Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why Doesn't Anyone Seem To Know that John Moschus Lived at Mar Saba

I am still working on chapter 3 of my new book.  I happened to be developing some material on the presence of the texts of Clement of Alexandria at the Mar Saba monastery (and I have some exciting new information to reveal).  Yet in the course of doing research I noticed some really eye-opening stuff.  The first is that Morton Smith doesn't seem know that John Moschus made reference to Clement's report of Jesus baptizing one of his disciples - Peter:

Yes, truly, the apostles were baptised, as Clement the Stromatist relates in the fifth book of the Hypotyposes. For, in explaining the apostolic statement, "I thank God that I baptised none of you," he says, Christ is said to have baptised Peter alone, and Peter Andrew, and Andrew John, and they James and the rest.

The same passage is cited in various forms by other copyists - sometimes with the reference to 1 Corinthians 1:14, sometimes without.  This is an amazing oversight on Morton Smith's part (if it holds up).  Does Smith make reference to this information in his popular work also published in 1973?  I don't know.

But the real eye-opener is Scott Brown's claim that the reference has nothing to do with Secret Mark.  His argument is twofold.  First of all, he argues that because John Moschus doesn't reference a gospel just 1 Corinthians 1:14 that the tradition was not found in a gospel.  This is stupid.  John Moschus just says in the course of reference 1 Corinthians 1:14 Clement goes off on a tangent and says the bit about Peter being baptized and then baptizing the rest.  Clearly if Clement knew a tradition involving Jesus baptizing Peter it didn't come from the First Letter to the Corinthians but a gospel.

The second point is even weirder.  Brown says that because Peter can't be the naked youth in Mark 14:51 - 54 he can't be the naked youth in chapter 10.  First of all Mark 14 is an interrupted initiation so Jesus would still have only baptized one disciple.  Secondly, not a single Church Father before Epiphanius ever makes reference to the naked youth in chapter 14 and he identifies that figure with James.  The real point here is that the fact that Peter can't be the naked youth in Mark 14 doesn't mean he isn't the naked youth earlier in the same narrative.

The real difficulty here is that having Peter the naked youth of Secret Mark gets in the way of his hypothesis that the mystery here isn't a baptism rite.  Now I have to admit, I never wanted the youth to be Peter.  It just rubs me the wrong way.  Nevertheless, if it were to be true it would suddenly give the letter an air of credibility.  Clement does go out of his way to say that Mark brought the notes of Peter and his own to incorporate them into the narrative of Secret Mark.  Could that explain why Peter ends up being baptized in this narrative?

It is also worth noting that in the question of the rich youth narrative which immediately proceeds this one Peter is the last individual to speak to Jesus before the next scene:

Peter began to say to Him, Lo, we have left all and followed Thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall leave what is his own, parents, and brethren, and possessions, for My sake and the Gospel's, shall receive an hundred-fold now in this world, lands, and possessions, and house, and brethren, with persecutions; and in the world to come is life everlasting. But many that are first shall be last, and the last first."

What strikes me now about this scene is that Peter's family is introduced at the beginning of the narrative.  So too to leave his possessions (Mark 1:18).  Yet the narrative can be read to show that one must 'die' and leave one's body and life in order to truly leave all one's possessions.  Indeed the mystery rite makes Jesus's one's brother (adelphopoiesis).

Morton Smith doesn't realize that John Moschus makes reference to Jesus baptizing a disciple, but Scott Brown doesn't seem to know that John Moschus likely came across Clement's Hypotyposeis at Mar Saba.  I have to suspect that he doesn't want to accept John Moschus's testimony as important because he is busy establishing his own theory about the mystery rite not being a baptism rite.  Yet accepting John Moschus's testimony adds weight to the authenticity of the Letter to Theodore because it emphasizes that Mar Saba was a treasure trove of Clementine texts - i.e. not only did John Moschus read the Hypotyposeis, but John of Damascus read a collection of letters of Clement there as well as the Paedagogue (Paed. 1.26, 2.60.5) and the Stromateis (Strom 3.43,, 5.7.6, 7.6, 7.15.2, 8.1) in Sacred Parallels.  We should also consider Maximus the Confessors references to Clementine material related to John Moschus and the executor of his literary texts Sophronius the future Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Some background. The Great Lavra of St. Sabas, also known by its Arabic name of Mar Saba, was founded by its namesake, a Cappadocian ascetic, 3 in 483 at a site nine miles southeast of Jerusalem in the generally dry Cedron River valley. His life and works are well known since he was the subject of a Life by Cyril of Skythopolis. 4 Born in 439, Sabas became a disciple of the famous Palestinian monk Euthymios the Great, ca. 456. The Great Lavra supported one hundred fifty communal monks and seventy anchorites. During nearly fifty years as director of this monastic foundation, Sabas also founded or directed three other lavras, six cenobitic monasteries, and three philanthropic institutions.  The so-called New Lavra owes its foundation in 507 to a breakaway group of Origenist monks, who controlled it until 555, shortly after the condemnation of their creed at the Council of Constantinople in 553.

