Sunday, December 16, 2012

Clement Was a Marcionite: The First Explicit Reference to a Pauline Epistle in Clement

We have identified twenty two sections of the Stromata which make explicit reference to the epistles of Paul.    Our purpose is demonstrate that most of them do not come from the hand of Clement but from a later redactor and possible Eusebius (whom Jerome acknowledges purged the writings of Clement as well as Origen of 'heresy').  The list is:
  1. τῷ Τιμοθέῳ φησὶν ἐπιστέλλων
  2. πρὸς Κολοσσαεῖς ἐπιστολῇ 
  3. πρὸς Τίτον ἐπιστολῇ 
  4. πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ἐπιστολῇ 
  5. πρὸς Τιμόθεον ἀθετοῦσιν ἐπιστολάς 
  6. πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ἐπιστολῇ ... ὁ ἀπόστολος ἐν τῇ προτέρᾳ τῶν πρὸς Κορινθίους
  7. πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ἐπιστολῇ 
  8. πρὸς Τιμόθεον ἐπιστολῇ 
  9. πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ἐπιστολῇ ... πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ἐπιστολῇ 
  10.  Παῦλος Γαλάταις ἐπιστέλλων ... πάλιν τε αὖ Κορινθίοις γράφων
  11. πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ἐπιστολῇ 
  12. τῷ Τιμοθέῳ γράφει ... πρὸς Ἐφεσίους γράφει ... πρὸς Κολοσσαεῖς 
  13. περὶ Τιμοθέου καὶ ἑαυτοῦ γράφων  
  14. εἴρηκεν ἐν τῇ δευτέρᾳ πρὸς Κορινθίους
  15. πρὸς Τίτον ἐπιστολῇ 
  16. Θείως οὖν ὁ Παῦλος Ῥωμαίοις ἄντικρυς ἐπιστέλλει
  17. πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ἐπιστολῇ 
  18. πρὸς τοὺς Κολοσσαεῖς γράφων
  19. πρὸς Κορινθίους ἐπιστολῇ 
  20.  τοῖς Ἑβραίοις γράφων τοῖς ... καὶ τοῖς ἐξ Ἑλλήνων ἐπιστρέφουσι Κολοσσαεῦσι
  21. τοῖς Ἑλλαδικοῖς ἐκείνοις γράφων Κορινθίοις
  22. πρὸς Κορινθίους ἐπιστολῇ
If any reasonable person disagrees with my assertion that the text has been tampered with I don't know what to say.

Let's begin with the context.  The reason the text is called 'the Stromata' is not - as Eusebius would suggest - that it is a 'Miscellanies' (i.e. a collection of odds and ends woven together) but because the real purpose of the work is obscured like the rugs which were hung like curtains in the desert tabernacle.  This is undoubtedly why Origen's Stromata was written in ten books.  Clement's work of the same name opens with reference to 'concealment' (even though the beginning is lost).  The author's point clearly was that there are two ways to approach scripture - through 'faith' and (secret) 'knowledge.'  Clement's interest in secret knowledge must have made him seem heretical - hence the addition in the opening section of the citation of a cluster of references to the Epistles of Timothy.  The Marcionites rejected the Pastorals; by having Clement make reference to these texts he appears orthodox (or at least more orthodox than without them).

The Pastoral Epistles were developed not by the apostle but by some second century Catholic figure to condemn 'heresy.'  The section in which Timothy is cited by name in Stromata breaks up what amounts to a heretical argument - one which is explicitly cited as being used by contemporary heretics in Irenaeus (AH 3.1.2).  Clement, like Origen after him, argues that Jesus's use of parables was part of a plan to preserve 'secret knowledge' for the elite.  The insertion of Timothy is clearly intended to interrupt and obscure that original argument.  The section we propose to be a later addition is emboldened in red here:

[Missing the beginning] . . . .. that you may read them under your hand, and may be able to preserve them. Whether written compositions are not to be left behind at all; or if they are, by whom? And if the former, what need there is for written compositions? and if the latter, is the composition of them to be assigned to earnest men, or the opposite? It were certainly ridiculous for one to disapprove of the writing of earnest men, and approve of those, who are not such, engaging in the work of composition. Theopompus and Timaeus, who composed fables and slanders, and Epicurus the leader of atheism, and Hipponax and Archilochus, are to be allowed to write in their own shameful manner. But he who proclaims the truth is to be prevented from leaving behind him what is to benefit posterity.

