Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Breakthrough in Uncovering a Second Century Literary Context for Clement's Letter to Theodore

We all know the drill - after the publication of Morton Smith's discovery of a letter purported to be from Clement of Alexandria to a certain 'Theodore' a growing number of dissenters began to raise questions about what they saw as 'homosexual references' associated with the Carpocratian sect in the text. The underlying assumption is that Morton Smith rather than Clement of Alexandria wrote this document under the pretense of being a Clementine document but where as Francis Watson recently argues "the homosexual orientation of the Carpocratian Secret Gospel represents an anachronistic attempt to make it relevant for the mid-twentieth century."(135-136)

The whole issue revolves around the meaning of the words 'naked man with naked man' (Theod. III.13) which most have noted likely refers to a homosexual practice of the Carpocratians which Clement condemns. As Peter Jeffrey and others have taken great pains to note - there is no explicit reference to such homosexual rituals among the Carpocratians in the contemporary writings associated with the sect at the time Clement was writing. Not in Clement's writing, nor in those of Irenaeus. Clement does make reference to deviant sexual practices associated with one Epiphanes but as Jeffrey correctly points out "Epiphanes advocated was not homosexuality, but an alternative model of heterosexuality. If Irenaeus is correct that the If Irenaeus is correct that the Carpocratians believed each soul had to have ''every experience in life,'' there is no explicit testimony in the texts we have that this included homosexual experiences." [Jeffrey Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled p. 208]

It is universally recognized that Epiphanius does make reference to these rituals being present among these Carpocratians but "this is at least a century-and-a-half too late" to be used as an argument that Clement would have been aware of this charge.

Or is it?

It is amazing how much scholarship that was carried out by some of the leading academics of the nineteenth and early twentieth century goes unread. Part of the problem certainly is that it is difficult for us to know that what someone said about 'subject A' might have relevance for 'subject B.' As such a scholar studying the Letter to Theodore and the question of its authenticity might not think that a series of studies on the citation of the υπομνηματα of an obscure second century chronicler named Hegesippus might have on the subject of 'who knew what and when' with regards to the accusation that the Carpocratians engaged in homosexual rituals. Nevertheless, as I happened to be examining the tradition for another purpose entirely I just happened to stumble into the realization that at least part of the academic world was buzzing over a century ago over the discovery that Epiphanius wasn't using Irenaeus as his source for the Carpocratians but that both men were drawing from a much older document - the υπομνηματα of Hegesippus.

Two scholars in particular Joseph Barber Lightfoot and Hugh Jackson Lawlor were absolutely convinced that differences between Epiphanius's and Irenaeus's testimony regarding the Carpocratians could only be accounted for by assuming that Epiphanius more faithful reproduced the original material in Hegesippus. Even those scholars who dissented from Lightfoot's initial claims often conceded that in spite of their opposition there was an undeniable logic to the position.

The reason why this is so significant for our present debate about to Theodore isn't just because Epiphanius reports that the Carpocratians engaged in ritual homosexuality exactly as described by the Mar Saba document - viz. "the plain fact is that these people perform every unspeakable, unlawful thing, which is not right even to say, and every kind of homosexual union and carnal intercourse with women, with every member of the body." (Haer 1.27.4) No, the realization that Irenaeus, Eusebius and Epiphanius were all citing parts of the same material from Hegesippus's υπομνηματα and Irenaeus and Epiphanius were in fact using it to gain information about a shadowy sect called 'the Carpocratians' opens the possibility that the argument in To Theodore itself was also being developed from a similar point of contact with the υπομνηματα of Hegesippus.

The idea isn't as crazy as it sounds. The first thing to note is that Clement of Alexandria cited a curious history of 'Josephus the Jew' which - as we have noted many times over the last few days - calculated the dates of important Biblical events from the year 147 CE. Hegesippus is universally acknowledged to a corrupt form of the name 'Josephus' and Eusebius and Epiphanius's copy of the of Hegesippus goes through at least two episcopal lines (those of Jerusalem and Rome) which end in 147 CE (in the case of Jerusalem the date is explicit, in the case of Rome it is implicit). To this end, the idea that Clement might have been aware of a text that had wide readership throughout the ages is a very distinct possibility.

