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1 Cor. i. l0: ‘Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that ye all speak the same thing, that there be no divisions among you.'
Before proceeding to the consideration of that earliest official document of the Roman Church commonly known as the ‘First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians,' some reference should be made to the order of the episcopal succession in that Church. It is only necessary to touch upon it briefly here, for it has been treated so fully and thoroughly by many writers that it appears sufficient to state the conclusion arrived at and generally accepted, viz. that the order of names is that given by Irenaeus, Linus, Anencletus or Cletus, Clemens, and that the traditional terms assigned to their episcopates, Linus twelve years, Anencletus twelve years, and Clemens nine years, are approximately correct. If Linus became bishop in 68 A.D. this would make the close of the episcopate of Clemens to coincide with the first year of the second century.383383Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers, part i. vol. i. pp. 63– 7, 79– 81. The whole subject is exhaustively discussed and examined in his Excursus No. 5, pp. 201– 345, on the ‘ Early Roman Succession,'see supra, pp. 70, 71; and p. 84, note 3.
As to the exact character of the office that they held, and of the organisation of the Church during these decades, there has been much difference of opinion, and from lack of the necessary material to clear up doubtful points such difference of opinion will probably always continue to exist. The constitution of the Mother Church of Jerusalem after 42 A.D. seems to have followed strictly the Jewish model, James and the elders or presbyters corresponding to the 181High Priest and the Sanhedrin.384384Harnack, Constitution and Law of the Church, p. 34. The position of James was undoubtedly monarchical, but there is no strict analogy between his position and that of the Christian bishop of the time of Ignatius. James's position was exceptional. His authority, derived at once from near relationship to the Lord and from his own lofty personal character, placed him on a level with the acknowledged leaders of the Twelve. He ranked with Peter and John, as one of the pillars of the Church.385385Gal. ii. 9; also i. 19, and ii. 12. But just as the earliest local organisation of the Church at Jerusalem followed the Jewish model that was at its side, so did that of the Christian communities which sprang into being among the Diaspora. There is no hint given that the presbyters that were ordained in every city were officials of a type unknown to the Synagogue.386386Hort, Christiana Ecclesia, pp. 62–3; Lightfoot, Philippians, pp. 191–2. Each Christian ecclesia like each Jewish synagogue had its presbyters, and in large cities, like Rome, as there were a number of distinct synagogues, so there were several distinct Christian congregations or Churches, such as the Church in the house of Aquila and Prisca. In so far as there was a new departure, it lay in the fact that the Christian presbyter was a spiritual as well as an administrative official. Little as we are told in the New Testament on the subject, the picture drawn in the Apocalypse of the four and twenty presbyters seated round the throne of God and taking the leading part in the worship of Heaven seems to place this beyond reasonable question.
But though the original model of Christian organisation was the Synagogue, more and more as the Gentile element increased and became predominant would the separate congregations or ecclesiae gradually acquire Gentile characteristics, derived from the constitution of the various associations for religious cults and other purposes, known as collegia, sodalitates, θ ί α σ ο ι or ἔ ρ α ν ο ι , which, with the licence or at least the connivance of the state, were to be 182found in every part of the empire.387387Hardy, Studies in Roman History, ‘Christianity and the Collegia,' pp. 129–43. The choice, for instance, by the early Christians of the word ecclesia in preference to synagoge was probably deliberate. Both words are used in the LXX, ecclesia as the translation of the Hebrew Qātal signifying a religious assembly, synagoge as that of the Hebrew word ēdhāh, a general assembly of the whole people. The adoption of the term ecclesia, says Harnack, ‘was the happiest stroke which the primitive (Christian) community accomplished in the way of descriptive titles.'388388Schürer, Hist. of the Jewish People, 2 Div., vol. ii. pp. 59 ff.; Harnack, Const. and Law, pp. 15–6; Hort, Christ. Eccl. pp. 3–18. Its choice was at once distinctive and would have familiar associations to Gentile ears.
So, too, with the term episcopus. This word in the sense of ‘overseer' occurs many times in the LXX, and its ecclesiastical use was probably suggested by familiarity with certain passages in this Greek version of the Old Testament, which was the only Scriptures with which the vast majority of the early Christians were acquainted.389389Such passages as Ps. cviii. (cix.), quoted by St. Peter, Acts, i. 20, and Ezekiel, xxxiv. 11, or again Is. lx. 17, as quoted by Clement of Rome, xlii. 5: καταστήσω τοὺς ἐπισκόπους αὐτῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ τοὺς διακόνους αὐτῶν ἐν πίστει. But again it must not be forgotten that the name would be the more readily adopted by Greek-speaking Christians of Gentile origin, since it was already well known as the title of officials engaged in secular duties, as Overseers or Superintendents. When it first passed into Christian use is unknown, but its earliest appearance is in the remarkable words addressed by St. Paul to the presbyters of the Ephesian Church, whom he had summoned to meet him at Miletus as he was journeying to Jerusalem in 57 A.D. ‘Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit set you as overseers (ἐπισκόπους) to shepherd (ποιμαίνειν) the Church of God, which He purchased with His Blood.'390390Acts, xx. 28. See Hort, Christ. Eccl. pp. 97–104; Harnack, Const. and Law, p. 53. Among the numerous works on the subject of the early organisation of the Christian Church are the following: Hatch's well-known and most important Bampton Lectures of 1881; also his Hibbert Lectures of 1888, ‘The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church' [edited