Good Question...were the Apostolic Fathers unable to distinguish between authentic and unauthentic books? 

Part three: Created Sept 1, 1998


Continuing...

In Part One we examined the question:

1. Was Clement even aware of the NT documents, and, if so, was he aware of the written form of the NT documents, especially the Gospels? We determined that he was very aware of the NT material and that influence by the written form of the NT was clearly discernible in 1CL.
 
 

In Part Two we examined the question:

2. What was his attitude toward the NT material? Was he influenced by it, did he consider it authoritative, was it on a par with the OT? What did his usage patterns tell us? We determined that he considered the NT material to be on a par with the OT material.
 
 

So, this brings us to the final question about First Clement:

3. What does his alleged use of non-canonical sources tell us about his (1) attitude toward the non-canonical material; and (2) his ability to distinguish between the two? Again, we first must develop a methodology for assessing this question. Logically, the following steps in the process would make sense: 1. Identify alleged use of non-canonical sources.

2. Examine them to determine if they really are non-canonical sources.

3. Size this usage, relative to OT and NT usage patterns and relative to non-canonical 'inventory' of the time.

4. Explore how this usage might have come about, and what implications this might have, relative to an alleged inability to distinguish between authentic and inauthentic.

Let's dive in...

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1. Identify alleged use of non-canonical sources.

To round up the usual suspects here, we can initially scan the margins/footnotes in the translations of Loeb and ECF and merge the lists. We get the following possibilities (xlates from Lightfoot):

A. 3.4: "by which death itself entered into the world" // (Wis 2.24): "but through the devil's envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it."

B. 7.5: "Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him" // (Wis 12.10): "But judging them little by little you gave them an opportunity to repent,".

C. 8.3: "Say to the sons of My people, Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, and though they be redder than scarlet, and blacker than sackcloth, yet if ye turn to Me with your whole heart, and say, Father! I will listen to you, as to a holy people." // (?, Apocryphon of Ezekiel?)

D. 17.6: "And again he said, "I am but as the smoke of a pot." // (no idea, Assumption of Moses?)

E. 23.3-4: "Far from us be that which is written, "Wretched are they who are of a double mind, and of a doubting heart; who say, These things we have heard even in the times of our fathers; but, behold, we have grown old, and none of them has happened unto us." Ye foolish ones! Compare yourselves to a tree: take [for instance] the vine. First of all, it sheds its leaves, then it buds, next it puts forth leaves, and then it flowers; after that comes the sour grape, and then follows the ripened fruit." // (Eldad & Modad?)

F. 26.2: "For He saith in a certain place, 'Thou shalt raise me up, and I shall confess unto Thee'" // (?, Ps 28.7?): "The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him."

G. 27.5: "Who shall say unto Him, What hast thou done? Or, Who shall resist the power of His strength? " // (Wis 12.12): "For who will say, 'What have you done?' or will resist your judgment? Who will accuse you for the destruction of nations that you made? Or who will come before you to plead as an advocate for the unrighteous?"

H. 29.3: "And in another place He saith, "Behold, the Lord taketh unto Himself a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man takes the first-fruits of his threshing-floor; and from that nation shall come forth the Most Holy" // (?, ANF notes: "Formed apparently from Num. Xviii. 27 and 2 Chron. Xxxi. 14. Literally, the closing words are, 'the holy of holies.'; "It shall be reckoned to you as your gift, the same as the grain of the threshing floor and the fullness of the wine press. Thus you also shall set apart an offering to the Lord from all the tithes that you receive from the Israelites; and from them you shall give the Lord's offering to the priest Aaron. " and "Kore son of Imnah the Levite, keeper of the east gate, was in charge of the freewill offerings to God, to apportion the contribution reserved for the Lord and the most holy offerings.")

I. 46.2: "For it is written, 'Cleave to the holy, for they who cleave to them shall be made holy'" // (?)

J. 55.4: "The blessed Judith, when her city was besieged, asked of the elders permission to go forth into the camp of the strangers; and, exposing herself to danger, she went out for the love which she bare to her country and people then besieged; and the Lord delivered Holofernes into the hands of a woman."// (Judith 8)

K. 59.3-4: "save those in despair" and "helper and defender" // (Judith 9.11): "But you are the God of the lowly, helper of the oppressed, upholder of the weak, protector of the forsaken, savior of those without hope."

