Clement Dated Luke to the Middle of the Second Century

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Secret Alias
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Re: Clement Dated Luke to the Middle of the Second Century

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:00 am

I agree that there is a claim being made. And I think this is the critical 'linchpin' for the Catholic tradition. Did Onesimus of the Ignatian 'know' Paul? If not what is the relationship? To start off with I should note that Onesimus appears all the way 'back' through to the Syriac version of the Ignatian correspondences. To that end, even if - as I do - someone claims that the short letters are the earliest, Onesmius is still there. Taking that clue it is worth noting that the first (short) epistle still has the incipit linking the praise which follows with 'Polycarp.' So we can at least acknowledge that the collection is still linked as a whole with 'Polycarp.'

The question of whether Onesimus is a historical person is difficult to solve. There appears to be two principal references to him - the Pauline letter (which I called 'Pastoral' because of my assumption it is false owing to its exclusion from at least one collection) and the Ignatian letter. I think we have to look at the Ignatian correspondences and their underlying literary purpose to make sense of that. To me at least the explicit purpose, and a purpose which runs through to the pseudo-Ignatian epistles, is that Ignatius knows he is going to die and needs to find someone to find someone to take his place on the episcopal throne of Antioch. We see this in the cryptic line at the end of the first epistle, the epistle to Polycarp:
I salute him who is reckoned worthy to go to Antioch in my stead, as I commanded thee.
In due course in the development this 'command' transforms itself into an assertion or claim that Polycarp helped establish Hero as the replacement for Ignatius. This is especially true in the pseudo-epistles of Ignatius where the fiction is developed most fully. Polycarp here becomes one of the principal secretaries for Ignatius and in his own letter to the Philippians he is shown to actively partake in the distribution of an 'Ignatian corpus.'

But I have a strong suspicion that the Syriac correspondences are the most original collection of letters - one step removed from an original extremely short collection that might have been written in Greek but by Polycarp himself. I don't want to get into this theory in too much depth but clearly I follow the many who assume that Perigrunus Proteus is Polycarp, that 'Ignatius' was a nickname for his insatiable quest to die by fire. The difficulty of the editor of this canon - identified in the Moscow MS as Irenaeus - was to transform basically a para-suicidal lunatic of Lucian's report into a respectable 'dignitary.' Hence my assumption that the original extremely short letters were transformed by the addition of added information into its current format -viz a dutiful bishop 'Ignatius' (no longer an epithet of Polycarp but a separate person) who knows he will be unjustly executed in Rome eagerly seeking to keep order in the Christian community by commissioning a replacement.

I think the current version of the epistles still hints at Polycarp being chosen as Ignatius's replacement. Of course it would have been problematic to have the bishop of one see chosen as the new see of Antioch. One would have to suppose that Antioch had some pre-eminent status in the early community (which in itself is not hard to imagine given that it was the original see of Peter) and its mention in Acts. I think the difficulties that this claim caused (i.e. that Polycarp switched from bishop of Smyrna to bishop of Antioch eventually facilitated the claim in the pseudo-epistles that Hero was Ignatius's man). But clear signs exist in even these short epistles that Polycarp was the original choice.

For one, the initial reference that " to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, or rather, who has as his own bishop God the Father" already implies a pre-eminent place in the community, something akin to 'the Pope' especially in what we must assume to be the contemporary or near contemporary Alexandrian community. In a sense every bishop would have god as his bishop if we imagine a system like the Greek orthodox community where every bishop is an equal. But there are clear signs in the pseudo-epistles that the bishop of Antioch the see of Peter was conceived as the bishop of bishops - or to use the language there - the servant of the bishops.