by Dr. Fairhairn and published 1907]; Sohm, Kirchenrecht, 1892; Michiel, Les Origines de l'épiscopat, 1900; Knopf, Das Nachapostolische Zeitalter, 1906; Batiffol, L'Eglise naissante et le Catholicisme, 1909; Gwatkin (articles in Hastings's Dictionary) ‘Bishops,' ‘Church Government,' &c. Here we find certain presbyters described 183as ‘overseers' and their special function as that of shepherding or tending the flock, implying that in the local organisation of the Church their duty was not only that of government, guidance, and discipline, but of the provision of spiritual food. Again in the Epistle to the Philippians St. Paul salutes ‘the saints in Christ Jesus with the overseers and deacons.' Turning to the Pastoral Epistles we have the qualifications set forth carefully, which should guide Timothy and Titus in their choice of persons fit for the Church's official ministry.391391Comp. 1 Tim. iii. 2 with v. 17 and Titus, i. 7. From these instructions two facts seem to come out clearly: that while all episcopi were presbyters, only a limited number of the presbyters were episcopi. In other words these titles cannot be used convertibly. An episcopus, or presbyter-bishop if one may so style him, differed from the ordinary presbyter in that he had certain superadded duties of oversight and superintendence such as were connoted by his name. There is a spiritual side to his office: he must be ‘apt to teach,' ‘able to exhort in the sound doctrine and to convict the gainsayers'; and a business or administrative side: ‘he must be blameless, as God's steward.'3923921 Tim. iii. 2; Titus, i. 7, 9: δεῖ γὰρ τὸν ἐπίσκοτον ἀνέγκλητον εἶναι, ὡς Θεοῦ οἰκονόμον. The language of St. Peter, ‘Ye were as sheep going astray but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls,'393393The words of St. Peter deserve careful consideration. In 1 Peter ii. 25 the Apostle writes: Ἦτε γὰρ ὡς πρόβατα πλανώμενοι· ἀλλ᾽ ἐπεστράφητε νῦν ἐπὶ τὸν ποιμένα καὶ ἐπίσκοπον τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν. The Shepherd here, whose office is described by the additional term ἐπίσκοπος (note there is only one article), being the Good Shepherd Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom all earthly ποίμενες καὶ ἐπίσκοποι were the delegates and representatives. Can it be doubted that the Apostle had here in his mind his Master's commission so emphatically and lovingly repeated Ποίμαινε τὰ πρόβατά μοῦ—βόσκε τὰ προβάτιά μου? A very interesting passage is that at the opening of the fifth chapter of this same First Epistle of St. Peter, vv. 1, 2: Πρεσβυτέρους οὖν ἐν ὑμῖν παρακαλῶ ὁ συμπρεσβύτερος . . . ποιμάνατε τὸ ἐν ὑμῖν ποίμνιον τοῦ Θεοῦ [Comp. Acts, xx. 28] ἐπ9ισκοποῦντες. This last word is not found in Aleph and B, possibly omitted for ecclesiastical reasons. Consult the excellent notes of Bigg's commentary on ii. 23 and v. 1, 2 (Int. Crit. Commentary Series), pp. 119–50, 182–8. while 184it seems to point to an equivalence of the two terms Shepherd and Bishop—pastor and episcopus—no less significantly marks out the sphere of duty—as the pastorate of souls. That it was possible to be a presbyter without having a specific local charge, just in the same way as in modern days there are priests without cure of souls, seems to be conveyed in another passage of this epistle, where St. Peter addresses the presbyters, as their fellow presbyter, exactly as St. John at a later date styled himself simply the presbyter ' in the opening salutation of his second and third Epistles, and indeed it was as John the Presbyter that he was best known in his old age.3943942 John, v. 1; 3 John, v. 1. For the identity of John the son of Zebedee, the Apostle, with John the Presbyter—see Chapman's John the Presbyter. This writer's arguments go to the very root of the question. Certainly neither Peter nor John was a local official. The whole passage runs as follows: ‘the presbyters therefore among you I exhort who am your fellow-presbyter . . . tend (shepherd) the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight (acting as episcopi) not of constraint but willingly like God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as lording it over your allotted charges,395395μηδ᾽ ὡς κατακυριεύοντες τῶν κλήρων. The word κλήρων is ambiguous, but its most natural interpretation is that of separate allotted charges or cures, otherwise the expression κατακυριεύοντες would be unmeaning. Dr. Bigg (Commentary on 1 Peter, p. 189) remarks that St. Paul warns the presbyter-bishop that he is to be ‘no striker' (1 Tim. iii. 3; Tit. i. 7) and that this implies that discipline in a congregation, many of whom were converted slaves, might be roughly administered. but making yourselves ensamples to the flock.' The presbyters therefore who were addressed were presbyter-bishops, and it may be gathered they had each of them a separate cure, over which they had independent spiritual rule, and moreover that they 185received stipends, otherwise it would not have been necessary to warn them against the danger of seeking after filthy lucre. It will be at once seen how appropriate is the name of ‘rulers' which is applied to these officers of the Church in the Epistle to the Hebrews. The exhortation ‘obey your rulers and submit to them; for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account'396396Heb. xiii. 17; also xiii. 7 and 24. Twice in Clement (1 Cor. i. 3 and xxi. 6) are the ἡγούμενοι and the πρεσβύτεροι distinguished from one another, i.e. there was an inner committee of presbyter-bishops. at once emphasises the authority which, as we have seen, these presbyter-bishops exercised, and likewise defines the double sphere of their jurisdiction and the two aspects of their office, as at once ‘shepherds of souls' and ‘God's stewards.'
Thus after the martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul such evidence as we possess points to the government of the Church in Rome passing into the hands of that inner committee of the presbyterate consisting of those who had spiritual charge of the several congregations or domestic Churches in the capital. At their head we find a president, either elected or chosen by seniority of office, bearing the title of The Bishop, but at first differing in no way from the other presbyter-bishops except in precedence, as primus inter pares.