John Moschus and Sophronius came to the New Lavra after the expulsion of the Origenists and must have found their books well preserved including many texts of Clement. In 603, they left Palestine, on this occasion unwillingly, before the approach of the Persians. Their escape-route was to lead them through Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor to Seleucia, and from there for a second time to Egypt. Here they became intimates of another Chalcedonian patriarch, John the Almsgiver (610–20), whose biography they wrote jointly. Here too Sophronius was cured of an eye ailment, apparently through the intercession of Saints Cyrus and John, whose shrine was located at Menuthis (Aboukir). This prompted him to write the Account of the Miracles of Saints Cyrus and John (CPG 7646).

When Jerusalem fell to the Persians in 614, Sophronius and John, in a significant move, made their way from Egypt to Rome. As staunch Chalcedonians, they could count on a sympathetic reception there among Greek monks. The ties between Rome and Chalcedonian monks from the East were to become significant in the seventh century, as the career of Maximus the Confessor would demonstrate. Rome would also assume the role of a natural ally for the patriarch Sophronius in his political and geographical isolation in the see of Jerusalem. It was in Rome that, shortly before his death, John Moschus compiled the hagiographical material he had collected into the Spiritual Meadow. Sophronius became the literary executor of this work, and also had the responsibility of taking his friend's body to its final resting-place on Mount Sinai. In the event, the Arab incursions rendered the burial there impossible, and John's remains were conveyed to the monastery of Theodosius.

It seems that Sophronius subsequently remained at St Theodosius from 619 to about 626, when we find him in North Africa in the company of a number of Greek monks, among whom was Maximus. These monks in all probability belonged to the circle of John Moschus, and had been forced to flee Egypt before the Arab advance.  Maximus becomes an important ally of Sophronius but more importantly for our understanding it is very clear that because Maximus was in the inner circle of these monks from Mar Saba he is one of our greatest sources for quotes from unknown works of Clement of Alexandria (he also references Strom 4 94, 4).  Some of Maximus's citations include:

Maximus Confessor, Schol. in Dion. opp. II p. 119C ed. Corder, Paris 1644 PG 4, 225f.). Λέγει δὲ πρεσβυτέρους ἀγγέλους ὁ θεῖος Ἰωάννης ἐν τῇ Ἀποκαλύψει, καὶ ἑπτὰ εἶναι τοὺς πρώτους ἐν τῷ Τωβίᾳ ἀνέγνωμεν καὶ παρὰ Κλήμεντι βιβλίῳ εʹτῶν Ὑποτυπώσεων. 6 Johannes Moschos, Pratum spirituale Cap. 176  PG 87, 3045CD)

Maximus Confessor Schol. in Dion. opp. II p. 242 B ed. Corder  Migne S. Gr. 4 Col. 421). Ἀνέγνων δὲ τοῦτο  "ἑπτὰ οὐρανοὺς" καὶ ἐν τῇ συγγεγραμμένῃ Ἀρίστωνι τῷ Πελλαίῳ διαλέξει Παπίσκου καὶ Ἰάσονος, ἣν Κλήμης ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεὺς ἐν ἕκτῳ βιβλίῳ τῶν Ὑποτυπώσεων τὸν Λουκᾶν φησιν ἀναγράψαι· 12  Vatic. graec. 354  † Evangeliencodex S, bei von Soden 89 nach Mercati, Studi e

Maximus Confessor Opp. ed. Combefis  Paris 1675 II p. 144  † PG 91 264). Τοῦ ἁγιωτάτου Κλήμεντος
πρεσβυτέρου Ἀλεξανδρείας ἐκ τοῦ Περὶ προνοίας. Οὐσία ἐστὶν ἐπὶ θεοῦ θεός. οὐσία θεία ἐστὶν ἀίδιόν τι καὶ ἄν αρχον ἀσώματόν τε καὶ ἀπερίγραπτον καὶ τῶν ὄντων αἴτιον.  οὐσία ἐστὶν τὸ δι'  ὅλου ὑφεστός. φύσις ἐστὶν ἡ τῶν πραγμάτων ἀλήθεια ἢ τούτων τὸ ἐνούσιον, κατὰ δὲ τοὺς ἄλλους ἡ τῶν εἰς τὸ εἶναι παραγομένων γένεσις, καθ' ἑτέρους δὲ ἡ τοῦ θεοῦ πρόνοια ἐμποιοῦσα τοῖς γινομένοις τὸ εἶναι καὶ τὸ πῶς εἶναι.

