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Clement of Rome
(fl. c.96)


Synopsis

CLEMENS ROMANUS, one of the most celebrated names of Christian antiquity, but so overgrown with myths, that it has become next to impossible to lay bare the historical facts which it represents, occurs in all lists of the first Roman bishops, but not always in the same place. Thus Irenæus (Hær., III. 3, 3) puts it in the third place from Peter (Petrus, Linus, Anencletus, Clemens); and so do Eusebius (both in his Church History, III. 13, 15, and in his Chronicle), Epiphanius (Hær., XXVII. 6), and Jerome (De Vir. Ill., 15); only that, with the two last mentioned, the name of the second bishop after Peter is Cletus, and not Anencletus. But another succession meets us in the Chronicle of Hippolyte, in which Clement is placed before Cletus, - Petrus, Linus, Clemens, Cletus; and this succession was adopted by the Liberian Catalogue, by Augustine, Optatus, and others, as also by the Apostolical Constitutions; while at the same time the double tradition made two different persons out of the two names of Anencletus and Cletus, thus producing the following list, - Petrus, Linus, Clemens, Cletus, Anencletus. The Leonian Catalogue, however, returns once more to the old succession, according to which Clement occupies the third place after Peter; and thus the Felician Catalogue, which is merely a combination of the Liberian and Leonian Catalogues, arrives at the following succession, - Petrus, Linus, Cletus, Clemens, Anencletus. The pseudo-Tertullian Carmen adv. Marcionemfinally places both Cletus and Anencletus before Clement; while the epistle said to have been written by Clement to the apostle James narrates that Peter himself appointed Clement his successor; but the former found no advocates at all, and - the latter only one, — the author of the pseudo-Clementine romance. See Lipsius: chronologie der römischien Bishöfe, Kiel, 1869. There is, indeed, no reason to abandon the oldest tradition of the Church, according to which, Clement was the third bishop of Rome after Peter; only it must be remembered that he was not a bishop in that sense of the word which the monarchical tendency of a later period developed. He was simply one of the most prominent presbyters of the Roman [493] congregation immediately alter the post-apostolical age.

So much for the time in which he lived. With respect to the identity of his person, Irenæus (l.c.) makes him a pupil of an apostle; and Origen (In Joann. 1, 29), Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., III. 15), Epiphanius (Hær., XXVII. 6), and Jerome (De Vir. III.) identify him with the Clement mentioned by Paul (Phil. iv. 3), making him a special pupil of Paul. This supposition Chrysostom carries still further (Comm. in 1 Tim.), speaking of Clement as the steady companion of Paul on all his travels; while the Clementine literature, in harmony with its Judeo-Christian character, brings him in the closest connection with Peter, and makes him his most intimate pupil. These two traditions have been combined in many various ways, all more or less artificial. But though the identity of Clement of Rome and Clement mentioned by Paul still finds its defenders (see WOCHER: Die Briefe des Clemens und Polycarp, Tübingen, 1830), it has been given tip by most theologians, and with good reason; as Irenæus, if he had known any thing about this identity, would hardly have neglected to speak of it. The Clement mentioned by Paul was, no doubt, a Philippian. Still more intricate is the question, whether the report of the Clementine literature, that Clement was a relative of the imperial family, has any historical kernel or not. Recent investigations, and more especially the excavations of the Roman catacombs, wove that Christianity actually succeeded in penetrating into the Flavian family. [See NORTHCOTE and BROWNLOW: Roma Sotterranea, 2d ed., London, 1879, 2 vols. (vol. i. pp. 83 sqq.)]. If we now suppose that the consul Flavius Clemens (who was sentenced to death by Domitian on account of Atheism, the common Pagan designation of Christianity) belonged to the Christian congregation, we have, then, at the same time, two prominent Christians in Rome of the same name, - the one consul amid martyr, the other bishop or presbyter; and the question arises, Was there originally only one person, afterwards split into two by a confusion of time tradition, or were there originally two, afterwards merged into one by the Clementine literature? On this point modern opinions deviate very much; and the question can, perhaps, never be fully answered. But it must be remembered, first, that the Christianity of Flavins Clemens is a mere assumption; next, that the martyrdom of Clemens Romanus is equally doubtful. The catacombs prove that Christianity penetrated into time Flavian family, but not that the consul Flavius Clemens was a Christian; and the report of Dio, or rather of his epitomizer Xiphilinus, is in many of its details so palpably erroneous, that it becomes unreliable as a whole. And how could the Roman congregation forget, in the course of only one century and a half, that one of its first bishops had been a consul, that the first martyr among its bishops had been a member of the imperial family? But Irenæus (1.c.) mentions Telesphorus as the first martyr among the Roman bishops; and Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. III. 34), as well as Jerome (De Vir. III., 15), says that Clement died a natural death in the third year of the reign of Trajan. This leads us to the conclusion that the consul and the bishop, Flavius Clemens and Clemens Romanus, were two different persons; which necessitates the admission that we know nothing of the personal life of Clemens Romanus but its approximate date and the position he occupied in the congregation.