L. 60.1: "merciful and compassionate" // (several biblical refs, but margins also list Sir 2.11): "For the Lord is compassionate and merciful"

M. 61.2: "the King of eternity" // (several biblical refs, but margins also list Tobit 13.6,10): "Bless the Lord of righteousness, and exalt the King of the ages." And "and bless the King of the ages"

This gives us our list of possible extra-canonical connections.

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2. Examine them to determine if they really are non-canonical sources.

The above list, of course, is a list of possible connections, but Hagner points out that several of these are too tenuous to be taken seriously [HI:UONTCR:68]:

"While there are a few possible allusions to the Apocrypha, these generally consists of two or three words, occurring in the great prayer of Clement, which are readily explainable by a common linguistic background and which thus remains quite unconvincing. [He lists here 59.3-4, 60.1, and 61.2 (K,L,M above); and later adds 7.5 (B)] It is quite certain, however, that Clement alludes to the book of Judith, whose heroine he explicitly mentioned in 55.4f (cf. Judith 8-13). The only book in the Apocrypha from which Clement quotes is Wisdom. There are two quotations, but in neither instance is an introductory formula employed." The two quotations are 3.4 (A) and 27.5 (G), which actually turn out to be rather insignificant. Hagner says of the first [HI:UONTCR:68-9]: "This brief quotation consists of the words thanatos eiselthen eis ton kosmon which are found verbatim in Wisd. 2.24, but there it is through the envy of the devil rather than the jealousy of Cain that death comes. There is a parallel in Rom. 5.12, but the wording is different. The most natural conclusion is that Clement has borrowed the words from Wisdom and has inserted them into his own context where zelos is in question. On the other hand, Clement may have derived the words of Wisdom indirectly through traditional materials." In other words, he borrowed the words from Wisdom to express the thought of a NT passage. This, of course, cannot count as a "citation/connection" between Wisdom and Clement.

The 2nd cite is in 27.5, which we have examined earlier. This is a semi-cite of Wisdom 12.12 which is itself a cite of passages from Job and Daniel. Clement has merely used the phraseology of Wisdom to express an OT truth--just like he used 1 Corinthians 2.9 to express the truth of Isaiah. Nothing here of import for the issue of extra-canonical authority.

The allusion/use of Judith in 55.4 (J) is not a cite, of course, but a historical reference without any particular bearing on our question. Clement can use historical sources without (1) according them 'scriptural status' nor (2) weaving them into ethical imperatives (like he does the NT material). He clearly trusted the historical account of Judith, as he did the historical story of the Phoenix (ch.25) and the 'heathen examples' of chapter 55.

1CL 26.2 is only questioned in ECF, who gives Ps 28.7 as the possible referent, but Hagner is convinced that it is simply a conflation of passages from memory (Ps 27.7; 3.6 and 22.4; cf. 87.11).

"It seems probable that Clement is quoting from memory and thus conflates similar language from different passages into one quotation. That this is the case, appears also from the introductory formula legei gar pou ("it says somewhere"), suggesting that Clement did not bother to verify the exact wording of the passage(s)." [HI:UONTCR:58-59]

This leaves us with 5 passages to look at more closely (C, D, E, H, I): 8.3; 17.6; 23.3-4; 29.3, and 46.2.

Let me reproduce them here again, to facilitate analysis:

C. 8.3: "Say to the sons of My people, Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, and though they be redder than scarlet, and blacker than sackcloth, yet if ye turn to Me with your whole heart, and say, Father! I will listen to you, as to a holy people."

D. 17.6: "And again he said, "I am but as the smoke of a pot."

E. 23.3-4: "Far from us be that which is written, "Wretched are they who are of a double mind, and of a doubting heart; who say, These things we have heard even in the times of our fathers; but, behold, we have grown old, and none of them has happened unto us." Ye foolish ones! Compare yourselves to a tree: take [for instance] the vine. First of all, it sheds its leaves, then it buds, next it puts forth leaves, and then it flowers; after that comes the sour grape, and then follows the ripened fruit."

