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

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John2
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by John2 » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:07 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:28 pm
so how can Irenaeus and Epiphanius both be right about the Ebionites. How is that the best explanation of their differences?

Because up to Irenaeus' time the Ebionites had been the way he describes them, which corresponds with the supposed Ebionite source behind Rec. 1.27-71 and with what Epiphanius says Ebionites were like before they became influenced by the Elchasaites. And the way Epiphanius describes Ebionites after they became influenced by Elchasaites corresponds with the citation from the Homilies in your OP.

And what Epiphanius says about later Ebionites using earlier sources is similar in concept to how modern scholars understand the Clementines writings, i.e., that they have earlier Ebionite sources that were used by whoever created the Grundschrift.
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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 » Fri May 01, 2020 2:44 am

All of this is interesting but a bigger question is what influence did Ebionites have on the orthodox church in their earliest incarnation?

Why does the book of Acts look like a marriage between Pauline and Ebionite sources?
The Peter character in the Clementine's is the same Peter character in Acts except he's now best buddies with Paul
Did orthodoxy's claim to apostolic succession rest in their association with Ebionites at some point?

You could argue from the Ebionites a proto-Pauline based orthodoxy could have grafted in the doctrine of hell as well but rejected their Samaritan view of scripture and affirmed the whole of the old testament as inspired, and rejected any following of the law. The gospel of Matthew then came out this milieu

Interestingly neither Paul nor the Ebionites appear to have much association with a historical Jesus
The Clementines are a real let down showing the Ebionites hardly knew anything about him, no events of his life are recorded only stuff found already in Matthew's gospel
If you want additional early Jesus information you have to go to stuff like the Acts of John ... which are outside the Pauline/Ebionite traditions

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

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 01, 2020 8:02 am

Because up to Irenaeus' time the Ebionites had been the way he describes them, which corresponds with the supposed Ebionite source behind Rec. 1.27-71 and with what Epiphanius says Ebionites were like before they became influenced by the Elchasaites.
But why does that make sense? This is why I always go back to the Holy Spirit in the Church Fathers line of reasoning. Why does THAT idea make more sense than the Clementines were built around a heretical doctrine which became purified by orthodox editors of the material that made its way to Rufinus? There are just so many problems with your reconstruction of history. But here are just a few that come to mind.

1. Judaism wasn't a constant between 'the apostolic age' and the time the Clementines were written (c. 175 CE). As such Irenaeus's description makes no sense at all. This is the part which I have a problem with:
As to the prophetical writings, they endeavour to expound them in a somewhat singular manner: they practise 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
'Judaic' clearly means 'Jewish' at the time Irenaeus was writing. So either (a) Irenaeus had no idea what Jews believed while he was alive or - more likely - (b) he knew something about contemporary Jewish practices at the time of the compilation of the Mishnah and said that the Ebionites were like 'that.'

How could the original Jewish Christian community have resembled the Jews of the late second century? That's why I go back to (a). Irenaeus couldn't have known much about Jewish exegesis of the Bible or Jewish practices or at the least it didn't figure much into his calculus. Irenaeus was simply reactionary and wanted to counter the notion of Celsus and other contemporary writers who argued that Christianity embodied a revolt against authority. That's why there is such a monarchian tendency in his writings. So he created an idealized form of Judaism, one which didn't require sacrifices and imagined that this was the original Jerusalem Church. The Acts of the Apostles helps him along with this. Polycarp and Hegesippus influenced his way of thinking. But I simply don't believe in Acts and I don't believe Irenaeus's description of the 'Ebionites' was developed from eyewitness testimony. Marcionism was in my opinion the original 'Jewish Christianity.' I see very little productive value in any of the reporting about the Ebionites.

2. The Church Fathers constantly made additions and alterations to previous literature. I needn't dwell on this point. All the existing Patristic texts 1 Clement, 2 Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, Barnabas, the letters of Ignatius - even the gospel and the letters - all existed in a pre-orthodox form which was heavily redacted by orthodox editors in the late second century. The same is true with the Clementine Literature. The fact that the same text exists in at least two different recensions makes it absolutely certain whatever was original was altered by the orthodox. To that end, it is safe to assume that the elements which appear 'normal' or 'orthodox' or monotheistic etc represent alterations of the original 'weird' 'heretical original doctrine which featured more than one heavenly power. If you don't accept that you have to provide better reasons for rejecting it than your personal faith that the Church Fathers represent 'faithful' witnesses to the truth.
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by John2 » Fri May 01, 2020 2:48 pm

davidmartin wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 2:44 am
All of this is interesting but a bigger question is what influence did Ebionites have on the orthodox church in their earliest incarnation?

