INTRODUCTION TO 1 AND 2 CLEMENT

INTRODUCTION TO 1 AND 2 CLEMENT

STEVEN RITCHIE

Photo: Codex Sinaiticus (left) and Codex Alexandrinus (right) displayed in the British Museum in 1976. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins. The First and Second Epistles of Clement were found attached to the Codex Alexandrinus with all of the books of New Testament Scripture.

The Codex Alexandrinus is a fifth century codex bound book of the entire New Testament Scripture with the two Epistles of Clement attached. Wikipedia says that the Codex Alexandrinus, “... contains all of the books of the New Testament(although the pages that contained Matthew 1:1-25:5 are not extant). In addition, the codex contains 1 Clement(lacking 57:7-63) and the homily known as 2 Clement(up to 12:5a).”The Number of extant Manuscripts of 1 and 2 Clement -By J. B. Lightfoot

The authorities for the text are three in number, two Greek manuscripts and a Syriac version.

(1)-Codex Alexandrinus(A), where the Epistles of Clement (1stand 2nd) are added to the New Testament; an uncial manuscript probably belonging to the fifth century. It is fully described above, v. 1 p. 116 sq. It is much blurred and worn, and a leaf has disappeared towards theend of the First Epistle. Thus it omits from § 57 ανθ' 'ων γαρ ηδικουν to the end of § 63. In the Second Epistle it breaks off at § 12 ουτε αρσεν ουτε θηλυ τουτο, the end of the manuscript being lost.

The so-called ν εφελκυστικον is almost uniformly inserted. All deviations from this authority in my text are noted in the apparatus criticusbeneath. The lacunae in this manuscript are note stated, except where a various reading is concerned; but a complete list is given at the end of the Epistles.Church historians and scholars state that there is only one early extant Greek manuscript of 1 and 2 Clement that was found in Alexandria dating from the fifth century. All other extant manuscripts of 1 and 2 Clement came from this single source which proves that 1 Clement chapter 58 was added later.

(2) Codex Constantinopolitanus(C), a cursive manuscript dated A.D. 1056, and containing the whole text of the Two Epistles.It is described fully above, I. p. 121 sq. The ν εφελκυστικον[the following] is systematically omitted, though there are one or two exceptions. All the variations of this manuscript likewise are recorded beneath, with the exception of ν εφελκυστικον which it seemed unnecessary to notice.

(3) Syriac Version(S), where the Epistles of Clement are found incorporated among the Epistles of the New Testament in the Philoxenian (Harclean) version. The extant manuscript is dated A.D. 1170. The authority is described fully in the introduction, I. p. 129 sq. How far this version may be accepted as evidence for the text, and to what extent it seemed advisable to record the variations from the Greek, I have there stated with sufficient precision.It is hard to believe that most Trinitarians scholars reject the first century Roman authorship of 2 Clement even though all three extant manuscripts of 1 and 2 Clement were found attached together with 1 and 2 Clement inscribed on the manuscripts. The historical evidence also informs us that there was another extant manuscript of 1 Clement with 2nd Clement attached to it at Corinth which has been lost.

Therefore we know that every manuscript of 2 Clement was always found attached to 1 Clement with the words, The “Second Epistle of Clement” written on the manuscripts. If the second epistle of Clement was not written by Clement, then Clements’ name should not have been written on all of the extant manuscripts, nor should each of the manuscripts entitled “The Second Epistle of Clement” have been attached after Clements’ first Epistle. Udo Schnelle a New Testament scholar at the University of Halle-Wittenberg, and is the author of a number of theological works.New Testament scholar Udo Schnelle wrote (in The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings, p. 355):

"In 2 Clement a larger number of logia (pron. Lojia)of Synoptic types are found (cf. 2 Clem 2.4; 3.2; 4.2; 6.1, 2; 8.5; 9.11; 13.4), which are in part introduced with quotation formulae. Alongside these are found quotations of unknown origin; cf. 2 Clem. 4.5; 5.2-4; 12.2; 13.2.This data and the introductory formula in 2 Clem. 8.5 [for the Lord says in the Gospel]) suggest that the author of 2 Clement used, in addition to the Old Testament, an apocryphal gospel that has not come down to us.There is a clearly recognizable tendency in 2 Clement to trace the authority of the Lord back to written documents."

This so called apocryphal gospel has been proved to be the Gospel to the Egyptians. Why would Clement of Rome cite the gospel to the Egyptians as scripture if it was believed to be a spurious gospel in the first century? Professor Robert M. Grant was the most prolific and influential American historian of ancient Christianity of his generation. Professor at University of Chicago (born 1917, died 2014).

Robert M. Grant referenced 2 Clement (in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 1, p. 1061):An early Christian epistle (2 Clement) transmitted along with 1 Clement in the biblical Codex Alexandrinus (5th century) and the later Jerusalem Codex (1056)which includes the Didache, as well as in the Syriac version. Itwas not written by the author(s) of 1 Clement and, indeed, it is not a letter but a sermon on self-control, repentance, and judgment.

