WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 5:51 am

And just for fun (before the Classico starts) I was looking at the use of ekkelsia in Can the Rich Man be Saved? It is noteworthy that there does seem to be a double entendre where the two meanings apply. Take the description of 'John' and his duties:
For when, on the tyrant's death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches (ὅπου δὲ ὅλας ἐκκλησίας ἁρμόσων), there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit.
ἁρμόζω is principally used to describe the actions of carpenters, artisans 'fitting together' beams of a building. So clearly even if it is argued that this is a metaphor there is an underlying understanding of ekklesia as a physical structure.

Also in Stromata 1 (the game is about to start so I have to stop) Pythagoras is said to have:
He held converse with the chief of the Chaldeans and the Magi; and he gave a hint of the church, now so called, in the common hall which he maintained (καὶ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τὴν νῦν οὕτω καλου1.15.66.3 μένην τὸ παρ' αὐτῷ ὁμακοεῖον αἰνίττεται).
In other words another piece of evidence Clement understood ekklesia to mean physical building.
The members of a Pythagorean community were bound together by common cult practices, including specific burial rites: Herodotus (II.81) reports that they could not be buried in woolen garments. (This restriction is presumably connected with respect for animal life). Members were called homakooi, "those who come together to listen," and their assembly hall was a homakoeion, a place "for hearing together." What they heard was an akousma, a "hearing," or a symbolon, a "password." The content of what they heard was protected by a vow of silence: the teachings of Pythagoras were not to be revealed to nonmembers. Silence also seems to have played a part in the course of initiation. We are told of a five-year trial period during which initiates, who had put their property in common, were to listen in silence to the voice of Pythagoras. (Koina ta phildn, "friends have all things in common," was a Pythagorean saying that is often quoted by Plato). During these "hearings" the speaker was shielded from their view by a linen curtain. Only after the successful completion of this test period were the initiates permitted inside: they then became "esoterics," members of Pythagoras' household or inner circle, and were allowed to see the master in person. If they failed the test, they received double their property back but were treated as dead by their "fellow hearers." [C.H. Khan, Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans: A brief history, Hackett, Cambridge 2001. p. 8-9]
I think often times modern scholars confuse dogma and doctrine with actual facts.

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:53 am

One could even argue that to Theodore's use of ekklesia is uniquely Clementine but of course who expects honesty from bitter partisans. (halftime i highly recommend anyone to watch the Classico - excellent this time)

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 7:59 am

More examples from Stromata 1. Ekklesia is clearly understood in chapter 17 to be a physical place:
Such are the sects which deserted the primitive Church. Now he who has fallen into heresy passes through an arid wilderness, abandoning the only true God, destitute of God, seeking waterless water, reaching an uninhabited and thirsty land, collecting sterility with his hands ... For there are those who celebrate the Eucharist with mere water. "But begone, stay not in her place: place is the synagogue, not the Church." He calls it by the equivocal name, place.
The juxtaposition against synagogue implies a physical structure too. Note also the comparison of 'church' to a rich person's home later in book 3:
The Apostle says bishops should be appointed from those who have learned by practice in their own home the charge of the whole Church. (αὐτίκα φησὶν ἐπισκόπους δεῖν καθίστασθαι τοὺς ἐκ τοῦ ἰδίου οἴκου καὶ τῆς 3.12.79.7 ἐκκλησίας ἁπάσης προΐστασθαι μελετήσαντας)
The bishop is clearly meant to be a personification of Christ who is the 'head' of the household:
Without the body, how could dispensation (οἰκονομία) for us, the Church, achieve its end? It was here that he, the Church’s head, came in the flesh but without beauty of form, teaching us to fix our gaze on the formless incorporeality of the divine cause. ( πῶς δ' ἄνευ τοῦ σώματος ἡ κατὰ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καθ' ἡμᾶς οἰκονομία τέλος ἐλάμβανεν; ὅπου γε καὶ αὐτὸς ἡ κεφαλὴ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐν σαρκὶ μέν, ἀειδὴς δὲ ἐλήλυθεν καὶ ἄμορφος, εἰς τὸ ἀειδὲς καὶ ἀσώματον τῆς 3.17.103.4 θείας αἰτίας ἀποβλέπειν ἡμᾶς διδάσκων).
While scholars debate the meaning of οἰκονομία in Clement the root would be immediately recognized as 'house.' It literally means 'house management.' So the relation between ekklesia and house is established throughout the section. Dispensation is not the primary meaning of οἰκονομία.