H. 29.3: "And in another place He saith, "Behold, the Lord taketh unto Himself a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man takes the first-fruits of his threshing-floor; and from that nation shall come forth the Most Holy"

I. 46.2: "For it is written, 'Cleave to the holy, for they who cleave to them shall be made holy'"


Let's look a little closer at each of these five: There is absolutely no consensus as to where this came from.

Suggestions include:

1. a conflation of canonical sources, with either memory errors, paraphrase, phrase "borrowing", or stylistic adjustments. In this case the relevant OT texts might include: 

Ezek 2.3 ("Then He said to me, "Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me")

Ezek 18.30 ("Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you.")

Is 1.18 ("Come now, and let us reason together," says the Lord, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.")

Ps 103.11f ("For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.")

Jer 3.19 ("Then I said, 'How I would set you among My sons, And give you a pleasant land, The most beautiful inheritance of the nations!' And I said, 'You shall call Me, My Father, And not turn away from following Me.'")

Is 50.3 ("I clothe the heavens with blackness, And I make sackcloth their covering.") CF, Rev 6.12: "and the sun became black as sackcloth")

Deut 30.10 ("if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.")

Jer 29.12-13: ("Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 'And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.")

2 Chr 6.38: ("if they return to Thee with all their heart and with all their soul")
 

2. A non-canonical (and now lost) Apocryphon of Ezekiel [HI:UONTCR:71]: 

"Since we have evidence, not only here but elsewhere, of the existence of an apocryphal Ezekiel, which may well have utilized and transformed material from the canonical Ezekiel, an appealing explanation of the present quotation is that it was derived from this document."

But note that our only extant copies of Apocryphon of Ezekiel do not contain this saying at all, so this is pretty much a conjecture (i.e., "wild guess").
 
 

3. Canonical Ezekiel, with interpolations in the Greek text, like we have in the LXX of Daniel and Jeremiah [HI:UONTCR:72]: 

"As an alternative, however, it is also possible that Clement's text of the canonical Ezekiel contained lengthy interpolations which could account for the quotation." [He cites Lightfoot and MR James as favoring this.]
 
4. An anthology source of quotations (common in those days), which would be based on canonical sources/modifications.

Hagner says "no certainty may be attained as to the exact non-canonical source he may have used." [HI:UONTCR:72].

So, although it might be from canonically-based sources (and #3 above is the least problematic view, as per Lightfoot, James, and Hagner), it might be from some extra-canonical source. If it is #3 above, then Clement is dependent on what he thinks (and probably for good reason, given the nature of interpolated documents) is the canonical Ezekiel.

[Hagner sometimes argues against a conflation on the basis of there being too many, thematically unconnected passages. I find this methodologically problematic, for Clement's role model Paul did just this on a consistent basis. For example, in 2 Corinthians 6.16-18, Paul brings together Lev 26.12, Ezek 37.27, Isa 52.11, Ezek 20.34, and 2 Sam 7.8,14--all in one quote, introduced by "as God said:".]
 

Any attempt to locate these words in literary sources are, in Hagner's words, "pure conjecture."

Among some of the "pure conjectures" are:
 

1. From the pseudox Assumption of Moses, in the Testament of Moses. The problem with this view is that the text does not exist in the Assumption of Moses! Our sole textual data for the AM breaks off in the middle of a conversation between Moses and Joshua about the future of Israel. Hagner, attempting to be charitable to this conjecture, says 

"Towards the end of the extant portion...Moses speaks in the first person to Joshua, and it is not difficult to imagine Moses uttering the words of our quotation shortly after the extant MS breaks off." [HI:UONTCR:88, emphasis mine]
 
2. From the non-existent Eldad and Modads (Lightfoot's view). Hagner again (op.cit.): 

"It is conceivable that the latter writing contained such words of Moses; however, the context for the utterance is much more hypothetical there than the one which already exists in the Assumption."
 