Now before making the argument that the homosexual reference in Clement's Letter to Theodore necessarily came from directly the same copy of Hegesippus's υπομνηματα that was known to Epiphanius it has to be noted that it is also possible that Clement learned about this tradition through some unknown intermediary text. Nevertheless I do want to stress that there is one very good reason for supposing that Clement was developing To Theodore DIRECTLY from the testimony of the υπομνηματα and that is because of his repeated citation of the Epistle of Jude.

Many commentators have noted that there is a pattern in Clement's references to the Carpocratians - they inevitably cite material from Jude. In Stromata 3.2.11 for instance Clement says that "of these and other similar sects Jude, I think, spoke prophetically in his letter- "In the same way also these dreamers" (for they do not seek to find the truth in the light of day) as far as the words "and their mouth speaks arrogant things." It is difficult to count the number of commentators who have argued that the author of Jude is specifically alluding to the Carpocratians. What prevents most from accepting this view is that if this were true, we should be obliged to place the Epistle somewhere about the middle of the second century.

Yet it is worth noting that the last bishop listed in Hegesippus's is named 'Jude' or 'Judas' and a scholar as important as Grotius (Praep. in Ep. Jud.) also thought that this sect was the object of the writer's denunciation ; but, since he held that Jude was attacking contemporary heretics, he assigned the Epistle to Jude the last Bishop of Jerusalem, in the reign of Hadrian.

I think that many people get sidetracked by the issue of whether or not the Jerusalem bishop Jude 'really' wrote the Epistle of Jude. This shouldn't be our concern. I happen to think that the text of Jude was likely introduced at the time of the visit of 'Hegesippus' who claimed that he had the last word of the last Jewish bishop of Jerusalem warning against the heresy that figured so prominently in his υπομνηματα.

The real question is whether Clement and others who lived in his day connected the Epistle of Jude to the bishop of the same name mentioned in the υπομνηματα. I strongly suspect this was so and it continues to be a 'second choice' for religious minds as we see in the entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia regarding the identity of the author of Jude where the author declares:

In the address of the Epistle the author styles himself "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James". "Servant of Jesus Christ" means "apostolic minister or labourer". "Brother of James" denotes him as the brother of James kat exochen who was well-known to the Hebrew Christians to whom the Epistle of St. Jude was written. This James is to be identified with the Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; 21:18), spoken of by St. Paul as "the brother of the Lord" (Galatians 1:19), who was the author of the Catholic Epistle of St. James. and is regarded amongst Catholic interpreters as the Apostle James the son of Alpheus (St. James the Less). This last identification, however, is not evident, nor, from a critical point of view, does it seem beyond all doubt. Most Catholic commentators identify Jude with the "Judas Jacobi" ("Jude, the brother of James" in the D.V.) of Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 — also called Thaddeus (Matthew 10:3: Mark 3:18) — referring the expression to the fact that his brother James was better known than himself in the primitive Church. This view is strongly confirmed by the title "the brother of James", by which Jude designates himself in the address of his Epistle. If this identification is proved, it is clear that Jude, the author of the Epistle, was reckoned among the Twelve Apostles. This opinion is most highly probable. Beyond this we find no further information concerning Jude in the New Testament, except that the "brethren of the Lord", among whom Jude was included, were known to the Galatians and the Corinthians; also that several of them were married, and that they did not fully believe in Christ till after the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 9:5; Galatians 1:10; John 7:3-5; Acts 1:14). From a fact of Hegesippus told by Eusebius (Church History III.19-22) we learn that Jude was "said to have been the brother of the Lord according to the flesh", and that two of his grandsons lived till the reign of Trajan (see, however, BRETHREN OF THE LORD).