Moreover if you go through the composition of this first epistle - note that it's placement 'first' is clearly a sign of its pre-eminence - there is an overriding sense that Polycarp has been chosen for something. The letter begins:
Because thy mind is acceptable to me, inasmuch as it is established in God, as on a rock which is immoveable, I glorify God the more exceedingly that I have been counted worthy of [seeing] thy face, which I longed after in God. Now I beseech thee, by the grace with which thou art clothed, to add [speed] to thy course, and that thou ever pray for all men that they may be saved, and that thou demand(2) things which are befitting, with all assiduity both of the flesh and spirit. Be studious of unity, than which nothing is more precious. Bear with all men, even as our Lord beareth with thee. Show patience(3) with all men in love, as [indeed] thou doest.
I think - to save us a lot of time - the letter is so arranged to imply that Polycarp has been chosen to replace Ignatius. Note the discussion of Polycarp's relationship to 'the bishop' (sg) but clearly in the context a plural sense is implied - i.e. a canon of bishops:
If any man is able in power to continue in purity, to the honour of the flesh of our Lord, let him continue so without boasting; if he boasts, he is undone; if he become known apart from the bishop, he has destroyed himself. It is becoming, therefore, to men and women who marry, that they marry with the counsel of the bishop, that the marriage may be in our Lord, and not in lust. Let everything, therefore, be [done] for the honour of God. Look ye to the bishop, that God also may look upon you. I will be instead of the souls of those who are subject to the bishop, and the presbyters, and the deacons; with them may I have a portion in the presence of God! Labour together with one another, act as athletes together, run together, suffer together, sleep together, rise together. As stewards of God, and of His household, and His servants, please Him and serve Him, that ye may receive from Him the wages [promised]. Let none of you be rebellious.
Again the question is - in what sense should Polycarp, who is a bishop 'look to the bishop'? Clearly the author does not mean 'God the bishop' as in the incipit. Clearly he means Polycarp's role is to work with the individual bishops of each community.

To that end the last line is most problematic:
I salute him who is reckoned worthy to go to Antioch in my stead, as I commanded thee
I think the problem is solved once we go beyond the way the material is divided into chapters in the current translation following the pattern of the longer Greek text where each line now assumes a separate chapter. I would argue, following my premise that the Syriac is the more original, that the fact that each line at the ending was 'padded' with disinformation that a later editor wanted to avoid the implicit meaning in the Greek. So let's reconstruct the material as one paragraph:
Let your spirit be long-suffering towards each other with meekness, even as God [is] toward you. As for me, I rejoice in you at all times. The Christian has not power over himself, but is [ever] ready to be subject to God. I salute him who is reckoned worthy to go to Antioch in my stead, as I commanded thee
I would argue that from the beginning the idea was being set up that Polycarp is the bishop who (alone) has God as his bishop. A chain of obedience has here been described, from the lowest member of the Church to Polycarp the head of the Church. Ignatius says earlier that he will be celebrating wherever unity is being displayed, hence the awkward reference to 'I salute him who is reckoned worthy to go to Antioch in my stead as I commanded thee.' Ignatius clearly means that Polycarp is his replacement, that he was chosen by God and that Polycarp will have a position of pre-eminence over the entire church.

What I think this helps solve is the reference that Irenaeus makes to he and Florinus standing in the 'royal court' with Polycarp. This is a reference to Irenaeus's knowledge (and undoubted involvement in the literary conspiracy here) of the role that Polycarp must have had as 'the Pope' of the Asian Churches. The meeting that took place between him and Anicetus was clearly then cast as a summit of equals which is quite interesting because it explains the emphasis that emerges throughout the Ignatian letters (and potentially the Pauline letters) on the college of bishops. I think that the Asian Church must have had a reputation for enthusiasm when contrasted with the Roman or Italian church. By transforming every crazy follower of the crazy Polycarp into 'bishops' order is established in the Asian Church. We know that Irenaeus had a role in negotiating with Victor on behalf of the Asian Church. These subtle developments in the earliest Ignatian letters helped facilitate that.

It is also worth noting that Ignatius's command to Polycarp to look after the widows, the slaves etc in this letter has to be taken in the context of Ignatius's role. If of course Ignatius is only commanding Polycarp to look after people that live in Antioch it makes little sense. If Ignatius is commanding Polycarp to look after the meek in his own see of Smyrna it makes even less sense as presumably he was already a bishop and knew these things when he was installed there. However if we assume that he was commanding Polycarp to look after the weak within the bounds of Ignatius's domain and as the bishop of St Peter his domain was Christendom as a whole it might explain why - as a 'bishop of Smyrna' - Polycarp's activities took him to Rome, Philippi and all the places Peregrinus says he saw him. In other words, Irenaeus the editor of these letters is basically recasting the wandering Polycarp as a 'people's bishop' one who went about the domain of Christendom 'looking after the little guy' irrespective of the individual sees he was theoretically encroaching upon.