According to my reading of Book 3, I think we can place an exact context - i.e. Demetrius's installation as bishop of Alexandria c. 192 CE. Demetrius is remembered to have been a married man which scandalized the ascetic Alexandrian community. Throughout this section Clement is defending Demetrius's appointment saying that marriage is not incompatible with being a bishop:
Those who have such a loathing for sex and childbirth – what have they to say in answer to this legislation? For Paul also lays down that leadership in the Church should rest with “a bishop who presides successfully over his household” and that “marriage to one wife” constitutes a household with the Lord’s blessing. (ἐπεὶ καὶ τὸν ἐπίσκοπον τοῦ οἴκου καλῶς προϊστάμενον νομοθετεῖ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἀφηγεῖσθαι, οἶκον δὲ κυριακὸν
3.18.109.1 μιᾶς γυναικὸς συνίστησι συζυγία).
Yes of course as in ancient Greece ekklesia can mean both the assembly of people and the building which housed the assembly. But I think it is clear that the Christian association of ekklesia with building didn't begin in the 5th century but with Clement. Clement sees the bishop as a house master - the house being the ekklesia.

Stephen says that there is nothing specifically Alexandrian about the Gospel of Mark. But there are clear signs that Clement understands ekklesia to be a physical building in Alexandria which had bishop Demetrius as it's new married 'householder/master.' There were those who clearly disputed the selection on the grounds that he was married (i.e. married people were understood to be 'on the other side' of the curtain which separated the laity from the elect. Clement says, no it's okay that a married bishop stands with the elect because Paul uses the image of Christ being married as the bride of the community (even though it doesn't quite work because he also uses arguments that the bishop is the 'master' of the house like Christ so Christ is alternatively the 'man' and the 'woman' in the marriage).

While there is no explicit mention of Mark as the original bishop or 'pope' who founded the 'house' which is now managed by the 'householder' in his 'house-managing' it is clear that Demetrius is a bishop according to some lineage where formerly all bishops necessarily derive from some apostolic authority and - more interestingly - were all celibates if not eunuchs. The argument seems to be that marriage is indistinguishable from sex and sex one and the same with lust. A similar situation is preserved in a hilarious story in the History of the Patriarchs regarding Demetrius. If you read this section of Book 3 of the Stromata AFTER the narrative regarding Demetrius (who was bishop at the time Clement wrote the Stromata by Clement's own admission in Book 1) it all comes together:
And the grace of God descended upon this man [Demetrius], and he was like Joseph, the son of Jacob; yea, and more excellent than Joseph, for though Demetrius was married, he knew not his wife. And if any should say : «How is it lawful that a patriarch should be married?» we reply that the apostles declare, in their canons, that if a bishop be wedded to one wife, that shall not be forbidden him; for the believing wife is pure, and her bed undefiled, and no sin can be laid to his charge on that account. And the patriarch is but bishop of Alexandria, with a right of primacy over the bishops of the different provinces subject to that city; for he is the successor of Saint Mark, the apostle and evangelist, who had jurisdiction over all Egypt and Pentapolis and Ethiopia and Nubia, through his preaching the gospel in those parts; and therefore the bishop of Alexandria also of necessity has jurisdiction over those countries. But the people were unjust towards this patriarch, Demetrius, saying that he was the twelfth of the patriarchs, counting from Mark, the evangelist, and that all of them were unmarried except Demetrius; and |156 they bewailed his fall. He had a gift from God, which was that when he had finished the liturgy, before he communicated any one of the people, he beheld the Lord Christ, giving the Eucharist by his hand; and when a person came up who was unworthy to receive the Mysteries, the Lord Christ revealed to him that man's sin, so that he would not communicate him. Then he told that man the reason, so that he confessed his offence. And Demetrius reproved him, and said : «Turn away from thy sin which thou dost commit, and then come again to receive the Holy Mysteries.» When this practice had continued a long time, the faithful of Alexandria left off sinning for fear of the patriarch, lest he should put them to open shame; and each one said to his friend or his kinsman : «Beware lest thou sin, lest the patriarch denounce thee in the presence of the congregation.» But some of the people said : «This is a married man. How then can he reprove us, seeing that he has dishonoured this see? For none has sat therein to this day who was not unwedded.» Again others said : «His marriage does not lessen his merits, for marriage is pure and undefiled before God.» But it was God's will to make his virtues manifest, that he might be glorified, and might not leave this great secret unknown. As he said in his holy gospel, by his pure mouth : «A city when it is set on a hill cannot be hidden,» so God made the merits of this patriarch manifest, that his people might increase in virtue thereby. Accordingly, on a certain night, an angel of the Lord came to Demetrius, and said to him : «Demetrius, seek not thine own |157 salvation by neglecting thy neighbour; but remember what the gospel says, that the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep». Then Demetrius said to the angel : «O my Lord, teach me what thou commandest me to do. If thou wilt send me to martyrdom, I am ready to let my blood be shed for the name of Christ.» Then the angel said to him : «Listen to me, Demetrius, and I will tell thee. The Lord Christ was incarnate only to save his people; and it is not right that thou shouldst now save thine own soul, and allow this people to be filled with scruples on account of thee.» So Demetrius answered : «What is my sin against the people? Teach me, my Lord, that I may repent of it.» Then the angel said : «This secret which is between thee and thy wife; namely, that thou hast never approached her. Now therefore make this known to the people.» But Demetrius said : «I pray thee that I may die before thee rather than that thou shouldst reveal this secret to any man!» Then the angel answered : «Know that the scripture says : He that is disobedient shall perish. Tomorrow, therefore, after the end. of the liturgy, assemble the priests and the people, and make known to them this secret which is between thee and thy wife.» When the patriarch heard this, he marvelled, and said : «Blessed is the Lord, who does not abandon those that trust in him.» Then the angel departed from him.

