Religious romance which has come down to us in two forms as composed by Pope St. Clement I
Clementines (Greek: Klementia), (CLEMENTINE PSEUDO WRITINGS), the name given to the curious religious romance which has come down to us in two forms as composed by Pope St. Clement I. The Greek form is preserved only in two MSS. and consists of twenty books of homilies. The Latin form is a translation made from the Greek by Rufinus, who died in 410. It is called the “Recognitions”. Two later epitomes of the Homilies exist also, and there is a partial Syriac translation, embracing Recog. i-iii, and Hom. x-xiv, preserved in two British Museum MSS., one of which was written in the year 411. Some fragments are known in Arabic and in Slavonic. The writings are curious rather than admirable, and their main interest lies in the extraordinary theories which they have been made to support during the nineteenth century. The existence of the Clementine Homilies was first made known in 1572 and 1578 by the Jesuit Turrianus, who was a diligent searcher of libraries. He seems to have found a MS. of quite a different version from that which we possess. The first edition was that of G. B. Cotelier, 1672, from the Paris MS., in which the 20th book and part of the 19th are wanting. This was reedited in 1847 by Schwegler. The complete Vatican MS. was first used in Dressel’s edition, 1853, reprinted in Migne, P.G., II; another edition by Lagarde, 1865. The “Recognitions” are found in numerous MSS., for they were very popular in the Middle Ages: indeed the strange history of Clement and his father Faustus, or Faustinianus, is said to have originated the Faust legend (cf. Richardson, “Papers of Amer. Soc. of Ch. Hist.”, VI, 1894). The first edition, by Faber Stapulensis, appeared in 1504; Migne, P.G., I, gives a reprint of Gersdorf’s edition of 1838. A new and much-needed edition is expected from E. C. Richardson. To the Homilies are prefixed two letters and an account of the reception of one of them. That from Clement to James was translated by Rufinus at an earlier date than the Recognitions (best edition by Fritzsche, 1873).
CONTENTS.—Large portions of the Homilies (H.) and Recognitions (R.) are almost word for word the same. Yet larger portions correspond in subject and more or less in treatment. Other parts contained only in one of the two works appear to be referred to or presupposed in the other. The two works are roughly of the same length, and contain the same framework of romance. H. was considered to be the original by Neander, Baur, Schliemann, Schwegler, and others. Lehmann thought the first three books of R. to be original, and H. for the remainder. Uhlhorn argued that both were recensions of an earlier book, “Preachings of Peter”, R. having best preserved the narrative, H. the dogmatic teaching. Cave, Whiston, Rosenmuller, Ritschl, Hilgenfeld, and others held R. to be the original. It is now almost universally held (after Hort, Harnack, Waitz) that H. and R. are two versions of an original Clementine romance, which was longer than either, and embraced most of the contents of both. Sometimes H., sometimes R., is the more faithful to the archetype. With the elaborate philosophical and dogmatic discourse which forms the bulk of both works is interwoven a story which, when we consider its date, may be described as positively exciting and romantic. It differs slightly in the two books. The narrative is addressed to St. James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, and is related in the person of Clement himself. He begins by detailing his religious questionings, his doubts about immortality, etc. He hears at Rome the preaching of a man of Judea who relates the miracles of Christ. This man (R.) was Barnabas; Clement defends him from the mob, and follows him to Palestine. (In H., evidently the original form, no name is given. Clement sets out for Palestine, but is driven by storms to Alexandria; there he is directed by philosophers to Barnabas, whom he defends from the mob and follows to Caesarea.) At Caesarea Clement hears that Peter is there and is about to hold a disputation with Simon Magus. At Peter’s lodging he finds Barnabas, who introduces him. Peter invites Clement to accompany him from city to city, on his way to Rome, in order to hear his discourses. Clement (so R., or Peter himself, H.) sends a report of this to James, from whom Peter has an order to transmit to him accounts of all his teaching.
