Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

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Secret Alias
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Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:53 pm

Then Peter said: If, therefore, some of the Scriptures are true and some false, with good reason said our Master, 'Be ye good money-changers,' inasmuch as in the Scriptures there are some true sayings and some spurious. And to those who err by reason of the false scriptures He fitly showed the cause of their error, saying, 'You therefore err, not knowing the true things of the Scriptures; for this reason you are ignorant also of the power of God.' Then said I: You have spoken very excellently.

Then Peter answered: Assuredly, with good reason, I neither believe anything against God, nor against the just men recorded in the law, taking for granted that they are impious imaginations. For, as I am persuaded, neither was Adam a transgressor, who was fashioned by the hands of God; nor was Noah drunken, who was found righteous above all the world; nor did Abraham live with three wives at once, who, on account of his sobriety, was thought worthy of a numerous posterity; nor did Jacob associate with four—of whom two were sisters—who was the father of the twelve tribes, and who intimated the coming of the presence of our Master; nor was Moses a murderer, nor did he learn to judge from an idolatrous priest—he who set forth the law of God to all the world, and for his right judgment has been testified to as a faithful steward. [Homilies 2.52]
If the Ebionites did exist (which I don't believe) how can this group have been the Jewish Christianity everyone assumes them to be?
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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davidmartin
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by davidmartin » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:01 am

interesting point
one option is this is a Samaritan version of events?
there's such a similarity to Samaritan views of scripture in the Clementines, at least.. that's what i thought
but correct me if i'm wrong but this goes further than the known Samaritan differences to the Pentateuch

however nothing else seems to fit as well as a Samaritan influence going on here
you say 'Jewish Christianity' but what does that mean?
there were tons of sects with different outlooks!
in which case maybe the Ebionites were not aligned with the majority of Judaism.. which is not a surprise
what's surprising is the idea these Ebionites were essentially aligned with mainstream Judaism in most points, but why should that be?
That assumption of a monolithic Judaism seems to have currency when all available evidence says the contrary, it was diverse i mean just look at Philo!

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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by John2 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:51 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:53 pm
Then Peter said: If, therefore, some of the Scriptures are true and some false, with good reason said our Master, 'Be ye good money-changers,' inasmuch as in the Scriptures there are some true sayings and some spurious. And to those who err by reason of the false scriptures He fitly showed the cause of their error, saying, 'You therefore err, not knowing the true things of the Scriptures; for this reason you are ignorant also of the power of God.' Then said I: You have spoken very excellently.

Then Peter answered: Assuredly, with good reason, I neither believe anything against God, nor against the just men recorded in the law, taking for granted that they are impious imaginations. For, as I am persuaded, neither was Adam a transgressor, who was fashioned by the hands of God; nor was Noah drunken, who was found righteous above all the world; nor did Abraham live with three wives at once, who, on account of his sobriety, was thought worthy of a numerous posterity; nor did Jacob associate with four—of whom two were sisters—who was the father of the twelve tribes, and who intimated the coming of the presence of our Master; nor was Moses a murderer, nor did he learn to judge from an idolatrous priest—he who set forth the law of God to all the world, and for his right judgment has been testified to as a faithful steward. [Homilies 2.52]
If the Ebionites did exist (which I don't believe) how can this group have been the Jewish Christianity everyone assumes them to be?

They look to me like Epiphanius describes Ebionites in Pan. 30.18.4-7:

They acknowledge Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Aaron -and Joshua the son of Nun simply as Moses' successor, though he is of no importance. But after these they acknowledge no more of the prophets ... Nor do they accept Moses' Pentateuch in its entirety; they reject certain sayings.

And Epiphanius appears to be referring to passages like the one you cited from the Homilies of Clement in Pan. 30.15.1-3:

But they use certain other books as well -supposedly the so-called Travels of Peter written by Clement, though they corrupt their contents while leaving a few genuine passages ... In the Travels they have changed everything to suit themselves and have slandered Peter in many ways ...



In my view, this is simply what Ebionites had become by Epiphanius' time and it is reflected in the Ebionite material in the Clementine writings that Epiphanius appears to have had access to.
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by John2 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:06 pm

Epiphanius mentions their evolution in Pan. 30.17.4-5:

And how many other dreadful, false observances they have, chock full of wickedness! ... But as I have already indicated, even before this, Ebion did not know of these things. After a time his followers became associated with Elxai, and they have the circumcision, the Sabbath and the customs of Ebion, but Elxai's delusion.

And in Pan. 30.2.6:

This sect now forbids celibacy and continence altogether ... For at one time they prided themselves on virginity, presumably because of James the Lord's brother ...

So to me it looks like Ebionites had changed between the time that earlier church writers had mentioned them and Epiphanius' time.
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:19 pm

You are acting like Trump (not surprising for Steve Avery). Yes there are differences between what Irenaeus and Epiphanius says about Jewish Christians. You just can't acknowledge both reports whenever information comes up about the Ebionites. The Clementines were likely written in the late second century. They are usually attributed to the Ebionites - a group described by Irenaeus as normative Jews that happened to believe in Jesus as the Christ. Impossible.
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by John2 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:56 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:19 pm
You are acting like Trump (not surprising for Steve Avery). Yes there are differences between what Irenaeus and Epiphanius says about Jewish Christians. You just can't acknowledge both reports whenever information comes up about the Ebionites. The Clementines were likely written in the late second century. They are usually attributed to the Ebionites - a group described by Irenaeus as normative Jews that happened to believe in Jesus as the Christ. Impossible.