So on the morrow, which was the feast of Pentecost, the patriarch celebrated the liturgy, and bade the archdeacon give directions to the clergy and the people that not one of them should leave the church, but that they should |158 gather together round the patriarchal throne. The archdeacon, therefore, proclaimed to the congregation : «The patriarch's wish is to speak to you all. Let none of you, therefore, depart without hearing what he shall say.» When they had sat down, the patriarch bid the brethren collect much fuel; and they did so, marvelling thereat and saying : «What is this that the patriarch will do ?» Then he said to them : «Rise and let us pray!» So they prayed, and afterwards sat down. And he said to them : «I beg you out of your love for me, to allow my wife to be present before you, that she may receive of your blessing.» Then they marvelled, and thought in their hearts : «What is this that he does?» And they all said : «Whatever thou biddest us do shall be done.» Then the patriarch commanded one of his servants, saying : «Call my wife, the handmaid of the saints, that she may receive their blessing.» So the holy woman entered, and stood in the midst of the congregation. And her husband, the patriarch, arose, where they could all behold him, and stood by the blazing logs, which had already been lighted, and spread out his cloak, and took burning embers from the fire with his hand and put them in his cloak; and all the spectators were astonished at the quantity of burning fuel in his garment, and yet it was not burned. Then he said to his wife : «Spread out thy woollen pallium which thou hast upon thee.» So she spread it out; and the patriarch transferred the embers to it while she stood there; and he put incense on the fire, and commanded her to incense all the congregation; and she did so, and yet her pallium was not burned. Then the patriarch said again : «Let us pray»; while the embers were blazing in his wife's pallium, which yet was not burned. |159

