Clement of Rome (d. 101 AD)



martyrdom of St. Clement

Who was Clement of Rome?

Born: date unknown, probably in Rome
Died: 101 AD, Rome
Feast day: November 23
Symbol: anchor

St. Clement of Rome is the fourth pope (Bishop of Rome) if Peter is counted as the first. Clement may have worked with the Apostle Paul, and he wrote his own Epistle to the Corinthians (a.k.a. I Clement), which was once regarded almost as highly as Paul's letter.

According to tradition, St. Clement was martyred by being tied to an anchor and cast into the sea (as in the illuminated manuscript, left).

Biography of Clement of Rome

According to common tradition, Clement was one of the first, if not the first, bishop of Rome after the apostles, and certainly a leading member of that church towards the end of the 1st cent.





(1) Among the most authentic proofs of the connexion of Clement with the Roman church is the mention of his name in its liturgy. The early Christians on the death of a bishop did not discontinue the mention of his name in their public prayers. Now the Roman Canon of the Mass to this day, next after the names of the apostles, recites the names of Linus, Cletus, Clemens; and there is some evidence that the liturgy contained the same names in the same order as early as the 2nd cent; Probably, then, this commemoration dates from Clement's own time.

(2) An independent proof that Clement held high position in the church of Rome is afforded by the Shepherd of Hermas, a work not later than the episcopate of Pius (A.D. 141-156), the writer of which claims to have been contemporary with Clement. He represents himself as commissioned to write for Clement the book of his Visions in order that Clement might send it to foreign cities, that being his function; while Hermas himself was to read the Vision at Rome with the elders who presided over the church. Thus Clement is recognized as the organ by which the church of Rome communicated with foreign churches; but the passage does not decide whether or not Clement was superior to other presbyters in the domestic government of the church.

(3) Next in antiquity among the notices of Clement is the general ascription to him of the Epistle to the Church of Corinth, commonly known as Clement's first epistle. This is written in the name of the church of Rome, and neither in the address nor in the body of the letter contains Clement's name, yet he seems to have been from the first everywhere recognized as its author. We may not unreasonably infer from the passage just cited from Hermas that the letter was even then celebrated. About A.D. 170 it is expressly mentioned by Dionysius, bp. of Corinth, who, acknowledging another letter written from the church of Rome to the church of Corinth by their then bp. Soter, states that their former letter written by Clement was still read from time to time in their Sunday assemblies. Eusebius (H. E. iii, 16) speaks of this public reading of Clement's epistle as the ancient custom of very many churches down to his own time. In the same place (and in H. E. iv. 22) he reports that Hegesippus, whose historical work was written in the episcopate next after Soter's, and who had previously visited both Rome and Corinth, gives particulars concerning the epistle of Clement, and concerning the dissensions in the Corinthian church which had given rise to it. The epistle is cited as Clement's by Irenaeus (adv. Haer. iii. 3), several times by Clement of Alex., who in one place gives his namesake the title of Apostle (Strom. i. 7, iv. 17, v. 12, vi. 8); by Origen (de Princip. ii. 3, in Ezech. 8, in Joan. i. 29); and in fact on this subject the testimony of antiquity is unanimous. A letter which did not bear Clement's name, and which merely purported to come from the church of Rome, could scarcely have been generally known as Clement's, if Clement had not been known at the time as holding the chief position in the church of Rome.

(4) Last among those notices of Clement which may be relied on as historical, we place the statement of Irenaeus (l.c.) that Clement was third bp. of Rome after the apostles, his account being that the apostles Peter and Paul, having founded and built up that church, committed the charge of it to Linus; that Linus was succeeded by Anencletus, and he by Clement. This order is adopted by Eusebius, by Jerome in his Chronicle, and by Eastern chronologers generally.

A different order of placing these bishops can also, however, lay claim to high antiquity. The ancient catalogue known as the Liberian, because ending with the episcopate of Liberius, gives the order, and duration of the first Roman episcopates: Peter 25 years, 1 month, 9 days; Linus 12 years, 4 months, 12 days; Clemens 9 years, 11 months, 12 days; Cletus 6 years, 2 months, 10 days; Anacletus 12 years, 10 months, 3 days: thus Anacletus, who in the earlier list comes before Clement, is replaced by two bishops, Cletus and Anacletus, who come after him; and this account is repeated in other derived catalogues.

