Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Theophilus Didn't Have Our Text of 1 Corinthians

I have been researching the original Pauline citations of Clement of Alexandria and came away with the distinct notion that Clement never knew anything about the 'incest narrative' at the beginning of chapter 5.  Instead his text argued that God wanted us to get rid of our material being in favor of the newly created (through baptism) spiritual one.  The same thing seems to be evident in what remains of Theophilus's Against Hermogenes (translated and developed by Tertullian):

But, as the argument now stands, since what is eternal can be deemed evil, the evil must prove to be invincible and insuperable, as being eternal; and in that case it will be in vain that we labour to put away evil from the midst of us; [1 Corinthians 5:13] in that case, moreover, God vainly gives us such a command and precept; nay more, in vain has God appointed any judgment at all, when He means, indeed, to inflict punishment with injustice. [Against Hermogenes 11]

I don't think that Theophilus's text of 1 Corinthians understood the 'put away the evil from the midst of us' applied to an alleged case of sexual perversion.  Rather it had everything to do with the evil associated with material being.  Perhaps it is only Hermogenes's text of 1 Corinthians which emphasized this and Theophilus was only using his own arguments against Hermogenes.  Nevertheless I think it is important to mention - there is a proto-Pauline corpus underneath the current edition of Paul's letters.  My guess is that the Apostolikon was corrupted with additions at the turn of the third century in Rome.  (Theophilus's text of 1 Corinthians also seems to have had a different version of 1 Corinthians 1 too reading 'the word of truth' against the 'word of the cross' 1 Cor 1:18 which I believe provides a critical context for Celsus's anti-Christian word of the same name - i.e. there was some historical precedent for the primacy of 1 Corinthians a la the Muratorian canon)

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