Of the numerous writings which bear the name of Clement, most are evidently spurious, as, for instance, the Apostolical Constitutions, and the whole group comprised under the name of the Clementines; which articles see. Nor are the two Epistles on Virginity worth a long debate. They were first published by Wetstein as an appendix to his New Testament (1752), and afterwards by Villecourt, in MIGNE, Patrol. Græc., I., and by I. Ph. Beelen, Louvain, 1856. But the views of asceticism which they propound, amid the state of ecclesiastical development to which they refer, show that they belong to a munch later period. Jerome knew them (Ad Jocin., I. 12), perhaps also Epiphanius (Hær., XXX. 15). The two Epistles to time Corinthians, on the contrary, especially the first, belong among the most important documents of Christian antiquity still. extant. In the Ancient Church they were held in the greatest esteem, and in many places they were read at divine service. Nevertheless, after the fifth century they disappeared from the Western. Church, and remained completely unknown until Junius rediscovered them in the celebrated Cod. Alex., a present from Cyrillus Lucaris to King Charles I., and published them at Oxford (1633). Up to 1875 this manuscript remained the only one known; and all editions before that year - by WOTTON, Cambridge, 1718; JACOBSON, Oxford,, 1838; MADDEN (photographic facsimile), London, 1856; TISCHENDORF, Leipzig, 1867 and 1873; LIGHTFOOT, London, 1869, to which an. Appendix was added in 1877; HILGENFELD, Leipzig, 1866; LAUREN; Leipzig, 1870; and finally by GEBHARDT and HARNACK, in DRESSEL: Pat. Apost., Leipzig, 1875 - were taken from it alone. But in 1875 Bryennios, metropolitan of Serræ, gave an edition from a newly-discovered manuscript in the Library of the Holy Sepulchre at Farnar, in Constantinople; amid in this new edition, not only were the many gaps of the Cod. Alex. filled, but also the second epistle, of which hitherto only a fragment had been known, appeared in full. Editions based upon a comparison between the two manuscripts have been given by Gebhardt amid Harnack, and by Hilgenfeld, Leipzig, 1876. [The Appendix of Lightfoot gives a good English translation of both epistles.] R.L. Bensly found in June, 1876, a Syriac translation of the two epistles in a manuscript purchased for the University of Cambridge at the sale, in Paris, of Julius Mohl’s library.

The First Epistle is an official missive from the Roman congregation to the Corinthian, occasioned by some dissensions which had arisen in the latter. As it is written in the name of the whole congregation, it bears no author’s name; but ancient witnesses mention Clement as the author. Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, in a letter addressed to Bishop Soter of Rome, about 170, speaks of the epistle as written by Clement, and adds that it was always read aloud in his congregation (EUSEB.: Hist. Eccl., IV. 23). Clemens Alexandrinus also holds it in great esteem, quotes often from it, and designates its author as an apostle [494] (Strom., IV.17; I.7; V.12; VI.8). As so very little is known of Clement, the question of the genuineness of the epistle becomes a question of the date of its authorship. Formerly the opinion was generally prevailing, and is still held by Hefele Patr. Ap. Prolegomena, p. XXXII.) and Wieseler (Eine Untersucliung über den Hebräerbrief, Kiel, 1861), that it was written between 64 and 68. A closer examination, however, seems to lead to the last decade of the first century, between 93 and 97. On the one side, not only Peter and Paul, hut all the apostles, have died, and the state of the congregational life seems to indicate that some time has elapsed since that event. On the other hand, there are presbyters in office who have been appointed by the apostles themselves; and there are members living who have been contemporaries of the apostles.

The Second Epistle is not an epistle at all, but a homily; and, as it is the oldest existing sermon, it is, of course, of great interest. Where, at what time, and by whom, it was written, are questions of great difficulty; and, of the many hypotheses which have been offered as answers, none has proved fully satisfactory. It seems most probable that it originated in Rome, and between 130 and 140; but how it then came to be connected with the Epistle to the Corinthians by Clement as a second epistle must for the present be left unexplained. For LIT. see editions mentioned above.

G. Uhlhorn, "CLEMENS ROMANUS," Philip Schaff, ed., A Religious Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology, 3rd edn., Vol. 1. Toronto, New York & London: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1894. pp.492-494.

Primary Sources

Book or monograph Apostolic Fathers, Volume 1: ClementApostolic Fathers, Volume 1: Clement. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1912. Hbk. ISBN: 0674990277. pp.420. {CBD} {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Apostolic FathersThe Apostolic Fathers, 2nd edn. Trans. by J.B. Lightfoot & J.R. Harmer, ed. by M.W. Holmes. Baker / Revell, 1998. Pbk. ISBN: 0801021995. pp.368. {Amazon.com}
On-line Resource Clement of Rome (Christian Classic Ethereal Library)
Book or monograph H.H. Graham, First and Second Clement. New York: Nelson, 1965.

