Ben C. Smith wrote: ↑
Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:12 pm
I have seen the Clement from the Shepherd of Hermas and Clement of Rome united as follows. The Shepherd was probably written in Rome; Clement of Rome, of course, hails from Rome. But the Roman letter to the Corinthians does not attribute itself to Clement or to anybody in particular; the Clement in the Shepherd, however, is a correspondent with foreign cities; if having the Shepherd copied and sent out to other cities is part of his job then surely having official letters copied and sent out would be, as well. This would presumably explain the connection of Clement to the epistle despite his name not being attached. Only later was Clement retroactively promoted to pope (= bishop of Rome), and only later was it assumed that the letter was written during his papacy, when in actuality it was written merely during his tenure as foreign correspondent for the church of Rome.
I think that is a likely scenario. Clement might have been connected to the Roman epistle to the Corinthians and allotted the bishopric at the same time
My new-found interest, Jörg Rüpke's Pantheon
, has some interesting comments on Hermas and Clement. While the following is about Hermas and Clement, it is, like a lot of Pantheon
, involved and convoluted.
Rüpke said reception of Hermas was responsible for the copying and writing of further biblical epics, and inspired the numerous acts of martyrs [perhaps he more or as much inspired narratives about such acts, whether real or not].
As background, Rüpke talks about a tradition in the Hellenistic Age where anonymous or pseudonymous authors in the eastern Mediterranean wrote oracular texts, “Sybilline books,” and apocalypses such as 4 Ezra, Enoch, and the Apocalypse of St. John; all of them with a clearly anti-Roman bent, just as their predecessors had had an anti-Hellenistic bent. Their authors were likely members of the former elite, who no longer shared in governing and now therefore branded the regime with the stigma of foreign rule. In order to be rid of unwanted but authoritative texts such as these, Augustus and Tiberius examined and burned thousands of them. But a substantial number were back in circulation by the time of the Great Fire of Rome in 64.
He then talks about Hermas as a similarly apocalyptic text “revelatory” of the occult, far less radical but all the more popular, making its advent in Rome shortly before the middle of the second century.
It had developed the idea of apocalypse stage by stage on the basis of contemporary reflections about the possibility of divination by visions. It was released in several stages (probably because of continuing demand), so became a substantive text.
Hermas provides a rare insight into the problems of visionary communication in the presence of others: he had faced the problem shared by every “seer”: how to make his message credible as authentic revelation. The problem was all the more acute for an author who was not backed by an institution, such as a shrine of Asclepius or an oracle. Hermas used an architectural feature that was universally conceivable in perfect or (at least) perfectible form: a tower.
Only occasionally does the author allow the reader to see that he is thinking of followers of Christ, who know what a Sybil is, but perceive her as something other.
Other than whom? Hermas assumed that his first hearers and readers were familiar with Roman institutions, such as the military, and with Italic economy and agriculture. Critical, however, was their being “citizens.” As was typical for citizens of an empire, Hermas’s audience already had what amounted to double citizenship.
They were at the very least inhabitants of Rome, and Hermas was now trying to awaken them to a further relationship with a heavenly city, an alternative to the Jerusalem that was definitively lost. Contemporary texts from the eastern Mediterranean were urging their readers to foresee Rome’s apocalyptic destruction, which they themselves as individuals might bring about by adopting a new lifestyle. To this end, a constant stream of new texts flowed into networks removed from any kind of control by institutions.
Hermas showed how to reveal religious knowledge to individual readers of both sexes; for the battle between good and evil was above all an internal one, requiring intensive practice. He gives his female oracular figure a Roman magisterial throne, and has her accompanied by six youths after the fashion of official attendants.
These were not end-time alternatives, but mental images, conceptions to be nurtured in the here and now.
The text is evidently targeted at individual listeners and readers, to whom he offers the possibility of self-development. It was to this end that he initially sought entry to institutional settings, so as to have his text read out as a heavenly missive within a circle of presbyteroi
. ... A woman called Grapte was to read the text out to widows and orphans, and a Clement
to disseminate it in letter form.
That recipients urged the author/s on to ever new visions, copied his work, and quickly translated it into Latin and the languages of Syria and Egypt demonstrates the success of this reading therapy aimed at individual transformation within the “congregation” (ekklesia
), and at both spiritual and behavioral change (metanoia
In a subsection titled 'The Roman Empire as a Narrative Framework' Rüpke talked about Valerius Maximus's nine books of Memorable Deeds and Sayings
in which Valerius opens with a prayer-like invocation of Augustus Tiberius. The end of the work again makes reference to the ruler or, more precisely, to his virtues of “imperial rectitude” and “the Caesar’s unconquerable fortitude.” By this means, Valerius inserted into the new monarchic order a text that presents countless examples of commendable acts and virtues. For him, the new order of the Principate, reflecting a Republic that he could only imagine, as it already lay beyond his own power of recollection, allowed a glimpse of a kind of treasure house of solid values and individual initiative.
Rüpke then refers to the so-called First Epistle of Clement
, written in Rome in the first half of the second century AD, a providing a similar and equally surprising framework, opening with a formula in which the community in Rome recommends the text to the community in Corinth, and understands both of these “people’s assemblies” (ekklesiai) as ephemeral groupings sanctified by God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
In a substantial closing prayer, the author seeks safety and protection, with a nod also to terrestrial rulers and leaders (60.4). Their dominion is then justified theologically (61), before the writer eventually returns to the themes of insurrection and peace (63.1, 3). There is a matter that he initially tries to downplay, but then proceeds to address in his opening remarks, with sadness and inner turmoil (1.1), where he almost unwillingly concedes that the entire retelling of the biblical story, with accompanying ethical reflections, is framed by the imperial reality that both sender and addressee, in Rome and Corinth, share.
eta: I'd say Clement was elevated from the mention in the Shepherd of Hermas as a disseminater of Hermas' epistle, and possibly helped by the mentions of a person of the same name in the Pauline Philippians 4, to be author of his own work and, as Ben argues, elevated to the role of bishop or pope (Clement may have written 1 Clement or other texts, or both, but there does not seem to be any extant evidence of that).