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The Didache ("teaching"), also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, is an early Christian writing that just barely missed being included in the canonical Bible. Some of the early church did accept it as scripture.[1]

It is usually dated to the late 1st century CE, although the older view was that it was early 2nd century and some still adhere to this; the earliest datings place it as one of the first Christian texts, preceding the four canonical Gospels.[2] The full text was lost for hundreds of years, and rediscovered in 1873, although it was also quoted by many other early Christian writers.[1][3]


It offers a basic summary of church doctrine and ritual and church organisation. There are four sections:

  1. The Way of Life and the Way of Death, an account of good and bad behavior. The Way of Life draws on the Ten Commandments and Jesus' teaching about meekness and turning the other cheek; the Way of Death is more fun if you like "cursing, murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, witchcrafts, charms, robberies, false witness, hypocrisies, a double heart,[note 1] fraud, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness, foul speech, jealousy, impudence, haughtiness, boastfulness."
  2. Rituals: baptism and the Eucharist, the Lord's Prayer,Wikipedia and fasting.
  3. A section on how to treat apostles and prophets and what kind of hospitality should be offered them (including advice to beware anyone who stays more than two days), and how to choose bishops and preachers.
  4. A prophecy of the end times and Second Coming.

Unlike any of the books that did get included in the New Testament, the Didache contains an explicit prohibition of abortion. Maybe the anti-abortion movement can still get it added to the Bible yet.

External links[edit]


  1. Does this mean the Doctor is going to Hell?


  1. 1.0 1.1 See the Wikipedia article on Didache.
  2. Didache, BBC Religion, 2009-08-04
  3. Didache, Early Christian Writings