Irenaeus himself is not consistent in reckoning the Roman bishops. The order Peter, Linus, Clemens, is adopted by Augustine (Ep. 53 ad Generosum) and by Optatus of Milevis (de Schism. Donatist. ii. 2). Tertullian (de Praescrip. c. 32) states that the church of Rome held Clement to have been ordained by Peter; and Jerome (Cat. Scr. Ecc. 15), while adopting the order of Irenaeus, mentions that most Latins then counted Clement to have been second after Peter, and himself seems to adopt this reckoning in his commentary on Isaiah (c. 52).

The Apostolic Constitutions (vii. 46) represent Linus to have been first ordained by Paul, and afterwards, on the death of Linus, Clement by Peter. Epiphanius (Haer. xxvii. 6) suggests that Linus and Cletus held office during the lifetime of Peter and Paul, who, on their necessary absence from Rome for apostolic journeys, commended the charge of the church to others. This solution is adopted by Rufinus in the preface to his translation of the Recognitions.

Epiphanius has an alternative solution, founded on a conjecture which he tries to support by a reference to a passage in Clement's epistle, viz. that Clement, after having been ordained by Peter, withdrew from his office and did not resume it until after the death of Linus and Cletus. A more modern attempt to reconcile these accounts is Cave's hypothesis that Linus and after him Cletus had been appointed by Paul to preside over a Roman church of Gentile Christians; Clement by Peter over a church of Jewish believers, and that ultimately Clement was bishop over the whole Roman church. Still later it has been argued that the uncertainty of order may mean that during the 1st cent. there was no bishop in the church of Rome, and that the names of three of the leading presbyters have been handed down by some in one order, by others in another.

The authorities, however, which differ from the account of Irenaeus, ultimately reduce themselves to two. Perhaps the parent of the rest is the letter of Clement to James giving an account of Clement's ordination by Peter; for it seems to have been plainly the acceptance of this ordination as historical which inspired the desire to correct a list of bishops which placed Clement at a distance of three from Peter.

The other authority is the Chronicle of Hippolytus, pub. A.D. 235, for it has been satisfactorily shewn that the earlier part of the Liberian catalogue is derived from the list of Roman bishops in this work. The confusion of later writers arises from attempts to reconcile conflicting authorities, all of which seemed deserving of confidence: viz. (1) the list of Irenaeus, and probably of Hegesippus, giving merely a succession of Roman bishops; (2) the list of Hippolytus giving a succession in somewhat different order and also the years of the duration of the episcopates; and (3) the letter to James relating the ordination of Clement by Peter.

The main question, then, is, which is more entitled to confidence, the order of Irenaeus or of Hippolytus? and we have no hesitation in accepting the former. First, because it is distinctly the more ancient; secondly, because if the earlier tradition had not placed the undistinguished name Cletus before the well-known Clement, no later writer would have reversed its order; thirdly, because of the testimony of the liturgy. Hippolytus being apparently the first scientific chronologer in the Roman church, his authority there naturally ranked very high, and his order of the succession seems to have been generally accepted in the West for a considerable time. Any commemoration, therefore, introduced into the liturgy after his time would have followed his order, Linus, Clemens, Cletus, or, if of very late introduction, would have left out the obscure name Cletus altogether.

We conclude, then, that the commemoration in the order, Linus, Cletus, Clemens, had been introduced before the time of Hippolytus, and was by then so firmly established that even the contradictory result arrived at by Hippolytus (because he accepted as historically true the ordination of Clement by Peter as related in the Ep. to James) could not alter it.