The analogy between the earliest Christian organisation and that of the Synagogue has already been pointed out. The presbyters ordained by the Apostles from city to city were to a certain extent the Christian counterparts of the Jewish presbyters, but, as the Christian Church had no Temple and no priestly caste entrusted with the conduct of sacrificial worship, the Christian presbyter differed from the Jewish in that his functions were not merely administrative but spiritual and liturgical. In the same way the government of the Church by a committee of presbyter-bishops representing the several congregations with a Bishop-president at their head was analogous to that of cities like Alexandria, in which the Jewish population was 186large, where the government was entrusted to a gerousia or committee of archons representing the several synagogues, whose president bore the name of Gerousiarch.397397The analogy is made the more complete by the fact that the Greek title ἄρχων was the equivalent of a Hebrew word signifying ‘shepherd.' see Schürer, Hist. of the Jewish People, 2 Div., vol. ii. pp. 59ff, 247ff. In the inscriptions in the Jewish cemeteries at Rome the titles ‘archon' and ‘gerousiarch' are frequent. ‘Presbyter' has according to Schürer never been found. The contention of Dr. Hatch in his Bampton Lectures that the Christian presbyters were purely administrative and judicial officers is not, as we have shown, borne out by a careful examination of the scriptural references to their functions, nor is the supposed evidence of the ‘Didache' to the existence in the latter part of the first century of a hierarchy of Apostles, Prophets and Teachers, whose authority was supreme in spiritual matters and to whom the presbyters and deacons were subordinate, really tenable. Notably to the Prophet a lofty position is assigned in the ‘Didache,' especially in the conduct of worship and in the celebration of the Eucharist.398398Didache, x. 7, xiii. 3, xv. 1, 2. The discovery of this work and its first publication in 1883 has had an immense influence in moulding the opinions of recent writers on the early organisation of the Church, particularly those of Harnack,399399Harnack, Expansion of Christianity, vol. i. pp. 407 ff.; Constitution and Law of the Church, p. 78 ff.; Die Lehre der Zwölf Apostel [Texte and Untersuchungen, ii. 1, 2, pp. 193–241]; Chronologie, pp. 428–38. but it may be asked what proof is there that its picture of first-century Church life and order is trustworthy? We have indeed the witness of many passages in the Acts and Epistles to the fact that the prophet with his peculiar charismatic gift of ecstatic (chiefly eschatological) utterance occupied a prominent place in the early Christian communities, but these passages also testify not merely that the prophet, as such, had no definite place in Church organisation, but that his influence was intermittent and even spasmodic, and that, at Corinth for instance, he might be a disturbing factor in the assemblies, an element, to use St. Paul's words, ‘of 187confusion rather than of peace.'400400See especially 1 Cor. xiv. passim, also xii. 28, 29; and Eph. ii. 20, iii. 5, iv. 11. The passages which the author of the Didache had chiefly in his mind were no doubt 1 Cor. xii. 28, where St. Paul writes ‘God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers,' and Eph. iv. 11: ‘He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers' Hort remarks (Christian Ecclesia, pp. 157–61) ‘much profitless labour has been spent on trying to force the various terms used into meaning so many different ecclesiastical offices. Not only is the feat impossible, but the attempt carries us away from St. Paul's purpose, which is to show how many different functions are those which God has assigned to the different members of a single body . . . ; these passages give us practically no evidence respecting the formal arrangements of the ecclesiae of that age; though they tell us much of the forms of activity that were at work within them.' Dr. Bigg's account of New Testament prophets and prophecy in his Introduction to 1 Peter, pp. 43–48, is clear and illuminating. He comments on the fact that in 1 Peter there is no allusion to Christian prophecy. For the ‘prophets' in sub-Apostolic times and in the Didache see his introduction to the Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles, pp. 28–38. The truth is that there are very cogent reasons for holding the ‘Didache' to be a fourth-century document, whose author in his presentation of first-century Christianity drew largely upon his imagination.401401In Dr. Bigg's Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles (Early Church Classics, S.P.C.K., 1898) just referred to, he gives a series of reasons for holding this document to have been written early in the fourth century. More recently in the Journal of Theological Studies, April 1912, Dean Armitage Robinson announces his adhesion to Dr. Bigg's view as to a probable late date for the Didache. The author, he argues, was trying to represent the state of the Church in accordance with what he thought to be the Apostles' teaching, not as it was in his own days. His description is not derived from contemporary knowledge. See also an article in the same journal, October 1911, by Rev. A. S. Duncan Jones, on ‘The Nature of the Church,' in which the writer cricicises the views of Harnack and of Sohm on the constitution of the early Church. It is not wise therefore to base any arguments or theories about the true character of the earliest organisation of the Church upon a writing whose date is very disputable and whose origin and sources are unknown.
Leaving therefore the ‘Didaches' on one side let us now try to supplement the evidence as to the state of the Church in Rome and elsewhere about 68 A.D. that has been gathered from the canonical books of the New Testament, evidence that on the face of it is very incomplete and obscure, 188by an examination of two works both of them Roman and at one time regarded as almost canonical, I mean the (so-called) ‘First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians' and ‘The Shepherd of Hermas.' These writings with the Epistles of Ignatius are first-class authorities, but clearly much depends upon a knowledge of the date of their first appearance. That of Ignatius' epistles has been determined within very narrow limits, 107 to 109 A.D. The notice about Hermas in the Muratorian fragment and the Liberian catalogue is, as I shall attempt to show later, most probably a blunder. The date of Clement's Epistle was at one time regarded as uncertain, but since the publication of Light-foot's great work on the Apostolic Fathers, the opinion of scholars has become practically unanimous that it was written at the close of the reign of Domitian, about 96 A.D.; indeed this date may be regarded as one of the ‘accepted results' of present-day criticism. I feel therefore how very bold it is on my part to venture even to hint at a difference of view. I have never however been able to convince myself that this ‘accepted result' is correct, and I welcome the opportunity afforded me by these lectures for stating my reasons for doubting the soundness of the arguments on which it is based.
Of the authenticity of the anonymous epistle which opens with the words402402ἡ ἐκκλησία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡ παροικοῦσα Ῥώμην τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῇ παροικούσῃ Κόρινθον. ‘the Church of God sojourning in Rome to the Church of God sojourning in Corinth' or of the accuracy of the early, continuous, and widespread tradition, which assigned the actual authorship to that Clement who in the earliest lists of the bishops of Rome stands the third in order from the Apostles, there is absolutely no question.403403Eus. Hist. Eccl. iii. 16, 37. The epistle is called by Eusebius μεγάλη, θαυμασία, ἀνωμολογημένη παρὰ πᾶσιν. The patristic evidence is conclusive, and is admitted as such. But the corollary to this postulate, that because Clement was the author therefore the epistle was written during the time of his episcopate, 92 to 101 A.D., 189does not follow. Nevertheless the assumption has been made with surprising unanimity, and it has led to the date at which this letter was sent to Corinth being assigned to the time when the Church found deliverance from the persecution of Domitian by that tyrant's assassination. Nay, to such an extent has this pre-supposition gained possession of the mind even of a writer like Bishop Lightfoot, so eminently careful and cautious in the handling of historical evidence, that in his criticism of the chronology of the early Roman succession, he writes ‘ The date of Clement's epistle is fixed with a fair degree of certainty at 95 or 96 A.D., as it was written during or immediately after the persecution under Domitian. This year therefore must fall within the episcopate of Clement.'404404Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers, part i. vol. i. p. 342. The italics are mine. Among the older writers Hefele in his Prolegomena to the Epistle (1855) writes as to the date ‘tota haec quaestio facillime posset dissolvi si tempus Clementis episcopatus plane constaret.' Workman (Persecution in the Early Church, p. 206) writes: ‘As I incline to a later date for the epistle of St. Clement, I see no reason to reject the succession of bishops as Linus, Cletus, Clement. . . . The question of succession is bound up with the date of the Epistle.' But surely this is something like arguing in a circle, for I venture to say that there does not exist any definite evidence, internal or external, that the epistle was written during or immediately after the persecution of Domitian. It will be my object to show that such evidence as we possess points to a very different conclusion, viz. that when Clement gave literary expression to the message from the Church in Rome to the Church in Corinth he was not yet the official head of the Roman Church, and further that the probable date of the epistle is the early months of 70 A.D.