3. A paraphrase (a la Living Bible or The Message) of the self-deprecating comments of Moses. We do know that this phrase is a common metaphor in the ancient world (HI:UONTCR:72-73) and even shows up in the Syriac of David's prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:15. This would make Clement's cite a paraphrase, for effect, drawing attention to Moses' humility (the theme of the passage in Clement).

These three are conjectures, but at least number three has something more than "imagination" and "conceivability" to support it!

There are essentially two possibilities here: a conflation of NT texts/themes or some extra-canonical texts. (There really are no OT texts upon which to construct a conflation like this.)

The extra-canonical text idea is primarily based on the datum that this passage appears to be quoted by Second Clement, and is introduced with a high-inspiration formula there. The passage in 2CL is longer, so many assume that they are independent of one another.

However, it must be understood that 1CL was accepted as inspired (at least in pockets and at least briefly) and 2CL, in conscious imitation of 1CL, could just as easily be quoting 1CL. The additional line in 2CL could just as easily be a conflation, as was made by all the Apostolic Fathers frequently. I cannot agree with Hagner then, that 2CL is unlikely to have added to a quote from 1CL. I cannot see any reason to postulate an external source for 2CL, other than 1CL.

In this case, the main positive argument for an extra-canonical source disappears, and the only argument that remains is from the lack of a known citation source.

[I might also add, since the questioner mentioned the book of Eldad and Modad, that there is absolutely no scholarly consensus that this passage comes from E&M. The E&M theory was initially espoused by Lightfoot as a "conjecture" and everybody seems to follow his lead. But I must point out that we only have four words of the E&M book extant ("The Lord is near to those who turn") which does not match this "quote" at all. In fact, the data is so obscure here that the scholar chosen to write the introduction to "Eldad and Modad" in OTP, E.G. Martin, says this: 

"Some scholars have attempted to identify the lost pseudepigraphon of Eldad and Modad either with anonymous citations in patristic writings or with recently translated documents. J. B. Lightfoot suggested that references in 1 Clement 23:3f and 2 Clement 2:2-4 refer to Eldad and Modad. These passages are sufficiently obscure that they have been applied also to the Testament of Moses and the Apocryphon of Ezekiel; hence the most prudent course is to leave these verses anonymous."

We do know that there was a 'book' of Eldad and Modad, referenced in the Shepherd of Hermas, but it is abject conjecture to assign this cite to that work.]
 
 

The NT conflation idea would have this passage constructed from the following passages:

The first three of these make a good case, but the section of the tree/vine seems odd to say the least.

In fact, it seems a little too odd to be part of the citation. If you look at the broader text, it becomes apparent that the citation ends at verse 3. Verse 4, about the tree growth cycle blends into 5, and then the Scripture is cited to support it. If verse 4 were a supporting citation itself, it would not require an additional citation to support it!

Additional support for this position comes from the fact that the argument of verse 5 about "quickly and suddenly accomplished" is very suggestive of the argument of 2 Peter, and 3.3f was considered a major component of the citation.

If, as I just argued, verse 4 is not part of the citation, then the passages from James, Romans, and 2 Peter form a very reasonable conflation-base from which to construct the saying in 1CL 23:3. And, since we have already seen a passage or two in which high-introductory formulae were used for an NT reference, this would establish that NT passages could be called "scripture" by Clement.

The reader will have to decide which of these ideas are more conjectural than the other, but the second has the advantage of fitting the known data and textual flow better.
 

  • (Four) H. 29.3: "And in another place He saith, "Behold, the Lord taketh unto Himself a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man takes the first-fruits of his threshing-floor; and from that nation shall come forth the Most Holy"

  • This passage almost didn't make this list, since Hagner said that it could have been discussed under "composite quotations" equally as well as under "non-canonical quotations". He goes on to point out the rather close connections of the first part with various Deut passages (e.g., 4.34; 14.2; 7.6).