Why does the book of Acts look like a marriage between Pauline and Ebionite sources?
The Peter character in the Clementine's is the same Peter character in Acts except he's now best buddies with Paul
Did orthodoxy's claim to apostolic succession rest in their association with Ebionites at some point?

You could argue from the Ebionites a proto-Pauline based orthodoxy could have grafted in the doctrine of hell as well but rejected their Samaritan view of scripture and affirmed the whole of the old testament as inspired, and rejected any following of the law. The gospel of Matthew then came out this milieu

Interestingly neither Paul nor the Ebionites appear to have much association with a historical Jesus
The Clementines are a real let down showing the Ebionites hardly knew anything about him, no events of his life are recorded only stuff found already in Matthew's gospel
If you want additional early Jesus information you have to go to stuff like the Acts of John ... which are outside the Pauline/Ebionite traditions

I love your questions, David (here and in general), and I will give you my answers to them one by one.

... what influence did Ebionites have on the orthodox church in their earliest incarnation?

If we go by Acts (and yes, I understand people's reservations about Acts and I used to have them myself, but lately I've been coming around to the idea that it was written c. 95 CE and that its author really was a companion of Paul -specifically Epaphroditus- and was thus in a position to know things about early Christianity and have access to early Christian writings (in addition to knowing Josephus and his writings). I thus view Acts as very important (and can pardon its ancient "special effects" that were common for religious writings of the era).

So if we go by Acts, then I think the Jews in Acts who opposed Paul were proto-Ebionites, and thus the influence they had on the orthodox church (which at this point I would say was Nazarene Jewish Christianity) regarding Paul was negligible.

Acts 21:20-25:

Then they {Jewish Christian leaders] said to Paul, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. But they are under the impression that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe our customs. What then should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.

Therefore do what we advise you. There are four men with us who have taken a vow. Take these men, purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is no truth to these rumors about you, but that you also live in obedience to the law."


And since Paul is presented as being Torah observant and says himself in 1 Cor. 9:20 that, "To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law," the Nazarenes (the "orthodox" Christians of this time) were willing to tolerate him.

However, the proto-Ebionites in Acts continued to oppose Paul, and in my view this faction of Jewish Christianity became the Ebionites mentioned by early church writers.

But the Nazarenes accepted Paul and are said to have used all of the New Testament and not just Matthew like the Ebionites (as per Epiphanius Pan. 29.7.2: "They use ... the New Testament"), which makes sense because the NT of course accepts Paul.

But as for how you mean orthodoxy, in the sense of the form of Christianity that prevailed, I don't see the Ebionites having any influence on that, since from Irenaeus (who is the first to mention them) on they appear to have been loathed.
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 01, 2020 3:28 pm

Please stop talking about Acts. Acts is not history. Acts is fiction. No time for this nonsense.
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by John2 » Fri May 01, 2020 3:37 pm

Why does the book of Acts look like a marriage between Pauline and Ebionite sources?

I think it's the opposite, though not in the sense you mean "Ebionite," since I gather you are referring to what I call the Nazarene Jewish Christians in Acts (and I call them Nazarenes because that is what Acts calls them). And while I think the author of Acts was a companion of Paul and thus wanted to put his relationship with Jewish Christian leaders in the best light, that Paul says he was willing to at least pretend to be Torah observant is in keeping with his observance in Acts. And the Nazarene acceptance of Paul in Acts is in keeping with James' acceptance (with reproval) of Paul in his letter and the use of the New Testament by Nazarenes.

So in my view Acts is more or less reporting the actual situation in early Christianity (if in the best light, since there were some serious disagreements regarding the necessity of Jewish Torah observance).

The Peter character in the Clementine's is the same Peter character in Acts except he's now best buddies with Paul

Well, again, I think the author of Acts wanted to put things in the best light, but Peter did associate with Paul during the time frame of Acts (as per Galatians) and some ideas in his letter (1 Peter, which I think is genuine) are similar to Paul's.

And I think the Ebionite source in the Recognitions of Clement presents Paul in the worst light because the Ebionites opposed Paul from more or less day one.

Did orthodoxy's claim to apostolic succession rest in their association with Ebionites at some point?

Again, if we go by my understanding of "Ebionites," then no, but if we go by how I think you mean it (i.e., the Nazarenes), then sure, to some extent, since the first bishops are said to have been Jewish and Hegesippus (who I think was a Nazarene or at least influenced by them) thought things were hunky dory with respect to doctrine in the churches that he visited in the mid second century CE. It appears to me to be after Irenaeus that Jewish Christianity (in any form) became "unorthodox."
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by John2 » Fri May 01, 2020 4:35 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 3:28 pm
Please stop talking about Acts. Acts is not history. Acts is fiction. No time for this nonsense.