The Recognitions are cited by Origen, the contemporary of Hippolytus; and the account which their preface gives of Clement's ordination seems to have been fully believed by the Roman church. The death of Clement and the consequent accession of Evaristus is dated by Eusebius in his Chronicle A.D. 95, and in his Church History the third year of Trajan, A.D. 100. According to the chronology of the Liberian Catalogue, the accession of Evaristus is dated A.D. 95. Now no one dates the death of Peter later than the persecution of Nero, A.D. 67. If, therefore, Clement was ordained by Peter, and if we retain the order of Irenaeus, Clement had an episcopate of about 30 years, a length far greater than any tradition suggests.

Hippolytus, probably following the then received account of the length of Clement's episcopate, has placed it A.D. 67-76; and, seeing the above difficulty, has filled the space between Clement and Evaristus by transposing Cletus and, as the gap seemed too large to be filled by one episcopate, by counting as distinct the Cletus of the liturgy and the Anacletus of the earlier catalogue.

Apparently it was Hippolytus who devised the theory stated in the Apostolic Constitutions, that Linus held the bishopric during the lifetime of Peter; for this seems to be the interpretation of the dates assigned in the Liberian Catalogue, Peter 30-55, Linus 55-67. But the whole ground of these speculations is removed if we reject the tale of Clement's ordination by Peter; if for no other reason, on account of the chronological confusion which it causes.

Thus we retain the order of Irenaeus, accounting that of Hippolytus as an arbitrary transposition to meet a chronological difficulty. The time that we are thus led to assign to the activity of Clement, viz. the end of Domitian's reign, coincides with that which Eusebius, apparently on the authority of Hegesippus, assigns to Clement's epistle, and with that which an examination of the letter itself suggests (see below).

The result thus arrived at casts great doubt on the identification of the Roman Clement with the Clement named Phil. iv. 3. This identification is unhesitatingly made by Origen (in Joann. i. 29) and a host of later writers. Irenaeus also may have had this passage in mind when he speaks of Clement as a hearer of the apostles, though probably he was principally influenced by the work which afterwards grew into the Recognitions. But though it is not actually impossible that the Clement who held a leading position in the church of Philippi during Paul's imprisonment might thirty years afterwards have presided over the church of Rome, yet the difference of time and place deprives of all likelihood an identification merely based upon a very common name. Lightfoot has remarked that Tacitus, for instance, mentions five Clements (Ann. i. 23, ii. 39, xv. 73; Hist. i. 86, iv. 68). Far more plausibly it has been proposed to identify the author of the epistle with another Clement, who was almost certainly at the time a distinguished member of the Roman church.

We learn from Suetonius (Domit. 15) and from Dio Cassius, lxvii. 14, that in 95, the very year fixed by some for the death of bp. Clement, death or banishment was inflicted by Domitian on several persons addicted to Jewish customs, and amongst them Flavius Clemens, a relation of his own, whose consulship had but just expired, was put to death on a charge of atheism, while his wife Domitilla, also a member of the emperor's family, was banished. The language is such as heathen writers might naturally use to describe a persecution of Christians; but Eusebius (H. E. iii. 13) expressly claims one Domitilla, a niece of the consul's, as a sufferer for Christ; and (Chron. sub anno 95) cites the heathen historian Bruttius as stating that several Christians suffered martyrdom at this time.

If, then, the consul Clement was a Christian martyr, his rank would give him during his life a foremost position in the Roman church. It is natural to think that the writer of the epistle may have been either the consul or a member of his family. Yet if so, the traditions of the Roman church must have been singularly defective.

No writer before Rufinus speaks of bp. Clement as a martyr; nor does any ancient writer in any way connect him with the consul. In the Recognitions Clement is represented as a relation of the emperor; not, however, of Domitian, but of Tiberius. A fabulous account of Clement's martyrdom, probably of no earlier origin than the 9th cent., tells how Clement was first banished to the Crimea, worked there such miracles as converted the whole district, and was thereupon by Trajan's order cast into the sea with an anchor round his neck, an event followed by new prodigies.