    But the second part of the verse is quite obscure. There are word/thought matches in Ezek 48.12; 2 Chrn 31.14; and Num 18.27. Hagner notes [HI:UONTCR:75]: 

    "Thus far (half-way through the verse) the quotation looks as if it could easily have been a free citation of the Deuteronomy passage, in much the same way that Clement elsewhere cites freely....It is possible Clement is here confusing the canonical passages by quoting from memory, as he elsewhere does...Again, however, it is impossible to arrive at any certain conclusion concerning Clement's source"

    What is interesting is that no specific alternatives to the canonical sources are suggested, and even Richardson footnotes this verse as a "conflation" of the OT passages mentioned above [HI:ECF:57].

    I would have to conclude that this is much more likely to be a 'composite quotation' than an extra-canonical citation.
     

  • (Five) I. 46.2: "For it is written, 'Cleave to the holy (or 'saints'), for they who cleave to them shall be made holy'"

  • This short proverb-style saying cannot be found in this form anywhere, although the motif itself ("cling to the good") was a very common motif in the early church (cf. I Thess 5.21--"But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good"; Rom 12.9--"Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good").

    Related motifs, applied to people, can also be found in the OT and in pagan sources: 

    Prov 13:20: "He who walks with wise men will be wise"

    1 Cor 15.33: "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals.'" (originally Meander, but by Clement's time it had become a widespread proverb).
     

    Although it would be tempting to see this as simply a statement of a widely-used proverb, that it is preceded by an "it is written", argues that it comes from a written source. No one even hazards a guess on this one.

    But I dug around in the Patristics for the idea of "cleaving unto the saints/righteous/servants of the Lord" to see if I could get any clues, and I came up with a rather interesting possibility--that 1CL is doing an almost targum-like (i.e., interpretive paraphrase) of Is 52.11/2 Cor 6.17. These verses read:

    The way I arrive at this is by examining the usage of the phrase "cleave/join unto...", when applied to believers. To cite some of the passages in which this occurs:

    What these citations show, is that "cleaving to the saints" was the same idea as "separating from the heathen via joining with the believing community". Not cleaving was to be left outside, unsaved, unfit for use in the 'tower'. To 'cleave' meant one was "useful" for inclusion in the tower--in other words, pure and clean.

    This is very, very close to the thought of the 2 Cor/Isaiah passages, and, in light of the consistent usage of kollaw-verb forms (i.e. "join/cleave") in these phrases, I think a case can be made for seeing 1CL's odd citation as a paraphrasing/interpretive quotation (like the Targumim do) of this(these) canonical passage(s).
     

    So, let's summarize our analysis here, vis-a-vis identifiable extra-canonical sources for these five: 

    The first comment I need to make is to point out that the statement in the original question: 

    The learned authorities consider these quotes to be from 'Eldad and Modad', 'Assumption of Moses' and Apocryphal Ezekiel.

    is mistaken. The learned authorities make "guesses" without any textual or literary evidence to support them, and this highly gossamer approach could hardly justify the clause "consider...to be" in the statement.

    So, what about our analysis, vis-a-vis usage of canonical sources for these five: 

    Now, I must admit here that methodologically I prefer the latter list of possibilities to the former, since this latter list is more concrete and 'doesn't multiply entities' (the old parsimony thing).

    Indeed, even Metzer admits this approach, although he does not seem to apply it consistently himself [NT:CTT:73]: 

    "For this reason it is generally preferable, in estimating doubtful cases, to regard variation from a canonical text as a free quotation from a document known to us than to suppose it to be a quotation from a hitherto unknown document, or the persistence of primitive tradition."

    And this preference also accords well with one major evidential fact: we have tons and tons of extra-canonical writing in our possession and none of these quotes can be found in them. I have (literally) two thousand pages of Pseudepigraphical texts on my bookshelves (not counting the Apocrypha in many of my bibles), and several hundred pages of Dead Sea Scroll materials, and not a single one of these allegedly extra-canonical citations can be found in them! Granted that we don't have all of the materials referenced in antiquity, but I find it very odd that Clement doesn't use any of the books (1) that were accepted widely enough to be able to survive through history and (2) that were used as "authority" by various groups in history.

    In other words, the material that has survived to the present was the most popular (and hence, the most copied) of the literature of the day. That Clement does NOT cite any of the more popular extra-canonical works, and that his alleged extra-canonical quotations are nonetheless from sources that his readership would have accepted as "canonical" leads almost inexorably to the conclusion that his citations are from the biblical materials in some fashion.