So far H. i. and R. i., 1-21. Then the two recensions vary. The original order may have been as follows: Clement arises at dawn (H. ii, 1) and finds Peter, who continues to instruct him (2-18, cf. R. ii, 33 and iii, 61). Peter sends for two of his disciples, Nicetas and Aquila, whom he describes as foster-sons of Justa, the Syro-Phoenician woman who was healed by Christ. They had been educated from boyhood by Simon Magus, but had been converted by Zacchus, another disciple of Peter (19-21). Aquila relates Simon’s parentage and his Samaritan origin, and declares that he claims to be greater than the God who created the world (H. ii, 22, R. ii, 7). He had been a disciple of St. John the Baptist, who is represented in H. as the head of a sect of “daily baptizers”; Dositheus succeeded John as head of it, and Simon supplanted Dositheus (23-4). In R. the Baptist has been omitted, and the sect is that of Dositheus. The woman, Helena, whom Simon took about with him, is described (in R. she is called the moon—R. ii, 12, H. ii, 26), and the sham miracles he claimed to do (H. ii, 32, R. ii, 10). He can make himself visible or invisible at will, can pass through rocks as if they were clay, throw himself down from a mountain unhurt, loose himself when bound; he can animate statues, make trees spring up; he can throw himself into the fire without harm, can appear with two faces: “I shall change myself into a sheep or a goat. I shall make a beard to grow upon little boys. I shall ascend by flight into the air, I shall exhibit abundance of gold, I shall make and unmake kings. I shall be worshiped as God, I shall have divine honors publicly assigned to me, so that an image of me shall be set up, and I shall be adored as God.” (R. ii, 9.) Next day at noon Zacchus announces that Simon has put off the promised dispute (H. ii, 35-7, R. ii, 20-1). Peter instructs Clement till evening (H. ii, 38-53). [Probably before this should come a long passage of R. (i, 22-74) in which Peter speaks of Old Testament history (27-41) and then gives an account of the coming of the true Prophet, His rejection, Passion, and Resurrection, and relates the preaching to the Gentiles. The Church at Jerusalem having been governed by James for a week of years, the Apostles return from their travels, and at James’s request state what they have accomplished. Caiphas sends to ask if Jesus was the Christ. Here Peter, in a digression, explains why the true Prophet is called Christ and describes the Jewish sects. Then we are told how the Apostles argued before Caiphas, and refuted successively the Sadducees, Samaritans, Scribes, Pharisees, disciples of John, and Caiphas himself. When Peter foretells the destruction of the Temple, the priests are enraged, but Gamaliel quells the tumult, and next day makes a speech. St. James preaches for seven days, and the people are on the point of being baptized, when an enemy (not named, but obviously Simon) excites them against James, who is thrown down the steps of the Temple and left for dead. He is carried to Jericho, with 5000 disciples. On recovering he sends Peter to Caesarea to refute Simon. He is welcomed by Zacchaeus, who relates Simon’s doings to him. The author of H. probably thought all this story inconsistent with Acts, and omitted it.] Next morning before dawn Peter arouses his disciples (H. iii, 1, R. ii, 1), who are enumerated (H. ii, 1, R. ii, 1). Peter gives a private preparatory discourse (H.) and then goes out to the public discussion with Simon. Only one day of it is related in H. (iii, 38-57), but the whole matter of the three days is given in R. (ii, 24-70, iii, 12-30, 33-48). But what H. has omitted R. gives largely, though in a different form, in xvi, xvii, xviii, and partly in xix, as another discussion with Simon in Laodicea. It is clear that It. has the original order. Simon, being worsted, flies in the night to Tyre. Peter determines to follow, leaving Zacchus as bishop at Caesarea (H. iii, 58-72, R. iii, 63-6). H. adds that Peter remained seven days longer and baptized 10,000 people, sending on Nicetas and Aquila to stay at Tyre with Bernice, daughter of their stepmother, Justa (iii, 73). But R. relates that seven other disciples were sent on, while Clement remained at Caesarea for three months with Peter, who repeated in private at night the public instructions he gave during the day. All this Clement wrote down and sent to James. In ch. 74 are described the contents of the ten books of these sermons as sent to Jerusalem. H. now makes Clement, Nicetas, and Aquila go on to Tyre. Bernice tells them how Simon has been raising ghosts, infecting the people with diseases, and bringing demons upon them, and has gone to Sidon. Clement has a discussion with Simon’s disciple Appion (H. v, 7—vi, 25). All this is omitted by R., but the same subjects are discussed in R. x, 17-51. Peter goes on northward by Tyre, Sidon, Berytus, and Byblus to Tripolis (H. vii, 5-12). (R. adds Dora and Ptolemais, omitting Byblus, iv, 1.) Peter’s discourses to the multitude at Tripolis are detailed in H. viii, ix, x, xi, and in R. (three days only) iv, v, vi, with considerable differences. Clement is baptized (H. xi, 35, R. vi, 15). After a stay of three months he goes through Ortosias to Antaradus (H. xii, 1, R. vii, 1).
