Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

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rgprice
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Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by rgprice » Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:36 pm

So as not to *resurrect* an old thread.

After having read through 1 Clement several times, I'm still not convinced that the writer of 1 Clement was aware of any Gospel narrative about Jesus. It seems that most commentaries take from granted, or even see evidence, that the writer of 1 Clement was well aware of the historical Jesus, but I see no such thing.

And it seems that any discussion I try to have on this matter devolve into "errant expectations", and I get a typical list of reasons why 1 Clement has no occasion to talk about the historical Jesus. To me it seems that at best the writer of 1 Clement is aware of sayings attributed to Jesus.

So does anyone have a good reason why we should conclude that 1 Clement is aware of the Gospel Jesus, who had crowds of followers, healed the lame, cast out demons, predicted the fall of the Temple, stood trial, was persecuted, and was executed under the rule of Pilate at the direction of the Sanhedrin? Unless I'm missing something, 1 Clement has multiple opportunities to reflect on the life of Jesus and never shows any sign of such knowledge.

John2
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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by John2 » Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:31 pm

From what I can recall of 1 Clement and its presumed provenance (Rome c. 95 CE, and I personally suspect it was written by Flavius Clemens), and given my dating of Papias (c. 100 CE) and what he and/or others said about the composition of Mark (two versions, a private one for Roman Christians and a public one for all churches), I'd guess that the author of 1 Clement was aware of at least one version of Mark (perhaps the private one) and one of the Greek translations that were made of Matthew. That's just what would make sense to me given all the factors mentioned above.

Now, it doesn't matter to me how the chips may fall, but I don't see anything here (which is the first thing I happened upon) that dissuades me from this supposition, and in any event it appears to address the issue you bring up in your OP fairly well and perhaps it might help you.

Commonly noted possible parallels include the sayings on mercy and forgiveness found in 1 Clement 13.2, the reference to the Parable of the Sower found in 1 Clement 24:5, and the quotation of Isaiah 29:13 in 1 Clement 15:2, where Clement agrees with the form found in Matthew 15:8 and Mark 7:6 over LXX Isaiah.

Perhaps most central to these discussions are contentions surrounding the possible source (or sources) for the words of Jesus recorded in 1 Clement 46:8. This passage reads, “for he [Jesus] said, ‘Woe to that person! It would have been good for him not to be born, rather than cause one of my chosen to stumble. Better for him to have a millstone cast about his neck and be drowned in the sea than to have corrupted one of my chosen.’” To note but a few of the perspectives concerning the origin of this passage: F.C. Bauer argued that Clement had access to the Gospel of Mark and a sayings source; Andrew Gregory concludes that there is “no sign of the influence of the redactional activity of either Matthew or Luke”; Andreas Kostenberger indicates a possible citation of Matthew and Luke, while Michael Kruger finds plausible the use of Mark as well; Lee McDonald affirms Clement’s use of Matthew; Andreas Lindemann argues for a “free combination” of Mark and Q; and Donald Hagner suggests textual reliance upon at least one synoptic, likely Matthew.


https://pursuingveritas.com/2016/09/26/ ... ls-part-i/
Last edited by John2 on Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rgprice
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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by rgprice » Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:06 pm

Yeah, that's what people point to, that one passage that shares similarity with Matthew. 1 Clement is quite lengthy. It covers quite a few topics and talks about about persecution and division and challenges. And yet, out of all this nothing of the Gospel narratives is brought up at all. We are to believe that just because 1 Clement shares two sentences with Matthew said to be words of Jesus that this means the writer was fully aware of the entire Gospel story? Those similarities are just as easily explained as the writer of Matthew having worked from a common source or even to have himself used 1 Clement as a source for "sayings of Jesus"!

Are we really to believe that there is nothing of the Jesus story worth reporting on in 1 Clement? No mention of his troubled birth? His persecution? His miracles? His crucifixion?