Now getting back to the question of Onesimus, it is clear that he is said to be the bishop of Ephesus. Let's suppose that he was present in the original Ignatian letters or that - instead - Onesimus was a real person who was indeed claimed to be a 'bishop of Ephesus.' It is noteworthy that Ephesus and Smyrna are very close to one another. If the central claim of the letters was that Polycarp was being moved to the pre-eminent position (note 'Ariston' also said to be a bishop of Smyrna in the Apostolic Constitution means 'best' or pre-eminent) position surely Irenaeus would have needed a witness for this nonsense. If you read the details about Onesimus that emerge from both the Pauline letter and the Ignatian letter you get a runaway slave (slaves testimonies were inadmissible in Roman courts without torture because of their inherent dishonesty) who appears to have had his tongue cut. There is a theme of 'silence' that runs through the entire Ephesian epistle.

The author (theoretically 'Ignatius') has a strange obsession with silence. He begins by noting that he is not issuing orders (but why exactly is he telling the church of Ephesus to obey their bishop if he is a fellow bishop from another see?).
I do not issue orders to you, as if I were some great person ... I speak to you as fellow-disciples with me. For it was needful for me to have been stirred up by you in faith, exhortation, patience, and long-suffering. But inasmuch as love suffers me not to be silent in regard to you, I have therefore taken upon me first to exhort you that you would all run together in accordance with the will of God. For even Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the [manifested] will of the Father; as also bishops, settled everywhere to the utmost bounds [of the earth], are so by the will of Jesus Christ.

Wherefore it is fitting that you should run together in accordance with the will of your bishop, which thing also you do. For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted as exactly to the bishop as the strings are to the harp. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Jesus Christ is sung. And man by man, become a choir, that being harmonious in love, and taking up the song of God in unison, you may with one voice sing to the Father through Jesus Christ, so that He may both hear you, and perceive by your works that you are indeed the members of His Son. It is profitable, therefore, that you should live in an unblameable unity, that thus you may always enjoy communion with God.

For if I in this brief space of time, have enjoyed such fellowship with your bishop — I mean not of a mere human, but of a spiritual nature — how much more do I reckon you happy who are so joined to him as the Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the Father, that so all things may agree in unity! Let no man deceive himself: if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God. For if the prayer of one or two possesses such power, how much more that of the bishop and the whole Church! He, therefore, that does not assemble with the Church, has even by this manifested his pride, and condemned himself. For it is written, God resists the proud. Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the bishop, in order that we may be subject to God.

Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself. And indeed Onesimus himself greatly commends your good order in God, that you all live according to the truth, and that no sect has any dwelling-place among you. Nor, indeed, do you hearken to any one rather than to Jesus Christ speaking in truth.

Nevertheless, I have heard of some who have passed on from this to you, having false doctrine, whom you did not allow to sow among you, but stopped your ears, that you might not receive those things which were sown by them ... And pray without ceasing on behalf of other men. For there is in them hope of repentance that they may attain to God. See, then, that they be instructed by your works, if in no other way. Be meek in response to their wrath, humble in opposition to their boasting: to their blasphemies return your prayers; in contrast to their error, be stedfast in the faith; and for their cruelty, manifest your gentleness.

... It is better for a man to be silent and be [a Christian], than to talk and not to be one. It is good to teach, if he who speaks also acts. There is then one Teacher, who spoke and it was done; while even those things which He did in silence are worthy of the Father. He who possesses the word of Jesus, is truly able to hear even His very silence, that he may be perfect, and may both act as he speaks, and be recognised by his silence. There is nothing which is hid from God, but our very secrets are near to Him. Let us therefore do all things as those who have Him dwelling in us, that we may be His temples, 1 Corinthians 6:19 and He may be in us as our God, which indeed He is, and will manifest Himself before our faces. Wherefore we justly love Him.
For me at least it is simply incredible that one bishop could address the flock of another bishop in this manner. It not only presupposes a 'super-bishop' - i.e. that Antioch had some supremacy over all the churches of Asia, but if we look carefully that Onesimus was a mute slave, a bishop who could not speak.