At this point Clement recounts his history to the Apostle. He was closely related to the emperor. Soon after his birth his mother had a vision that unless she speedily left Rome with her twin elder sons, she and they would perish miserably. His father therefore sent them with many servants to Athens, but they disappeared, and nothing could be learned of their fate. At last, when Clement was twelve years old, his father himself set out upon the search; and he too was no more heard of (H. xii, 9-11, R. vii, 8-10). In the island of Aradus, opposite the town, Peter finds a miserable beggar woman, who turns out to be Clement’s mother. Peter unites them, and heals the woman (H. xii, 12-23, R. vii, 11-23). H. adds a discourse by Peter on philanthropy (25-33). The party now leave Aradus (Mattidia, Clement’s mother, journeying with Peter’s wife) and go by Balaneae, Paltos, and Gabala to Laodicea of Syria. Nicetas and Aquila receive them, and hear Clement’s story with amazement; they declare themselves to be Faustus and Faustinianus, the twin sons of Mattidia and brothers of Clement. They had been saved on a fragment of wreck, and some men in a boat had taken them up. They had been beaten and starved, and finally sold at Caesarea Stratonis to Justa, who had educated them as her own sons. Later they had adhered to Simon, but were brought by Zacchus to Peter. Mattidia is now baptized, and Peter discourses on the rewards given to chastity (H. xii, R. vii, 24-38). Next morning Peter is interrupted at his prayers by an old man, who assures him that prayer is a mistake, since all things are governed by genesis or fate. Peter replies (H. xiv, 1-5—in R. Nicetas); Aquila and Clement try also to refute him (viii, 5—ix, 33; cf. H. xv, 1-5), but without success, for the old man had traced the horoscope of himself and his wife, and it came true. He tells his story. Clement, Nicetas, and Aquila guess that this is their father. Peter asks his name and those of his children. The mother rushes in, and all embrace in floods of tears. Faustus is then converted by a long series of discourses on evil and on mythology (R. x, 1-51, to which correspond H. xx, 1-10 and iv, 7—vi, 25—the discussion between Clement and Appion at Tyre. The long discussions with Simon before Faustus in H. xvi, xvii, xviii were in their right place in R. as part of the debate at Caesarea). Simon is driven away by the threats of Cornelius the Centurion, but first he changes the face of Faustus into his own likeness by smearing it with a magic juice, in hopes that Faustus will be put to death instead of himself. Peter frightens away Simon’s disciples by what are simply lies, and he sends Faustus to Antioch to unsay in the person of Simon all the abuse Simon has been pouring on the Apostle there. The people of Antioch in consequence long for Peter’s coming, and nearly put the false Simon to death. Peter restores him to his proper form, and thenceforth they all live happily.
A letter from Clement to James forms an epilogue to H. In it Clement relates how Peter before his death gave his last instructions and set Clement in his own chair as his successor in the See of Rome. James is addressed as “Bishop of bishops, who rules Jerusalem, the holy Church of the Hebrews, and the Churches everywhere”. To him Clement sends a book, “Clement’s Epitome of the Preachings of Peter from place to place”. Another letter, that of Peter to James forms an introduction. The Apostle urges that the book of his teachings is not to be committed to anyone before initiation and probation. A note follows the letter, relating that James on receipt of the letter called the elders and read it to them. The book is to be given only to one who is pious, and a teacher, and circumcised, and even then only a part at a time. A form of promise (not an oath, which is unlawful) is prescribed for the reader, by heaven, earth, water, and air, that he will take extraordinary care of the writings and communicate them to no one; he invokes upon himself terrible curses in case he should be unfaithful to this covenant. The most curious passage is: “Even if I should come to acknowledge another God, I now swear by him, whether he exist or not.” After the adjuration he shall partake of bread and salt. The elders, on hearing of this solemnity, are terrified, but James pacifies them. The whole of this elaborate mystification is obviously intended to explain how the Clementine writings came to be unknown from Clement’s time until the date of their unknown author. Many parallels can be found in modern times; Sir Walter Scott’s prefaces—the imaginary Mr. Oldbuck and his friends—will occur to everyone. Nevertheless a good many modern critics accept the “adjuration” with the utmost gravity as the secret rite of an obscure and very early sect of Judaizers.
DOCTRINE.—The central and all-important doctrine of the Clementines is the Unity of God. Though transcendent and unknowable, He is the Creator of the World. Though infinite, He has (according to the Homilies) shape and body, for He is the Archetype of all beauty, and in particular the exemplar after which man was fashioned. He, therefore, even has members, in some eminent way. He is the self-begotten or unbegotten, from whom proceeds His Wisdom like a hand. To His Wisdom He said: “Let us make man”, and He is the “Parents” (i.e., Father and Mother) of men.