Works

Epistle to the Corinthians

The only genuine work of Clement is the Epistle to the Corinthians already mentioned. Its main object is to restore harmony to the Corinthian church, which had been disturbed by questions apparently concerning discipline rather than doctrine. The bulk of the letter is taken up in enforcing the duties of meekness, humility, submission to lawful authority, and but little attempt is made at the refutation of doctrinal error. Some pains, it is true, are taken to establish the doctrine of the Resurrection; but this subject is not connected by the writer with the disputes, and so much use is made of Paul's Ep. to the Corinthians that we cannot lay much stress on the fact that one of the topics of that epistle is fully treated.

The dissensions are said to have been caused by the arrogance of a few self-willed persons who led a revolt against the authority of the presbyters. Their pride probably rested on their possession of spiritual gifts, and perhaps on the chastity which they practised. Though pains are taken to shew the necessity of a distinction of orders, we cannot infer that this was really questioned by the revolters; for the charge against them, that they had unwarrantably deposed from the office of presbyter certain who had filled it blamelessly, implies that the office continued to be recognized by them. But this unauthorized deposition naturally led to a schism, and representations made at Rome by some of the persons ill-treated may have led to the letter of Clement. It is just possible that we can name one of these persons.

At the end of the letter a wish is expressed that the messengers of the Roman church, Ephebus and Bito, with Fortunatus also, might be sent back speedily with tidings of restored harmony. The form of expression distinguishing Fortunatus from the Roman. delegates favours the supposition that he was a Corinthian, and as Clement urges on those who had been the cause of dissension to withdraw for peace' sake, it is possible that Fortunatus might have so withdrawn and found a welcome at Rome. Another conjecture identifies him with the Fortunatus mentioned in St. Paul's Ep. to the Corinthians.

However precarious this identification may be, internal evidence shews that the epistle is not so far from apostolic times as to make it impossible. None of the apostles are spoken of as living, but the deaths of Peter and Paul, described as men of their own generation, are referred to as then recent, and some of the presbyters appointed by the apostles are spoken of as still surviving. The early date thus indicated is confirmed by the absence of allusion to controversial topics of the 2nd cent., and by the immaturity of doctrinal development on certain points. Thus "bishop" and "presbyter" are, as in N.T., used convertibly, and there is no trace that in the church of Corinth one presbyter had any very pronounced authority over the rest.

The deposition of certain presbyters is not spoken of as usurpation of the authority of any single person, but of that of the whole body of presbyters. Again, to the writer the "Scriptures" are the books of the O.T.; these he cites most copiously and uses to enforce his arguments. He expressly mentions St. Paul's Ep. to the Corinthians; and twice reminds his hearers of words of our Lord. The way in which he uses the quotations implies the existence of written records recognized by both parties. Besides these, without any formal citation he makes unmistakable use of other N.T. books, chiefly of Heb., but also of Rom. and other Pauline, including the Pastoral epistles, Acts, James, and I. Peter. Still, their authority is not appealed to in the same manner as is that of the O.T. It may be mentioned here that Clement's epistle contains the earliest recognition of the Book of Judith. He quotes also from O.T. apocryphal books or interpolations not now extant.

To fix more closely the date of the epistle, the principal fact available is, that in the opening an apology is made that the church of Rome had not been able to give earlier attention to the Corinthian disputes, owing to the sudden and repeated calamities which had befallen it. It is generally agreed that this must refer to the persecution under either Nero or Domitian. A date about midway between these is that to which the phenomena of the epistle would have inclined us; but having to choose between these two we have no hesitation in preferring the latter. The main argument in favour of the earlier date, that the temple service is spoken of as being still offered, is satisfactorily met by the occurrence of a quite similar use of the present tense in Josephus. Indeed the passage, carefully considered, suggests the opposite inference; for Clement would Judaize to an extent of which there is no sign elsewhere in the epistle, if, in case the temple rites were being still celebrated, he were to speak of them as the appointed and acceptable way of serving God. All the other notes of time are difficult to reconcile with a date so close to the apostles as the reign of Nero.

As to whether the writer was a Jew or a Gentile, the arguments are not absolutely decisive; but it seems more conceivable that a Hellenistic Jew resident at Rome could have acquired the knowledge of Roman history and heathen literature exhibited in the epistle, than that one not familiar from his childhood with the O.T. could possess so intimate an acquaintance with it. This consideration, of course, bears on the question whether Fiavius Clemens could have written the letter.

