Scripture in 1 Clement: The Jewish Scriptures

This post is part of an ongoing series examining the function and use of scripture in the early Christian writing known as 1 Clement.

hebrew-bibleIn exhorting the Corinthians to restore their overthrown leaders, Clement drew upon a wide variety of materials as authoritative bases for the importance of Christian concord. Immediately evident to any reader are 1 Clement’s numerous and lengthy appeals to the Jewish scriptures, which he calls the “revelation through which God speaks.”[1] As outlined by Donald A. Hagner, this epistle employs approximately sixty-five quotations from the Jewish scriptures, the totality of which compose nearly one-quarter of the entire letter.[2] Nine of these quotations are of such length that Clement almost certainly would have required access to a copy of the Septuagint in order to provide accurate transcriptions.[3]

Clement introduces almost all of these uses of the Jewish scripture with an introduction of some kind.[4] Although Clement generally uses introductions such as γραφει, λεγει, ειπεν, φεσι, and narrative introductions for now-canonical writings, he also employs these introductory formulae for non-canonical materials such as Apocryphal Ezekiel, the Assumption of Moses, and Eldad and Modad.[5] The flexibility with which Clement employs these “formal” introductions suggests a relatively fluid view of such markers; that is, for Clement the contents of what is being cited are more important than how they are being cited. Additionally, the form of Clement’s citations varies. Τhere are thirty-nine citations which clearly come from the Septuagint; nine citations derived from the Septuagint, but exhibiting moderate differences from the received text; five quotations from non-Septuagintal versions of the Jewish scriptures; and twelve “composite citations.”

[1] 1 Clement 22:1. Gregory, “Introduction”, 120. Hagner, 21. J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines: Fifth Edition (London: Continuum, 2009), 65. McDonald, 248, 256. Paul Foster, “The Text of the New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers,” In The Early Text of the New Testament, eds. Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 288. C.F. Evans, “The New Testament in the Making,” In The Cambridge History of the Bible: Volume I: From the Beginnings to Jerome, eds. P. R. Ackroyd and C. F. Evans (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 234. Helmut Koester, Synoptische Uberlieferung bei den Apostolischen Vatern (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1957), 136.

[2] Hagner, 22. Metzger, 43. Gree, 55. Gregory, “Introduction”, 228. Scholars range between 65 and 85 total citations of the Jewish scriptures in First Clement, with some including apocryphal and reconstructed composite citations.

[3] These passages are Genesis 4.3-8 (1 Clement 4), Job 4.16-5.5 (39), Job 5.17-26 (56), Psalm 33.12-18 (22), Psalm 49.16-23 (35), Psalm 50 (18), Proverbs 1.23-33 (57), Isaiah 1.16-20 (8), and Isaiah 53 (16).

[4] Hagner, 26-8, 33-4, 77. Hagner delineates eight different forms of introduction: “(1) graphei, or some derivative thereof; (2) legei; (3) eipen; and (4) phesi. To these we add (5) miscellaneous introductions; a separate section (6) containing those formulae which are derived from the narrative and/or point to the human author rather than the divine character of the quoted words; (7) a list of passages without formulae; and (8) a list of the formulae used with non-canonical writings.” He also divides uses of the Jewish scriptures into four distinct categories: “(a) those which are clearly septuagintal; (b) composite quotations which are basically septuagintal; (c) quotations which appear to be (but are not necessarily) non-septuagintal; and (d) quotations which are non-canonical.”

[5] See 1 Clement 17:6, 23:3, and 46:2, respectively.

Published by Jacob J. Prahlow

Christ-Follower. Married to Hayley. Father of Bree. PhD student in Historical Theology at Saint Louis University (19). Love Reading, Thinking, and Blogging.

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