The Homilies also explain that the elements proceed from God as His Child. From them the Evil One proceeded by an accidental mingling. He is therefore not the Son, nor even to be called brother of the Son. God is infinitely changeable, and can assume all forms at will. The Son proceeds from the most perfect of these modifications of the Divine nature and is consubstantial with that modification, but not with the Divine nature itself. The Son is not God, therefore, in the full sense, nor has He all the power of God. He cannot change Himself, though He can be changed at will by God. Of the Holy Ghost we learn nothing definite. The whole of this extraordinary teaching is omitted in R., except the accidental generation of the devil. Instead we find a long passage, R. iii, 2-11, in corrupt and unintelligible Latin, preserved also in the early Syriac MSS. Rufinus in his preface tells us that he omitted it, and in his work on the adulteration of the books of Origen he declares that it is so Eunomian in doctrine that one seems to hear Eunomius himself speaking. It is naturally not found in the best MSS. of R., but as preserved in many MSS. it is an interpolation by some Arian editor, who seems to have translated it from the original Greek without always understanding the meaning. The doctrine is, as Rufinus says, the Arianism of the second half of the fourth century. The Son is a creature; the Holy Ghost the creature of the Son.
Of demons much is said. They have great power over the self-indulgent, and are swallowed with food by those who eat too much. Magic is constantly mentioned, and its use reprobated. Idolatry is argued against at length. The immorality of the Greek stories of the gods is ridiculed, and attempts at mystical explanation are refuted. Various virtues are praised: temperance, kindness or philanthropy, chastity in the married state; asceticism of a most rigorous kind is practiced by St. Peter. The introduction after the Deluge of eating meat, according to the Book of Genesis, is violently denounced, as having naturally led to cannibalism. The use of meat is, however, not forbidden as a sin, and is probably permitted as a bad, but ineradicable, custom. There is no trace of any Judaistic observance, for though the letter of Peter and the speech of James allow the books to be given to none who is not “a circumcised believer”, this is only a part of the mystification, by which the number of adepts is limited as far as possible.
It is now becoming recognized by all critics that the original writings were not intended for the use of baptized Christians of any sect. Most of the latest critics say they are meant for catechumens, and indeed the office of a teacher is highly commended; but it would be more exact to say that the arguments are adapted to the needs of inquiring heathens. Of baptism much is said, but of repentance little. There is little characteristically Christian doctrine to be found; atonement and the sacrifice of the Cross, sin and its penalty, forgiveness, grace, are far to seek. Once the Eucharist is mentioned by name: “Peter broke the Eucharist” (H. xi, 36, R. vi, 15). Christ is always spoken of as “the true Prophet”, as the revealer to men of God, of truth, of the answers to the riddle of life. The writer knows a complete system of ecclesiastical organization. Peter sets a bishop over each city, with priest and deacons under him; the office of bishop is well defined. It was principally this fact which prevented critics of the Tubingen School from dating H, and R. earlier than the middle of the second century. The writer was not an Ebionite, since he believes in the pre-existence of the Son, His Incarnation and miraculous conception, while he enjoins no Jewish observances.
Antagonism to St. Paul is commonly asserted to be a characteristic of the Clementines. He is never mentioned, for the supposed date of the dialogues is before his conversion, and the writer is very careful to avoid anachronisms. But his Epistles are regularly used, and the grounds for supposing that Simon always or sometimes represents St. Paul are exceedingly feeble. The latest critics, who still admit that St. Paul is occasionally combated, do not attribute this attitude to the Clementine writer, but only to one of some presumed sources. In fact, there is a clear prophetic reference to St. Paul as the teacher of the nations in R. iii, 61. But it is not safe to admit any polemic against St. Paul’s person in any part of the writings, for the simple reason that there is no-where any trace of antagonism to his doctrines.