The Ebionite sources in the Clementine writings are thought to be in what is called the Grundschrft, and as Kelley notes in Knowledge and Religious Authority in the Pseudo-Clementines (pg. 11):

Most scholars would date the Grundschrift to between 220 and 260 CE ...


https://books.google.com/books?id=Rbtcj ... en&f=false

And while the Grundschrift is thought to consist of earlier Jewish Christian sources, as Epiphanius says about the Ebionites of his time above, "they use certain other books as well -supposedly the so-called Travels of Peter written by Clement, though they corrupt their contents while leaving a few genuine passages ... In the Travels they have changed everything to suit themselves and have slandered Peter in many ways ..."

So while there may be "a few genuine passages" in the Grundshrift (i.e, earlier, more traditionally Jewish Christian, as per Irenaeus), Ebionites had arguably changed these sources by the mid to late third century CE (after Irenaeus) in order to reflect what they had become by then (i.e., "to suit themselves").
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:03 pm

Whatever Steve. So how does Irenaeus get it wrong first?
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by John2 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:33 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:03 pm
Whatever Steve. So how does Irenaeus get it wrong first?

I'm not sure what you mean. I gather that Irenaeus presents Ebionites as being normative Jewish Christians (i.e, Torah-keeping and such) like those who are thought to have written the earlier sources that ended up in (and according to Epiphanius were changed in) the mid to late third century CE Grundschrift.
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:50 pm

It is incredible to believe that the core text of the Clementines was written by the Ebionites Irenaeus reports to us. The heretical parts of the text are the original parts.
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by John2 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:01 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:50 pm
It is incredible to believe that the core text of the Clementines was written by the Ebionites Irenaeus reports to us. The heretical parts of the text are the original parts.

I think the sources that are thought to have been incorporated into (and re-worked in) the Grundschrift could have been written by the Ebionites Irenaeus reports to us. Take Rec. 1.68-71, for example:

Then said James, "We must first inquire from what Scriptures we are especially to derive our discussion." Then he, with difficulty, at length overcome by reason, answered, that it must be derived from the law; and afterwards he made mention also of the prophets.

To him our James began to show, that whatsoever things the prophets say they have taken from the law, and what they have spoken is in accordance with the law. He also made some statements respecting the books of the Kings in: what way, and when, and by whom they were written, and how they ought to be used.

And when he had discussed most fully concerning the law, and had, by a most clear exposition, brought into light whatever things are in it concerning Christ, he showed by most abundant proofs that Jesus is the Christ, and that in him are fulfilled all the prophecies which related to his humble advent ...

To which he added this also: "Do not think that we speak of two unbegotten Gods, or that one is divided into two, or that the same is made male and female. But we speak of the only-begotten Son of God, not sprung from another source, but ineffably self-originated" ...

And when matters were at that point that they should come and be baptized, some one of our enemies [i.e., Saul] entering the temple with a few men, began to cry out ... While he was thus speaking, and adding more to the same effect, and while James the bishop was refuting him, he began to excite the people and to raise a tumult, so that the people might not be able to hear what was said.

Therefore he began to drive all into confusion with shouting, and to undo what had been arranged with much labour, and at the same time to reproach the priests, and to enrage them with revilings and abuse, and, like a madman, to excite every one to murder, saying, "What do ye? Why do ye hesitate? Oh sluggish and inert, why do we not lay hands upon them, and pull all these fellows to pieces?"

When he had said this, he first, seizing a strong brand from the altar, set the example of smiting. Then others also, seeing him, were carried away with like readiness. Then ensued a tumult on either side, of the beating and the beaten. Much blood is shed; there is a confused flight, in the midst of which that enemy attacked James, and threw him headlong from the top of the steps; and supposing him to be dead, he cared not to inflict further violence upon him ...

Then after three days ... that enemy had received a commission from Caiaphas, the chief priest, that he should arrest all who believed in Jesus, and should go to Damascus with his letters, and that there also, employing the help of the unbelievers, he should make havoc among the faithful; and that he was hastening to Damascus chiefly on this account ...

In the above we can see what Irenaeus says about Ebionites in AH 1.26.2:

Those who are called Ebionites agree that the world was made by God; but their opinions with respect to the Lord are similar to those of Cerinthus and Carpocrates. They use the Gospel according to Matthew only, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate from the law. As to the prophetical writings, they endeavour to expound them in a somewhat singular manner: they practice circumcision, persevere in the observance of those customs which are enjoined by the law, and are so Judaic in their style of life, that they even adore Jerusalem as if it were the house of God.

Not that I am suggesting it, but it's as if Irenaeus got his information from the above supposed Ebionite source. The Jewish Christians in Rec. 1.68-71 believe in one God, repudiate Paul, expound the prophetical writings in somewhat singular manner, and, since it is in a pre-70 CE context, they adore Jerusalem literally as the house of God, since the events take place in the Temple among priests.

And I think this section (which, if I recall correctly, is more or less all that is thought to be from an Ebionite source in all of the Recognitions' ten books) could thus be one of the "few genuine passages" that Epiphanius mentions above:

But they use certain other books as well -supposedly the so-called Travels of Peter written by Clement, though they corrupt their contents while leaving a few genuine passages.



But by the time the Grundshrift is thought to have been compiled (mid to late third century CE), Ebionites had evolved to reject the prophetical writings and certain parts of the Torah, like the citation in your OP suggests and as Epiphanius says.
Last edited by John2 on Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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