To this end, I would argue that Clement's consistent citation of the text of Jude against the Carpocratians was owing to the fact that he was introduced to the existence of a specific sect of this name by the υπομνηματα of Hegesippus. He was connecting one with the other either because of an IMPLICIT suggestion in the υπομνηματα or an EXPLICIT one. We don't know of course which it is but given the emphasis in all citations regarding the orthodoxy of 'Hegesippus' it must be assumed that he used the Letter of Jude. Whether or not he himself referenced which Jude wrote the letter isn't the point. Someone reading his υπομνηματα and its specific and lengthy reference to the Carpocratians would naturally have identified this sect as the heresy condemned by Jude and the Jerusalem Church he represented (whether that be a first or second century Jude is ultimately immaterial).

Perhaps it would be best here to cite Hugh Jackson Lawlor's discussion of the common use of Hegesippian material by Eusebius and Epiphanius. I think the reader will by the end, be able to see the implications of his research on the question of Clement's use of Jude in connection with the Carpocratians and moreover his apparent accusation that they engaged in homosexual rituals:

There remain no more than three or four short passages of the Memoirs of Hegesippus expressly quoted or alluded to by Eusebius in his History. The discussion of them will be fitly introduced by pointing out the probable bearing on Hegesippus's argument against his heretical opponents of the page of history contained in the fragments with which we have till now been concerned. Amongst those with whom he contended, as Eusebius implies, were the Saturnilians, Basilidians and Carpocratians, with possibly the Simonians and Menandrianists. All these were the offspring, according to Hegesippus, of the seven Jewish sects.(HE 4.22.5) Accordingly he shows, in the passages quoted above, the evil deeds of their progenitors. From them sprang false christs, false prophets, false apostles, who destroyed the unity of the Church at Jerusalem; they were the informers at whose instance the trial of the two grandsons of Jude was held; they brought about the death of Symeon. And he is careful also to record the retribution which came upon them when their own weapons were turned against themselves. The accusers of Symeon were put to death on the very charge which they preferred against him.

Again, a stock argument with controversial writers on the orthodox side was the recent origin of heresy, as contrasted with the deposit handed down from the apostles by the regular episcopal succession. This argument is applied by Hegesippus to the case of the Church of Jerusalem. He tells us that heresy first sprang into avowed existence there under the leadership of Thebuthis, in the time of Symeon. On the other hand, James the Just was the first bishop and a colleague of the apostles; Symeon succeeded him after a regular election with apostolic sanction. But here there comes into view a feature of the argument which is not found in other writers. We have seen that kinship with the Lord is prominent in the second group of fragments as rendering persons who could claim it liable to persecution. In both groups stress is laid upon it from another point of view. Relatives of Christ had special honour in the Church. They with the apostles were recognized as in a unique sense guardians of the deposit of truth. James the Just was the Lord's brother. Symeon was His cousin ; and he was chosen as bishop on this account. A Those who elected him were the surviving apostles and disciples of Christ, together with His kinsmen according to the flesh. The grandsons of Jude 'presided over every church as martyrs and of the Lord's kindred. Thus James and and Symeon seem to have been custodians of orthodox doctrine not more as bishops of Jerusalem than in virtue of their close relationship to Christ. Accordingly it was in the reign of Trajan — when the grandsons of Jude, possibly the last surviving near relatives of Christ, had passed away, when Symeon was crucified, when St. John was in extreme old age living at Ephesus, or already dead (Irenaeus ap. HE 3.23.3) - that heresy gained a firm foothold in the Christian community.

It must be observed that just at this point, when he has indicated the moment of the introduction of heterodox teaching, Hegesippus's sketch of the history of the Church of Jerusalem, and consequently the argument founded upon it, seems to have come to an end. For though Eusebius gives a list of the bishops up to the reign of Hadrian, and tells us that they were short-lived,(HE iv.5) and later on adds a list of their successors, (HE iv.6,4 v.12) he tells us nothing else about the fortunes of the Church from the reign of Trajan to the end of the second century, except the fact that after the siege under Hadrian it became a Gentile community. For the siege itself he seems to depend on Aristo of Pella.7 It is scarcely conceivable that if Hegesippus had carried his history beyond the death of Symeon Eusebius would not have used the material thus afforded. If I have with any measure of correctness interpreted the argument of Hegesippus based on the history of the Church of Jerusalem, we shall gain from it some help towards surmounting the difficulties which encompass the group of passages which must next claim our attention. It relates to a journey of the writer to Rome, in the course of which he made a stay of some length at Corinth. This journey would not have been recorded in the Memoirs if it had not supplied material for his polemic. And if Hegesippus used the knowledge acquired during his tour about the Church of Corinth or those of Rome and other cities as a basis of argument, we might expect that the argument founded upon it would be of much the same kind as that which he founded upon his fuller knowledge of the Church of Jerusalem.