It seems to be universally held that the Clementines are based upon the doctrines of the Book of Elchasai or Helxai, which was much used by the Ebionites. The contents of it were said to have been revealed by an angel ninety-six miles high to a holy man Elchasai in the year 100, and this is gravely accepted by Hilgenfeld and Waitz as its real date. It does not, however, seem to have been known until it was brought to Rome about the year 220, by a certain Alcibiades of Apamea. We know its doctrines from the “Philosophumena” and from Epiphanius. It taught a second baptism (in running streams with all the clothes on) for the remission of sins, to be accompanied by an adjuration of seven elements; the same process was recommended as a cure for the bite of mad dogs and for similar evils. This is not particularly like the calling of four (not seven) elements to witness a solemn promise by the side of water (without bathing) in the Clementines. For the rest, Elchasai taught magic and astrology, made marriage compulsory, celebrated the Eucharist with bread and water, caused all believers to be circumcised and to live by the Jewish law, held that Christ was born of a human father. All this is contradictory to the Clementines. The only point of resemblance seems to be that the Homilies represent Christ as having been in Adam and Moses, while Elchasai said He had been frequently incarnate in Adam and since, and would be again. The Clementine writer is fond of pairs of antitheses, or auliyca, such as Christ and the tempter, Peter and Simon. But these have no connection with any Gnostic or Marcionite antitheses, nor is there any trace of the Gnostic genealogies. He is simply airing his own pseudo-philosophic speculations. Polemic against Marcionism has often been pointed out. But the denial of two Gods, a transcendental God and a Creator, is directed against popular neo-Platonism, and not against Marcion. Again, replies are made to objections to Christianity drawn from immorality or anthropomorphism in the Old Testament, but these objections are not Marcionite. The writer is fond of citing sayings of Christ not found in Scripture. His Scripture text has been analyzed by Hilgenfeld, Waitz, and others. He never cites a book of the N. T. by name, which would be an anachronism at the date he has chosen.
EARLY USE OF THE CLEMENTINES.—It was long believed that the early date of the Clementines was proved by the fact that they were twice quoted by Origen. One of these quotations occurs in the “Philocalia” of Sts. Gregory of Nazianzus and Basil (c. 360). Dr. Armitage Robinson showed in his edition of that work (1893) that the citation is an addition to the passage of Origen made by the compilers, or possibly by a later editor. The other citation occurs in the old Latin translation of Origen on Matthew. This translation is full of interpolations and alterations, and the passage of Pseudo-Clement is apparently an interpolation by the translator from the Arian “Opus imperfectum in Matt.” (See Journal of Theol. Studies, III, 436.) Omitting Origen, the earliest witness is Eusebius. In his “Hist. Eccl.”, III, xxxviii (A.D. 325) he mentions some short writings and adds: “And now some have only the other day brought forward other wordy and lengthy compositions as being Clement’s, containing dialogues of Peter and Appion, of which there is absolutely no mention in the ancients.” These dialogues need not have been the complete romance, but may have been an earlier draft of part of it. Next we find the Clementines used by Ebionites c. 360 (Epiphanius, Haer., xxx, 15). They are quoted as the “Periodi” by St. Jerome in 387 and 392 (On Gal., i, 18, and “Adv. Jovin.”, i, 26). Two forms of the “Recognitions” were known to Rufinus, and one of them was translated by him c. 400. About 408 St. Paulinus of Nola, in a letter to Rufinus, mentions having himself translated a part or all, perhaps as an exercise in Greek. The “Opus imperfectum” above mentioned has five quotations. It is apparently by an Arian of the beginning of the fifth century, possibly by a bishop called Maximus. The Syriac translation was made before 411, the date of one of the MSS. After this time citations occur in many Byzantine writers, and from the commendation given by Nicephorus Callisti (fourteenth century) we may gather that an orthodox version was current. In the West the translation by Rufinus became very popular, and citations are found in Syriac and Arabic writings.
MODERN THEORIES OF ORIGIN AND DATE.—Baur, the founder of the “Tubingen School” of New Testament criticism, rested his ideas about the New Testament on the Clementines, and his ideas about the Clementines on St. Epiphanius, who found the writings used by an Ebionite sect in the fourth century. This Judaeo-Christian sect at that date rejected St. Paul as an apostate. It was assumed that this fourth-century opinion represented the Christianity of the Twelve Apostles; Paulinism was originally a heresy, and a schism from the Jewish Christianity of James and Peter and the rest; Marcion was a leader of the Pauline sect in its survival in the second century, using only the Pauline Gospel, St. Luke (in its original form), and the Epistles of St. Paul (without the Pastoral Epistles). The Clementine literature had its first origin in the Apostolic Age, and belonged to the original Jewish, Petrine, legal Church. It is directed wholly against St. Paul and his sect. Simon Magus never existed; it is a nickname for St. Paul. The Acts of the Apostles, compiled in the second century, have borrowed their mention of Simon from the earliest form of the Clementines. Catholicism under the presidency of Rome was the result of the adjustment between the Petrine and Pauline sections of the Church in the second half of the second century. The Fourth Gospel is a monument of this reconciliation, in which Rome took a leading part, having invented the fiction that both Peter and Paul were the founders of her Church, both having been martyred at Rome, and on the same day, in perfect union.
