Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Translation of Clement and Didache

Available February 1st in paperback and ebook:
The Letter to the Corinthians by Clement of Rome and the Didache are two of the most important documents from the earliest days of Christianity. Here we stand at the very fount of Christian teaching outside the New Testament. Here we stand at the very fount of Christian teaching outside the New Testament. Clement’s letter and the Didache reveal how Christians were implementing and living out the faith taught by Jesus and passed on by the twelve apostles. The constant threat of schism and doctrinal deviation prompted these earliest writers to pen some of the most enduring wisdom known to the church.
When read in conjunction with Ignatius of Antioch’s seven letters, these works display a remarkable unity of faith and morality in the late first century, even before the death of the last apostle, John. These writings show that Rome in the West, Corinth in Greece, and Antioch of Syria in the East held a common faith, taught a common morality, and worshiped in a structured liturgy. The faith delivered to the church was increasingly universal and yet unified.
For Christians today, these earliest writings harken back to a time when the unity of faith and morals was a cherished gift and goal among professing believers. No Christian can remain unchallenged and unchanged while reading and absorbing these writings. In a time when Christians everywhere are seeking a greater visible unity of faith and order, these documents provide rich food for thought.
Until then, you can get the previously released Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna translated by the same author Dr. Kenneth Howell.


Leonardo said...


After following the link, I arrived at a page of the Coming Home Network. I that page if found a story of conversion to the catholic faith. But conversion, in a Biblical sense, is to seek Christ, I think.

The word "home" is a little insulting to persons who are followers of Christ and do not belong to the Catholic faith.

The word home, I think, can be used when someone, leaving the catholic faith, returns to the church.

But most of the stories of conversions presented in EWTN programs, are from devoted followers of Christ.

best regards.

Theophrastus said...

I am not familiar with Kenneth Howell's work.

But I really must take the opportunity to commend Maxwell Staniforth and Andrew Louth's outstanding translation of these works (and several more comprising most of the entire Apostolic Fathers except for the Shepherd of Hermas and fragment of Papias). This book currently costs under $9 at Amazon.

There are also two excellent diglots of the Apostolic Fathers (which include the works mentioned above): (1) Bart Ehrman's two volume translation in the Loeb series (volume 1, volume 2); and (2) Michael Holmes's translation. (I know that praising Bart Ehrman's translation might cause raised eyebrows in some quarters given some of Ehrman's popular writings, but his translation here is unobjectionable.)

I think that it would be hard to go wrong with any of these editions: Stantiforth-Louth, Ehrman, or Holmes.

Timothy said...


I own the first volume in this series and Howell references, quite often, the works of Ehrman and Holmes in order to show the differences and similarities in their translations. For the most part, the annotations are theological rather than textual though.

Biblical Catholic said...

To anyone who is interested the e-book version is cheaper at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

CJA Mayo said...

Maxwell Staniforth? Isn't he the one who translated the very flowery, Victorian version of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, that we all cut our teeth on?

Hopefully he did a bit better, and more literally, by the Apostolic Fathers. For the Meditations, I use Gregory Hays' translation now, which is often overliteral and rarely overfree. (I've never been able to find nor afford it in the bilingual Loeb.)

CJA Mayo said...

I'm not sure the reasons for it (I'm a lowly Majority text advocate who hath ne'er collated two Manuscripts, nor hath any skill at Textual Criticism), but my professor went on a "boycott" of Metzger's standard introductory work after Ehrman was added as an author for the latest (4th?) edition.

He actually got a stack of reprints of "Introduction and Appendix". I almost split with joy at an individual that was not entranced by what CS Lewis called "chronological snobbery", and then I lost said joy until I knew he was tenured.

Leonardo said...


question to CJA Mayo,

I want to read some introduction to the early story of the Church, containing texts, and some comments, but basically texts.

Can you recommend a book?


Biblical Catholic said...

"I want to read some introduction to the early story of the Church, containing texts, and some comments, but basically texts."

What exactly are you looking for? Some good historical introductions would be JND Kelly's 'Earth Christian Doctrines' and Jaroslav Pelikan's 'The History of the Christian Tradition'.

Or are you looking for translations of the Apostolic Fathers?

Colleague said...


Just so you're not confused, Biblical Catholic meant J.N.D. Kelly's "Early Christian Doctrines," which is highly recommended. However, before diving straight into that one, you would probably benefit immensely from reading David Bell's two books "A Cloud of Witnesses" and "Many Mansions." You'll also need to read Olivier Clement's "Roots of Christian Mysticism" for some balance.

Leonardo said...

Hi, thanks to both of you. When I studied philosophy I had the opportunity to read a little collection of the writings of early Greek philosophers. There is a difference between reading the texts, to read the explanations of them. I want to read some texts of the early church, so I can have the feeling of it.

I will check your suggestions.

Best regards.

Leonardo said...


I saw the book of Olivier Clement, and it is more or less what I was looking.


CJA Mayo said...

I second Biblical Catholic's recommendations (I would have recommended the first three volumes of Pelikan for the early Church), along with Denzinger (Enchiridion Symbolorum), which is a collection of creeds, encyclicals, and conciliar documents, recently republished and updated to Vatican II and Pope John Paul II's encyclicals.

I'm not familiar with Olivier's book, but I'm also not familiar with mysticism. I'm more of a dogmatist, for lack of a better word, even though I've read some of the writings of a couple Mediaeval mystics as part of learning historical theology. A focus on mysticism will leave a very unbalanced theology in its wake (witness any point in history where mysticism has become an ascendant trend in Christianity).

For translations of the Apostolic Fathers, for a basic set (without the Greek), a good edition is the "Early Christian Writings" volume by Penguin. For a set of excerpts of all Fathers (not just the Apostolic ones) that have the most direct bearing on Catholic truth, "Faith of the Early Fathers" (3 vol., paper) by Jurgen is recommended (it is not complete works, but large excerpts).

For a more complete set (without the Greek), one can buy the Ante-Nicene Fathers, 10 vol., double-column, republished by Hendrickson. For the Greek, one can buy individual works in the Loeb Classical Library.

Leonardo said...


I will start with the Early Christian Writings. I like the Penguin format.


Biblical Catholic said...

"Just so you're not confused, Biblical Catholic meant J.N.D. Kelly's "Early Christian Doctrines," which is highly recommended."

When I read this I thought 'what are you talking about, that's exactly what I said!' but then I looked back at what I wrote.....

Man I'm a horrible typist! :-)