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Pseudo-Clementine Homilies

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Estimated Range of Dating: 300-320 A.D.

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Georg Strecker writes, "The Epistula Petri and the Contestatio were placed in front of one of the source documents of the Pseudo-Clementines - the Kerygmata Petrou. According to the statements of the Epistula Petri, Peter sends the books of his Kerygmata to 'bishop' James, with a request for special circumspection in handing them on, to prevent the falsification of his teaching by the adherents of the 'hostile man'. The following Contestatio describes the making known of the latter before the seventy presbyters and the appointing of the required precautions, and then follows the text of the engagement pledge. The Epistula Clementis provides an introduction to the Clement romance, and reports on Clement's ordination by Peter as bishop of Rome." (New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 2, pp. 484-485)

Concerning the text's history, Strecker writes, "the Clementines have not come to us as they were originally composed. Today the view is widely entertained that they go back to a basic document (B. Rehm, Entstehung 155ff.). The basic document has not survived, but its main features can be deduced from the recensions derived from it. The decisive components of the Clement romance already belong to it. Its main attitude is the rationalismus of the age of the apologists. Just conduct on earth is the guarantee of a successful undergoing of the last judgment; rationabiliter vivere is the demand that results from such practical philosophy. Belief plays only a subordinate role; the death of Jesus has no religious significance; the Christological problem scarcely exists. The guarantor of the metaphysical notions is the true prophet, whose call has to be proved by the coming true of his predictions. The basic document belongs to Coele-Syria, where it may have come into existence in the middle of the 3rd century (Waitz, Pseudoklementinen, 72ff.; Strecker, Judenchristentum, 255-267; cf. also below, pp. 492f.). It certainly was not widely disseminated, and underwent a first revision at the hands of an Arian theologian, the Homilist. To a profound ethical interest he joined one that was metaphysical, which permitted him to develop a 'doctrinal system' (Unlhorn, Homilien, 153-230) entirely his own, but this, it is true, he was not able to press home everywhere in an entirely consistent way upon the material that already lay before him. The doctrine of the syzygies, the opposite pairs, which the Homilist finds everywhere in the world, even in the being of God, provides a foundation for that opposition of Peter to Simon which becomes the leading motif of the story. The critical position which the Homilist occupies in reference to the OT is noteworthy (Rehm, Entstehung 159). His attitude to the Trinitarian question (XVI 16; XX 7) ties him down to the time before the Nicene Creed, probably to the first two decades of the 4th century; he too may have written in Coele-Syria." (New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 2, p. 485)

Concerning the manuscript attestation, Georg Strecker writes, "the Homilies (Klhmentos tou Petrou epidhmiwn xhrugmatwn epitomh) together with two epistles to James, one of Peter and one of Clement, as also the instructions for the right use of the book (Diamarturia peri twn tou bibliou lambanontwn) are preserved in Greek in two codices, the Parisinus Graecus 930, which is incomplete from XIX 14, and the Vaticanus Ottobonianus 443 discovered in 1838 by A.R.M. Dressel. ... Both the Homilies and the Recognitions were early translated into Syriac. A manuscript from Edessa (British Museum Add. 12150) of the year 411 contains a collection of texts from R I-IV 1, 4 and H X-XIV 12 from the pen of two different translators. ... the older of the two [epitomes], which has been handed down in about thirty manuscripts, is of importance for the state of the text of the Homilies; on the other hand, the so-called Cotelierian epitome, which is entered in numerous codices, represents simply a paraphrase of the older summary." (New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 2, p. 486)

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Kirby, Peter. "Pseudo-Clementine Homilies." Early Christian Writings. <>.