The letter does not yield any support to the theory of 1st cent. disputes between a Pauline and an anti-Pauline party in the church. No such disputes appear in the dissensions at Corinth; and at Rome the Gentile and Jewish sections of the church seem in Clement's time to be completely fused. The obligation on Gentiles to observe the Mosaic law does not seem a matter of concern. The whole Christian community is regarded as the inheritor of the promises to the Jewish people. Clement holds both SS. Peter and Paul in the highest (and equal) honour.

The epistle was known until 1875 only through a single MS., the great Alexandrian MS. brought to England in 1628, of which an account is given in all works on the criticism of the N.T. One leaf, containing about the tenth part of the whole letter, has been lost. In this Greek Bible of the 5th cent. the two letters of Clement to the Corinthians are books enumerated among N.T., not with the apostolic epistles, but after the Apocalypse. Hence the ecclesiastical use of Clement's letter had probably not ceased when this MS. was copied. The ep. was first ed. by Patrick Young (Oxf. 1633), and often since, among the most important edd. being Cotelier's in his Apostolic Fathers (Paris, 1672); Jacobson's; Hilgenfeld's in his N.T. extra Canonem Receptum; Lightfoot's (Camb. 1869, and in his great ed. of the Apostolic Fathers, 1890); Tischendorf's (Leipz. 1873); and Gebhardt and Harnack's (Leipz. 1875). A photograph of this portion of the MS. was pub. by Sir. F. Madden in 1856. An Eng. trans. of the ep. (and of those on Virginity) is in the Lib. of Ante-Nicene Fathers.

An entirely new authority for the text of the epistle was gained by the discovery in the library of the Holy Sepulchre at Fanari, in Constantinople, of a MS. containing an unmutilated text of the two epistles ascribed to Clement.*1 The new authority was announced, and first used in establishing the text, in a very careful and able ed. of the epp. by Bryennius, metropolitan of Serrae, pub. in Constantinople at the end of 1875. The MS., which is cursive and dated A.D. 1056, is contained in a small octavo volume, 71 inches by 6, which has, besides the Epp. of Clement, Chrysostom's synopsis of the O.T., the Ep. of Barnabas, the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (occupying in the MS. less space by one fourth than the second Ep. of Cement), and a collection of Ignatian epistles. It gives a very good text of the Clementine letters, independent of the Alexandrian MS., but, on the whole, in tolerably close agreement with it, even in passages where the best critics had suspected error. Besides filling up small lacunae in the text of the older MS., it supplies the contents of the entire leaf which had been lost. This part contains a passage quoted by Basil, but not another quoted by Pseudo-Justin, confirmed in some degree by Irenaeus, which had been referred to this place (see Lightfoot, p. 166).

Except for trifling omissions we must have the letter now as complete as it was originally in the Alexandrian MS. For Harnack, on counting the letters in the recovered portion, found that they amounted almost exactly to the average contents of a leaf of the older MS. Lightfoot has pointed out that by a small change in the text of Ps.-Justin, his reference is satisfied by a passage in the newly discovered conclusion of the second epistle. The new portion of the first principally consists of a prayer, possibly founded on the liturgical use of the Roman church.

What has been said in the beginning of the letter as to the calamities under which that church had suffered is illustrated by some of the petitions, and prayer is made for their earthly rulers and that they themselves might submit to them, recognizing the honour given them by God, and not opposing His will. Very noticeable in this new part of the letter is the tone of authority used in making an unsolicited interference with the affairs of another church.

"If any disobey the words spoken by God through us, let them know that they will entangle themselves in transgression, and no small danger, but we shall be clear from this sin."

"You will cause us joy and exultation if, obeying the things written by us through the Holy Spirit, you cut out the lawless passion of your jealousy according to the intercession which we have made for peace and concord in this letter. But we have sent faithful and discreet men who have walked from youth to old age unblameably amongst us, who shall be witnesses between us and you. This have we done that you may know that all our care has been and is that you may speedily be at peace."