1 Clement talks about jealousy and persecution. It starts with lessons from the Jewish scriptures, then:
1Clem 5:1 But, to pass from the examples of ancient days, let us come to those
champions who lived nearest to our time. Let us set before us the
noble examples which belong to our generation.
Who are the examples from nearest our time? Not Jesus, but Peter and Paul!
1Clem 5:2
By reason of jealousy and envy the greatest and most righteous
pillars of the Church were persecuted, and contended even unto death.
Even unto death? You don't say! Who else was persecuted "even unto death"?
1Clem 5:4
There was Peter who by reason of unrighteous jealousy endured not one
not one but many labors, and thus having borne his testimony went to
his appointed place of glory.
No mention of Peter's denial of Jesus? No reason to address that issue?

We don't get meaningful talk about Jesus until:
1Clem 7:4
Let us fix our eyes on the blood of Christ and understand how
precious it is unto His Father, because being shed for our salvation
it won for the whole world the grace of repentance.
His only role is as the sacrificial lamb. He had no lessons to impart. His life offers no model to follow.

We get various sayings from the Lord Jesus. The vast majority of these are quotes from the Jewish scriptures. But "words of the Lord" are not uncommon. Indeed at Qumran we even find sayings attributed to the archangel Michael! So the fact that we have "words" attributed to Jesus does not in any way imply that one has knowledge of the Gospel Jesus or conceives of Jesus as a human teacher.

How many lists of things "the Lord says" must have been floating around in those days?
1Clem 42:1
The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus
Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God.

1Clem 42:2
So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both
therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order.

1Clem 42:3
Having therefore received a charge, and having been fully assured
through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in
the word of God with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went
forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come.
Again, does this reflect knowledge of the ending of Matthew, or was this rather a source used by Matthew? Again Jesus is acting as a mediator, as he is described in Hebrews, which 1 Clement clearly draws from. According to Paul he received his gospel from Jesus as well, and we know what Paul was talking about. So we've got an account here of revelations. The Apostles received revelations of the resurrected Christ. This, surely is a notion that existed prior to the Gospels, we need not turn to Matthew or any other Gospel for such claims.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:28 pm

Was it possible to be a Christian without a gospel?

Bernard Muller
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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by Bernard Muller » Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:49 pm

As I explained here http://historical-jesus.info/gospels.html#1clement, I think the author of 1 Clement knew about gMark, had a low opinion of it and used two passages as material (there are also other clues, including one directional). He also knew about some of the Pauline epistles and Hebrews.

Cordially, Bernard

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Giuseppe
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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:19 am

1 Clement insists too much on the idea of Jesus Christ as Only Founder of the Sect:

The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus
Christ;
Jesus Christ was sent forth from God.

1Clem 42:2
So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both
therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order.

1Clem 42:3
Having therefore received a charge, and having been fully assured
through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in
the word of God with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went
forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come.

1Clem 42:4
So preaching everywhere in country and town, they appointed their
firstfruits, when they had proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops
and deacons unto them that should believe.

In Paul the idea that Jesus was the Explicit Founder of the Sect is absent. It is the revelation of God by Jesus who is the only fondative act. Not a single person, not Jesus Christ.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:13 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:19 am
In Paul the idea that Jesus was the Explicit Founder of the Sect is absent.
Dunno why you mention Paul, as he almost certainly didn't write 1 Clement.

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:19 am
It is the revelation of God by Jesus who is the only fondative act. Not a single person, not Jesus Christ.
You may mean ,,revelation of Jesus by God,'' or maybe, ,,the revelation of God of Jesus", or even ,,accounts of God revealing Jesus."

and by 'fondative', do you mean 'foundational'?

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GakuseiDon
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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by GakuseiDon » Thu Dec 31, 2020 2:23 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:19 am
1 Clement insists too much on the idea of Jesus Christ as Only Founder of the Sect:

The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God.

Actually, that makes it sound like God is the founder of the sect. 1 Clement starts his letter by referring to "the Church of God" rather than "of Jesus Christ":

"The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth..."
Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:19 am
In Paul the idea that Jesus was the Explicit Founder of the Sect is absent. It is the revelation of God by Jesus who is the only fondative act. Not a single person, not Jesus Christ.
1 Clement, Paul and gLuke and gMatthew see Jesus as a man who was a descendent of the Jews sent by God:

1 Clement:

"Chap 32 ... For from him [Jacob] have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh."