    I find this a rather compelling reason to lend more credibility to the canonical-sources theory than to the unidentifiable extra-canonical-sources theory.

    But, just for the sake of argument, let me assume/grant that the main four of these (excluding the probable conflation in 29.3) are nonetheless from unidentifiable extra-canonical sources. We will now use these four in the next piece of the analysis.
     

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    3. Size this usage, relative to OT and NT usage patterns and relative to non-canonical 'inventory' of the time.

    What I need to do here is to see how significant this is, from a number of different bases. Assuming the four possible cites are from extra-canonical sources:

    1. From the OT citation base: Given that 1CL has some 110-115 OT allusions/citations/connections, the four (maximum) possible extra-canonical citations discussed above seem woefully insignificant. Whatever sources they came from must not have been major sources of teaching, doctrine, warrants for theological or pastoral arguments, or exhortatory material.

    2. From the NT citation base: Given that 1CL has some 200+ NT allusions/citations/connections, the four (maximum) possible extra-canonical citations discussed above seem woefully insignificant in this comparison as well! Whatever sources they came from must not have been major sources of teaching, doctrine, warrants for theological or pastoral arguments, or exhortatory material.

    3. From the "non-canonical inventory of possible documents" base: Given that there are some 70-100+ extra-canonical works, comprising thousands of pages of textual material (which survived to the present because of popularity) that First Clement could have quoted from, the fact that he did not cite from them (in the four possible quotations) certainly would argue that whatever sources the four quotes came from must not have been major (or at least not popular) sources of teaching, doctrine, warrants for theological or pastoral arguments, or exhortatory material.

    4. From the "canonical stock of language and teachings" base: Given that all of the four citations could have been derived from language and teachings from within canonical materials, whatever sources the four quotes came from must not have been major sources of original or supplementary teachings, relative to the canonical materials. In other words, in these four passages at least, these theoretical extra-canonical sources add no value to the canonical materials--they essentially are superfluous, or simply more felicitous wording or collections of canonical teachings.

    What should be obvious from this is that we are perhaps dealing with extrema--almost insignificant exceptions. We have an insignificant number of alleged citations from rather insignificant and superfluous sources, and it would be methodologically very dangerous to draw conclusions about Clement's view of extra-canonical materials from something this fringe.
     

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    4. Explore how this usage might have come about, and what implications this might have, relative to an alleged inability to distinguish between authentic and inauthentic.

    If these four citations are from the canonical materials, they are quite easily explained--they are the standard practice of teachers and ministers around the world and throughout history. Paraphrase (for clarity and impact) and conflation (for organization and schema) have always been widely practiced.

    But here we want to ask how Clement might have come to use them, if they had come from "inauthentic" sources (i.e. extra-canonical sources), and so here we have to discuss the relationship between the biblical and extra-biblical materials.

    This is an incredibly complex subject (to say the least!) but there are a couple of broad themes that might be adequate for our task here. [I can only summarize these points here (not defend these), but the interested reader can consult the recommended books list for suitable detailed materials on the subjects of non-canonical literature and on general literacy in the ancient world.]

    1. The ancient world (both Jewish and non-Jewish) was simultaneously oral and graphical. Most literary works were written to be read/performed orally, and even private ones were meant to be read aloud. Entire histories of peoples were transmitted via a combined oral+written 'experience' in which the written history or story formed the skeleton upon which extra bits of true historical fact (transmitted orally) would be tacked on at every public recital or rehearsal.

    2. Israel was no exception to this. She was fortunate to have developed an early impetus to writing (e.g., the requirements of the Law), a prophetic guild that was more literary than 'ecstatic', and a massive push toward non-Greek educational systems (unfortunately caused by the stresses of "Hellenism" upon Jewish values and culture, in pre-Christian times). Her histories had been quite stabilized by as early as the Maccabean revolt, and certainly codified long before Qumran.

    3. The codification of the histories (cf. Chronicles and Kings) early on, as well as increased study of the earlier Mosaic materials during the Monarchy (witness the allusions to the Genesis stories in the Prophets), provided the impetus for several of the types of literature we see in the extra-canonical literature.

