Clementines I

Clementines I

(Κλημέντια, Κλημέντινα, or pseudo-Clementines), are the several writings, partly orthodox, partly heretical, falsely ascribed to Clement, one of the apostolic fathers, and bishop of Rome from A.D. 92-102, for the purpose of giving them greater weight and currency. These works are:

1. A SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS, extant only in fragments. These fragments are found, together with Clement's genuine or first Epistle to the Corinthians [SEE CLEMENT OF ROME], at the close of the Alexandrian Codex of the Bible (called Cod. A), dating from the fifth century, and preserved in the British Museum. The earliest mention of such an epistle we meet in Eusebius, who says (Hist. Eccl. 3. 38), "We must know that there is also a second Epistle of Clement; but we do not regard it as being equally notable with the former, since we know of none of the ancients that have made use of it." The catalogue of writings contained in the Alexandrian MS. ascribes it to Clement; but this, in the absence of other evidence, external and internal, is not of great weight, since Codex A cannot be traced beyond the fifth century. A closer examination of the fragments shows that they are not an epistle, but a homily, containing general exhortations to active Christianity, and to fidelity in persecution, with polemical references to the Gnostic denial of the resurrection. The document differs so much in style and doctrinal importance from the genuine epistle of Clement that it has been generally assigned by critics to a later date. It is orthodox in sentiment. The very beginning contains a distinct confession of the divinity of Christ, who is called "God, and the Judge of the living and the dead." Otherwise it is of no special account.

2. Two encyclical LETTERS TO VIRGINS, first discovered by Wetstein in 1752, in a Syriac translation, and appended to his edition of the Greek Testament. They commend celibacy, and contain exhortations and rules of discipline for monks and nuns.

3. Five DECRETAL LETTERS, which pseudo-Isidore has placed at the head of his collection of decretals of Roman popes. Two of them are addressed to James, bishop of Jerusalem, and are older than the pseudo-Isidore of the eighth or ninth century; the three others were fabricated by him.

4. The APOSTOLICAL CONSTITUTIONS and CANONS, including the LITURGY of St. Clement, which is a part of the eighth book of the Constitutions. This is a collection of ecclesiastical laws and usages which grew up gradually during the first four centuries, and is valuable chiefly as a rich source of information concerning ancient Church government, worship, and practice. The work professes to be a bequest of all the apostles handed down through the Roman bishop Clement, or dictated to him. It begins with the words, "The apostles and elders to all who among the nations have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be to you and peace," etc. It contains, in eight books, a collection of moral exhortations, ecclesiastical laws, and liturgical formularies. The object of the compiler was to establish the episcopal hierarchy, and to furnish the clergy with a convenient guide in worship and discipline. The first six books were written at the end of the third century, the remaining two at the beginning of the fourth; at all events, before the Council of Nicaea (325). The APOSTOLICAL CANONS are appended to the eighth book of the Constitutions, and pretend to be likewise of apostolical origin. They consist of 85, or, in other copies, 50 brief rules for the conduct of the clergy and laity, borrowed in part from the Pastoral Epistles, partly from decrees of early councils, and partly from oral tradition. They are also found separately in Greek, Syriac, Ethiopic, and Arabic manuscripts. They were collected by some unknown hand about the middle of the fourth century. The Greek Church in 692 adopted the whole collection of 85 canons; the Latin retained only 50, which Dionysius Exiguus translated into Latin about A.D. 500.

The Apostolical Constitutions and Canons are found in the larger editions of the works of the apostolic fathers, by Cotelier and Clericus (1672,1698, 1700,1724), in the first volume of Mansi's, and also of Harduin's Collection of Councils, and have been separately edited by Guil. Ueltzen, Constitutiones apostolicae (Rostochii. 1853), and by P. A. de Lagarde, Constitutiones apostolorum (Lips. 1862). Among the many treatises on the Apost. Const. we mention Krabbe, Ueber den Ursprung und Inhaltder apost. Constitutionen (1829); S. von Drey, Neue Untersuchungen, etc. (1832); Chase, Constitutions of the holy Apostles, including the Canons (1l48); comp. Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, 1, 767 sq.; Schaff, Church History, 1, 440 sq.; Bunsen, Hippol. 1, 319 sq.

5. The pseudo-Clementine HOMILIES, to which the title Clementines (τὰ Κλημέντια, Clementina) is more particularly applied, and the RECOGNITIONS (Α᾿ναγνωρισμοί, Recognitiones Clenentis Rom.), which resemble the former in form and contents. To these must be added THE EPITOME DE GESTIS PETRI, which is a summary of the Homilies. The HOMILIES are twenty in number, but the last has only recently been discovered. They figure very prominently in the history of the ancient heresies. They are a most curious philosophico-religious romance. Clement, an educated Roman, and kinsman of the emperor Domitian, dissatisfied with heathenism and thirsting after truth, travels to Judaea, meets the apostle Peter, and is converted by him to the Christian faith. He accompanies him on his missionary journeys, and takes down in writing the substance of the sermons and disputations with Simon Magus. Simon Peter is thus the proper hero of the romance, and appears as the champion of pure, primitive Christianity, in contrast with Simon Magus, the great deceiver and arch-heretic. The apostle Paul is not mentioned, but is perhaps attacked under the name of Simon. The doctrinal system which is skillfully interwoven with this narrative stands by itself as a peculiar and confused mixture of Ebionistic and Gnostic ideas and fancies. It is a speculative form of Ebionism, rather than (as Baur treats it) a school of Gnosticism. It is essentially Judaizing in spirit and aim, though influenced by heathen philosophy. It is bitterly hostile to the theology of Paul, and forms in this respect the opposite extreme to the Gnosticism of Marcion and his school. It presents Christianity as the restoration simply of the primitive religion of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses, which was corrupted by daemons, until Christ purged it of all false additions. The apostle Peter defended it against the new corruptions of Simon Magus. James, the brother of Christ, is made the general vicar of Christ, the pope to whom even Peter is amenable, and Jerusalem is the center of Christendom. The Epitome is only a poor abridgment of the Homilies. The Recognitions of Clement, in 10 books, are an orthodox recension of the Homilies, and were probably written in Rome. They exist only in a Latin translation.

The Homilies and Recognitions are incorporated in the large editions of the apostolic fathers by Cotelier and Clericus. The former were separately edited I y Schwegler; 1847 (incomplete); better by Alb. Dressel, who first discovered the 20th homily in the Vatican library (Gott. 1853); and by P. de Lagarde (Leipsig, 1865). On the system of the pseudo-Clementine Homilies, compare the works of Neander and Baur on Gnosticism, the learned monograph of Schliemann (Die Clementinen nebst den verwandten Schriften, Hamb. 1844), Hilgenfeld (Die Clementinischen Recognitionen und Homilien, Jena, 1848, and also his work on the apostolic fathers, 1853, p. 289-306), Uhlhorn (Die Homilien und Recognitionen des Clemens Rom., Gottingen, 1854, and an article by the same in Herzog's Encykl. 2, 744), Schaff (Church History, 1, 215 sq.), and an article of Steitz in the Studien und Kritiken for 1867, No. III, p. 545 sq. Dr. Steitz derives the German story of Faust from the pseudo-Clementine fiction of Simon Magus. There are some points of resemblance, but not sufficient to establish such a connection. A translation of the Recognitions (by the Rev. T. Smith) is given, with an introduction on the literature, in the Ante- Nicene Library, vol. 3 (Edinburgh, 1867).

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