It remains open for controversy how far the expressions quoted indicate official superiority of the Roman church, or only the writer's conviction of the goodness of their cause. We may add that the epithet applied by Irenaeus to the epistle ikanwtath proves to have been suggested by a phrase in the letter itself, ikanwV epesteilamen.

Lightfoot gives references to a succession of writers who have quoted the epistle. Polycarp, though not formally quoting Clement's epistle, gives in several passages clear proof of acquaintance with it. A passage in Ignatius's epistle to Polycarp, c. 5, may also be set down as derived from Clement, but other parallels collected by Hilgenfeld are extremely doubtful. The epistle does not seem to have been translated into Latin, and was consequently little known in the West.

Second Epistle to the Corinthians

This letter also formed part of the Alexandrian MS., but its conclusion had been lost by mutilation. We now have it complete in the edition of Bryennius. In the list of contents of the older MS. it is marked as Clement's second epistle, but not expressly described as to the Corinthians. It is so described in the later MS. It is not mentioned by any writer before Eusebius, and the language used by some of them is inconsistent with their having accepted it. Eusebius mentions it as a second letter ascribed to Clement, but not, like the former, used by the older writers, and he only speaks of one as the acknowledged epistle of Clement. The two epistles are placed among the books of the N.T., in the 8th book of the Apostolic Constitutions, which probably belongs to the 6th cent. The second epistle is first expressly cited as to the Corinthians by Severus of Antioch early in the same cent.

Internal evidence, though adverse to Clementine authorship, assigns to the work a date not later than the 2nd cent., and probably the first half of it. The writer is distinctly a Gentile, and contrasts himself and his readers with the Jewish nation in a manner quite unlike the genuine Clement; and his quotations are not, like Clement's, almost exclusively from O.T.; the gospel history is largely cited, and once under the name of Scripture.

Many of the quotations, however, differ from our canonical gospels, and since one of them agrees with a passage referred by Clement of Alexandria to the gospel of the Egyptians, this was probably the source of other quotations also. The epistle would seem from this to be earlier than the close of the 2nd cent., at which time our four gospels were in a position of exclusive authority.

The controversies with which the writer deals are those of the early part of the 2nd cent. In language suggested by the Ep. to the Ephesians, the spiritual church is described as created before the sun and moon, as the female of whom Christ is the male, the body of which he is the soul. It seems likely that a work using such language had gained its acceptance with the church before Gnostic theories concerning the Aeons Christus and Ecclesia had brought discredit upon such speculations.

The doctrine of the pre-existence of the church is, as Harnack noted, one of several points of contact between this work and the Shepherd of Hermas, making it probable that both emanate from the same age and the same circle. We therefore refer the place of composition to Rome, notwithstanding an apparent reference to the Isthmian games which favours a connexion with Corinth.

The description of the work as an Epistle to the Corinthians, never strongly supported by external evidence, is disproved by the newly discovered conclusion, whence it clearly appears that the work is, as Dodwell and others had supposed, no epistle, but a homily. It professes, and there seems no reason to doubt it, to have been composed to be publicly read in church, and therefore the writer's position in the church was one which would secure that use of his work.

But he does not claim any position of superiority, and the foremost place in ruling and teaching the church is attributed to the body of presbyters. He nowhere claims to be Clement. But it is not strange that an anonymous, but undoubtedly early document of the Roman church should come to be ascribed to the universally acknowledged author of the earliest document of that church; nor that when both had come to be received as Clement's, the second should come to be regarded as, like the first, an epistle to the Corinthians.

Two Epistles on Virginity

These are extant only in Syriac, and only in a single manuscript purchased at Aleppo c. A.D. 1750, for Wetstein. He had commissioned a copy of the Philoxenian version of the N.T. to be bought, and this MS. proved to be only a copy of the well-known Peshito. But the disappointment was compensated by the unexpected discovery of these letters, till then absolutely unknown in the West.