It will be necessary to deal with the arguments for and against seriatim.
The cause of the writing of the epistle was the outbreak of schism and dissension in the Corinthian Church described by the writer as ‘that abominable and unholy sedition, foreign and strange to the elect of God, which a few head-strong and self-willed persons have kindled to such a pitch 190of madness, so that your name, once respected and widely spoken of and worthily beloved of all men, hath been greatly defamed.'405405Clement, 1 Cor. i. 1. The cause of this sad change is ascribed to jealousy and envy, and the examples of Cain and Abel, of Jacob and Esau, of Joseph, of Moses, and of David and Saul are brought forward as warnings of the evil consequences which indulgence in jealousy and envy produces. The writer then proceeds: ‘But let us cease to speak of examples of ancient days, and let us come to those who very recently were athletes [of the faith]; let us take the illustrious examples of our own time. Through envy and jealousy the greatest and most righteous pillars were persecuted and contended even unto death. Let us take before our eyes the good apostles.'406406Ibid. v. 1: ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα τῶν ἀρχαίων ὑποδειγμάτων παυσώμεθα, ἔλθωμεν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἔγγιστα γενομένους ἀθλητάς· λάβωμεν τῆς γενεᾶς ἡμῶν τὰ aενναῖα ὑποδείγματα. Lightfoot translates τοὺς ἔγγιστα γενομένους ἀθλητάς ‘those champions who lived very near to our tune'; Gregg (Early Church Classics): ‘those great ones, who are nearest to our time'; Hippolyte Hemmer, Clément de Rome (1909): ‘venons en aux athlètes tout récents.' τῆς γενεᾶς ἡμῶν can only mean ‘our own time,' i.e. the time in which all of us are living, not a period thirty years ago. When John the Baptist cried ‘ generation of vipers,' or our Lord ‘Whereto shall I liken this generation?' or ‘An adulterous generation seeketh after a sign,' or St. Peter ‘save yourselves from this untoward generation,' they were speaking to and of the living men and women they saw around them, and so does Clement in this passage. Then follow references to the martyrdoms of St. Peter and of St. Paul. This epithet ‘good' has exercised the minds of critics, but there seems to be no doubt that it is the true reading. Lightfoot remarks ‘Such an epithet may be most naturally explained on the supposition that Clement is speaking in affectionate remembrance of those whom he had known personally, otherwise the epithet would be out of place.' Does not the same comment apply, it may be asked, to the readers of the Epistle? Peter and Paul were regarded as the founders of the Corinthian as well as of the Roman Church, and the epithet points to their memory being still quite fresh. Then in the following chapter Clement gives a description of the climax of the Neronian persecution; 191briefly but with graphic strokes he tells us how ‘to these men of holy living was gathered together a great multitude of the elect, who having suffered through jealousy many indignities and tortures became very splendid examples amongst ourselves. Persecuted through jealousy, women after having suffered in the guise of Danaids and Dirces terrible and monstrous outrages attained the goal which made sure to them the race of faith and those who were weak in body received a noble reward.' If any one were to read those paragraphs for the first time without any presuppositions or arrière-pensées, would they doubt that they told of scenes of horror which not only the author but all those in whose name he wrote had literally before their eyes, and which still haunted the minds of the witnesses?
Further, if Clement had just passed through the persecution of Domitian in which so many Christians of illustrious rank suffered, with whom as bishop he must have had intimate relations, is it conceivable that none of their examples should have been brought forward, but only those of an already distant persecution, whose memory more recent events must have tended to throw into the background? But it is said that Clement is speaking of what happened under Domitian in the sentence which follows the opening salutation—‘by reason of the sudden and successive troubles and calamities which have befallen us, we consider that we have been somewhat slow in giving attention to the questions in dispute among you.'407407διὰ τὰς αἰφνιδίους καὶ ἐπαλλήλους γενομένας ἡμῖν συμφορὰς καὶ τεριπτώσεις, ἀδελφοί, βράδιον νομίζομεν ἐπιστοφὴν πεποιῆσθαι περὶ τῶν ἐπιζητουμένων παῤ ὑμῖν πραγμάτων. But it may be asked, is it possible to read into these words so large a reference? The Domitianic persecution, when it came, must have touched Clement himself and his fellow-Christians at Rome far too severely and closely for the subject to have been dismissed thus casually and once for all in the ten opening words of a sentence containing fifty-nine words? When one considers that according to the opinion of the critics this Epistle was written almost 192immediately after the death of Domitian the Persecutor, it seems mere trifling to suppose that the deep sorrow and keen sense of bereavement that must have been filling the Roman Church at the sad fate of so many of its foremost members could not have found here or elsewhere in this lengthy letter more fitting expression. But if the date of the document be, as I hold that it is, the early months of 70 A.D., then the reference to ‘the sudden and successive troubles and calamities, which have befallen us' receives a natural explanation, one written large in the historical records of the time,408408See Lecture VI, pp. 168–170. Also Tac. Hist. i. 2. Philostratus, Apollonius of Tyana (ed. Phillimore, ii. p. 58): ‘Galba was killed at Rome itself after grasping at the Empire; Vitellius was killed after dreaming of empire; Otho, killed in lower Gaul, was not even buried with honour, but lies like a common man. And destiny flew through all this history in one year.' and a mere allusion to which would be sufficient to account to the Corinthians for the delay of the Roman Church in dealing with the questions on which its advice had been sought.409409Unless the advice of the Church at Rome had been sought, there could have been no reason to excuse delay in attending to the matter. Zahn, Intr. to N.T. vol. i. p. 269, holds that Fortunatus, who is mentioned in Clement's Epistle lxv. brought the news of the Corinthian dissensions to Rome. See also Stahl, Patristische Untersuchungen, 1901. In the whole course of its long and chequered history the city of Rome has never experienced so many ‘sudden and successive troubles and calamities' as befell it in the course of the year 69 A.D., and the brief reference to them by the writer of this Epistle is seen to be as aptly as it is tersely phrased.
