 1 of the Loeb
edition of the apostolic fathers) and Michael Holmes (on page 147
of The Apostolic Fathers)
the following manuscripts are extant for the teaching of the
Hierosolymitanus (H), year 1056, Greek.
Oxyrhynchus papyrus 1782 (P), century IV, Greek (contains 1.3c-1.4a;
Coptic version, century V (contains 10.3b-12.2a).
Ethiopic church order (contains 8.1-2; 11.3-13.7).
Latin Doctrine of the Apostles (L),
century III (contains the two ways section).
book 7, century IV.
Georgian version, now lost, but probably modern
at any rate.