You have now heard, my friends, this great wonder. This man had made himself an eunuch of his own free will, so that he was more glorious than those that are born eunuchs; and therefore the fire had no effect upon this saint, nor upon his garments, nor upon those of his wife, because he had extinguished the flames of lust. But now let us abridge our discourse upon this subject, and return to the history, glorifying God for ever and ever. So when the clergy had prayed, they said to the patriarch : «We beg of thy Holiness to explain to us this wonderful mystery.» And he replied : «Attend, all of you, to what I say. Know that I have not done this seeking glory from men. My age is now sixty-three years. My wife who stands before you is my cousin. Her parents died and left her when she was a child. My father brought her to me, for he had no other child than me, and she was the only child of my uncle. So I grew up with her in my father's house, and we dwelt together. When she was fifteen, my parents resolved to many me to her, in order that their possessions might not pass to a stranger, but that we might inherit them. So the wedding was performed, as men do such things for their children; and I went in to her. And when they had left us alone, she said to me : «How could they give me to thee, seeing that I am thy sister?» So I said to her : «Listen to what I say. We must of necessity remain together in this chamber without being separated all our lives, but there must be no further connexion between us, until death shall part us; and, if we remain thus in purity, we shall meet in the heavenly Jerusalem, and enjoy one |160 another's company in eternal bliss.» And when she heard this, she accepted my proposal; and her body remained inviolate. But my parents knew nothing of our compact. Then the wedding-guests demanded the customary proof of the consummation of the marriage, as you know is done by foolish men; but my mother said to them : «These two are young, and the days before them are many.» Thus we kept our purity; and when my parents as well as her parents were dead, we remained orphans together. It is now forty-eight years since I married my wife, and we sleep on one bed and one mattress and beneath one coverlet; and the Lord, who knows and judges the living and the dead, and understands the secrets of all hearts, knows that I have never learnt that she is a woman, nor has she learnt that I am a man; but we see one another's face and no more. We sleep together, but the embraces of this world are unknown to us. And when we fall asleep, we see a form with eagle's wings, which comes flying and alights upon our bed between her and me, and stretches its right wing over me, and its left wing over her, until the morning, when it departs; and we behold it until it goes. Do not think, my brethren and ye people who love God, that I have disclosed this secret to you to gain the glory of this world which passes away, nor that I have told you this of my own will; but it is the command of the Lord, who bade me do it, for he desires the good of all men, and he is Christ our Saviour.» |161

When Demetrius had finished this discourse, the people all fell upon their faces on the earth, saying : «Verily, our father, thou art more excellent than many of the saints; and God has shewn his mercy towards us in making thee head over us.» And they gave thanks to him, and besought him to forgive their evil thoughts of him. Then he gave them his blessing, and prayed for them; and they dispersed to their own homes, praising God. And after this, Demetrius bade his wife depart to her house.

Have you ever heard, you that listen to me, of such wonders? This holy, father dwelt so long with his lovely and virtuous wife, and yet endured the trial. Where now are the men who are married, and yet commit adultery also, while professing to be Christians? Let them come and listen to the Father Demetrius, the patriarch, saying : «I have known the face of my wife and no more», that they may be ashamed and confounded! O that valiant saint, fighting against his bodily desires! O that miracle! How could his heart remain unmoved when he beheld his wife's beauty, and how could his senses remain unexcited before her loveliness! How wonderful was thy discourse, O thou saint, in thy bridal chamber! The archer whose arrows strike all men, namely Satan, was unable to strike thee. Demetrius said : «I am a man and have a body like all other men, but I will teach you how to answer the suggestions of the Devil. When my heart was troubled by evil thoughts, I remembered the |162 compact I had made with Christ; and if I broke it, I feared that he would reject me in the kingdom of Heaven, before the Father and his holy angels. Moreover, when I saw the beauty and grace of her form, I thought of the corpses lying in their tombs and the foulness of their odour, so to keep myself from strange words, through fear of the fire that is not quenched, and the worm that sleepeth not, in the other world, where none can open his mouth». O my friends, this Father was chosen by God, and in his courage and valour was braver than those that slay lions; as one of the doctors says : «The brave man is not he that kills wild beasts, but he that dies pure from the embraces and snares of women». Blessed is this saint, for his degree is exalted! Like Joseph in the house of the Egyptian woman, when she solicited him on every occasion that she could, so Demetrius fought against his desires every day and night until his battle was finished, and preserved his chastity and his right faith throughout his life.

Demetrius remained patriarch forty-three years. In his time there was a disturbance at Alexandria, and the emperor Severus banished him to a place called the quarter of the Museum; and there he died on the 12th. day of Barmahat, which, I believe, was the day of the manifestation of his virginity.

Now in the reign of the emperor Severus many became martyrs for the love of God. Among them was the father of a man named Origen 37, who |163 learned the sciences of the heathen, and abandoned the books of God, and began to speak blasphemously of them. So when the Father Demetrius heard of this man, and saw that some of the people had gone astray after his lies, he removed him from the church.
The reason the Patriarch Joseph is invoked at the beginning of the discussion is because Joseph was in Egypt famously resisting the desires of Potiphar's wife. Thus Clement's argument is - Demetrius can be married and not lustful (as this surviving source cited by the Coptic compendium also preserves) and moreover being married perfectly epitomizes his role as 'master of the house' which is the ekklesia.