    4. One of the first types of genres we see is called the "Rewritten Bible" genre [see HI:IIW, HI:JWSTP]. These works generally adopt the biblical narrative structure, but "fill in the gaps" with extra-biblical material. Some of this material can be quite fanciful or questionable (e.g. Abraham as the inventor of the plow; Moses as inventor of Egyptian warfare methods), but likewise some of the material could just as easily be factual material transmitted orally (along with the biblical text, as was done, for example, with the Hebrew OT text). "Rewritten bibles", accordingly, look like "expanded" or "interpolated" texts. Examples of this genre would include Jubilees, Genesis Apocryphon, the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, Josephus' Jewish Antiquities, 1 Enoch, The Books of Adam and Eve, some of the Hellenistic Jewish Poets, and the supplements to the biblical books (e.g., Additions to the Book of Esther). Some of the material in this category may transmit important facts about biblical events, but determination of accuracy is very difficult. In some cases, criteria of "multiple attestation" is most useful, arguing from the premise that the more widespread the possible 'fact' shows up in the literature, the more likely it was part of the original "parent stock" of the various competing versions.

    5. Some of these "oral-facts-now-written-down" show up in the NT writings. Although the list of possible extra-biblical allusions (in the commercially available reference works) find many allusions, more cautious scholars find only a few clear references to this material in the NT. When a NT author incorporates some fact or perspective from the genre of "Rewritten Bible", this is not a wholesale endorsement of the inspired character of these sources(!), but rather simply an agreement that the particular fact derived from such a source is true. This is similar to Clement's reference to Judith. His use of the Book of Judith, as the basis for his use of Judith as an example, in no way implies that he considered the Book of Judith as 'inspired' or 'scripture'--he just considered it true and accurate history (at least in that section). Likewise, when the NT author Jude, refers to a number of extra-biblical facts, or Paul refers to Jannes and Jambres, they never refer to the sources as 'scripture' but merely select out of a large mass of extra-biblical facts, a tiny subject or a couple of details that they are convinced are true. Again, this doesn't mean that they considered those sources to be inspired (any more than Paul considered the Stoic poets that he quoted to be inspired!), but that they considered those selected facts to be true.

    6. Although I cannot find a scholar who discusses this, 1CL seems to have been influenced by this type of extra-biblical material as well. The way this is identified in a text is by looking for the value judgements of, or nuances that are drawn from, the biblical material. In 1CL's case, I can identify a couple of these: 

    Now, although most of these would make the most sense as being dependent on the NT (esp. Hebrews), I still think it would be reasonable to believe that 1Cl was informed by at least some extra-biblical traditions (some of which might have shown up in extra-canonical writings). The writings in the listed items above are quite major works, and they have survived for exactly that reason--they were used and copied frequently. But what is clear is that the four possible extra-canonical citations are not from them. As I have already pointed out, this alone is a major reason to doubt the extra-canonical source for these four. Any source that was honored enough to be used as a theological warrant (with high introductory formulas) between two major churches of the early Christian period should have been more likely to survive than the 70-100+ works that did survive. Something is wrong with the picture of extra-canonical sources for these quotes.

    ..............................................................................................................................
     

    What this leaves us with, for at least 1CL, is this plausible scenario: Clement kept his explicit argument based on undisputed materials, common to Rome and Corinth--the canonical OT and NT. His scant knowledge of extra-biblical "background" details is mostly derived from the NT (esp. Hebrews), but on occasion can be traced to common traditional material, which material he might have encountered from mainstream extra-biblical works (e.g., Judith, rabbinic traditions, pseudox). The fact that 1CL never cites these mainstream works, never even makes clear allusions to them, nor uses their genres, argues rather strongly that he did NOT consider them as legitimate spiritual authority, much less as "scripture".
     