The group with which we are now concerned is not a large one. Eusebius's contributions to our knowledge of it are almost confined to a single chapter of his History — Bk. iv, chap. 22. In that chapter we have a direct quotation from the Memoirs containing a succinct account of the journey. Eusebius tells us that it was preceded by some information about the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. Now from an earlier part of his work we learn that Hegesippus had written about the schism which was the occasion of the Epistle.1 Since the narrative of the schism would naturally precede the account of the letter which it called forth, we may count it as the first passage of the group. Of the second passage, containing ' some things ' about the Epistle, we have information independent of Eusebius. It included at least one quotation which, as we have seen, Epiphanius reproduces.

Passing now to Eusebius's direct quotation from that section of the Memoirs which immediately followed the notice of Clement's letter, we find indications that it is not a single fragment, but a collection of two or more. Eusebius here, as in other extracts from Hegesippus,3 omits passages which do not suit his purpose, without directing attention to the fact that he has done so. He begins this quotation with a sentence to the effect that the Church of Corinth remained orthodox to the time of Bishop Primus. And then he proceeds, 'with whom (οἷς) I made acquaintance (συνέμίξα) on my voyage to Rome.' The relative -with whom' has no antecedent. Thus we have reason to suspect a lacuna between, the first and second clauses of the transcript. Our suspicion is confirmed when we turn to the paraphrase of the passage given earlier in the chapter. In it Eusebius says that Hegesippus made the acquaintance (συνεμίξείεν) of very many (πλεῖστοις) bishops on his way to Rome, and found all of them orthodox This would be a gross exaggeration if only Primus of Corinth had been visited by Hegesippus ; scarcely less so if Eusebius intended to include the three bishops of Rome subsequently mentioned. Before the relative clause there must therefore have been a passage m which appeared the names of many bishops. It probably contained much more, but how much, or of what kind, it is vain to speculate.

Having stated that he stayed with the Corinthians for a good while, and was refreshed by their orthodoxy,3 the quotation goes on to relate that he reached Rome and ' made a succession-list' (or, as some will have it, "remained there') up to the episcopate of Anicetus, 'whose deacon was Eleutherus. And after Anicetus', proceeds Hegesippus, ' Soter succeeds, and after him Eleutherus.' Then comes the remark, 'In every succession and in every (the doctrine) is such as the law and the prophets and the Lord proclaim.' Here several reflections suggest themselves. The extreme brevity of the notice of the Roman as compared with that of the Corinthian Church is surprising. For the latter included much to which Eusebius barely alludes, and apparently some things to which he does not even allude. Then the character of the notice is peculiar. In the single sentence quoted by Eusebius an act of Hegesippus after his arrival at Rome is mentioned, and the names of three successive bishops are given; but. there is nothing more. There is not a word which could have contributed anything to his contention against the heretics. Most remarkable of all is the absence of any special commendation of the Church of Rome for orthodoxy, such as that which had been bestowed on the Church of Corinth. Por the next sentence does not relate specially to Rome. It is a summing up of the experience of Hegesippus throughout the entire period of his travels. It speaks of every city and every succession as being sound in the faith ... Only the scantiest allusion is made to Hegesippus's remarks about Clement's Epistle. The historian has no interest in them; they are referred to, not for their own sake, but merely for the purpose of indicating the place in the Memoirs of the passages on which he desires to fix attention. He says nothing at all about the schism at Corinth ... But again, the remark that the Church of Corinth was orthodox till the time of Primus recalls the parallel statement that the Church of Jerusalem was a virgin, untainted by false teaching, up to the time of Symeon. The parallel may extend further. It is commonly assumed that Primus was bishop of Corinth when Hegesippus journeyed to Eome, and that he was one of the bishops (he is sometimes spoken of as if he were the only one) whose acquaintance Hegesippus made on the voyage. But there is no warrant for the hypothesis in the extant fragments of the travel narrative. We cannot be sure that he was still bishop when Hegesippus touched at Corinth, but even if he was, it is quite possible that he was mentioned, and that the survey of the history of the Corinthian Church ended with him, because in his days Thebuthis introduced false doctrine. And lastly, at Jerusalem the bishops and relatives of the Lord were the guardians of the faith. In like manner these fragments show that in Corinth and other western cities, according to the view of Hegesippus, the bishops — for here obviously kinship with the Lord was out of the question — were invested with the same trust. And thus his intercourse with many bishops in the West provided him with a fresh argument against heresy. Wherever he went he found the rulers of the churches professing a doctrine identical with his own. Orthodoxy was maintained, to use the language of a later age, not only semper but ubique et ab omnibus.