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:02 am

In Book 4 the comparison between the physical Church and the Pythagorean ὁμακοεῖον once again resurfaces:
A barbarous nation, not cumbered with philosophy, select, it is said, annually an ambassador to the hero Zamolxis. Zamolxis was one of the disciples of Pythagoras. The one, then, who is judged of the most sterling worth is put to death, to the distress of those who have practised philosophy, but have not been selected, at being reckoned unworthy of a happy service. Full (μεστὴ) is the Church of those, as well chaste women as men, who all their life have contemplated the death which rouses up to Christ?
Seems to be that Clement can only use μεστός with the idea that the ekklesia is the physical structure of the church - i.e. the building, the cultic counterpart of the Pythagorean ὁμακοεῖον is 'full' of chaste people. You couldn't say that chaste people 'fill' the assembled people. Ekklesia = the building which contains the people.

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:14 am

The idea of the ekklesia as a physical building is again confirmed at the end of Book 4:
For a city is an important thing, and the people a decorous body, and a multitude of men regulated by law as the church by the word -- a city on earth impregnable -- free from tyranny; a product of the divine will on earth as in heaven.
Could a nomadic assembly of people be described as a polis? Really?

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:20 am

In Book 5 I think it is clinched:
North of the altar of incense was placed a table, on which there was "the exhibition of the loaves;" for the most nourishing of the winds are those of the north. And thus are signified certain seats of churches conspiring so as to form one body and one assemblage (εἶεν δ' ἂν μοναί τινες εἰς ἓν σῶμα καὶ σύνοδον μίαν συμπνεουσῶν 5.6.35.5 ἐκκλησιῶν).
Yes it can be argued that the temple is meant and the 'assemblage' are the people in the temple but I think it could also be argued that the temple - i.e. the physical building is included in things associated with the assembly.

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:26 am

And in what sense is it said that there are writings 'in the church of God' in Book Six:
Now also Valentinus, the Coryphaeus of those who herald community, in his book on The Intercourse of Friends, writes in these words: "Many of the things that are written, though in common books, are found written in the church of God (ἤδη δὲ καὶ τῶν τὴν κοινότητα πρεσβευόντων ὁ κορυφαῖος Οὐαλεντῖνος ἐν τῇ Περὶ φίλων ὁμιλίᾳ κατὰ λέξιν γράφει· 6.6.52.4 πολλὰ τῶν γεγραμμένων ἐν ταῖς δημοσίαις βίβλοις εὑρίσκεται γεγραμμένα ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ).
Could books be said to be IN the assembly of living people? Also Clement knows the vision of Hermas:
Did not the Power also, that appeared to Hermas in the Vision, in the form of the Church, give for transcription the book which she wished to be made known to the elect?
Similitude 9 clearly understands ekklesia to be a physical building.

Clement's repeated use of ἐκκλησιαστικὸς is also problematic because it was a pre-existent terminology:
of or for the ἐκκλησία, ἐ. πίναξ register of voters, D.44.35 ; “αἱ ἐ. ψῆφοι” Plu.Cor.14 ; τὸ ἐ. [ἀργύριον] pay received for sitting in the ἐκκλησία at Athens and elsewhere, Sch.Ar.Eq.51 (also “μισθὸς ἐκκλησιαστικός” Luc.Dem.Enc.25, etc.), cf. Michel466(Iasos, iii B.C.) ; “τὰ ἐ.” IG22.1272.
Finally Book 7. Notice first Philo's description of the tabernacle:
Also in Exodus, in the account of the congregation, it says, “for Mount Sinai was all covered with smoke, because God came down to it in fire and the smoke rose up like vapour of a furnace, and all the people were in a great ‘ecstasy’” (Ex. xix. 18).

καὶ ἐν Ἐξαγωγῇ κατὰ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν· “τὸ γὰρ ὄρος” φησί “τὸ Σινὰ ἐκαπνίζετο ὅλον διὰ τὸ καταβεβηκέναι τὸν θεὸν ἐπ᾿ αὐτὸ ἐν πυρί, καὶ ἀνέβαινεν ὁ καπνὸς ὡσεὶ ἀτμὶς καμίνου
He clearly doesn't mean that assembled people but the physical structure of the tabernacle erected on Sinai. Similarly Clement uses the same expression to denote a physical building presumably in Alexandria:
The service of God, then, in the case of the Gnostic, is his soul's continual study and occupation, bestowed on the Deity in ceaseless love. For of the service bestowed on men, one kind is that whose aim is improvement, the other ministerial. The improvement of the body is the object of the medical art, of the soul of philosophy. Ministerial service is rendered to parents by children, to rulers by subjects. Similarly, also, in the Church (κατὰ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν), the elders attend to the department which has improvement for its object; and the deacons to the ministerial. In both these ministries the angels serve God, in the management of earthly affairs; and the Gnostic himself ministers to God, and exhibits to men the scheme of improvement, in the way in which he has been appointed to discipline men for their amendment.
I can't this being a description of simply an amorphous mass of people 'assembled' somewhere. Clement borrowed this understanding of ekklesia from Philo where sanctuary is meant. He is describing a gathering of various ranks of clerics in a physical building.

