Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Against Polycarp [Part Twelve]

It has taken us many pages citing many studies to make the case for the idea that Polycarp and Ignatius might have been the same person. Then we discovered that someone editing original material associated with Lucian's stranger made it seem as if 'Polycarp' was witnessing 'Ignatius' while citing 'Clement.' Perhaps we should stop right there. This is actually a common misconception. The truth is that Polycarp doesn't declare that he is quoting Clement's Letter to the Corinthians. In fact he is just citing a common gospel reference - a reference from a tradition related to the Diatessaron - in a manner that is eerily familiar to the formula used by the author of 1 Clement. Polycarp never begins by saying 'I am now citing Clement ...' In fact his citation just happens to have Clement's 'fingerprints' all over it.

It might be a little premature to say that any of this proves that 1 Clement might have originally been written by Lucian's stranger. So let's start with something quite basic. How much time do we need to spend to have it generally accepted that the author of the first letter of Clement was also the author of the second letter of Clement? Let's face it - the texts say they were authored by the same person. The two texts are transmitted together as a set in the biblical Codex Alexandrinus (late 4th century), the later Jerusalem Codex (1056) which includes the Didache, as well as in the Syriac version likely written near Edessa and now preserved at Cambridge University.

All the arguments which have been developed in favor of the proposition that the texts were written by two different authors at two different times don't account for the possibility that 1 Clement was fundamentally transformed by a later editor. Sounds like a crazy theory until you realize that Lightfoot already provided the proof for that assertion. He begins by noticing that 1 Clement uses a very unusual collection of New and Old Testament texts that appear in a very specific order in places. Lightfoot notes that Clement of Alexandria (Strom. iv. 22) quotes the passage in 1 Clement "nearly in the form which it has here ... and doubtless derived it through the medium of Roman Clement."

The common citation goes from a very unique version of Psalm 139.7-10 to Isaiah 50.10 and then a very unique version of Isaiah 64.4. It has been noted that "Clement of Alexandria, it must be observed, does not name the Roman Clement, nor does he do so anywhere in the immediate neighbourhood." Yet we will see that it is very rare that anyone cites 'Roman Clement' as 'Clement' when using his material. Even the texts of 'Roman Clement' themselves never identifies its author by name.

Here is the original version of the same material which appears corrupt in 1 Clement 28 - 34 cited by Clement of Alexandria:

And his business is not abstinence from what is evil (for this is a step to the highest perfection), or the doing of good out of fear. For it is written, "Whither shall I flee, and where shall I hide myself from Thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; if I go away to the uttermost parts of the sea, there is Thy right hand; if I go down into the depths, there is Thy Spirit." [Psalm 139.7 - 10] Nor any more is he to do so from hope of promised recompense. For it is said, "Behold the Lord, and His reward is before His face, to give to every one according to his works; what eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard, and hath not entered into the heart of man what God hath prepared for them that love Him." [Isa. 64.4] But only the doing of good out of love, and for the sake of its own excellence, is to be the Gnostic's choice.  [Stromata iv.22]

The very same material appears in this order in 1 Clement albeit with a lot of added material in between each citation:

Since then all things are seen and heard [by God], let us fear Him, and forsake those wicked works which proceed from evil desires; so that, through His mercy, we may be protected from the judgments to come. For whither can any of us flee from His mighty hand? Or what world will receive any of those who run away from Him? For the Scripture says in a certain place, Whither shall I go, and where shall I be hid from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I go away even to the uttermost parts of the earth, there is Your right hand; if I make my bed in the abyss, there is Your Spirit. Whither, then, shall anyone go, or where shall he escape from Him who comprehends all things?

Let us then draw near to Him with holiness of spirit, lifting up pure and undefiled hands unto Him, loving our gracious and merciful Father, who has made us partakers in the blessings of His elect. For thus it is written, When the Most High divided the nations, when He scattered the sons of Adam, He fixed the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God. His people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, and Israel the lot of His inheritance. And in another place [the Scripture] says, Behold, the Lord takes unto Himself a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man takes the first-fruits of his threshing-floor; and from that nation shall come forth the Most Holy.

Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One, let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking after change, all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride. For God, [says the Scripture], resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Let us cleave, then, to those to whom grace has been given by God. Let us clothe ourselves with concord and humility, ever exercising self-control, standing far off from all whispering and evil-speaking, being justified by our works, and not our words. For [the Scripture] says, He that speaks much, shall also hear much in answer. And does he that is ready in speech deem himself righteous? Blessed is he that is born of woman, who lives but a short time: be not given to much speaking. Let our praise be in God, and not of ourselves; for God hates those that commend themselves. Let testimony to our good deeds be borne by others, as it was in the case of our righteous forefathers. Boldness, and arrogance, and audacity belong to those that are accursed of God; but moderation, humility, and meekness to such as are blessed by Him.

Let us cleave then to His blessing, and consider what are the means of possessing it. Let us think over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? Was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith? Isaac, with perfect confidence, as if knowing what was to happen, cheerfully yielded himself as a sacrifice. Jacob, through reason of his brother, went forth with humility from his own land, and came to Laban and served him; and there was given to him the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by him. For from him have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, Your seed shall be as the stars of heaven. All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work. For the Creator and Lord of all Himself rejoices in His works. For by His infinitely great power He established the heavens, and by His incomprehensible wisdom He adorned them. He also divided the earth from the water which surrounds it, and fixed it upon the immovable foundation of His own will. The animals also which are upon it He commanded by His own word into existence. So likewise, when He had formed the sea, and the living creatures which are in it, He enclosed them [within their proper bounds] by His own power. Above all, with His holy and undefiled hands He formed man, the most excellent [of His creatures], and truly great through the understanding given him— the express likeness of His own image. For thus says God: Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness. So God made man; male and female He created them. Having thus finished all these things, He approved them, and blessed them, and said, Increase and multiply. We see, then, how all righteous men have been adorned with good works, and how the Lord Himself, adorning Himself with His works, rejoiced. Having therefore such an example, let us without delay accede to His will, and let us work the work of righteousness with our whole strength.

The good servant receives the bread of his labour with confidence; the lazy and slothful cannot look his employer in the face. It is requisite, therefore, that we be prompt in the practice of well-doing; for of Him are all things. And thus He forewarns us: Behold, the Lord [comes], and His reward is before His face, to render to every man according to his work. He exhorts us, therefore, with our whole heart to attend to this, that we be not lazy or slothful in any good work. Let our boasting and our confidence be in Him. Let us submit ourselves to His will. Let us consider the whole multitude of His angels, how they stand ever ready to minister to His will. For the Scripture says, Ten thousand times ten thousand stood around Him, and thousands of thousands ministered unto Him, and cried, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the Lord of Sabaoth; the whole creation is full of His glory. And let us therefore, conscientiously gathering together in harmony, cry to Him earnestly, as with one mouth, that we may be made partakers of His great and glorious promises. For [the Scripture] says, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which He has prepared for them that wait for Him.  How blessed and wonderful, beloved, are the gifts of God! Life in immortality, splendour in righteousness, truth in perfect confidence, faith in assurance, self-control in holiness! [1 Clement 28 - 34]

Doubt has to be cast on the assumption that our surviving 1 Clement text is pristine text. It just happens to conform to our inherited presuppositions. One only needs to look at the massive size of the surviving text - some sixty five chapters! - to see how what we have shown here demonstrates how the original letter morphed into a book.  No less than forty four lines have been added between the first and second scriptural reference (which appear back to back in the citation in the Stromata) and six lines between the second and third scriptural reference.  If this ratio held for the letter as a whole - i.e. 50 falsified lines for every three original references we might infer that the letter has been expanded over tenfold.  But the real shock only settles into our consciousness when we realize the implication of the original citation in Clement of Alexandria.  The Stromata uses its proto-1 Clement text to help advocate gnostic salvation!

It is enough for us to emphasize that the main reason why 1 Clement 'has a different ring to it' than 2 Clement is because it has been thoroughly reworked. Someone has placed repeated references to things that could only come from much later period most notably, there is stated to be "a rule of succession" for bishops and deacons who have "fallen asleep" (44:2). This suggests a mid to late second century date for 1 Clement as we will demonstrate in a subsequent chapter. For the moment at least it is enough to argue that the uncanny parallels between 1 and 2 Clement argue for the idea that a later editor 'added' the dogmatic interest in ecclesiastic orthodoxy to the writings of an original author who was a gnostic with mystical leanings.