It is a good thing, I reckon, to leave to posterity good children. This is the case with children of our bodies. But words are the progeny of the soul. Hence we call those who have instructed us, fathers. Wisdom is a communicative and philanthropic thing. Accordingly, Solomon says, "My son, if thou receive the saying of my commandment, and hide it with thee, thine ear shall hear wisdom." He points out that the word that is sown is hidden in the soul of the learner, as in the earth, and this is spiritual planting. Wherefore also he adds, "And thou shall apply thine heart to understanding, and apply it for the admonition of thy son." For soul, me thinks, joined with soul, and spirit with spirit, in the sowing of the word, will make that which is sown grow and germinate. And every one who is instructed, is in respect of subjection the son of his instructor. "Son," says he, "forget not my laws." And if knowledge belong not to all (set an ass to the lyre, as the proverb goes), yet written compositions are for the many. "Swine, for instance, delight in dirt more than in clean water." "Wherefore," says the Lord, "I speak to them in parables: because seeing, they see not; and hearing, they hear not, and do not understand; " not as if the Lord caused the ignorance: for it were impious to think so. But He prophetically exposed this ignorance, that existed in them, and intimated that they would not understand the things spoken. And now the Saviour shows Himself, out of His abundance, dispensing goods to His servants according to the ability of the recipient, that they may augment them by exercising activity, and then returning to reckon with them; when, approving of those that had increased His money, those faithful in little, and commanding them to have the charge over many things, He bade them enter into the joy of the Lord. But to him who had hid the money, entrusted to him to be given out at interest, and had given it back as he had received it, without increase, He said, "Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou oughtest to have given my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received mine own." Wherefore the useless servant "shall be cast into outer darkness." "Thou, therefore, be strong," says Paul, "in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (2 Timothy 2:22) And again: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." If, then, both proclaim the Word -- the one by writing, the other by speech -- are not both then to be approved, making, as they do, faith active by love? It is by one's own fault that he does not choose what is best; God is free of blame. As to the point in hand, it is the business of some to lay out the word at interest, and of others to test it, and either choose it or not. And the judgment is determined within themselves. But there is that species of knowledge which is characteristic of the herald, and that which is, as it were, characteristic of a messenger, and it is serviceable in whatever way it operates, both by the hand and tongue. "For he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well-doing." On him who by Divine Providence meets in with it, it confers the very highest advantages, -- the beginning of faith, readiness for adopting a right mode of life, the impulse towards the truth, a movement of inquiry, a trace of knowledge; in a word, it gives the means of salvation. And those who have been rightly reared in the words of truth, and received provision for eternal life, wing their way to heaven. Most admirably, therefore, the apostle says, "In everything approving ourselves as the servants of God; as poor, and yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things. Our mouth is opened to you." "I charge thee," he says, writing to Timothy, "before God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality." Both must therefore test themselves: the one, if he is qualified to speak and leave behind him written records; the other, if he is in a right state to hear and read: as also some in the dispensation of the Eucharist, according to custom enjoin that each one of the people individually should take his part. One's own conscience is best for choosing accurately or shunning. And its firm foundation is a right life, with suitable instruction. But the imitation of those who have already been proved, and who have led correct lives, is most excellent for the understanding and practice of the commandments. "So that whosoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup." It therefore follows, that every one of those who undertake to promote the good of their neighbours, ought to consider whether he has betaken himself to teaching rashly and out of rivalry to any; if his communication of the word is out of vainglory; if the t only reward he reaps is the salvation of those who hear, and if he speaks not in order to win favour: if so, he who speaks by writings escapes the reproach of mercenary motives. "For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know," says the apostle, "nor a cloak of covetousness. God is witness. Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children." In the same way, therefore, those who take part in the divine words, ought to guard against betaking themselves to this, as they would to the building of cities, to examine them out of curiosity; that they do not come to the task for the sake of receiving worldly things, having ascertained that they who are consecrated to Christ are given to communicate the necessaries of life. But let such be dismissed as hypocrites. But if any one wishes not to seem, but to be righteous, to him it belongs to know the things which are best. If, then, "the harvest is plenteous, but the labourers few," it is incumbent on us "to pray" that there may be as great abundance of labourers as possible.

But the husbandry is twofold, -- the one unwritten, and the other written. And in whatever way the Lord's labourer sow the good wheat, and grow and reap the ears, he shall appear a truly divine husbandman. "Labour," says the Lord, "not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth to everlasting life." And nutriment is received both by bread and by words. And truly "blessed are the peace-makers," who instructing those who are at war in their life and errors here, lead them back to the peace which is in the Word, and nourish for the life which is according to God, by the distribution of the bread, those "that hunger after righteousness." For each soul has its own proper nutriment; some growing by knowledge and science, and others feeding on the Hellenic philosophy, the whole of which, like nuts, is not eatable. "And he that planteth and he that watereth," "being ministers" of Him "that gives the increase, are one" in the ministry. "But every one shall receive his own reward, according to his own work. For we are God's husbandmen, God's husbandry. Ye are God's building," according to the apostle. (Stromata 1:1)

I simply can't believe that anyone would argue that the material in red wasn't just put there in order to obscure the connection between the section before and after it.  Clement begins by wondering whether he should write out the secrets of his tradition.  He comes to the conclusion that he will instead leave 'seeds' (= secret wisdom) which Solomon recommended the hearer plant in his soul in order to reap understanding.

Of course we have the benefit of knowing that Clement also used a 'secret gospel' which contained the unwritten truths of the apostle.  This 'knowledge does not belong to all' Clement says here and then he cites Jesus's saying on parables before the insertion cuts off the original continuation - "husbandry is twofold, the one unwritten, the other written."  The entire section is about acting as a "truly divine husbandman" who attempt to grow secret wisdom in the soul of the individual.

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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