The sermon begins abruptly: "Brothers, we must think about Jesus Christ as about God, as about the judge of living and dead; and we must not think little of our salvation." The preacher tells his "brothers and sisters" that he is reading them a "petition" or "plea" (Gk enteuxis) to "pay attention to what is written," i.e. to the scriptures which he frequently cites(along with quotations from "the prophetic word," otherwise unknown, and something like the apocryphal Gospel of the Egyptians).He himself refers to "the books (i.e., the OT) and the apostles" as authorities (14.2).Clement of Rome frequently cited the Gospel to the Egyptians as it if was an authoritative

document.

Clement clearly believed that the Gospel to the Egyptians was inspired scripture. Grant further wrote (in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 1, p. 1061):Scholars have noted the "synoptic-type" Jewish piety of the sermon, perhaps surprising around A.D. 140-160(the epistle's approximate date). The work appears to rely upon the Gospel of John as well, however, notably in 9:5-6: "If Christ the Lord who saved us was Spirit at first but became flesh[John 1:14] and so called us, so shall we receive the reward in the flesh.

Let us then love one another [John 13:34] so that we may all come to the kingdom of God."

The kingdom will come when truth and good works are accompanied by ascetic practice (chap. 12). Until then,Christians must preserve the "seal of baptism" (7:6, 8:6) and belong to "the first, spiritual Church, created [like Israel, according to some rabbis] before sun and moon," for Gen 1:27 refers to the male Christ and the female Church, both spiritual;Christ is also the Spirit (chap. 14). The theology is not altogether clear,and the author soon turns to the state that he has "given no trivial counsel about self-control," leading into his practical appeal for repentance and going so far as to say that "fasting is better than prayer, but almsgiving is better than both" (16:4).

Robert Grant commented on Clement’s theology not being “altogether clear” because 2 Clement 14 identifies Christ as the Holy Spirit. Trinitarians are supposed to believe that the Son is not the Holy Spirit. Most modern scholars now believe that 2nd Clement may not have been written by Clement himself even though the words “Second Clement” appears on the fifth century manuscript itself found in Alexandria, on the early Greek Manuscript found in Corinth (not extant), and upon the Codex (C) and the Syriac (S) manuscripts.

It amazes me that Trinitarian scholars refuse to accept the first century Roman bishop as the author of 2 Clement, even though every single manuscript of 1 Clement was always found with 2 Clement attached it with the words “Second Clement” appearing on the manuscript.

Furthermore, Grant wrote(op. cit., p. 1061): “Scholars have noted the "synoptic-type" Jewish piety of the sermon, perhaps surprising around A.D. 140-160...”Scholars have noted that the synoptic type of Jewish style of writing is “surprising” for a document dated after the first century. Hence, the internal evidence within Second Clement itself lends support to it being composed within the first century.

There are three primary reasons why 2 Clement is not believed to be written by Clement of the first century Roman Church.1.2 Clement cites The Shepherd of Hermas which was also written in the first century, but Hippolytus’ third century Muratorian Canon falsely ascribed Hermas to the mid second century (many scholars such as John Robinson and George Edmondson proved that the Muratorian fragment is “full of error”).

However, besides the internal evidence which states that Clement of Rome sent “The Shepherd of Hermas” to churches throughout the world within the first century; church historians A. T. Robinson and George Edmondson have convincingly documented the evidence proving that both Hermas and Clement were contemporaries within the first century Apostolic era. The Shepherd of Hermas itself states in Vision 3:5 that some of the first century apostles were still alive while the Shepherd of Hermas was written. Thus proving that Hermas was a first century composition.Icon of Epiphanius (Gračanica monastery)

2.The author of 2 Clement quoted texts from the Gospel to the Egyptians, which he regarded as scripture. This presents a problem for Trinitarian scholars because the historical data proves that “The Gospel to the Egyptians” was highly regarded as sacred scripture by the early Modalistic Monarchians. Ephiphanius (340-403) wrote that The Gospel to the Egyptians states that Jesus “makes clear to the disciples that he himself is the Father, that he himself is the Son, and that he himself is the Holy Spirit(Panar

ion 62).”

This book was very popular among the Sabellians but was rejected by Origen and others due to its graphic “Sabellian” content. Epiphanius (340-403) wrote in Panarion 62:“But their whole deception, and the whole power of their deception, they have (currently have) from certain apocryphal [writings], especially from the gospel called Egyptian, upon which some place this name. For in it many such things are quoted(not just in the past but in the present) mysteriously, as if in a corner, as if from the person of the Savior, such as when he makes clear to the disciples that he himself is the Father, that he himself is the Son, and that he himself is the Holy Spirit.”

Notice that even in the fourth century, Epiphanius speaks of the Modalists by saying, “they have(not just in the past, but current) from certain apocryphal [writings], especially from the gospel called Egyptian, upon which some place this name (not just in the past, but current in the fourth century).” Hence it appears that the Gospel to the Egyptians was still extant in the late fourth century but was likely destroyed by the later Roman Catholic Church due its overt Modalistic content.