To this end, I think Onesimus was taken by Irenaeus to have been a 'witness' to the story he concocted in the Ignatian epistles or perhaps Polycarp's own original witness for his having been commissioned by the apostles to a role of pre-eminence. It wasn't only dead men who couldn't tell tales but presumably mute ones as well.

Onesimus is silent in the Pauline letter - https://books.google.com/books?id=FD-bA ... nt&f=false he is silent in the Ephesian letter - https://books.google.com/books?id=BayYc ... nt&f=false
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Re: Clement Dated Luke to the Middle of the Second Century

Post by Charles Wilson » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:57 am

Suetonius, 12 Caesars, "Galba":

"Accordingly his [Galba's] coming was not so welcome as it might have been, and this was apparent at the first performance in the theatre; for when the actors of an Atellan farce began the familiar lines

"Here comes Onesimus from his farm" [Note Below}

all the spectators at once finished the song in chorus and repeated it several times with appropriate gestures, beginning with that verse.

"Thus his popularity and prestige were greater when he won, than while he ruled the empire, though he gave many proofs of being an excellent prince; but he was by no means so much loved for those qualities as he was hated for his acts of the opposite character.

"He was wholly under the control of three men, who were commonly known as his tutors because they lived with him in the palace and never left his side. They were Titus Vinius, one of his generals in Spain, a man of unbounded covetousness; Cornelius Laco, advanced from the position of judge's assistant to that of prefect of the Guard and intolerably haughty and indolent; and his own freedman Icelus, who had only just before received the honour of the gold ring and the surname of Marcianus, yet already aspired to the highest office open to the equestrian order. To these brigands, each with his different vice, he so entrusted and handed himself over as their tool, that his conduct was far from consistent; for now he was more exacting and niggardly, and now more extravagant and reckless than became a prince chosen by the people and of his time of life..."

[Note]: "The text is uncertain, but obviously the song ridiculed a stingy old countryman. "
***
There are few enough mentions of the name "Onesimus" and I have no idea if there is a "Side Joke" here or not. However, the possibly ribald song was known well enough and if the audience knew the references enough to apply it to Galba, then the person named as "Onesimus" might have been the unfortunate butt of some rude jokes.

"Yeah, my name is Onesimus but you can call me Al..."

CW


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Re: Clement Dated Luke to the Middle of the Second Century

Post by Stuart » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:27 am

andrewcriddle wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:20 am

It has been seriously suggested that Onesimus the runaway slave in Paul's letter to Philemon (not the Pastorals) and Onesimus the bishop in Ignatius are the same person fifty years apart.

Andrew Criddle
This is literature, anything is possible with legends (look at Star Trek and Harry Potter; heck Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer), there need be only the slightest connection to reality. And Onesimus is a legend that build up dramatically over time.

I think you are reading Philemon (which is pretty universally thought of as deutero-Pauline origin) far too literally. The concepts slavery and freedom have deep symbolic theological meaning in Paul, and this does not refer to earthly bondage (i.e., bond-servant = slave in out English text). Over and over in Paul we see reference to the concepts of bondage to the elements of the Universe and to the Jewish legal code, but freedom in the correct doctrine of Christ. These concepts are almost certainly what is being expressed about the "useful one" (the literal meaning of Onesimus; clearly a literary name and not a real person), who was once useless and a slave and is now useful and freed from bondage.

There are many instances of characters encountered in the New Testament who live on in greater glory in legend and apocryphal acts. This is a well known phenomena from Thomas to Paul to Peter to Simon to Aquila. Given that, I find your incredulity incredulous.

Of course if your reply was tongue in cheek, :cheeky: then my bad for taking it seriously. :confusedsmiley:
Last edited by Stuart on Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Clement Dated Luke to the Middle of the Second Century

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:29 am

Of course if your reply was tongue in cheek, :cheeky: then my bad for taking it seriously. :confusedsmiley:
He wasn't joking and I think - in a sense - it is 'true' i.e. the editor of the 'falsified' Pauline epistles wanted to use Onesimus as a kind of proof for their authenticity and the authenticity of their (i.e. the Church) connection to Paul. So Onesimus of the letter of Philemon is supposed to be the same Onesimus of the Ignatian corpus.
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lsayre
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Re: Clement Dated Luke to the Middle of the Second Century

Post by lsayre » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:54 am

Which is considered to have been written first, the section(s) of the Ignatian corpus which mention Onesimus, or Philemon?