Karl Donfried in his exhaustive study of 2 Clement is absolutely certain that 1 and 2 Clement are 'interrelated' saying that the things "that 1 Clement appeals for in general terms, 2 Clement is able to carry out more intimately and specifically." Indeed he provides us with a detailed "examination of the terminology shared by 1 and 2 Clement in this area" to prove this pointing specifically to the following pieces of evidence:

  • in 1 Clem. 7:1, the purpose of that letter is described as follows: "We are writing ... not only to admonish you ..."  The verb noutheteo as used here is also found in 2 Clem. 17:2, 3 and 19:2. Otherwise it is not found in the Apostolic Fathers, with the exception of a few references in Hennas, and infrequently in the New Testament. 
  •  the combination metanoeo/metanoia hardly appears in the later books of the New Testament, but it does appear with frequency in 1 and 2 Clement: 1 Clem. 7:4; 5, 6, 7; 8:1, 2, 3, 5; 57:1; 62:2; 2 Clem. 8:1, 2, 3; 9:8;:1; 15:1; 16:1, 4; 17:1 ; 19:1. 
  •  one should also note the word thelema, used in the sense of doing the will of God. It appears only in Ignatius among the Apostolic Fathers, and never with a great degree of frequency in any of the late New Testament writings, yet one notes the following frequent usage in 1 and 2 Clement: 1 Clem. 14:2; 20:4; 21:4; 32:3,4; 33:8; 34:52; 36:6; 40:3; 42:2; 49:6; 56:1, 2; 61:1; 2 Clem. 5:1; 6:7; 8:4; 9:11; 10:1; 14:12. 
  • in both writings the term agon is used to describe the nature of the Christian life, a term not used elsewhere in the Apostolic Fathers and infrequently in the New Testament: 1 Clem. 2:4; 7:1 ; 2 Clem. 7:1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 
  • One should also observe the common stress on dikaiosune 1 Clem. 3:4; 5:7; 10:6;:1; 18:15; 31:2; 33:8; 35:2; 42:5; 48:2, 4; 60:2; 62:2; 2 Clem. 4:2; 6:9; 11:7; 12:1;:1; 18:2; 19:2, 3.

And indeed this isn't the end to the obvious signs that the core texts associated with each 'letter' were written by the same individual.  Donfried comes forward with even more convincing arguments that the manner in which each author brings forward scripture and the specific wording of those scriptural references again point to an 'interrelation.'

Donfried points to all the known parallels to the variant readings of Old Testament texts used by 2 Clement.   The first example a curious recension of Isaiah 29:13:

Now He saith also in Isaiah, This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. [2 Clement 3.5]

For He saith in a certain place This people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me [1 Clement 15:2]

Donfried notes that "the above comparison indicates that the quotation in 2 Clement stands closer to the synoptic tradition than to the old Greek ; however, it is identical with that found in 1 Clem. 15:2, except for the insignificant change of position of outos. Especially noteworthy is the use of the verb in both 1 and 2 Clement against the use of in the old Greek text and the synoptic tradition."

From here we move on to the next example of Donfried which demonstrates the interrelatedness of the two texts.  It is also by far the most interesting reference in the whole Clementine tradition, where the author uses an unknown 'scripture' in the very same manner - i.e. to attack 'double-mindedness':

Let us therefore serve God in a pure heart, and we shall be righteous; but if we serve Him not, because we believe not the promise of God, we shall be wretched. For the word of prophecy also saith: Wretched are the double-minded, that doubt in their heart and say, These things we heard of old in the days of our fathers also, yet we have waited day after day and seen none of them. Ye fools! compare yourselves unto a tree; take a vine. First it sheds its leaves, then a shoot cometh, after this a sour berry, then a full ripe grape. So likewise My people had tumults and afflictions: but afterward they shall receive good things. Wherefore, my brethren, let us not be double-minded but endure patiently in hope, that we may also obtain our reward. [2 Clement 11.1 - 5]