To me that's like saying, "Please stop talking about Josephus." Josephus had a bias (towards Rome) and frames people and events in particular ways and has "special effects" and makes some things up, but we can bear all that in mind and find some value in what he says.

I see Acts as similarly having a bias (towards Paul and Rome) and framing people and events in particular ways (like Paul's relationship with Jewish Christian leaders) and having "special effects" (like miracles) and making some things up.

You seem to have a "throw the baby out with the bathwater" approach to Christian writings, and to me that would be like disregarding Josephus because of his faults. I suspect Acts was written c. 95 CE by someone who knew Paul and Josephus and was thus in a position to know some things about early Christianity and Jewish history and thus I see some value in it despite its faults.
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 01, 2020 8:55 pm

You seem to have a "throw the baby out with the bathwater" approach to Christian writings,


I am a completely unoriginal thinker. The Marcionites said it was a forgery when it was first released. So who do you believe?
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Re: Peter in the Clementine Homilies Does Not Accept the Sacredness of the Pentateuch

Post by davidmartin » Sun May 03, 2020 5:21 pm

However, the proto-Ebionites in Acts continued to oppose Paul, and in my view this faction of Jewish Christianity became the Ebionites mentioned by early church writers.
But maybe the Ebionites were just the Nazarene remnant that refused to hook up with the Pauline based churches in some later reproachment between Pauline and Jewish Christian sides. I just think Acts tries to present the differences as all patched up and minor to disguise that really it was settled far later on, none of the Jewish Christians accepted Paul I recon, and probably were split into factions themselves
The Nazarenes who rejected being absorbed would be shunned as Ebionites but go back far enough and it's all the same group is how i see it
By the time of Heggisepius is too late, all was done something like at least 50 years before him

So thats how i see orthodoxy happening lashing together these two branches and a mixture of their doctrines, with the real, original Jewish Christians kind of left behind with such massive theological development going on and all the power struggles and cultural shifts...

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

Post by John2 » Wed May 06, 2020 3:11 pm

davidmartin wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 5:21 pm
However, the proto-Ebionites in Acts continued to oppose Paul, and in my view this faction of Jewish Christianity became the Ebionites mentioned by early church writers.
But maybe the Ebionites were just the Nazarene remnant that refused to hook up with the Pauline based churches in some later reproachment between Pauline and Jewish Christian sides. I just think Acts tries to present the differences as all patched up and minor to disguise that really it was settled far later on, none of the Jewish Christians accepted Paul I recon, and probably were split into factions themselves
The Nazarenes who rejected being absorbed would be shunned as Ebionites but go back far enough and it's all the same group is how i see it
By the time of Heggisepius is too late, all was done something like at least 50 years before him

So thats how i see orthodoxy happening lashing together these two branches and a mixture of their doctrines, with the real, original Jewish Christians kind of left behind with such massive theological development going on and all the power struggles and cultural shifts...

The problem I have with this scenario is that I can't think of any evidence that all Jewish Christians -or any Jewish Christian leaders- ever rejected Paul despite his differences with them. Take Gal. 2:2-9, for example. Here we can see that from the get go there were already two Jewish Christian factions:

But I spoke privately to those recognized as leaders, for fear that I was running or had already run in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.

This issue arose because some false brothers had come in under false pretenses to spy on our freedom in Christ Jesus, in order to enslave us. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.

But as for the highly esteemed—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—those leaders added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted to preach the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised ... And recognizing the grace that I had been given, James, Cephas, and John—those reputed to be pillars—gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.



So what need would there have been for a later rapprochement between Pauline and Jewish Christian sides when from the get go Jewish Christian leaders accepted Paul? Yes, there was a disagreement in Antioch, but that was because Paul had overstepped his bounds and taught that Jewish Torah observance was no longer necessary, but even in that respect the letter of James (which I think is genuine) holds out hope that he could be brought back from "the error of his way" (assuming he is the "foolish man" who taught faith without works who is reproved earlier in the letter, and thus I don't see why the following wouldn't apply to him):


James 5:19-20:

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, consider this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover over a multitude of sins.


In my view the "false brothers" Paul mentions in Galatians are the same kind of "proto-Ebionites" who oppose him in Acts, just like the Jewish Christian leaders who accept him in Galatians are the same ones who accept him in Acts. In other words, there were Jewish Christians who opposed him from the get go ("proto-Ebionites") and Jewish Christian leaders who accepted him from the get go (James and others), and since the leaders had accepted him from the get go, what need was there for any later rapprochement?
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