Maximus Confessor a. a. O. II p. 146  † PG 91, 266f. und N. le 21Nourry21,  Apparatus ad bibl. patrum I Col. 1335 aus Paris. 854 f. 130r. Φύσις λέγεται παρὰ τὸ πεφυκέναι.  πρώτη οὐσία ἐστὶ πᾶν τὸ καθ'  ἑαυτὸ ὑφεστός,  οἷον λίθος· δευτέρα δὲ οὐσία αὐξητικὴ καθὸ αὔξει καὶ φθίνει, τὸ φυτόν· τρίτη δὲ οὐσία ἔμψυχος αἰσθητική, τὸ ζῷον, ὁ ἵππος· τετάρτη δὲ οὐσία ἔμψυχος αἰσθητικὴ λογική, ὁ ἄνθρω πος· δι' ὃ καὶἔσχατος γέγονεν ὡς ὢν ἐκ πάντων,  τὴν ψυχὴν ἔχων ἄυλον καὶ τὸν νοῦν θεοῦ

ibid N. 21le Nourry21 a. a. O. Col. 1336 aus Paris. 854 f. 125v.  Τοῦ ἁγιωτάτου καὶ μακαριωτάτου Κλήμεντος,  πρεσβυτέρου Ἀλεξ ανδρείας, τοῦ Στρωματέως, ἐκ τοῦ Περὶ προνοίας λόγου. Τί θεός; θεός ἐστιν, ὡς καὶ ὁ κύριος λέγει, πνεῦμα. πνεῦμα δέ ἐστι κυρίως οὐσία ἀσώματος καὶ ἀπερίγραπτος. ἀσώματον δέ ἐστιν ὃ μὴ συμπληροῦται σώματι, ἢ οὖ τὸ εἶναι οὐκ ἔστι κατὰ τὸ πλάτος. μῆκος καὶ βάθος. ἀπερίγραπτον δέ ἐστιν, οὗ τόπος οὐδείς τόπος,  τὸ κατὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν
καὶ ἐν ἑκάστῳ ὅλον καὶ ἐφ' ἑαυτοῦ τὸ αὐτό.

Maximus Confessor a. a. O. II p. 152 5† PG 91, 276). Κλήμεντος τοῦ Στρωματέως ἐκ τοῦ Περὶ προνοίας λόγου. Θέλησίς ἐστι φυσικὴ δύναμις τοῦ κατὰ φύσιν ὄντος ὀρεκτική. θέλησίς ἐστι φυσικὴ ὄρεξις τῇ τοῦ λογικοῦ φύσει κατάλληλος. θέλησίς ἐστι φυσικὴ αὐτακράτορος νοῦ αὐτεξούσιος
κίνησις ἢ νοῦς περί τι αὐθαιρέτως κινούμενος. αὐτεξουσιότης ἐστὶ νοῦς κατὰ φύσιν κινούμενος ἢ νοερὰ τῆς ψυχῆς κίνησις αὐτοκρατής.

Maximus Confessor Disput. c. Pyrrho ed. Combefis  Paris 1675 II p. 176  † PG 91, 317 .  Κανόνι
χρώμενος na+mlich Athanasios πρὸς τοῦτο τῷ ὄντι φιλο σόφῳ τῶν φιλοσόφων Κλήμεντι, ἐν τῷ ἕκτῳ τῶν Στρωματέων λόγῳ τὴν μὲν θέλησιν νοῦν εἶναι ὀρεκτικὸν ὁρισαμένῳ,  τὴν δὲ βούλησιν εὔλογον ὄρεξιν ἢ τὴν περί τινος θέλησιν