Let this scripture be far from us where He saith Wretched are the double-minded, Which doubt in their soul and say, These things we did hear in the days of our fathers also, and behold we have grown old, and none of these things hath befallen us. Ye fools, compare yourselves unto a tree; take a vine. First it sheddeth its leaves, then a shoot cometh, then a leaf, then a flower, and after these a sour berry, then a full ripe grape. Ye see that in a little time the fruit of the tree attaineth unto mellowness and again [1 Clement 23.4]

Donfried notes that "this quotation is not found in the Old Testament or any other Jewish writing known to us. It appears in only one other place, 1 Clem. 23.3-4. While it is conceivable that 2 Clement is dependent upon 1 Clement and incorporates minor alterations, this possibility is weakened by the fact that 2 Clement adds a final sentence. Thus Grant's conclusion that both 1 and 2 Clement, independently of one another, are directly on a Jewish apocryphal writing is most likely."

Our next example is yet another Old Testament scriptural variant which immediately follows our last citation in 2 Clement.  So it is that after saying "Wherefore, my brethren, let us not be double-minded but endure patiently in hope, that we may also obtain our reward" the text continues:

For faithful is He that promised to pay to each man the recompense of his works. If therefore we shalt have wrought righteousness in the sight of God, we shalt enter into His kingdom and shall receive the promises which ear hath not heard nor eye seen, nor eye seen, neither hath it entered into the heart of man. [2 Clement 11.5 - 7]

The underlying then in this long section in 2 Clement is that the individual members have done something to themselves which has transformed them from the 'double-mindedness' of ordinary human beings to 'single-minded' perfection. It has also prepared them for entry into the 'kingdom of heaven' and immortality as we read in two other references to the same saying:

So excellent is the life and immortality which this flesh can receive as its portion, if the Holy Spirit be joined to it. No man can declare or tell those things which the Lord hath prepared for His elect [2Clem 14:5]

For He saith, Eye hath not seen and ear hath not heard, and it hath not entered into the heart of man what great things He hath prepared for them that patiently await Him. Behold, beloved, how blessed and wonderful are the gifts of God -- life in immortality ... [1Clem 34:8]

While it is no surprise that two Christian authors would be familiar with 1 Corinthians 2.9 the author of 1 and 2 Clement uses the original Jewish scripture in a manner not suggested by Pauline exegesis.  It is always linked with 'immortal life' suggesting again that the two texts come from a common author.

It is worth also noting that an ascetic interest in present in both texts but essentially 'watered down' in 1 Clement with the layering of other interests.  This is evident as we continue to follow the original citation we were following in chapter 11 of 2 Clement to a citation of the so-called 'Gospel according to the Egyptians': or the Gospel of Judas Thomas (or a text related to them) in what immediately follows in chapter 12.  We read:

For the Lord Himself, being asked by a certain person when his kingdom would come, said, When the two shall be one, and the outside as the inside, and the male with the female, neither male or female.  Now the two are one, when we speak truth among ourselves, and in two bodies there shall be one soul without dissimulation. And by the outside as the inside He meaneth this: by the inside he meaneth the soul and by the outside the body. Therefore in like manner as thy body appeareth, so also let thy soul be manifest by its good works. And by the male with the female, neither male nor female, he meaneth this; that a brother seeing a sister should have no thought of her as a female, and that a sister seeing a brother should not have any thought of him as a male. These things if ye do, saith He, the kingdom of my father shall come. [2 Clement   12.1 - 6]

As we shall see from our next chapter, this kind of radical asceticism which attempted to erase 'male' and 'female' can be directly linked with Polycarp.

The evidence clearly suggests that not only were the text 'interrelated' but that the same original author was responsible for both text only to have a later editor manipulate 1 Clement. Who is the most likely candidate for this counterfeiting? The answer is obvious Irenaeus. Bernard Botte for instance argued that when Irenaeus makes reference to Clement of Rome in Book Three of Against Heresies he makes an allusion to the contents of his writings he begins with things only found in 1 Clement and ends with an item found only in 2 Clement. This might also imply that the two letters come from one lost original source. It certainly suggests that Irenaeus knew the contents of 2 Clement and that it and 1 Clement were written by the same author.