Clement's use of κατὰ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν remains remarkably consistent with Philo. He doesn't mean just a gathering of people but a physical place where various grades of heavenly men assemble like the angels:
Since, according to my opinion, the grades here in the Church (κατὰ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν), of bishops, presbyters, deacons, are imitations of the angelic glory, and of that economy which, the Scriptures say, awaits those who, following the footsteps of the apostles, have lived in perfection of righteousness according to the Gospel. For these taken up in the clouds, the apostle (1 Thessalonians 4:17) writes, will first minister [as deacons], then be classed in the presbyterate, by promotion in glory [for glory differs (1 Corinthians 15:41) from glory] till they grow into a perfect man. (Ephesians 4:13). Such, according to David, rest in the holy hill of God, in the Church far on high, in which are gathered the philosophers of God, who are Israelites indeed, who are pure in heart, in whom there is no guile; (John 1:47; Matthew 5:8) who do not remain in the seventh seat, the place of rest, but are promoted, through the active beneficence of the divine likeness, to the heritage of beneficence which is the eighth grade; devoting themselves to the pure vision of insatiable contemplation.

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:48 am

And in what sense does Clement use τῇ ἀρχαίᾳ ἐκκλησίᾳ? Old people in the church? A continuous gathering of people? I don't think so. He means or implies a physical structure that has lasted a long time - like the church of Alexandria established by Mark.
There being demonstration, then, it is necessary to condescend to questions, and to ascertain by way of demonstration by the Scriptures themselves how the heresies failed, and how in the truth alone and in the ancient Church is both the exactest knowledge, and the truly best set of I principles (airesis). Now, of those who diverge from the truth, some attempt to deceive themselves alone, and some also their neighbours. Those, then, who are called (doxosoFoi) wise in their own opinions, who think that they have found the truth, but have no true demonstration, deceive themselves in thinking that they have reached a resting-place. And of whom there is no inconsiderable multitude, who avoid investigations for fear of refutations, and shun instructions for fear of condemnation. But those who deceive those who seek access to them are very astute; who, aware that they know nothing, yet darken the truth with plausible arguments.

But, in my opinion, the nature of plausible arguments is of one character, and that of true arguments of another. And we know that it is necessary that the appellation of the heresies should be expressed in contradistinction to the truth; from which the Sophists, drawing certain things for the destruction of men, and burying them in human arts invented by themselves, glory rather in being at the head of a School than presiding over the Church (αὐχοῦσι προΐστασθαι διατριβῆς μᾶλλον ἢ ἐκκλησίας)?
The juxtaposition between 'school' and 'church' here makes no sense if it is just a gathering of people. διατριβῆς = school of philosophy, Ath.5.211d, al., Luc.Alex.5; “Μωυσοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ” Gal. 8.579; “Ἐπικούρου δ.” Numen. ap. Eus.PE14.5; also, a place of teaching, school, “ἡ ἐν τῷ κήπῳ δ.” Epicur.Fr.217, cf. Phld.Acad.Ind.p.39 M., Luc.Nigr.25, Ath.8.350b.

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:54 am

The ekklesia as a place where sacred texts are kept is consistent in Clement:
Seeing, therefore, the danger that they are in (not in respect of one dogma, but in reference to the maintenance of the heresies) of not discovering the truth; for while reading the books we have ready at hand, they despise them as useless, but in their eagerness to surpass common faith, they have diverged from the truth. For, in consequence of not learning the mysteries of ecclesiastical knowledge, and not having capacity for the grandeur of the truth, too indolent to descend to the bottom of things, reading superficially, they have dismissed the Scriptures. Elated, then, by vain opinion, they are incessantly wrangling, and plainly care more to seem than to be philosophers.