Throughout the middle of the nineteenth century this theory, in many forms, was dominant in Germany. The demonstration, mainly by English scholars, of the impossibility of the late dates ascribed to the New Testament documents (four Epistles of St. Paul and the Apocalypse were the only documents generally admitted as being of early date), and the proofs of the authenticity of the Apostolic Fathers and of the use of St. John’s Gospel by Justin, Papias, and Ignatius gradually brought Baur’s theories into discredit. Of the original school, Adolf Hilgenfeld may be considered the last survivor (d. 1907). He was induced many years ago to admit that Simon Magus was a real personage, though he persists that in the Clementines he is meant for St. Paul. To a priori critics it counts as nothing that Simon holds no Pauline doctrine and that the author shows no signs of being a Judaeo-Christian. In 1847 Hilgenfeld dated the original nucleus (Preachings of Peter) soon after the Jewish war of 70; successive revisions of it were anti-Basilidian, anti-Valentinian, and anti-Marcionite respectively. Baur placed the completed form, H., soon after the middle of the second century, and Schliemann (1844) agreed, placing R., as a revision, between 211 and 230. This writer sums up the opinions of his predecessors thus:
R. 2nd century: Sixtus Senensis, Blondellus, Nourri, Cotelerius, Natalis Alexander, Cave, Oudin, Heinsius, Rosenmuhler, Flugge, Gieseler, Tholuck, Bretschneider, Engelhardt, Gfrorer.
R. 2nd or 3rd century: Schrock, Stark, Lumper, Krabbe, Locherer, Gersdorf.
R. 3rd century: Strunzius (on Bardesanes, 1710), Weismann (1718), Mosheim, Kleuker, Schmidt (Kirchengesch.).
R. 4th century: Corrodi, Lentz (Dogmengesch.).
H. 2nd century (beginning): Credner, Bretschneider, Kern, Rothe.
H. 2nd century: Clericus, Beausobre, Flugge, Munscher, Hoffmann, Dollinger, Hilgers; (middle of 2nd) Hase.
H. end of 2nd century: Schrock, Colin, Gieseler (3rd ed.), Schenkel, Gfrorer, Lucke.
H. 3rd century: Mill, Mosheim, Gallandi, Gieseler (2nd ed.).
H. 2nd or 3rd century: Neander, Krabbe, Baur, Ritter, Paniel, Dahne.
H. 4th century: Lentz.
Uhlhorn in his valuable monograph (1854) placed the original document, or Grundschrift, in East Syria, after 150; H. in the same region after 160; R. in Rome after 170. Lehmann (1869) put the source (Preaching of Peter) very early, H. and R. i-ii before 160, and the rest of R. before 170. In England Salmon set R. about 200, H. about 218. Dr. Bigg makes H. the original, Syrian, first half of second century, R. being a recasting in an orthodox sense. H. was originally written by a Catholic, and the heretical parts belong to a later recension. Dr. Headlam, in a very interesting article, considers that the original form was rather a collection of works than a single book, yet all products of one design and plan, coming from one writer, of a curious, versatile, unequally developed mind. While accepting the dependence on the Book of Elchasai, Dr. Headlam sees no antagonism to St. Paul, and declares that the writer is quite ignorant of Judaism. Under the impression that the original work was known to Origen, he is obliged to date it at the end of the second century or the beginning of the third. In 1883 Bestmann made the Clementines the basis of an unsuccessful theory which, as Harnack puts it, “claimed for Jewish Christianity the glory of having developed by itself the whole doctrine, worship, and constitution of Catholicism, and of having transmitted it to Gentile Christianity as a finished product which only required to be divested of a few Jewish husks” (Hist. of Dogma, I, 310).
Another popular theory based upon the Clementines has been that it was the Epistle of Clement to James which originated the notion that St. Peter was the first Bishop of Rome. This has been asserted by no lesser authorities than Lightfoot, Salmon, and Bright, and it has been made an important point in the controversial work of the Rev. F. W. Puller, “Primitive Saints and the Roman See”. It is acknowledged that in St. Cyprian’s time (c. 250) it was universally believed that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome, and that he was looked upon as the type and origin of episcopacy. Modern criticism has long since put the letter of Clement too late to allow this theory to be tenable, and now Waitz places it after 220, and Harnack after 260. We shall presently see that it probably belongs to the fourth century.