A little earlier in Book Two Irenaeus has relied upon 2 Clement for an apocryphal saying of Jesus and has slightly modified it (and then is followed by Hilary), since it looks as if Against Heresies 24.3 contains echoes of the whole of 2 Clem. 8: 3 - 5 not just the saying. The saying as it appears in 2 Clement:

For after that we have departed out of the world, we can no more make confession there, or repent any more. Wherefore, brethren, if we shall have done the will of the Father and kept the flesh pure and guarded the commandments of the Lord, we shall receive life eternal. For the Lord saith in the Gospel, If ye kept not that which is little, who shall give unto you that which is great? For I say unto you that he which is faithful in the least, is also faithful in much. So then He meaneth this, Keep the flesh pure and the seal unstained, to the end that we may receive life. [2 Clement 8.3 - 6]

Now we should look at what Grant correctly notes as Irenaeus's preservation of both (a) a slightly altered version of the original saying and (b) his unmistakable reference to the teaching that the author of 2 Clement draws from this teaching:

For life does not arise from us, nor from our own nature; but it is bestowed according to the grace of God. And therefore he who shall preserve the life bestowed upon him, and give thanks to Him who imparted it, shall receive also length of days for ever and ever. But he who shall reject it, and prove himself ungrateful to his Maker, inasmuch as he has been created, and has not recognised Him who bestowed [the gift upon him], deprives himself of continuance for ever and ever. And, for this reason, the Lord declared to those who showed themselves ungrateful towards Him: "If ye have not been faithful in that which is little, who will give you that which is great?" indicating that those who, in this brief temporal life, have shown themselves ungrateful to Him who bestowed it, shall justly not receive from Him length of days for ever and ever.[Against Heresies 2.34.3]

It is amazing to see how many commentators 'just take Irenaeus's word' as to the proper context of the original gospel reference. Édouard Massaux in his study of 2 Clement simply states that "Irenaeus still seems to know quite well the context of this Logion" - this even though Irenaeus is completely at odds with the interpretation.

Massaux however does making passing reference to Hippolytus's (a) explicit reference to this gospel saying and (b) knowledge of 2 Clement's interpretation of the logion. Yet amazingly Hippolytus essentially argues that 2 Clement should not be trusted. Irenaeus has the correct interpretation!  So we read:

And so it was, that when the Father ordered the world to come into existence, the Logos one by one completed each object of creation, thus pleasing God. And some things which multiply by generation He formed male and female; but whatsoever beings were designed for service and ministration He made either male, or not requiring females, or neither male nor female. For even the primary substances of these, which were formed out of nonentities, viz., fire and spirit, water and earth, are neither male nor female; nor could male or female proceed from any one of these, were it not that God, who is the source of all authority, wished that the Logos might render assistance in accomplishing a production of this kind. I confess that angels are of fire, and I maintain that female spirits are not present with them. And I am of opinion that sun and moon and stars, in like manner, are produced from fire and spirit, and are neither male nor female. And the will of the Creator is, that swimming and winged animals are from water, male and female. For so God, whose will it was, ordered that there should exist a moist substance, endued with productive power. And in like manner God commanded, that from earth should arise reptiles and beasts, as well males and females of all sorts of animals; for so the nature of the things produced admitted. For as many things as He willed, God made from time to time. These things He created through the Logos, it not being possible for things to be generated otherwise than as they were produced. But when, according as He willed, He also formed (objects), He called them by names, and thus notified His creative effort. And making these, He formed the ruler of all, and fashioned him out of all composite substances. The Creator did not wish to make him a god, and failed in His aim; nor an angel,--be not deceived,--but a man. For if He had willed to make thee a god, He could have done so. Thou hast the example of the Logos. His will, however, was, that you should be a man, and He has made thee a man. But if thou art desirous of also becoming a god, obey Him that has created thee, and resist not now, in order that, being found faithful in that which is small, you may be enabled to have entrusted to you also that which is great. [Philosophumena 10.33.7]

Hippolytus captures the essence of 2 Clement - the author tells the community that each of them have to be made after the likeness of the angels and other heavenly creatures who are 'neither male nor female.'  Hippolytus acknowledges that celestial beings were made 'neither male nor female' but that we should not listen to those who claim that the object of Christianity is to make us equal to gods.

