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2 Clement

At a Glance
Homily
Genre:
(2/5) **
Reliability of Dating:
(2/5) **
Length of Text:
Greek
Original Language:
Ancient Translations:
Modern Translations:

Estimated Range of Dating: 130-160 A.D.

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Information on 2 Clement

Although known as 2 Clement, this document is in actuality an anonymous homily of the mid-second century. The author quotes from some document for the sayings of Jesus. Because the author betrays the redactional characteristics of both Matthew and Luke, it has been supposed that this author had access to a harmony.

Udo Schnelle writes (The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings, p. 355): "In 2 Clement a larger number of logia of Synoptic types are found (cf. 2 Clem 2.4; 3.2; 4.2; 6.1, 2; 8.5; 9.11; 13.4), which are in part introduced with quotation formulae. Alsongside these are found quotations of unknown origin; cf. 2 Clem. 4.5; 5.2-4; 12.2; 13.2. These data and the introductory formula in 2 Clem. 8.5 (legei gar o kurioV en tw euaggeliw [for the Lord says in the Gospel]) suggest that the author of 2 Clement used, in addition to the Old Testament, an apocryphal gospel that has not come down to us. There is a clearly recognizable tendency in 2 Clement to trace the authority of the Lord back to written documents."

Robert M. Grant writes (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 1, p. 1061):

An early Christian epistle transmitted along with 1 Clement in the biblical Codex Alexandrinus (late 4th century) and the later Jerusalem Codex (1056) which includes the Didache, as well as in the Syriac version. It was not written by the author(s) of 1 Clement and, indeed, it is not a letter but a sermon on self-control, repentance, and judgment. The sermon begins abruptly: "Brothers, we must think about Jesus Christ as about God, as about the judge of living and dead; and we must not think little of our salvation." The preacher tells his "brothers and sisters" that he is reading them a "petition" or "plea" (Gk enteuxis) to "pay attention to what is written," i.e. to the scriptures which he frequently cites (along with quotations from "the prophetic word," otherwise unknown, and something like the apocryphal Gospel of the Egyptians). He himself refers to "the books (i.e., the OT) and the apostles" as authorities (14.2).

Grant also writes (op. cit., p. 1061):

Scholars have noted the "synoptic-type" Jewish piety of the sermon, perhaps surprising around A.D. 140-160 (the epistle's approximate date). The work appears to rely upon the Gospel of John as well, however, notably in 9:5-6: "If Christ the Lord who saved us was spirit at first but became flesh [John 1:14] and so called us, so shall we receive the reward in the flesh. Let us then love one another [John 13:34] so that we may all come to the kingdom of God." The kingdom will come when truth and good works are accompanied by ascetic practise (chap. 12). Until then, Christians must preserve the "seal of baptism" (7:6, 8:6) and belong to "the first, spiritual Church, created [like Israel, according to some rabbis] before sun and moon," for Gen 1:27 refers to the male Christ and the female Church, both spiritual; Christ is also the Spirit (chap. 14). The theology is not altogether clear, and the author soon turns to the state that he has "given no trivial counsel about self-control," leading into his practical appeal for repentence and going so far as to say that "fasting is better than prayer, but almsgiving is better than both" (16:4).


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