The “Old Catholic” Professor Langen in 1890 elaborated a new theory. Until the destruction of Jerusalem in 135, he says, that city was the center of the Christian Church. A new pivot was then needed. The Church of the capital made a bold bid for the vacant post of pre-eminence. Shortly after 135 was published the original form of the Clementine romance. It was a Roman forgery, claiming for the Church of Peter the succession to a part of the headship of the Church of James. James indeed had been “bishop of bishops”, and Peter’s successor could not claim to be more than Peter was among the Apostles, primus inter pares. The Roman attempt was eventually successful, but not without a struggle. Caesarea, the metropolis of Palestine, also claimed the succession to Jerusalem. The monument of this claim is H., a recension of the Roman work made at Caesarea before the end of the second century in order to fight Rome with her own weapons. (The intention must be admitted to have been closely veiled.) In the beginning of the third century the metropolis of the Orient, Antioch, produced a new edition, R., claiming for that city the vacant primacy. Langen’s view has found no adherents.
Dr. Hort complained that the Clementines have left no traces in the eighty years between Origen and Eusebius, but he felt obliged to date them before Origen, and placed the original c. 200 as the work of a Syrian Helxaite. Harnack, in his “History of Dogma“, saw that they had no influence in the third century; he dated R. and H. not earlier than the first half of that century, or even a few decades later. All the foregoing writers presupposed that the Clementines were known to Origen. Since this has been shown to be not proven (1903), Waitz’s elaborate study has appeared (1904), but his view was evidently formed earlier. His view is that H. is the work of an Aramaean Christian after 325 (for he uses the word gk oµoot’oeos) and earlier than 411 (the Syriac MS.), R. probably after 350, also in the East. But the Grundschrift, or archetype, was written at Rome, perhaps under the syncretistic system of cult in favor at the court of Alexander Severus, probably between 220 and 250. Harnack, in his “Chronologie” (II), gives 260 or later as the date, but he thinks H. and R. may be ante-Nicene. Waitz supposes two earlier sources to have been employed in the romance, the “Preachings of Peter” (origin in first century, but used in a later anti-Marcionite recension) and the “Acts of Peter” (written in a Catholic circle at Antioch c. 210). Harnack accepts the existence of these sources, but thinks neither was earlier than about 200. They are carefully to be distinguished from the well-known second-century works, the “Preaching of Peter” and “Acts of Peter”, of which fragments still exist. These are quoted by many early writers, whereas the supposed sources of the Clementines are otherwise unknown, and therefore probably never existed at all. A long passage from Pseudo-Bardesanes’ “De Fato” occurs in R. ix, 19 sqq. Hilgenfeld, Ritschl, and some earlier critics characteristically held that Bardesanes used the Clementines. Merx, Waitz, and most others hold that R. cites Bardesanes directly. Nau and Harnack are certainly right, that R. has borrowed the citation at second hand from Eusebius (Prxp. Evang., vi, 10, 11-48, A.D. 313).
PROBABLE DATE OF THE CLEMENTINES.—We now know that the Clementine writer need not have lived before Origen. Let us add that there is no reason to think he was a Judaeo-Christian, an Elchasaite, or anti-Pauline, or anti-Marcionite, that he employed ancient sources, that he belonged to a secretive sect. We are free, then, to look out for indications of date without prejudice. R. is certainly post-Nicene, as Waitz has shown. But we may go further. The curious passage R. iii, 2-11, which Rufinus omitted, and in which he seemed to hear Eunomius himself speaking, gives in fact the doctrine of Eunomius so exactly that it frequently almost cites the “Apologeticus” (c. 362-3) of that heretic word for word. (The Eunomian doctrine is that the essence of God is to be unborn, consequently the Son Who is begotten is not God. He is a creature, the first-born of all creation and the Image of God. The Holy Ghost is the creature of the Son.) The agreement with Eunomius’s Greek: KOEQLS 7r&0 –TEWS of 381-3 is less close. As the Eunomian passage was found by Rufinus in both the recensions of Clement known to him, we may suppose that the interpolation was made in the original work by a Eunomian about 365-70, before the abridgment R. was made about 370-80. (The word archiepiscopus used of St. James suggests the end of the fourth century. It occurs in the middle of that century in some Meletian documents cited by Athanasius, and then not till the Council of Ephesus, 431.)