Yet we have already seen that Lucian remembers this as the very message of the stranger.  His followers exclaim that he has been made equal to the angels - "But now this holy image is about to depart from among men to gods, borne on the wings of fire, leaving us bereft." Indeed there is always an idea that the stranger claimed to be god."  The repeated reference to himself as the 'holy image' of God or the 'holy image' who is about to be burned. Indeed it is difficult to believe that someone who took the importance of literally burning in fire would have posited that initiates into Christianity only attained a 'figurative androgyny.' The language of the sections we have examined suggest that the stranger was transformed into an angel - into the very 'image of God' - because he literally removed his sexual organs. This must be the meaning hinted at in 2 Clement (and confirmed in Hippolytus's commentary) - if you can't follow in this little thing how can you be trusted with greater things?

In a sense it really shouldn't be that surprising that such a discussion is in 2 Clement as it an address on virginity and chastity. What is less well known is that the life of Polycarp connects our stranger with a similar address where castration and the eunuch state is identified as the purpose of Christianity. So we read:

But in the matter of continence and virginity he was careful to make hortatory discourses, and he would urge that men ought not of compulsion or by commandment of others, even though they might be parents or masters, but by individual choice and desire, to carry it through as a voluntary effort. And he used to say that chastity was the forerunner of the future incorruptible kingdom, and that it received its name of continence (εὐνουχίαν) because it had much affection (εὔνοιαν ἔχειν) towards the Master, and of virginity (παρθενίαν) because the idea of such self-restraint is with God (παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ); for those who discipline themselves to such a life deaden the carnal fire. And he would |495 demonstrate monogamy from the fact of the creation, pointing out that one woman was created for one man; wherefore also the virgin that is brought to her husband bears her name appropriately: the commencement of the name, he said, signified that she was from God (παρὰ Θεοῦ) and the termination describes her as belonging to one (ἑνός), that is one husband. And he observed that Lamech, being descended from Cain, was the first to take to himself two wives; and by taking to himself is meant doing it not according to the will of God. He said then that, though polygamy was called by the name of marriage, yet it was a specious fornication.

And on certain Greeks remarking to him that it was difficult and irksome among the Christians to be able to master the desires, he replied; 'It is foolish to suppose that whatsoever things seem impossible to men are really impossible; but understand that the Lord bringeth about all things, and the Master of the universe subjecteth them to His mighty chariot-reins.' For after setting forth three kinds of chastity, he banished and exterminated fornication from the faithful, and established the rule and sovereignty of chastity; for while the rest of mankind have unbalanced and vague and irregular impulses, and like horses rage and neigh after their neighbours' wives, only those who wait in fear to be judged by the heavenly law and the word of God, which is the avenger and champion of all, are satisfied with a single marriage that exists for the procreation of children. Women in like manner are taught to look only to the husband of their virginity.

The second kind of chastity is that of widowhood, transcending the one already mentioned. For the latter seemed to be difficult at first until it was surpassed by that which is able to desist from concessions previously allowed. But the third kind which practises a chastity victorious in every feat----what superiority has it not over the others! What desirable and laudable honour does not belong to the kind of continence and virginity, which shakes off and (so to speak) casts away all the shackles of the lower life, and with light bound and agile step outruns and overleaps the feats already described! For it evinces greater determination in the person who adopts it, than the being content with one alone or the desisting after experience, and it proclaims superior power in God who bestowed it. For that it is voluntary on the part of the man who so chooses, and that it is a gift of God whose is the power, our Saviour showed when He said that men made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, and that all men could not receive this word.
  [Life 14 - 16]

We will have a great deal more to say about the stranger's castration shortly. It would perhaps be best to end this section with a few more illustrations of why we should believe that 'Clement' is an invented figure developed from some more lost, original letters of Lucian's Peregrinus.