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Re: Clement Dated Luke to the Middle of the Second Century

Post by DCHindley » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:58 pm

lsayre wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:54 am
Which is considered to have been written first, the section(s) of the Ignatian corpus which mention Onesimus, or Philemon?
Gosh, I'd have to say that Philemon was probably written earlier than the Ignatian letter(s). This assumes that Paul flourished around the middle of the 1st century CE and that he really wrote a letter to Philemon and canonical Philemon is it. I am also assuming that the Ignatian corpus (I count only the shorter Greek as more likely to be authentic) is as early as many want to think. All of this can be debated, though.

Philemon was transmitted in the same grouping of letters that preserved the pastorals also preserved Philemon. At least according to David Trobisch in Paul's Letter Collection (which is still in print, I believe, or available as a cheap "remainder"). Well, "the pastorals are *obviously* pious pseudepigrapha penned by members of Paul's 'school.' But Philemon ... whoa boys and girls ... it just HAS to be genuine!" It seems rather remote if we go by the common opinion noted above.

My solution, which many here know *has* to be wrong, was to consider the Christ theology as originally foreign to the Paul who wrote letters, which were actually to promote his agenda that "Judeans and gentiles can all inherit the promised land when God brings it to fruition." It was somewhat eschatological, as this would happen in the future with big angelic fanfare and trumpets, but between now and then everyone has to get along peaceably in the world we presently live in.The Christ theology, IMHO, is added by an editor. I find that taking the Christ theology out of the text leaves a very coherent picture along the lines I described above.

As for that christ theology itself? It is of a completely different nature. Here there will be an anointed figure, divine or semi divine, who effected a vicarious sacrifice for the human race, but only if you believe that this crazy story is true. This kind of theology mixed with the Pauline POV like oil and water, making the epistles hard to interpret. Here we are 1,986 years after the fact, and we still haven't figured it out. Why would a later editor holding "high" Christology add his theology to a document that had nothing to do with it? Recruiting a group that has some common interests (strength in numbers). Propaganda (in the good sense, really) to persuade people that even Paul taught as the Christians were doing in the editor's day.

The Ignatians I am not so sure about. I have become convinced that that the longer Greek version is not only later than the shorter Greek, but dictated by the same man or woman as who wrote the shorter version. If he originally wrote in Syriac/Aramaic and not Greek, I get the impression that the Syriac/Aramaic texts (I do not think these are the Syriac "stub' letters found to date, so essentially I think they're lost), were read off in some elder's presence, and he would 'translate' their gist into Greek. The longer Greek version was also dictated by the same man, by the exact same process, and he 'translates' it into the longer Greek form.

But, alas, I am wrong.

DCH

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Re: Clement Dated Luke to the Middle of the Second Century

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:49 pm

FWIW Philemon is not considered part of the early Syriac canon https://books.google.com/books?id=UBU9A ... on&f=false
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Re: Clement Dated Luke to the Middle of the Second Century

Post by Stuart » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:07 pm

Ignatius was dated in the 4th/5th century. Although some folks have tried to push it back to the early 2nd century because they prefer the theology to have been from that era. It's not based on any real forensics.
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Re: Clement Dated Luke to the Middle of the Second Century

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:19 pm

The parallels between Ignatius and the Death of Peregrinus make it almost certain it was a second century work. Irenaeus makes an anonymous (he doesn't identify Ignatius by name) reference to the Epistle to the Romans. Everyone as early as Peter of Alexandria mentions Ignatius by name - https://books.google.com/books?id=K6clD ... us&f=false Gilliam also notes " Eusebius writes, “Moreover he made mention of Justin Martyr and Ignatius, having again used in this manner quotations (μαρτυρίαις) from their writings, and he promised to speak against Marcion through his own works [Marcion's works] in his own work [Irenaeus' work]” (5.8.9). Eusebius' last mention of Ignatius in his Historia ecclesiastica raises numerous worthy questions that go beyond the scope of this study. For example, did Eusebius know of more than one reference to Ignatius in the writings of Irenaeus? Polycarp makes reference to Ignatius (take that as what you will). Origen cites Ignatius twice also.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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