Not laying as foundations the necessary first principles of things; and influenced by human opinions, then making the end to suit them, by compulsion; on account of being confuted, they spar with those who are engaged in the prosecution of the true philosophy, and undergo everything, and, as they say, ply every oar, even going the length of impiety, by disbelieving the Scriptures, rather than be removed from the honours of the heresy and the boasted first seat in their churches; on account of which also they eagerly embrace that convivial couch of honour in the Agape, falsely so called.
That the ancient ekklesia has walls too which protect the books is also clear:
Those, then, that adhere to impious words, and dictate them to others, inasmuch as they do not make a right but a perverse use of the divine words, neither themselves enter into the kingdom of heaven, nor permit those whom they have deluded to attain the truth. But not having the key of entrance, but a false (and as the common phrase expresses it), a counterfeit key (antikleis), by which they do not enter in as we enter in, through the tradition of the Lord, by drawing aside the curtain; but bursting through the side-door, and digging clandestinely through the wall of the Church (τὸ τειχίον τῆς ἐκκλησίας), and stepping over the truth, they constitute themselves the Mystagogues of the soul of the impious.

For that the human assemblies (ἀνθρωπίνας συνηλύσεις) which they held were posterior to the Catholic Church (καθολικῆς ἐκκλησίας) requires not many words to show.

For the teaching of our Lord at His advent, beginning with Augustus and Tiberius, was completed in the middle of the times of Tiberius.

And that of the apostles, embracing the ministry of Paul, ends with Nero. It was later, in the times of Adrian the king, that those who invented the heresies arose; and they extended to the age of Antoninus the eider, as, for instance, Basilides, though he claims (as they boast) for his master, Glaucias, the interpreter of Peter.

Likewise they allege that Valentinus was a hearer of Theudas. And he was the pupil of Paul. For Marcion, who arose in the same age with them, lived as an old man with the younger [heretics]. And after him Simon heard for a little the preaching of Peter.

Such being the case, it is evident, from the high antiquity and perfect truth of the Church, that these later heresies, and those yet subsequent to them in time, were new inventions falsified [from the truth].

From what has been said, then, it is my opinion that the true Church, that which is really ancient, is one, and that in it those who according to God's purpose are just, are enrolled. For from the very reason that God is one, and the Lord one, that which is in the highest degree honourable is lauded in consequence of its singleness, being an imitation of the one first principle. In the nature of the One, then, is associated in a joint heritage the one Church, which they strive to cut asunder into many sects.

Therefore in substance and idea, in origin, in pre-eminence, we say that the ancient and Catholic Church is alone, collecting as it does into the unity of the one faith -- which results from the peculiar Testaments, or rather the one Testament in different times by the will of the one God, through one Lord -- those already ordained, whom God predestinated, knowing before the foundation of the world that they would be righteous.
I think the description of ekklesia in to Theodore is absolutely consistent with what is described in Clement's other writings - i.e. an apostolic building which preserved sacred, mysterious writings for an ecclesiastical hierarchy headed by a bishop who has 'head of the house' - i.e. the church.

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:25 pm

And this discussion from Instructor 3:
Woman and man are to go to church decently attired (Ἐπὶ δὲ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν ἀκτέον τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὸν ἄνδρα ἐστολισμένους κοσμίως), with natural step, embracing silence, possessing unfeigned love, pure in body, pure in heart, fit to pray to God ... Such ought those who are consecrated to Christ appear, and frame themselves in their whole life, as they fashion themselves in the churches for the sake of gravity (Τοιούτους δὲ ἐχρῆν παρ' ὅλον τὸν βίον φαίνεσθαι καὶ διαπλάττεσθαι τοὺς Χριστῷ τελουμένους οἵους σφᾶς ἐν ἐκκλησίαις ἐπὶ τὸ σεμνότερον σχηματίζουσιν) and to be, not to seem such--so meek, so pious, so loving. But now I know not how people change their fashions and manners with the place (τοῖς τόποις καὶ τὰ σχήματα καὶ τοὺς τρόπους). As they say that polypi, assimilated to the rocks to which they adhere, are in colour such as they; so, laying aside the inspiration of the assembly (συναγωγῆς), after their departure from it, they become like others with whom they associate. Nay, in laying aside the artificial mask of solemnity, they are proved to be what they secretly were. After having paid reverence to the discourse about God, they leave within [the church] what they have heard. And outside they foolishly amuse themselves with impious playing, and amatory quavering, occupied with flute-playing, and dancing, and intoxication, and all kinds of trash

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