Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Clement of Alexandria's Variant Apostolikon

Most people are aware I think that Clement often cites from an unusual version of the gospel(s). But very little has been written about how strange his citations from the Pauline letters are. Could they represent some sort of affinity with the Marcionite canon? We will leave that as an open question.

"That we should trust not in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead,” says the apostle, “who delivered us from so great a death, that our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. For the spiritual man judgeth all things, but he himself is judged of no man.” I hear also those words of his, “And these things I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words, or one should enter in to spoil you.”[Clement Stromata 1.11]

The first citation is identified by Schaff as a mix of 2 Cor. i. 9, 10; 1 Cor. ii. 5, 15 and the second as Col. ii. 4, 8. But if we look at some of Epiphanius's citations from the Marcionite Apostolikon we see similar 'jumps' over rejected orthodoxo material. Epiphanius cites a long section from 1 Corinthians chapter 15 in the order it appeared in the Marcionite text as:

"Brethren, I make known unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you." Also, "If Christ be not raised, it is vain," and so on. "So we preach, and so ye believed... that Christ died, and was buried, and rose again on the third day ... When this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."[Epiphanius Scholion 16 and 24]

There is a pattern very similar to what we see in Clement's citation of the Apostikon. Could the Alexandrian gospel have similarly been rooted in Marcionitism? It is worth considering a little more ...

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