Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It All Comes Down to the Right Definition

I have been struggling for the last few days - even weeks - with how to define what I am doing with my side by side comparison between Clement of Alexandria and a number of mostly hostile neo-Marcionite references to Romans and other Pauline letters.  I can't go into the study assuming that Clement was a Marcionite or neo-Marcionite because there is no proof for that or - worse yet - you'd have to start the paper defending why I think Clement is a neo-Marcionite, which means defining what a Marcionite, which means going on a merry tangential argument for most of the paper.

As I said I have been struggling with justifying the comparison until the idea just hit me - I think the paper has simply be about finding the original Letter to the Romans.  Yes, there is no need to attempt to redefine Clement of Alexandria.  The simple fact is that his 'Pauline Epistles' are very different from our own - and even those of his alleged student Origen (which is very odd in itself).  So were the Marcionite epistles by all accounts.  Both are noticeably shorter.  The question of the paper would simply be whether or not the early Alexandrian Epistle to the Romans or Epistle to the Corinthians were somehow related.  I think that's rather brilliant (or at least less stupid and unworkable than my original approach).

It's amazing how these things just come to you like an apple falling on your head and discovering gravity or that commercial from the 1970's  In that case I am not quite sure who did the discovering.  It would be difficult to believe that robots were manufactured with taste buds. In any event, I think I can move on to develop a better paper, but I think this current approach requires a much broader examination of the Pauline Epistles - i.e. not just the Letter to the Romans but all the major epistles to look for signs of similarity or dissimilarity.

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