Indeed if we go back to Lucian's reports on Peregrinus's desire to burn himself alive in fire, it is uncanny how one particular section in particular has deep resonance with things written in 1 Clement:

I have heard that he no longer deigns to be called Proteus but has changed his name to Phoenix, because the phoenix the Indian bird, is said to mount a pyre when it is very far advanced in age Indeed, he even manufactures myths and repeats certain oracles, ancient, of course, to the purport that he is to become a guardian spirit of the night; it is plain, too, that he already covets altars and expects to be imaged in gold.

Interestingly the author of 1 Clement similarly declares:

Let us consider the wonderful sign that happeneth in the region of the east, even about Arabia. There is a bird which is called the phoenix. This, being the only one of its kind, liveth for five hundred years. And when the time of its death draweth near, it maketh for itself a nest of frankincense and myrrh and the other perfumes, into which, when its time is fulfilled, it entereth, and then dieth. But as its flesh rotteth, a certain worm is produced, which being nourished by the moisture of the dead animal, putteth forth feathers. Then, when it hath become strong, it taketh the nest wherein are the bones of its ancestor, and bearing them, it flieth from the region of Arabia to that of Egypt, to the city which is called Heliopolis; there, in day-time, in the sight of all, it flieth up, and placeth them upon the altar of the sun, and having done so, returneth back. The priests, therefore, look into the registers of the times, and find that it has come at the completion of the five-hundredth year. Shall we then think it great and wonderful, if the Maker of all things shall make a resurrection of those who, in the confidence of a good faith, have piously seized him, when even by means of a bird he showeth the greatness of his promises? [1 Clement 25 - 26.1]

There are no other references by Christian writers which embrace this mythical bird as a symbol of Christian hope. It is very peculiar and seems to confirm the suspicion that 'Clement of Alexandria' is really a deliberate reworking of more writings from our stranger while he resided in the Imperial capitol.

The phoenix is not the only statement in 1 Clement which suggests that the author is somehow connected with Lucian's stranger. Lucian makes reference to his community cite the prophetic words of the pagan Sibyl - "[he] recently said that the Sibyl had made a prediction about all this, in fact, he quoted the verses from memory." Yet 2 Clement 16.3 is also generally acknowledged to make reference to the Sibylline oracles when it declares "but ye know that the day of judgment cometh even now as a burning oven, and the powers of the heavens shall melt, and all the earth as lead melting on the fire, and then shall appear the secret and open works of men."  Of course none of the parallels in the Clementine literature can prepare us for what we will discover when we look at 2 Clement chapter 7.

For it turns out that this particular of section of the narrative shines the greatest light on the person behind the letter. It turns out the author seems to be speaking to people who have come to see an athletic contests very much like our Peregrinus. So Lightfoot notes "When the preacher refers to the crowds that 'land' to take part in the games ... without any mention of the port, we are naturally led to suppose that the homily was delivered in the neighbourhood of the place where these combatants landed."  Did he just describe the author of 2 Clement as a Christian preacher who delivered appeals for asceticism at places where people were gathering to watch games and contests?  We should remember Lucian's description of the stranger coming to four Olympic games to give speech after speech - viz. "... and afterwards, at the next Olympiad, he gave the Greeks a speech which he had composed during the four years that had intervened." 

So when we go back to Lightfoot's point that the author of 2 Clement chapter 7 clearly declares to his hearers at an athletic contest in the middle of the second century, we should not be forced into thinking that the only place that the address could have been given was in Corinth. Grant certainly puts forward Rome as a possible location for the following words, the Olympic games of 157 or 161 CE is another:

Let us then contend that we all may be crowned.  Wherefore let us run in the straight course, the incorruptible contest. And let us resort to it in throngs and contend, that we may also be crowned. And if we cannot all be crowned, let us at least come near to the crown.  We ought to know that he which contendeth in the corruptible contest, if he be found dealing corruptly with it, is first flogged. and then removed and driven out of the race course.  What think ye? What shall be done to him that hath dealt corruptly with the contest of incorruption?  For as concerning them that have not kept the seal, He saith, Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be for a spectacle unto all flesh.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear ...

Email stephan.h.huller@gmail.com with comments or questions.

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