Before leaving the fragments preserved by Eusebius it may be well to say a word about a reading which has given rise to much discussion - the words διαδοχὴν ἐποιησ€μην ... Since it seems now to be a commonly held opinion that Hegesippus wrote διαδοχὴν ἐποιησ€μην or some similar phrase, it may be well to point out that in two other places he expresses the sense which such a phrase is supposed to convey, and that in neither does he use a periphrasis. He remained with the Corinthians many days and in telling us so he writes συνδιετριψα. (HE 4.22.2) In an earlier passage he tells us that after taking up their abode at Pella the Christians of Jerusalem ' remained there '. And again he seems to have used the verb διατρίβειν.(Epiph Haer 29.7; 30.2)

... Meanwhile, an attempt must be made to recover some passages of the Memoirs to which Eusebius makes no reference. We again invoke the aid of Epiphanius. We have already seen that he quotes from them a few words of the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. This quotation is made in Haer. 27.6. Let us see whether there is any indication in the context that he made further use of the book which is thus proved to have been open before him while he wrote.

At the beginning of the same paragraph Epiphanius speaks of one Marcellina, a follower of Carpocrates, who taught in Rome under Anicetus. In doing so he evidently uses the very words of his authority ; for what he says is this :

'A certain Marcellina who had been led into error by them [the disciples of Carpocrates] paid us a visit some time ago. She was the ruin of a great number of persons in the time of Anicetus, bishop of Rome, who succeeded Pius and his predecessors.

The words ' paid us a visit' are evidently taken over from a contemporary document, the phraseology of which Epiphanius, with a carelessness of which we find other examples in the Panarion, has forgotten to alter so as to make it suit its new environment. Further, if the next sentence is from the same document it would seem that it was written after, though not very long after, the episcopate of Anicetus. And the expression ' bishop of Rome ' may perhaps indicate that the writer was not Roman. That Epiphanius believed that he was in Rome when he was visited by Marcellina, and that the visit was paid under Anicetus, becomes plain when we glance at the next page, where he repeats the information in a somewhat different form. In the times, as we have said, of Anicetus, the above-named Marcellina having come to Rome,' The record which Epiphanius uses in this place seems, therefore, to have come from the pen of some stranger who was in Rome in the time of Anicetus, and to have been written not long after the death of that bishop. Now if we are to believe Eusebius Hegesippus came to Rome under Anicetus ... Epiphanius then quoting from the Memoirs? The suggestion is at least plausible.

