Sunday, December 16, 2012

Eusebius's Interest in Promoting Clement's Use of Scripture

In the Stromata, he has not only treated extensively of the Divine Scripture, but he also quotes from the Greek writers whenever anything that they have said seems to him profitable. He elucidates the opinions of many, both Greeks and barbarians. He also refutes the false doctrines of the heresiarchs, and besides this, reviews a large portion of history, giving us specimens of very various learning; with all the rest he mingles the views of philosophers. It is likely that on this account he gave his work the appropriate title of Stromata.  He makes use also in these works of testimonies from the disputed Scriptures, the so-called Wisdom of Solomon, and of Jesus, the son of Sirach, and the Epistle to the Hebrews, and those of Barnabas, and Clement and Jude.  He mentions also Tatian's Discourse to the Greeks, and speaks of Cassianus as the author of a chronological work. He refers to the Jewish authors Philo, Aristobulus, Josephus, Demetrius, and Eupolemus, as showing, all of them, in their works, that Moses and the Jewish race existed before the earliest origin of the Greeks.  These books abound also in much other learning. In the first of them the author speaks of himself as next after the successors of the apostles.  In them he promises also to write a commentary on Genesis. In his book on the Passover he acknowledges that he had been urged by his friends to commit to writing, for posterity, the traditions which he had heard from the ancient presbyters; and in the same work he mentions Melito and Irenæus, and certain others, and gives extracts from their writings.

To sum up briefly, he has given in the Hypotyposes abridged accounts of all canonical Scripture, not omitting the disputed books, — I refer to Jude and the other Catholic epistles, and Barnabas and the so-called Apocalypse of Peter. He says that the Epistle to the Hebrews is the work of Paul, and that it was written to the Hebrews in the Hebrew language; but that Luke translated it carefully and published it for the Greeks, and hence the same style of expression is found in this epistle and in the Acts. [Church History 6.13 - 14.1]

The point of taking note of this reference is to reinforce that Eusebius was not a casual user of Clement and Origen.  He was an apologists for their orthodoxy and makes reference not only to their use of non-canonical texts but also reinforces that he used all 'divine' or 'canonical scripture.'  My guess is that this was not actually true.  This was again Eusebius tampering with Clement's original works.  The claim that he was 'next' after the successors of the apostles is a misrepresentation of what actually appears in Stromata

Well, they preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it from the father (but few were like the fathers), came by God's will to us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds (Ἀλλ' οἳ μὲν τὴν ἀληθῆ τῆς μακαρίας σῴζοντες διδασκαλίας παράδοσιν εὐθὺς ἀπὸ Πέτρου τε καὶ Ἰακώβου Ἰωάννου τε καὶ Παύλου τῶν ἁγίων ἀποστόλων, παῖς παρὰ πατρὸς ἐκδεχόμενος ὀλίγοι δὲ οἱ πατράσιν ὅμοιοι, ἧκον δὴ σὺν θεῷ καὶ εἰς ἡμᾶς τὰ προγονικὰ ἐκεῖνα καὶ ἀποστολικὰ καταθησόμενοι σπέρματα.). And well I know that they will exult; I do not mean delighted with this tribute, but solely on account of the preservation of the truth, according as they delivered it. For such a sketch as this, will, I think, be agreeable to a soul desirous of preserving from escape the blessed tradition.

Yet it has to be noted that Clement's specific relation to the 'next' generation to the apostles is never specified - save only for the Letter to Theodore where we are told St. Mark "left his composition to the church in Alexandria, where it even yet is most carefully guarded, being read only to those who are being initated into the great mysteries."  Hard to argue against this being what Eusebius is driving at.

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