Secondary Sources

Article in Journal or Book T. Aiura, "A Study of Old Testament Quotations in First Clement," Annual Studies 1.1 (1953): 1-16.
Article in Journal or Book L.W. Barnard, "Clement of Rome and the Persecution of Domitian," New Testament Studies 10 (1964): 251-260.
On-line Resource Charles Bigg, The Origins of Christianity. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909. Hbk. pp.63-71.
Book or monograph Barbara Bowe, A Church in Crisis: Ecclesiology and Paraenesis in Clement of Rome. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988. ISBN: 0800670779. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Harold Bertram Bumpus, The Christological Awareness of Clement of Rome and its Sources. Cambridge, MA: University Press of Cambridge, 1972. pp. xi + 196.
On-line Resource Pope St. Clement I (John Chapman)
Book or monograph F.L. Cross, The Early Christian Fathers. Studies in Theology 1. London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd., 1960. Hbk. pp.11-13.
Book or monograph Karl P. Donfried, The Setting of Second Clement in Early Christianity. Novum Testamentum Supplements. Leiden: Brill, 1974. Hbk. ISBN: 9004038957. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book C.A. Evans, "The Citation of Isaiah 60:17 in 1 Clement," Vigiliae Christianae 36.2 (1982): 105-07.
Book or monograph John Fuellenbach, Ecclesiastical Office and the Primacy of Rome: An Evaluation of Recent Theological Discussion of First Clement. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1981. Hbk. ISBN: 0813205514. pp.278. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book H.B. Green, "Matthew, Clement and Luke: Their Sequence and Relationship," Journal of Theological Studies 40.1 (1989): 1-25.
Article in Journal or Book Andrew Gregory, "I Clement: An Introduction," Expository Times 117.6 (2006): 223-230. This article offers a critical introduction to the early Christian letter known as 1 Clement. It focuses on its text, influence, authorship, occasion, purpose and genre, date, and the authorities and sources on which its author drew.
Book or monograph Donald A. Hagner, The Use of the Old and New Testaments in Clement of Rome. Novum Testamentum Supplement 34 . E.J. Brill, 1973. ISBN: 9004036369. pp.393. {Amazon.com}
On-line Resource James Rendel Harris, “On an obscure quotation in the First Epistle of Clement,” Journal of Biblical Literature 29.2 (1910): 190-195.View in PDF format pdf [This material is in the Public Domain]
On-line Resource The First Epistle of Clement (Peter Kirby)
On-line Resource The Second Epistle of Clement (Peter Kirby)
Article in Journal or Book Herbert T. Mayer, "Clement of Rome and His Use of Scripture," Concordia Theological Monthly 42.8 (1971): 536-540.
On-line Resource Elmer Truesdale Merrill [1860-1936], Essays in Early Christian History. London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd., 1924. Hbk. pp.334. [This material is in the Public Domain]
Article in Journal or Book Chas. M. Nielsen, "Clement of Rome and Moralism," Church History 31 (1962): 131-150.
Article in Journal or Book R.R. Noll, "The Search for a Christian Ministerial Priesthood in 1 Clement," Studia Patristica 13 (1975): 250-54.
Article in Journal or Book F.W. Norris, "Ignatius, Polocarp and 1 Clement. Walter Bauer Reconsidered," Vigiliae Christianae 30 (1976): 23-44.
On-line Resource H.P.V. Nunn, "The Background of the Epistle of Clement of Rome," The Evangelical Quarterly 18.1 (Jan. 1946): 39-45.View in PDF format pdf
Article in Journal or Book Paul Parvis, "2 Clement and the Meaning of the Christian Homily," The Expository Times 117.7 (2006): 265-270. [Abstract]
On-line Resource Davorin Peterlin, "Clement's Answer to the Corinthian Conflict in AD 96," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 39.1 (March 1996): 57-69.View in PDF format pdf
Article in Journal or Book M. Smith, "The Report About Peter in 1 Clement 5:4," New Testament Studies 7 (1960-1961): 86-
Article in Journal or Book Laurence L. Welborn, "On the Date of 1 Clement," Biblical Research 29 (1984): 35-54.
Article in Journal or Book A.E. Wilhelm-Hooijbergh, "A Different View of Clemens Romanus," Heythrop Journal 16 (1975): 266-88.
Article in Journal or Book D.W.F. Wong, "Natural and divine order in 1 Clement," Vigiliae Christianae, 31 (1977): 81-87.

Biographies

On-line Resource Clement of Rome, Bishop (James E. Keifer)

Related Subjects

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