But there is other evidence in favour of it. The statement about Marcellina is found also in the chapter about the the Carpocratians in Irenaeus's work Against Heresies? Now the whole of that chapter has obviously a close connexion with the passage of Epiphanius m which the notice of Marcellina occurs. In both we are told (1) that the Carpocratians 'sealed' members of their sect by branding them on the right ear, (2) that Marcellina made many converts under Anicetus, (3) that the Carpocratians were called Gnostics, (4) that they had images of Christ painted or formed of ' other material ', which were said to have been made by Pilate while Christ was on earth, (5) that these images were placed beside images of philosophers such as Pythagoras, Plato, nd Aristotle.and (6) that they were venerated with Gentile rites. But Epiphanius certainly did not here borrow from Irenaeus. Irenaeus says that Marcellina came ' to Rome ', Epiphanius that she came ' to us '. A late writer copying Irenaeus could not have substituted the latter for the former. And Epiphanius adds some particulars which are not in Irenaeus and which he can scarcely have invented. He mentions the instruments with which the branding was performed, expands the ' other material ' of Irenaeus into ' gold and silver and other material ', and he refers at the end of the passage to the doctrine of the Carpocratians that salvation was of the soul only and not of the body. Thus it remains that Irenaeus and Epiphanius based their statements on a common document. No work, except the Memoirs of Hegesippus, can be suggested which fulfils the necessary conditions of time and place.

Attention may be called to another point of contact between this passage of Epiphanius and the Memoirs. Hegesippus, like the author of Epiphanius's source, classed the Carpocratians among the Gnostics, and it seems to be implied by Eusebius that they were one of the heretical sects against which he contended. But we may go further. In the same context, and shortly before he comes to to name Hegesippus as one of the champions of the faith against heretics, Eusebius makes reference to the chapter of Irenaeus on the Carpocratians : ' Irenaeus also writes that contemporary with these (Saturninus and Basilides) was Carpocrates, the father of another heresy called that of the Gnostics.' Whence did he borrow this description of Carpocrates? Not, certainly, from Irenaeus; for he says no more than that the followers of Carpocrates called themselves Gnostics. But in the parallel passage Epiphanius tells us that 'thence— ie from the teaching of Marcellina at Rome or perhaps from the Carpocratians generally — has come the origin (ἀρχή) of those who are called Gnostics '.(Haer 27.6) In tracing the origin of Gnosticism to the teaching of Carpocrates did Epiphanius follow the source more exactly than Irenaeus? And in dubbing him ' the father of the heresy called that of the Gnostics ' does Eusebius echo the same phrase? (Lawlor demonstrates in the footnote he does) If so, we have an indication that the source was known to Eusebius and was in fact the Memoirs. That ἀρχή (or a cognate) was actually the word used by Hegesippus may appear likely if we recall the words in which he speaks of the first entrance of heresy into the Church of Jerusalem (Greek text cited from Church History 4.22.4). In the present passage all that is meant may perhaps be that the arrival of Marcellina marked the beginning of Gnostic teaching in Rome, just as the conduct of of Thebuthis marked the beginning of 'vain doctrine' in Jerusalem, though Eusebius in both cases has given the words a wider significance.

Immediately after his first notice of Marcellina Epiphanius proceeds to give a list of the bishops of Rome, beginning with the 'apostles and bishops, Peter and Paul ', and ending with Clement. Then comes a long digression about Clement, which has nothing to do with his main subject, the Carpocratian heresy. Near the end of the digression he mentions incidentally that the two bishops who followed next after the apostles, Linus and Cletus, ruled each for twelve years. Then he once more sets out the order of succession of the bishops, this time carrying it on to Anicetus, and resumes his account of the Carpocratians with a repetition in different words of what he had already said about Marcellina. Thus he returns to the document of which he had made use at the beginning of the paragraph.

The list of Roman bishops, part of which Epiphanius writes down twice, is taken from a document, and was not compiled by Epiphanius himself. This fact is betrayed, once more, by the carelessness of Epiphanius. The list, on repetition, ends with the name of Anicetus, on which follows, ' who has been already mentioned above in the catalogue ' (Greek text cited). Now there is in the Panarion no catalogue of bishops which can be referred to here The obvious inference is that Epiphanius took his list from a writing in which its position was considerably earlier than the note, and that he has transcribed the latter, not observing that the omission of the katalogos from its proper place rendered it unmeaning.

