Wilderness in the Apostolic Fathers

wilderness-of-judeaIn “The Wilderness Narrative in the Apostolic Fathers,” Clayton Jefford outlines the references to wilderness traditions and narratives set in Israel’s wilderness found in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. His central contention is that the uncertainty of the ancient Israelite motif of wilderness wandering appealed little to non-Jewish, second-generation Christians who were more interested in identity formation than wilderness theology. Jefford begins by tracing three major New Testament associations with wilderness: 1) that true prophets receive revelation in a wilderness context; 2) that God’s self-revelation to Israel occurred in the wilderness; and 3) that the wilderness exists as a threatening presence. He then examines references to the wilderness in 1 Clement 43 and 53, arguing that both scenes are tied to the issue of “correct governance and civility within the structure of the church.” (162) Clement’s larger purposes, therefore, led him to visit these particular passages and draw on the example of Moses. Continue reading

Scripture in 1 Clement: Bibliography

This post concludes our series on the function and use of scripture in the early Christian writing known as 1 Clement by providing interested readers with a select bibliography of the sources consulted in this study.

Apostle Paul WritingAncient Texts

Clement of Rome. First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, trans. Bart D. Ehrman. The Apostolic Fathers: Volume One, Loeb Classical Library 24, ed. Jeffrey Henderson. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Eusebius of Caesarea. Ecclesiastical History, trans. G.A. Williamson, ed. Andrew Louth. London: Penguin Books, 1989.

Ignatius of Antioch. Letter to the Philadelphians, trans. Bart D. Ehrman. The Apostolic Fathers: Volume One, Loeb Classical Library 24, ed. Jeffrey Henderson. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Tertullian. Prescription Against the Heresies, trans. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, ed. Paul A. Boer, Sr. The Anti-Marcion Writings of Tertullian. Veritatis Splendor Publications, 2012.

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Scripture in 1 Clement: Conclusions

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

Sacred ScriptureBefore concluding this examination, I offer two final key findings and a note on the ramifications of these conclusions. First, the relationship between 1 Clement and the Gospel of Matthew remains—at the very least—an ongoing topic of conversation. Scholarship which claims insignificant connections between these two early Christian writings cannot stand in the face of the literary connections outlined here. The author of 1 Clement had access to a version of Matthew’s gospel prior to the writing of his epistle. Second, those evaluating early Christian reception history and literary allusion should not neglect the possibility of composite citations by their authors, especially in writings where clear examples of this practice exist. In contrast to the assumption of the need for formal markers to signal literary connections, consideration of composite citations may require an extensive text- and linguistic-centered comparative process, such as the above side-by-side reading of 1 Clement 46:8 alongside potential gospel parallels. Continue reading

Scripture in 1 Clement: Composite Implications

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

Saint Clement of RomeBy way of summary, I briefly outline some of the implications of the argument that Clement compositely cited the Gospel of Matthew. First, this citation suggests Clement knew and had read Matthew’s Gospel. This is contrary to perspectives like that of Helmut Koester which reject Clement’s knowledge of written gospel accounts.[1] While he almost certainly did not have a copy of Matthew’s Gospel open before him while writing his letter, Clement was certainly familiar enough with that text to cite it from memory with at least allusive accuracy. Continue reading

Scripture in 1 Clement: Composite Citation of the Gospels (Part III)

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

jesus_catacombWhat does account for 1 Clement 46:8 is Clement’s tendency to cite written passages compositely, as was noted in his use of the Jewish scriptures.[1] According to this explanation, Clement combined the words of Jesus found in two different locations of the synoptic tradition, thereby—with a single “word of the Lord”—arguing against the perils of leading the Church into schism and error. Of course, it is not enough to suggest that Clement may have compositely cited the synoptic tradition—one must also explain why he would have done so. Continue reading

Scripture in 1 Clement: Composite Citation of the Gospels (Part II)

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

Clement of Rome

Clement of Rome

In all, six basic options have been offered regarding the source of 1 Clement 46:8: (1) Matthew 26:24, (2) Luke 17:1-2, (3) Matthew 18:6,[1] (4) Mark 9:42, (5) a combination of any or all of these sources, or (6) an extra-canonical and non-extant source such as Q.[2] Table 1 outlines a textual comparison of these synoptic passages with 1 Clement 46:8. Continue reading

Scripture in 1 Clement: Composite Citation of the Gospels (Part I)

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

The Four Evangelists (Book of Kells)

The Four Evangelists (Book of Kells)

Clement’s relationship with written Christian texts remains far more difficult to parse than his near constant reliance on Jewish scriptures. Arguments have been made for this epistle’s use of nearly every writing now in the New Testament, [1] although in no place does Clement introduce a possible reference to these writings with anything other than a “he says/said” introduction.[2] Clement’s lack of clear citations to Christian literature contributes to the major divergence of scholarly opinion regarding this letter’s possible use of materials from the Synoptic Gospels.  Commonly noted possible parallels include the sayings on mercy and forgiveness found in 1 Clement 13.2,[3] the reference to the Parable of the Sower found in 1 Clement 24:5,[4] and the quotation of Isaiah 29:13 in 1 Clement 15:2, where Clement agrees with the form found in Matthew 15:8 and Mark 7:6 over LXX Isaiah.[5] Continue reading

Scripture in 1 Clement: Composite Citations of the Hebrew Bible

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

The Creation of Man by Michelangelo Sistine ChapelCentral to the considerations here are the “composite citations” of the Jewish Scriptures, where Clement fused together different passages and presented them as a single citation. There are several characteristics indicative of this type of citation. First, these composites often align with the meaning rather than exact verbal structure of their sources and come from the same book of the Jewish scriptures.[1] For example, 1 Clement 32:2 combines Genesis 15:5 and 22:17, saying “Your offspring will be like the stars of heaven.”[2] Here Clement is more concerned with the promise to Abraham than with an exact replication of Genesis’s terminology. Second, these citations are often from the same source.[3] For instance, 1 Clement 26:2 reads, “You will raise me up and I will praise you, and I lay down and slept, and I arose, because you are with me.”[4] This is apparently a composite citation of Psalm 3:6 and 28:7, and possibly incorporates Psalm 22:4 and 87:11 as well.[5] In addition to the thematic similarity between these passages—God’s presence with the believer—this passage also stands as an example of Clement’s tendency to conflate passages from the same written source. Continue reading

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] Continue reading

Scripture in 1 Clement: Context

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

Saint Clement of RomeBefore diving into Clement’s practice of composite citation, we must first contextualize the letter. Most contemporary scholars affirm that 1 Clement was primarily written by Clement of Rome,[1] who served as the second[2] or third[3] Bishop of Rome and died around 99 CE.[4] Somewhat more controversial are discussions surrounding the date when 1 Clement was written and the ecclesiastical position (if any) that Clement held whilst writing. Michael Stover has helpfully classified the plethora of opinions concerning the date of 1 Clement into three categories: Early Date (ca. 64-70 CE), Middle Date (ca. 94-98 CE), and Late Date (until 140 CE).[5] Of these, the Middle Date (94-98 CE) remains most commonly affirmed and convincing because of references to the deaths of Peter and Paul as a recent-but-not-immediate events and the interpretation of 1 Clement 1:1 as a reference to the persecutions under Domitian.[6] Additionally, the letter’s rapid acceptance suggests that it was written by Clement while he was serving as Bishop, commonly dated between 92 and 99 CE.[7] Continue reading