H. has also a disquisition on the generation of the Son (xvi, 15-18, and xx, 7-8). The writer calls God GK airrroird,rwp and avroy‚Ç¨vvrlros, and both Mother and Father of men. His idea of a changeable God and an unchangeable Son projected from the best modification of God has been mentioned above. This ingenious doctrine enables the writer to accept the words of the Nicene definition, while denying their sense. The Son may be called God, for so may men be, but not in the strict sense. He is GK 6pool’o or rip IIarpl, begotten ‚Ç¨K i- a ovalar, He is not rpeirrbs or cLXXoiwr6r. Apparently He is not KTLVT6S, nor was there a time when He was not, though this is not quite distinctly enunciated. The writer is clearly an Arian who manages to accept the formula of Nicaea by an acrobatic feat, in order to save himself. The date is therefore probably within the reign of Constantine (d. 337), while the great council was still imposed on all by the emperor—say, about 330.
But this is not the date of H., but of the original behind both H. and R.; for it is clear that the Eunomian interpolator of R. attacks the doctrine we find in H. He ridicules GK alrroird,rwp and airroy‚Ç¨vvrlroc, he declares God to be unchangeable, and the Son to be created, not begotten from the Father’s essence and consubstantial. God is not masculo-femina. It is clear that the interpolator had before him the doctrine of H. in a yet clearer form, and that he substituted his own view for it (R. iii, 2-11). But it is remarkable that he retained one integral part of H.’s theory, viz., the origin of the Evil One from an accidental mixture of elements, for Rufinus tells us (De Adult. libr. Origenis) that he found this doctrine in R. and omitted it. The date of the original is therefore fixed as after Nicaea, 325, probably c. 330; that of H. may be anywhere in the second half of the fourth century. The Eunomian interpolator is about 365-70, and the compilation of R. about 370-80.
The original author shows a detailed knowledge of the towns on the Phoenician coast from Caesarea to Antioch. He was an Arian, and Arianism had its home in the civil diocese of the Orient. He uses the “Prwp. Evang.” of Eusebius of Caesarea (written about 313). In 325 that historian mentions the dialogues of Peter and Appion as just published—presumably in his own region; these were probably the nucleus of the larger work completed by the same hand a few years later. Citations of Pseudo-Clement are by the Palestinian Epiphanius, who found the romance among the Ebionites of Palestine; by St. Jerome, who had dwelt in the Syrian desert and settled at Bethlehem; by the traveled Rufinus; by the “Apostolical Constitutions”, compiled in Syria or Palestine. The work is rendered into Syriac before 411. The Arian author of the “Opus imperfectum” cited it freely. It was interpolated by a Eunomian about 365-70. All these indications suggest an Arian author before 350 in the East, probably not far from Caesarea.
The author, though an Arian, probably belonged nominally to the Catholic Church. He wrote for the heathens of his day, and observed the stiff and often merely formal disciplina arcani which the fourth century enforced. Atonement, grace, sacraments are omitted for this cause only. “The true Prophet” is not a name for Christ used by Christians, but the office of Christ which the author puts forward towards the pagan world. He shows Peter keeping the evening agape and Eucharist secret from Clement when unbaptized; it was no doubt a Eucharist of bread and wine, not of bread and salt. The great pagan antagonist of the third century was the neo-Platonic philosopher, Porphyry; but under Constantine his disciple Iamblichus was the chief restorer and defender of the old gods, and his system of defense is that which we find made the official religion by Julian (361-3). Consequently, it is not astonishing to find that Simon and his disciples represent not St. Paul, but Iamblichus. The doctrines and practices repelled are the theurgy and magic, astrology and mantic, absurd miracles and claims to union with the Divinity, which characterized the debased neo-Platonism of 320-30. It is not against Marcion but against Plato that Pseudo-Clement teaches the supremacy of the Creator of all. He defends the Old Testament against the school of Porphyry, and when he declares it to be interpolated, he is using Porphyry’s own higher criticism in a clumsy way. The elaborate discussion of ancient history, the ridicule cast on the obscene mythology of the Greeks, and the philosophical explanations of a higher meaning are also against Porphyry. The refutation of the grossest idolatry is against Iamblichus. It is perhaps mere accident that we hear nothing of the Clementines from 330 till 360. But about 360-410 they are interpolated, they are revised and abridged in H., yet more revised and abridged in R., translated into Latin, translated into Syriac, and frequently cited. It seems, therefore, that it was the policy of Julian which drew them from obscurity. They were useful weapons against the momentary resurrection of polytheism, mythology, theurgy, and idolatry.