Further, most readers of this passage will probably agree with. Harnack when he says that the list of bishops and the episode of Marcellina are inseparably connected. They must have been taken from the same document. Hence, if the foregoing argument is sound the former as well as the latter comes from the Memoirs of Hegesippus. Thus we may account for the presence of such irrelevant matter as a list of the bishops of Rome in a passage whose subject is the heresy of Carpocrates. The account of the Carpocratians, including the sentences about Marcellina, was in the Memoirs inserted in the katalogos was not the mere list of names which the word might seem to import, The name of each bishop was associated with some account of his period of office. This inference is supported by the fact that Epiphanius tells us, no doubt relying on his katalogos hat Linus and Cletus each ruled the Church for twelve years. It is supported also by the digression about Clement. This is really a digression within a digression. Epiphanius breaks off his discourse about the Carpocratians to give the list of bishops, and he breaks off the list when he reaches Clement to explain the difficulty about his place in the succession. It is natural to suppose that something in the catalogue itself suggested this fresh interruption. This can have been nothing else than an assertion that he was a contemporary of the apostles and was appointed bishop by St. Peter. The repetition of the former statement in successive clauses J leaves the impression that it was, as it were, the text of the discourse, and the use of a Hegesippan phrase (Greek text cited) in the latter is significant.

If all this is true the katalogos which Epiphanius had in his hands must have been a kind of history of the early Roman Church not at all unlike the history of the early Church of Jerusalem which Hegesippus incorporated in his Memoirs. Two special features of resemblance between the two may be pointed out. As in the Memoirs the manner of the appointment to the episcopate of James and Symeon is dwelt upon, so here the appointment of Clement by St. Peter while he and St. Paul were still alive is recorded. And as there the introduction of heresy into Jerusalem by Thebuthis under Symeon is recounted, so here the introduction of Gnosticism into Rome by Marcellina under Anicetus is duly noted, and apparently dealt with at some length.

The conclusion to which we seem to be irresistibly led by all these circumstances is that the whole of this paragraph of the Panarion of Epiphanius, excepting only the argument about Clement, is directly based on a passage of Hegesippus's Memoirs. This conclusion is supported by the high authority of Lightfoot, who, indeed, was the first to suggest it.
[Hugh Jackson Lawlor Eusebiana p. 62 - 83]

It is worth noting that a careful re-reading of Stromata 3 in light of this discovery reveals in my mind that scholars were too distracted by Clement's 'explanation' of the original report of sexual licentiousness to see a clear reference to homosexual practices there too. The original report which Clement apparently passes on to us states "After they have sated their appetites ("on repletion Cypris, the goddess of love, enters," as it is said), then they overturn the lamps and so extinguish the light that the shame of their adulterous 'righteousness' is hidden, and they have intercourse where they will and with whom they will." Clement later adds his own personal aside or explanation that the Carpocratians must have been misled by their interest in Plato who says that women must be kept in common. Yet the original report suggests that they all got into a dark room and essentially 'groped around' grabbing or fucking whatever they could get their hands (or other parts of their body) on.

When we look at Epiphanius's citation of Hegesippus (or whatever source it is argued he used) the same idea of heterosexual and homosexual sex being performed 'side by side' each other is retained "the plain fact is that these people perform every unspeakable, unlawful thing, which is not right even to say, and every kind of homosexual union and carnal intercourse with women, with every member of the body." (Haer 1.27.4)

I think that there is a general similarity between this reference in Epiphanius and what appears in Clement again - "they overturn the lamps and so extinguish the light ... and they have intercourse where they will and with whom they will." I mean ever since adolescence the thought of an orgy might have sounded good until you sort of 'went through the math' and realized that you had very little control over who or what was creeping around beside or behind of you ...

The question of whether you can get from this - an orgy - back to the rituals developed from what is commonly called 'the first addition to Secret Mark' (LGM 1) essentially misses the whole point of the exercise. Clement is attacking the Carpocratians for promoting an incorrect interpretation of the material owing to their inherent carnality. The question of whether or not Clement and Epiphanius are ultimately referencing a common source - Hegesippus - which says that the Carpocratians engaged in homosexuality is now a mute point in my mind. This is what MUST have been present in the υπομνηματα. Clement was just faithfully alluding to a commonly known description of the Carpocratians in a widely read original source that dated back before his day.

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