The internal evidence of the Epistle is in many important respects strongly in favour of the early date. In the organisation of the Church only ‘bishops and deacons' are mentioned, exactly as they are in St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, while the title ‘bishop' is to the same extent inter-changeable with that of ‘presbyter' as it is in the Acts and the Pauline epistles, and the word ‘rulers' has the same sense as in the Epistle to the Hebrews.410410Clement, 1 Cor. xlii, 4, 5; x1iv. 1. 4, 5; liv. 2; lvii. 1, for rulers. ἡγούμενοι i. 3, προηγούμενοι xxi. 6. The Apostles 193derive their authority directly from Jesus Christ, the presbyter-bishops and deacons from the Apostles, who are described as having gone through town and country preaching the good tidings that the kingdom of God was about to come.411411Ibid. xlii. 2, 3: ὁ Χριστὸς οὖν ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι ἀπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ . . . . ἐξῆλθον (οἱ ἀπόστολοι) εὐαγγελιζόμενοι τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ μέλλειν ἔρχεσθαι. All this is thoroughly primitive. It is too the mark of a very early date that while Clement three times speaks of the Lord Jesus as ‘child or servant of God'—παῖς Θεοῦ—only once is the word son—υἱός—used, and that in a quotation from the second Psalm taken direct from the Epistle to the Hebrews.412412Ibid. lx. 2. 3, 4, xxxvi. 4; Heb. i. 5. Again as to Clement's references to the canonical writings of the New Testament, Dr. Lightfoot, though on other grounds he supports the late date for this Epistle, writes thus—‘one important test of date in early Christian writings lies in the Biblical quotations—both the form and the substance. Now the quotations from the Gospels in this letter exhibit a very early type. They are not verbal; they are fused; and they are not prefaced by “It is written” (γέγραπται) or “The Scripture saith” (ἡ γραφὴ λέγει) or the like, but a more archaic form of citation is used, “The Lord spake” (ὁ Κύριος εἶπεν) or some similar expression.'413413Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers, part i. vol. i. p. 353. A very considerable admission. On the other hand the abundant use that is made of the Pauline epistles, especially Romans and 1 Corinthians, of 1 Peter, and more than any other of the Epistle to the Hebrews, is very natural in one who was the disciple and companion of St. Peter and St. Paul, and whose conversion tradition assigns to St. Barnabas.414414Of the four epistles named, 1 Corinthians dealt with a situation in some respects similar to that described by Clement and in the same town. Romans and Hebrews were addressed to Rome, and 1 Peter written in Rome. The use made by Clement of Hebrews strengthens the argument for its Barnabas authorship.
It is difficult to see how the evidential value of c. xli. can be explained away. It is so important as a witness for the early date that it must be given in full. ‘Let each 194of you, brethren, in his own order give thanks415415εὐχαριστείτω, perform his act of Eucharistia. [at the Eucharist], keeping a good conscience without passing beyond the appointed rule of his service416416λειτουργία , a word transferred to Christian ministerial services, especially that of the Eucharist, from the LXX. where it signifies the ‘ services' of the priests in their Temple duties. with reverence. Not in every place, brethren, are the perpetual daily417417ἐνδελεχισμόν . This word is used in the LXX. to distinguish the sacrifices that were obligatory every day from those of free will. See Ex. xxix. 42, xxx. 8; Numbers, xxviii. 6. sacrifices offered, or the free-will offerings or the sin offerings and the trespass offerings, but in Jerusalem alone, and there not in every place is it offered, but before the sanctuary in the altar-court; after the victim which is being offered has been inspected for blemishes by the high priest and the aforesaid ministry. They then who do anything contrary to the seemly order of His [God's] will have death as their punishment. Ye see, brethren, how in proportion as we have been deemed worthy of fuller knowledge, so much the greater is the danger to which we are exposed.' Those who cling to the Domitianic date for this Epistle are driven to strange shifts to find any plausible argument for denying to this passage its obvious sense, that at the time when it was written the Temple at Jerusalem was still standing, and the daily sacrifice had not ceased. Lightfoot and others bring forward Josephus' account of the Mosaic sacrifices (‘Ant.' iii. cc. 9, 10) written in 93 A.D., in which the historic present is freely used. But as Hefele418418Hefele, Patrum Apost. opera (1855), xxxiv.: ‘Sed res utraque, Iosephi et Clementis, longe dissimilis est. Iosephus, sacros populi sui ritus describens, per figuram, historicis non inusitatam, praesenti, quod dicimus, historico utitur. Clemens, autem, ut Corinthos ad ordinem servandum adducat, lectoribus ordinem Iudaici cultus ante oculos ponit. Quodsi autem templum iam fuisset destructum, tota S. Patris argumentatio fuisset infirma, ipsaque adversarios invitasset, ut dicerent: En, eversione templi Hierosolymitani Deus ipse testatus est, talem ordinem sibi non esse exoptatum.' pointed out some years ago, there is a wide distinction between the two cases. Josephus, in describing a ritual system that had passed away, employs a well-known artifice of the historian in 195order to lend vividness to his narrative. Clement on the other hand brings before the eyes of his readers the fixed order of the Jewish worship with the purpose of showing to them that the maintenance of such order was a Divine institution. But if the Temple had been destroyed and that order of worship had been violently brought to an end, would not his whole argument fall to the ground and his opponents be able to retort that the complete disappearance of the Jewish sanctuary, its official hierarchy and ordered ritual was a proof that such a system no longer could claim the divine sanction?