After the Epistle to the Hebrews, the last in the Peshitta canon, the scribe adds a doxology, and a note with personal details by which we can date the MS. A.D. 1470, and then proceeds, "We subjoin to the epistles of Paul those epistles of the apostles, which are not found in all the copies," on which follow II. Peter, II., III. John, and Jude, from the Philoxenian version, and then, without any break, these letters, with the titles: "The first epistle of the blessed Clement, the disciple of Peter the apostle," and "The second epistle of the same Clement."

The MS. is now preserved in the library of the Seminary of the Remonstrants at Amsterdam. The letters were published, as an appendix to his Greek Testament, by Wetstein, who also defended their authenticity. The last editor is Beelen (Louvain, 1856 ).

The letters, though now only extant in Syriac, are proved by their Graecisms to be a translation from the Greek, and by the existence of a fragment containing an apparently different Syriac translation of one passage in them. This fragment is contained in a manuscript bearing the date A.D. 562. The earliest writer who quotes these letters is Epiphanius. In a passage, which until the discovery of the Syriac letters had been felt as perplexing, he describes Clement as "in the encyclical letters which he wrote, and which are read in the holy churches," having taught virginity, and praised Elias and David and Samson, and all the prophets. The letters to the Corinthians cannot be described as encyclical; and the topics specified are not treated of in them, while they are dwelt on in the Syriac letters.

St. Jerome, though in his catalogue of ecclesiastical writers he follows Eusebius in mentioning only the two letters to the Corinthians as ascribed to Clement, yet must be understood as referring to the letters on virginity in his treatise against Jovinian where he speaks of Clement as composing almost his entire discourse concerning the purity of virginity. He may have become acquainted with these letters during his residence in Palestine.

The presumption against their genuineness, arising from the absence of notice of them by Eusebius and every other writer anterior to Epiphanius, and from the limited circulation which they appear ever to have attained in the church, is absolutely confirmed by internal evidence. Their style and whole colouring are utterly unlike those of the genuine epistle; and the writer is evidently one whose thoughts and language have been moulded by long and early acquaintance with N.T., in the same manner as those of the real Clement are by his acquaintance with the Old. The Gospel of St. John is more than once cited, but not any apocryphal N.T. book. Competent judges have assigned these epistles to the middle of the 2nd cent., but their arguments hardly suffice to exclude a somewhat later date.

The Epistles to James our Lord's Brother

In the article CLEMENTINE LITERATURE is given an account of the letter to James by Clement, which relates how Peter, in immediate anticipation of death, ordained Clement as his successor, and gave him charge concerning his ministry. After the trans. of this letter by Rufinus, some Latin writer added a second, giving instruction as to the administration of the Eucharist and church discipline. These two letters had considerable currency in the West. In the forged decretals both were much enlarged, and 3 new letters purporting to be Clement's added. James is in the original Clementines the head of the church, but in the later epistle receives instruction and commands from Peter's successor Clement. There must have been yet other letters ascribed to Clement in the East if there be no error in the MS. of Leontius (Mai, Script. Vet. Nov. Coll. vii. 84), who cites a passage not elsewhere extant as from the ninth letter of Clement. Discourses concerning Providence and the righteous judgment of God are cited by Anastasius of Antioch; and a 13th-cent. writer (Spicilegium Acherianum, viii. 382) reports having seen in a Saracen MS. a book of Revelations of Peter, compiled by Clement.

The highest, and probably the final, authority on St. Clement of Rome is now the great work of Bp. Lightfoot, forming, in 2 parts, pub. 1890, vol. i. of his ed. of the Apostolic Fathers. See also Harnack, Chronol. der Altchr. Lit., 1897, pp. 251 ff., 438 ff.; an ed. by A. Jacobson of Clement's works in 2 vols. in Apost. Patr. (Clar. Press); an Eng. trans. of the Epistle of Clement, by J. A. F. Gregg (S.P.C.K.).



References

  1. Henri Crouzel, trans. A.S. Worrall, Origen (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1989), 5.
  2. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 6.2.5.
  3. Eusebius, 6.2.6.
  4. Eusebius, 6.9.1-5.
  5. Crouzel, 13.
  6. Crouzel, 29.
  7. Crouzel 29.
  8. Eusebius, 6.39.4.
  9. Crouzel, 35.

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