Maximus Confessor De variis diff. locis Dionysii et Gregorii ed. Oehler Halle 1857 p. 60f  † PG 91, 1085). Τούτους δὲ οὓς ἔφην τοὺς λόγους ὁ μὲν Ἀρεοπαγίτης ἅγιος ∆ιο νύσιος προορισμοὺς καὶ θεῖα
θελήματα καλεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῆς γραφῆς ἡμᾶς ἐκδιδάσκει.  ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ οἱ περὶ Πάνταινον τὸν γενόμενον καθηγητὴν τοῦ Στρωματέως μεγάλου Κλήμεντος θεῖα θελήματα τῇ γραφῇ φίλον καλεῖσθαί φασι.  ὅθεν ἐρωτηθέντες ὑπό τινων τὴν ἔξω παίδευσιν γαύρων,  πῶς γινώσκειν τὰ ὄντα τὸν θεὸν δοξάζουσιν οἱ Χριστιανοί, ὑπειληφότων ἐκείνων νοερῶς τὰ νοητὰ καὶ αἰσθητικῶς τὰ αἰσθητὰ γινώσκειν αὐτὸν τὰ ὄντα, ἀπεκρίναντο· μήτε αἰσθητικῶς τὰ αἰσθητὰ μήτε νοερῶς τὰ νοητά· οὐ γὰρ

εἶναι δυνατὸν τὸν ὑπὲρ τὰ ὄντα κατὰ τὰ ὄντα τῶν ὄντων ἀντιλαμβάνεσθαι, ἀλλ' ὡς ἴδια θελήματα γινώσκειν αὐτὸν τὰ ὄντα φαμέν,  προσθέντες καὶ τοῦ λόγου τὸ εὔλογον. εἰ γὰρ θελήματι τὰ πάντα πεποίηκε  (καὶ οὐδεὶς ἀντερεῖ λόγος), γινώσκειν δὲ τὸ ἴδιον θέλημα τὸν θεὸν εὐσεβές τε λέγειν ἀεὶ καὶ δίκαιόν ἐστιν, ἕκαστον δὲ τῶν γεγονότων θέλων πεποίηκεν, ἄρα ὡς ἴδια θελήματα ὁ θεὸς τὰ ὄντα γινώσκει, ἐπειδὴ καὶ θέλων τὰ ὄντα πεποίηκεν.

Maximus Cap. 3. Lemma in PLc Κλήμεντος ἐκ τοῦ ˉη στρώματος  (στρωματέως Lc , in R τοῦ αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ ˉη στρωματέως (vorausgeht Nr. 243 † Strom. IV 94, 4 , in O, Corp. Par., Max. Κλήμεντος, in A fa+lschlich Θεοτίμου.  Παρθένων φθορὰ λέγεται οὐ μόνον πορνεία, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡ πρὸ καιροῦ ἔκδοσις,
ὅταν ὡς εἰπεῖν ἄωρος ἐκδοθῇ τῷ ἀνδρὶ ἤτοι ἀφ' ἑαυτῆς ἢ καὶ παρὰ τῶν γονέων.

Sacra Par. 305 Holl aus OAPMR™ Corp. Paris. Nr. 7™ Maximus Cap. 59™ Antonius Melissa p. 67. 149 Gesner. Lemma in PM Κλήμεντος ἐκ τοῦ ˉη στρώματος, in OA, Corp. Par., Max., Ant. Mel. in R Φίλωνος. Οὐχ ἡ τῶν πράξεων ἀποχὴ δικαιοῖ τὸν πιστόν, ἀλλ' ἡ τῶν ἐννοιῶν ἁγνεία καὶ εἰλικρίνεια.

One of these days when I have nothing to do I will cite all the references to Clement's writings in John of Damascus.  Yet for the moment I want to mention one last thing that struck me from Holl's critical edition of John of Damascus's Sacred Meadow.  All the people who have contact with Mar Saba all cite the same formula as appears on the Letter to Theodore - a variant of Κλήμεντος τοῦ Στρωματέως.  The title must have developed from the collection that was there.

I think a strong case can be made that Mar Saba had the last remaining complete collection (or perhaps 'the most books') of Clement of Alexandria anywhere in the world.  This case is going to get even stronger in the next few months.  For the moment it is enough to say that that the Origenist library at Mar Saba may well have provided the world with all the originals of Arethas's collection in Commagne.  I will try and see if one can connect Mar Saba to Commagne shortly.  Yet I thought this was interesting enough ...

John Moschus's Spiritual Meadow also has some funny stories in it:

"There was a holy man in the Egyptian desert, who had ten disciples. One of them was very lazy and had no care for his own salvation. The elder admonished him often with stories of eternal punishment, but the brother didn't listen. Finally he died, and the elder was deeply troubled and wept for him, fearing that he had gone to hell. The elder prayed, "Lord Jesus Christ, our true God, reveal to me the state of this brother's soul." He went into a trance and saw a river of fire with a multitude of people in it. The poor brother was submerged up to his neck in the fire. The elder wept and said, "Didn't I tell you?" The brother answered, "It's not so bad, father. Because of your prayers for me, at least my head is out of the fire -- I'm standing on the shoulders of a bishop."  (from the Spiritual Meadow of John Moschus, c.600) 

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