Thursday, January 3, 2013

Clement and Ammonius

We have been discussing the original saying from the Diatessaron which represents the equivalent of Matthew 5:21, 22;27, 28:

To them (it was said) 'You shall not kill' but to you (I say) 'You shall not be angry'
To them (it was said) 'You shall not commit adultery' (but to you I say) You shall not have evil desires' (McCarthy transl. p. 112)

We have previously demonstrated that this saying was in Clement's gospel, the text that Clement passed on to Origen, and Origen the various Origenists.  Of course the question immediately gets raised - was this text 'Secret Mark.'  The answer would seem to 'yes' but this raises yet a more serious difficulty - was Secret Mark a Diatessaron?  Again my suspicions would be, yes, it must be.  But these things cannot be proved definitively.

I'd even tell the reader that I suspect that 'Clement of Alexandria' was really 'Ammonius Saccas' - the teacher of Origen according to Porphyry.  Ammonius was of course consistently associated with an Alexandrian Diatessaron in the surviving literature.  If Secret Mark was 'Diatessaronic' we have our link and - more significantly - the reason why Ammonius's name was altered to 'Clement of Alexandria.'  Remember, Origen never identifies his association with anyone named 'Clement of Alexandria.'  Epiphanius doesn't even know where Clement was from or any personal information about him.  There are traditions about Ammonius being a bishop and Ammonius assisting Origen in heresy.  'Clement' might well have been a convenient identity to obscure the fact that Ammonius never accepted orthodoxy.  Tradition says he 'fell away' from the Church.  But what does that really mean?

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.