Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Greatest Discovery

I have stumbled on to something which helps prove my age-old theory that Clement's Alexandrian tradition was Marcionite.  The problem is that I only have a limited time tonight to demonstrate it to you.  Let's start with the fact that Tertullian makes clear that most if not all of chapter 9 was 'missing from the Marcionite Letter to the Romans:

For he proceeds: He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies. (Rom 8.11) In this way he confirms the resurrection of the flesh, since apart from flesh nothing else can be described as body, nor anything else be taken for mortal: and he has also given proof of Christ's corporal substance, in that our mortal bodies are to be quickened on the same terms on which he too was raised up again, and on the same terms can only mean in the body. I overleap here an immense chasm left by scripture carved away: though I take note of the apostle giving evidence for Israel that they have a zeal of God, their own God of course, though not by means of knowledge. For they, he says, being ignorant of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God: for Christ is the end of the law in righteousness to every one that believeth. (ibid 10:3) [Against Marcion 5.9]

The same 'chasm' appears in Epiphanius's list of Marcionite readings in Romans (he jumps from 8:4 to 10:4). Yet it also is reflected in Clement of Alexandria's citations of material from Romans. As I will demonstrate shortly Clement of Alexandria, while citation almost all of chapter 8 and most of chapter 10 has only a single and debatable allusion to chapter 9.

Yet this is only part of the discovery. I think I can demonstrate that Clement's Alexandrian Epistle to the Romans had a very different chapter 8. The order was completely transformed and I suspect that this was shared to a large part with the Marcionite recension. We start with the most curious reference in Stromata 4.7 to a very 'choppy' block quotation from Romans chapter 8:

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed, can be. And they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8:7) And in further explanation continues, that no one may, like Marcion regard the creature as evil. But if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Rom 8:10) And again: For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us. If we suffer with Him, that we also may be glorified together as joint-heirs of Christ. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to the purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. And whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified [Clement, Stromata 2.7]

There are two back to back single line references and then a most curious 'block' citation of material that completely challenges our standard reading of Romans. It reads Romans 8:13,17,18, 28, 29, 30. Yet there is another long reference in Stromata 3.11 which actually helps put the jigsaw puzzle together for us:

Once again, since he never remotely gets tired of doing good, he does not hesitate to add, "The Law of the Spirit has freed me from the Law of sin and death," since through his Son "God has pronounced judgment upon sin in the flesh so that the Law’s ordinance might find fulfillment in us, whose lives are governed by the Spirit not by the flesh." [Rom 8:2 - 4] In addition to all this, he makes what he has already said even clearer by asserting at the top of his voice, "The body is a dead thing because of sin," [Rom 8;10] showing that if it is not the soul’s temple it remains the soul’s tomb. When it is consecrated to God, he is going to continue, "the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lodges in you, and he will give life even to your mortal bodies through his indwelling Spirit." [Rom 8.11] So again he attacks the hedonists and adds, "The object of the flesh is death,[Rom 8:6] since those whose lives are governed by the flesh follow the flesh in their objectives [cf. Rom 8:5]; and the object of the flesh is hostility to God, for it is not subject to God’s Law [Rom 8:7]. Those who live on the level of flesh cannot please God [Rom 8:8]" should not be understood as some people lay down, but as I have already argued. Then in distinction from these people, he addresses the Church. "You are not living by the flesh but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God is dwelling in you. Anyone without Christ’s Spirit is not of him. But if Christ is in you, then your body is a dead thing because of sin, but the Spirit is life through righteousness. So, brothers, we are in debt. Not to the flesh, to follow it in our lives; for if you follow the flesh in the way you live, you are on the way to death. But if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live. For all who are guided by God’s Spirit are sons of God." [cf. Rom 8:9 - 14] He goes on to speak against the high birth and freedom which the heretics adduce so abominably as they vaunt their licentiousness. "You have not received a spirit of slavery to drive you once again towards fear. You have received a Spirit that makes us sons and enables us to cry out, ‘Abba,’ ‘Father.’" [Rom 8:15]

In our next post I will put it all together. I am very tired but also very, very excited to show you what I have found ...

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