Once more as to the dissensions at Corinth, little is told as to their cause and character, except that the action of certain ‘headstrong and reckless persons' had led to some of the duly constituted presbyters being expelled from their office, and that the ringleaders were few in number.419419Clement, 1 Cor. i. 47. Perhaps the example held up before the authors of the discussion of the hierarchical order of the Mosaic cult at Jerusalem may point to these ‘headstrong persons' being Judaeo-Christians, who had strong opinions about the absolute equality of all members of the Christian community, or possibly without going so far as to object to the existence of the office of presbyter they may have protested against the appointment of uncircumcised Gentiles to this office. Moreover, while we have no information to throw light upon the state of Corinth at the end of Domitian's reign, that town had been the scene of stirring events and activities some thirty years earlier. In the autumn of 66 A.D. Nero went to Greece. In November 67 A.D. he witnessed at Corinth the Isthmian games, and in that city conferred freedom upon Achaia, a privilege which was not revoked until six years later by Vespasian, because of the disorders that broke out. What is even more important, Nero at this time seriously set about the formidable engineering task of cutting a navigable canal through the Isthmus.420420Henderson, Life and Principate of Nero, pp. 392 ff., 495 ff.; Philostratus, Apollonius of Tyana (Bewick), p. 216. For 196this purpose no fewer than 6000 Jewish prisoners, captured by Vespasian in a battle at Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, were sent by that general to Corinth to carry out the excavations,421421Josephus, Bell. Iud. iv. 10: ‘Out of the young men he chose 6000 of the strongest and sent them to Nero to dig through the isthmus of Corinth.' and at the time of Nero's death a considerable part of the work had been completed. It was, however, then abandoned, with the result that a very large body of fanatical Jewish Zealots must have remained at Corinth as slaves or freedmen, their fierce patriotism still glowing unquenched by defeat and bondage. Here then in 69 A.D. were present all the elements for fomenting such an out-break of strife and discord as actually took place.
Or take the well-known reference to the story of the Phoenix,422422Clement, 1 Cor. xxv. and the analogy that it offers to the Resurrection. In recounting this legend Clement was no more credulous than his contemporaries, one of whom, Pliny the Elder, tells us in his ‘Natural History' ‘that a phoenix was brought to Rome in the censorship of the Emperor Claudius (47 A.D.) and that it was exposed to public view in the Comitia,' adding ‘this fact is attested by the public annals.'423423Pliny, Nat. Hist. x. 3 (Bostock's tr., p. 481); compare Tac. Ann. vi. 28. Pliny was himself a sceptic—‘there is no one but doubts it was a fictitious phoenix only.' Now Clement, as a boy, may have actually seen this publicly exhibited wonder, and the vivid impression made on the youthful imagination here finds expression some twenty-two years later. It is just one of those little touches that give added life to the narrative and connect the personality of the writer with the events of his time. It is to be noted that Clement does not hint at there being anything of a miraculous character in the resurrection of the Phoenix, he speaks of it as a fact of natural history.
Let us now turn our attention to the passages on which the advocates of a late date have chiefly relied. The beginning of chapter xliv. runs thus: ‘Our Apostles also knew through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife about the dignity of the bishop's 197office.4244241 Pet. v. 1-6; 1 Tim. iii. 5–13; Tit. i. 5-11; compare 1 Cor. xi. 18, 19; Rom. xii. 6–8; Eph. iv. 11-12; Heb. xiii. 17. For this reason then having received perfect foreknowledge they appointed the aforesaid [bishops and deacons] and then they further laid down regulations425425The reading here επινομην is probably corrupt. The translation of I. . . . legem dederunt has been adopted. that if they [any of these bishops and deacons] should fall asleep, other tried men should succeed to their ministry. Those then who were appointed by them or afterwards by other men of repute with the approval of the whole Church, and have ministered unblameably to the flock of Christ in all humility, peaceably and without arrogance426426ἀβαναύσως , the opposite disposition to those having βάναυσος , arrogance, pride; compare 1 Pet. v. 3. and who have for many years received high testimony from all427427μεμαρτυρημένους πολλοῖς χρόνοις ὑπὸ πάντων —we do not consider it just that these men should be ejected from their ministration.' Here the words ‘our Apostles' clearly signify St. Peter and St. Paul, held to be the joint founders of both the Churches of Rome and Corinth. The careful advice and warnings addressed by both these Apostles to the presbyter-bishops in their extant writings are a proof of the truth of Clement's assertion as to their having pre-vision about the difficulties which might arise in the future concerning the authority and position of these ‘rulers' of the Church. But it does not follow, because the Apostles laid down regulations for the filling up of these offices, whenever they became vacant by death, or because, at the time when Clement was writing, some of the holders of these offices had been appointed by the Apostles, others by the choice of the presbytery with the consent of the Church, or because among these were men who for many years had been honoured and respected by all, that there-fore the Epistle was written some decades after the Apostle's martyrdom. Those who use this argument overlook the possibility that the first presbyters of the Roman Church were appointed by St. Peter about 44 or 45 A.D., and those of Corinth by St. Paul about 51 or 52 A.D. Most of these would be literally ‘elders'—men well advanced in 198years when first they took office—and in the interval between these dates and 70 A.D. there must have been many vacancies by death and fresh appointments, some directly by the Apostles, others in their absence by the Churches in the manner ordained by Apostolical authority.