Compare with Paul's Rom 9:3:

"... my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites... 5 of whom [are] the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ [came]..."

Both gLuke and gMatthew list Jacob as a forebear of Jesus, though obviously if Jesus was 'seed of David', there is a connection to Jacob, so it's hard to say that 1 Clement learned this from those Gospels.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Dec 31, 2020 2:32 am

GDon, I am not talking about the humanity of Jesus or his provenance from Judah just as Osiris from Egypt or Mithra from Persia or Tammuz from Syria.

1 Clement learned from the Gospels the idea that Jesus was the founder of the sect.

Nowhere the same idea is found in Paul, where the "founder" of the sect is the FACT that a revelation is in action "now", not a Revealer, even if the latter is in background.

rgprice
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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by rgprice » Thu Dec 31, 2020 3:47 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:49 pm
As I explained here http://historical-jesus.info/gospels.html#1clement, I think the author of 1 Clement knew about gMark, had a low opinion of it and used two passages as material (there are also other clues, including one directional). He also knew about some of the Pauline epistles and Hebrews.

Cordially, Bernard
This is completely unconvincing. The supposed ties between 1 Clement and various Gospels lay in a few peculiar word choices related to sayings. "Oh look, here both Gospel X and 1 Clem use the verb XXXXX". This is nonsense.

When you read Martyr its obvious that he knew a Gospel. It jumps out. Are we really to believe that perhaps the earliest letter from someone who knew Gospels contains only such vague references that the only way we can detect this person's knowledge of the Gospels is via vague word similarities?

There are no themes in 1 Clement that indicate he knew of any Gospels. When the Gospels came out they would have been revolutionary. Are we really to believe that the only thing this writer gleaned from them was a few paltry sayings? I find it far more believable that writers of the Gospels used 1 Clement than the other way around.

Your case for 1 Clem having used GMark is entirely unconvincing. It deals almost entirely with quotes from the LXX. Surely there are many ways that the two writers could have landed on similar word choices when quoting from the LXX. To believe that the only thing that the writer would have gotten from GMark was a few variants on how to quote the LXX is absurd!

Such a view requires that GMark was nothing new at all. Essentially the entire story of GMark was passé even when it first came out, because the whole narrative was already well known, though no one ever made any reference to it. And here again 1 Clem makes no connection to the story because, well, everyone already knows that boring old story.

Look at what you've laid out. You've drawn several connections between 1 Clem and all of the Synoptics, plus Hebrews, plus various Pauline letters, plus the LXX. And in order for some of these to work 1 Clem has to be sitting down with these works in hand copying word for word from the other text, because the supposed dependencies are based on specific single word choices.

And out of all this, the relationships are entirely based on sayings of Jesus. 1 Clem gives us nothing of the overall narrative of any of the Gospels. So we have to believe that, having studied the Gospels well enough to choose to quote paraphrases from the LXX from them as opposed to the LXX, the author still finds nothing of value in GMark related to Jesus' baptism by JtB, no reason to mention his trial, no reason to mention Pilate, no reason to mention the Pharisees, no reason to mention Peter's denial of Jesus, no reason to mention any miracles of Jesus, no reason to mention Jesus' treatment of the Samaritan, no reason to draw from the Sermon on the Mount, no reason to mention the massacre of the innocents, no reason to mention the betrayal of Judas even!

No, 1 Clem finds nothing relevant in any of that material, but what the writer finds important are a few obscure word choices in how he quotes from the LXX!

And not only does 1 Clem find nothing in the Gospels really worth discussing, he finds tons of relevant material from the LXX! He's citing stories of David, Moses, Elijah, Ezekiel, Job, expounding on these narratives at length. But yet, we are to believe that while he finds it worth committing dozens of lines to recounting stories from the LXX, he finds nothing worth discussing from the Gospels!?

Total nonsense.

No, if anything, the Gospel writers used 1 Clem, not the other way around.

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