    We can now formulate the implication/summary of our series, as far as Clement is concerned. Since Clement is likely to have acquired personal knowledge of some background extra-biblical facts through the reading of mainstream extra-canonical (i.e., "inauthentic" in our discussion context) literary works, this indicates that he was familiar with these major works. And the fact that he does not use, as authority or warrant, so much as a single quote, a single clear allusion, or an undisputed reference to these works--while using literally hundreds of pieces of material from the canonical Old and New Testament documents--shows clearly that he not only was able to distinguish between the "authentic" and the "inauthentic", but also that he maintained this distinction in the practice of theological argument and pastoral persuasion.
     
    So, I have to conclude on the basis of the actual detail of 1CL, that he; 1. Was familiar with much/most/all of the NT in its written form;

    2. That he considered it on a par with OT scripture;

    3. That he could clearly distinguish between authentic and inauthentic scripture;

    4. That he only used authentic scripture in his letter as authority and warrant (and this included the NT materials).
     

    Well, this is the end of the excruciating detail on Clement...(I'm tired; I don't know about you....)...

    But we have more to do; I need to now survey the other Apostolic Fathers and writings of the period and gather similar sets of evidence. I will not do this level of detailed analysis, nor will I have to, actually, for after 1CL we start getting more and more explicit high-commitments to the New Testament as well as more obvious "extra-canonical" citations (esp. from NT apocrypha) and discussions. But we will see a strand of testimony that will make our job easier.

    The increasing recognition of the New Testament writings will be more visible.

    For example, at the end of his magisterial work, Hagner can point out [HI:UONTCR:343f; 277]:
     

    "We conclude then, that from our earliest witness onwards the Apostolic Fathers maintain the certain authority of the writings of the Apostles. The writings do not intrinsically become more authoritative over the decades, but rather their authority assumes greater importance and is expressed with greater clarity with the diminishing effectiveness of oral tradition. The Apostolic Fathers are essentially united in their witness to the authority of the new writings; there is no radical change in the valuation of these writings between AD 95 and AD 140. There is thus no reason, as is often done, to separate Clement's epistle from those of Ignatius and Polycarp as witnessing to an earlier stage in the valuation of the writings. Clement is at one with the Apostolic Fathers in this matter, and the most that may be detected over this period of five decades is a gradual realization of the implications of the authority of the new writings and the consequent gradual appearance of terminology previously reserved for the writings of the OT."

    "The few early references in the Apostolic Fathers to NT writings as 'Scripture' are remarkable for their casualness. There is certainly no awareness of a new valuation of the writings in question. These introductory formulae point to the authoritativeness of the new writings and may be regarded as an unconscious testimony to the parallel status of the new with the old."

    "There may be in one or two later instances (e.g. 2 Clement) the beginning of explicit references to NT writings as 'scripture' by the application of proper introductory formuale, but the nonchalant, incidental character of these formulae indicates no consciousness on the author's part that he is making a radical innovation."
     
     

    But, at the same time, we will see a more complex landscape when it comes to extra-canonical materials and references. The trends will be for greater disapproval of pseudox and non-canonical material, and greater delineation of them, while more and more of such works are being produced by fringe and/or heretical groups.

    So, for example, Kraft can say in TTT:63:
     

    "Aspects of the problem [of pseudox] were recognized already in the late second century. Irenaeus rails against the Marcosians for 'introducing an innumerable number of apocrypha and of counterfeit writings which they themselves created to amaze the foolish who do not understand the true writings' (Adv. Haer. 1.20.1). Perhaps around the same time, or not too much later, the author of the Muratorian canon rejects compositions associated with various heterodox groups including 'those who composed a new book of Psalms for Marcion'...But the principle of opposition to unacceptable heterodox writings is quite plain, and is continued even more explicitly in later authors."
     
     
     And we will also see, that in spite of much discussion of NT apocryphal writings by those who wrote after the Apostolic Fathers, we simply don't see much of it in the Fathers' writings! Lightfoot was surprised by this as well [cited in HI:UONTCR:301]:
      "This absence of any unmistakable traces of a New Testament Apocrypha in the Apostolic Fathers is the more remarkable, because the references to pre-Christian apocryphal writings are not infrequent."
     
    1CL had said this (45): "Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them"; and the church will grapple with this from day one...

    hope this helps, and thanks for the question...

    glenn miller

    Sept 1, 1998


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