Again in chapter xlvii., after condemning in the strongest terms the strifes, parties, and divisions which were tearing to pieces the Corinthian Church, Clement continues: ‘Take up the epistle of the blessed Paul the Apostle. What was it that he first wrote to you in the beginning (ἐν ἀρχῇ) of the Gospel? In truth under the inspiration of the Spirit he sent you a letter concerning himself and Cephas and Apollos, because that even then you had given way to party spirit.' Clement then proceeds to compare the apostles of renown, the great leaders of those days (just mentioned), with the present instigators of schism and dissension, and he denounces their conduct in the words ‘It is shameful, beloved, very shameful and unworthy of Christian conduct that it should be reported that the very steadfast and primitive (ἀρχαίαν) Church of Corinth should by one or two persons have been induced to rebel against its presbyters.' Now far too much stress has been laid by the up-holders of the Domitianic hypothesis upon this word apxaiav as signifying ‘ancient,' and it is said that such a description could not have been given of a Church only twenty years old. But is it not evident that the word apxaia was suggested by the previous word apxrj, and that it means no more than that the foundation of the Church at Corinth took place in the earliest days of the preaching of the Gospel in Europe?428428St. Paul (Phil. iv. 15) in his Epistle to the Philippians writes: ‘and ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the Gospel (ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ), when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving, but ye only.' And in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians (xi. 9): ‘when I was present with you and in want, I was not a burden on any man; for the brethren when they came from Macedonia supplied the measure of my want.' We thus see that St. Paul himself applies the expression ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου to his first visit to Corinth. Compare St. Luke, i. 2 οἱ ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται.199
The following particulars concerning the envoys who were the bearers of this epistle to Corinth have been held to necessitate a late date. ‘We have sent faithful and discreet men who have passed their lives blamelessly in our midst from youth to old age.' And again ‘send back to us quickly in peace and with joy our envoys Claudius Ephebus and Valerius Bito together with Fortunatus also.'429429Clement, 1 Cor. lxiii. and lxv. Now the conjecture of Lightfoot that the names of Claudius Ephebus and Valerius Bito point to their being freedmen of the Imperial household at the time when Messalina was Empress is probably correct.430430Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers, part i. vol. i. p. 27 ff. But if they received their manumission about 45 A.D., they may well have been from thirty-five to forty years of age at that date, and so more than sixty in 70 A.D. As there is reason to believe that Christianity was first brought to Rome shortly after the death of St. Stephen, and as St. Peter's first visit took place at the very time when Messalina was at the height of her power, there is no difficulty in giving these two men a place among the very first converts to the faith. Fortunatus is separately mentioned, and we may infer that he was not a Roman envoy but a Corinthian, and if a Corinthian, then although the name is not uncommon, his identification with the Fortunatus mentioned by St. Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians is more than a possibility.431431τοὺς δὲ ἀπεσταλμένους ἀφ᾽ ἡμῶν Κλαύδιον Ἔφηβον καὶ Οὐαλέριον Βίτωνα σὺν καὶ Φορτουνάτῳ. The words σὺν καὶ place Fortunatus in a different category from Ephebus and Bito. Th. Zahn (Intr. to N.T. vol. i. p. 269) holds that Fortunatus was a delegate from Corinth and that it had been he who had brought the news of the dissensions to Rome. Lightfoot also (part i. vol. i. p. 29 and vol. ii. p. 187) is of opinion that Fortunatus was a Corinthian and that there is no improbability in identifying him with the Fortunatus of 1 Cor. xvi. 17. It is, however, extremely unlikely that the Fortunatus whose coming to Ephesus refreshed St. Paul in 54 A.D., was still active and travelling to and fro as an emissary between his native town and Rome in 96 A.D., more than forty years later.
The assumption so commonly made that the Epistle, the actual authorship of which by universal consent is 200attributed to Clement, the third in order of succession of the Roman bishops, must have been written during the period of his episcopate, 92 to 101 A.D., has in fact really no justification. There are very strong arguments (besides those already brought forward) to be urged against it, both negative and positive. The Epistle is written in the name of the Church of Rome, and is throughout anonymous. From the first line to the last there is not a single phrase which hints at the individuality of the writer or gives any indication that he was a man of mark and authority, the personal pronouns used are always ‘we' and ‘us.' Now such self-effacement would be perhaps natural in the young Clement of 70 A.D. It is quite in accordance with what Epiphanius tells us (quoting apparently the lost memoirs of Hegesippus) about his voluntary refusal to accept the post of presiding-bishop after the death of the Apostles,432432See the most interesting chapter on the Hypomnemata of Hegesippus in Eusebiana, by H. J. Lawlor (Clarendon Press. 1912). Mr. Lawlor produces very strong arguments and evidence (pp. 73–94) to show that Epiphanius in writing his Panarion had before him a copy of Hegesippus' Memoirs, and further that those Memoirs contained a great deal of information about the early history of the Churches of Jerusalem, Corinth, and Rome: ‘We find that, just as in the case of Jerusalem and Corinth, so in that of Rome, what he [Hegesippus] wrote was mainly a résumé of the history of the Christian community, special attention being paid to the circumstances under which each bishop succeeded to his charges' (p. 85). Among other passages of Epiphanius that which explains how it was that Clement though appointed bishop by the Apostles Peter and Paul was not first but third in succession, i.e. the story of his resignation in favour of Linus and Anencletus, was probably taken from Hegesippus (p. 9). ‘lest he should cause strife and division,' and of his withdrawal in favour of his seniors, first of Linus, then of Anencletus. But tradition asserts with no uncertain voice that Clement held a place apart in the Roman Church as the first century began to draw to its close. It was not his ‘Epistle to the Corinthians' which gave him fame, and which caused a plentiful crop of legends to grow up around his name, but his distinction first as being a personal disciple of St. Peter, by whom he was ordained to the presbyterate, and also a fellow-worker with St. Paul, and secondly from the high social position and family connexion which tradition 201assigns to him, a tradition which I believe to be in substance correct.433433See ‘Clementine' Homilies and Recognitions, the Epistles to Virgins, the Apostolical Constitutions. The Clement, then, who became bishop in 92 A.D. was an Apostolical man of exceptional authority, whose personality would not lend itself to concealment. If he wrote the Epistle in 96 A.D., his name would give added weight to the advice of the Church over which he presided. Moreover are there not strong grounds for holding that during the quarter of a century of Flavian rule, at Rome and elsewhere, the office of bishop had been growing in importance and respect and dignity, and was gradually becoming monarchical in character? Can any unprejudiced person read the language of Ignatius without perceiving that the primitive organisation of the Roman and Corinthian Churches, as depicted in Clement's Epistle, could not have still subsisted unchanged until 96 A.D.? Ignatius, remember, was a contemporary of Clement, his letters were written not more than seven or eight years after Clement's death, and in these letters the authoritative and autocratic position of the bishop is set forth again and again in terms that admit of no qualification. ‘Let no man do aught pertaining to the Church apart from the bishop'—‘it is not lawful apart from the bishop either to baptise or hold an Agape'—‘whenever you are subject to the bishop, you appear to me not to be living the ordinary life of men, but after the manner of the life of Jesus Christ.' It is quite clear that in such statements as these Ignatius is not speaking of any new thing. With him the office of bishop is of the very esse and not merely of the bene esse of the Church. Without the three orders of bishop, presbyters, and deacons ‘there is' he declares ‘no Church deserving of the name.' In another passage he speaks of ‘the bishops established in the furthest quarters as being in the mind of Jesus Christ as Jesus Christ is the Mind of the Father' and of the ‘presbytery that is worthy of God being fitted to the bishop as the strings to a harp.'434434Smyrn. 8; Trall. 2. 3, 4; Eph. 3, 4; Magn. 3, 6, 7; Philad. 4, etc. These words preclude 202any mere local reference, and when one considers how close was the intercourse between Antioch and Rome, it will be seen how extremely difficult it would be to conceive of the Great Roman Community, for which Ignatius himself expresses the utmost veneration,435435Romans (salutation): ἥτις καὶ προκάθηται ἐν τόπῳ χωρίου Ῥωμαίων, ἀξιόθεος , ἀξιοπρεπής, ἀξιομακάριστος, ἀξιέπαινος, ἀξιεπίτευκτος , ἀξίαγνος καὶ προκαταθημένη τῆς ἀγάπης , Χριστώνομος, Πατρώνομος. as not possessing that qualification without which ‘it would not be deserving the name of a Church.' In other words in the year 96 A.D. the organisation of the Roman Church was not that which we find in Clement's Epistle, nor was the position which Clement with his antecedents must at that date have held consistent with the entire absence of the personal note in the letter which he wrote to Corinth.
The case in fact against this Epistle having been written by Clement during his episcopate is very strong. It only remains to draw attention to two pieces of documentary evidence, both of which indirectly confirm the conclusion at which we have arrived. In a passage from the letter of Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, to Soter, bishop of Rome, which has been preserved to us by Eusebius, the words occur ‘to-day we have spent the Lord's Holy Day, in which we have read your epistle; reading which we shall at all times receive admonishment, as also [is the case] with the former epistle written to us by Clement.'436436Eus. Hist. Eccl. iv. 23. Dr. Bigg in the introduction to his Commentary on the First Epistle of St. Peter compares the Greek words here used ἡμῖν διὰ Κλήμεντος γραφεῖσαν with those of St. Peter: ‘I have written to you by Silvanus'—διὰ Σιλουανοῦ ὑμῖν ἔγραψα, and he holds that the two passages must be understood in the same way, and he says that Dionysius's words ‘mean clearly that Clement was the mouthpiece or interpreter of the Church of Rome.'437437Bigg, 1 Peter, Intr. p. 5. This implies that Clement, though no doubt a leading official, was in putting into literary form and with a free hand the general instructions he had received, only the servant, not the head of the Church acting on his own initiative.203
The evidence of Hermas has a double interest from the light that it throws both on the date of ‘The Shepherd' and upon the position of Clement. With the date of ‘The Shepherd' I shall deal in the next lecture. I will merely state here that my contention will be that that part of Hermas' work known as ‘The Visions' and possibly the whole of it was written in the course of the first decade of Domitian's reign. The reference to Clement occurs at the close of the Second Vision. In the Vision an old woman, representing the Church, had given to Hermas a small book containing a revelation, which at her command he had copied out letter by letter. This done the aged woman again came to him and asked him if he had already given the book to the presbyters. On his replying that he had not, the aged woman said—I quote the exact words—‘Thou hast done well, for I have words to add. When then I shall have finished all the words, by thee it shall be made known to all the elect. Thou shalt therefore write two little books and shalt send them to Clement and to Grapte. Clement will then send to the cities that are without, for to him this [charge] has been entrusted; and Grapte will admonish the widows and the orphans. But thou shalt read [the words] unto this city before the presbyters, who preside over the Church.'438438Hermas, Vision iii. 4: γράψεις οὖν δύο βιβλαρίδια καὶ πέμψεις ἓν Κλήμεντι καὶ ἓν Γραπτῇ. πέμψει οὖν Κλήμης εἰς τὰς ἔξω πόλεις, ἐκείνῳ γὰρ ἐπιτέτραπται· Γραπτὴ δὲ νουθετήσε ι τὰς χήρας καὶ τοὺς ὁρφανούς· σὺ δὲ ἀναγνώσῃ εἰς ταύτην τὴν πόλην μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων τῶν προϊσαμένων τῶς ἐκκλησίας.
This passage has been variously interpreted, but it is allowed by the great majority of critics that it contains a definite historical allusion to Clement, the author of the Epistle from the Roman Church to the Corinthians, and the comment of Lightfoot is perfectly just—‘the allusion in Hermas seems to be an obvious recognition of the existence of this letter. . . . Clement is represented as the writer's contemporary, who held a high office, which constituted him, as we might say, foreign secretary of the Roman Church.'439439Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers, part i. vol. i. p. 348. Precisely. But such a description surely implies that at the time Clement was occupying what can only be 204described as a subordinate position, since he was charged with secretarial duties entrusted to him by others. The particular charge was one that might very well be assigned to a younger member of the presbyterate distinguished among his colleagues for wider culture and greater familiarity with literary Greek. The mere fact that his name is here coupled with that of Grapte, apparently a deaconess, is of itself a proof that the Clement of Hermas' second Vision had not yet become at the close of a long and honoured career the venerated bishop of 96 A.D.
Nothing is known of Grapte outside of this reference, and some
critics have supposed that the name was not that of a real woman, but is used here
allegorically. But if so, then is it not reasonable to suppose that the whole passage
is allegorical, not historical? If Grapte be a mere creature of Hermas' imagination,
why not Clement? But those who seek in this way to evade the difficulties attending
this passage, which is so important for fixing the dates both of Clement's Epistle
and of ‘The Shepherd,' have really no justification for taking refuge in allegory.
The names Graptus and Grapte though rare are both of them to be found in contemporary
inscriptions. One of these inscriptions is particularly interesting,440440 C.I.L. xii. 3637:
m. ARRECINO CLEMENTE II
L. BAEBIO HONORATO
OBLATA.SIBI.A.COLLIBERTIS.IMMVNITATE ET TITVLO.
Emended by Mommsen. as it brings into collocation the names of Clemens and Graptus. It tells how a certain Julius Graptus adorned a mausoleum with plantations in 205the year when M. Arrecinus Clemens was consul for the second time, in other words in the year 93 A.D. Another inscription,441441 1. C.I.L. xii. 4822:
GRAPTE VXOR a fragment, contains the words Grapte uxor. This Julius Graptus and Grapte the deaconess may well have been the children of Nero's freedman Graptus, described by Tacitus as active in his master's service in the year 59. Arrecinus Clemens was a near relation of the imperial Flavians; if he were at the same time an elder brother of Clement the bishop, then at once the mystery of the high family connexion which the Clementine romances have woven around the name of the bishop disappears and becomes explicable. That such a relationship existed is no mere random suggestion. It is one which, as I shall endeavour to show elsewhere, is well deserving of careful examination.442442See Lecture VIII. pp. 227– 35, and Note D of the Appendix.
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