I have periodically been sharing some study I’ve been doing working through quotations in 2 Clement. My larger goal is in understanding the reasons the author appeals to authoritative sources; to achieve this end I have been working through the introductions to and formations of the quotations from a discourse grammar perspective (cf. Runge). I have a few previous posts, this one is to be considered in that series.
For the blog, I have not included footnotes or references to supporting literature. This is not even a rough draft; it is background work for me to understand the reasons for the quotations better (which I do now). Further work will be a paper exploring the reasons for appealing to authority in 2 Clement, with quotations classified in support of my ideas. I had originally proposed this for a paper at the 2013 ETS national meeting, but that has not been accepted; I will likely pursue publication of this work in an alternate venue.
One of my contentions is that folks these days get lost in trying to discern the exact source of quotations, analyzing them against possibilities as if they were synoptic gospels. This is valuable work, but it loses focus on what the author is communicating and why he communicates it. My goal is to step back, understand the appeals to authority in situ with the goal of better understanding the author’s work. Sources are important, and they help in this goal. But (as one reads analysis done of quotations such as these in the past, say, 40 years) you see the interest is more about relationship between sources and less about what the author is communicating and how he communicates it.
Anyway, here’s some stuff on 2Cl 11–14.
Second Clement 11 begins with an ουν + subjunctive, again signaling development and continuity. He is transitioning to a new point with his summation of §10, “let us serve God with a pure heart and we will be righteous.” This is immediately countered with a δε explaining the consequences of not serving God: “But if we do not serve him because we do not believe the promise of God, we are wretched.”
2 For the prophetic word also says: “Wretched are the double-minded, those who doubt in their heart, who say, ‘We have heard these things long ago and in the days of our fathers, and we, waiting day in and day out, have seen none of these things.’ 3 Foolish people! Compare yourselves to a tree. Take a vine: first it indeed sheds its leaves, then a bud comes, after these things an unripe grape, then presents a bunch of grapes. 4 So also my people experienced insurrection and tribulation, later they will receive good things.”
After the counter of §11.1 comes a γαρ, followed by a quotation from “the prophetic word.” The author is moving offline, to explain what he has said about being wretched and justify this state applied to those who do not serve God. They are wretched; not satisfied with simply stating this, the author provides a further explanation from his cited source. It is wretched to have heard the promise and forsaken it. As the citations reads so the author intends, those who take a position against “the prophetic word” are foolish. The consequence to those who did this earlier was insurrection and tribulation, according to the quotation, though these same ones later would receive good things.
Again, the quotation is followed by ωστε + vocative + subjunctive, though the subjunctive is negated. This is a point-counterpoint structure with αλλα that is followed by another subjunctive; a “not this, but that” type of statement. Here the first clause is used to grab the reader/hearer’s attention in order for the second clause to follow up and correct or replace it. In this type of structure, the second clause — the counterpoint — is the more salient. The contrast between the two positions (not double-minded, but remaining in hope [thus, single-minded]) highlights the second position as the larger point the author wishes to communicate. This point-counterpoint statement, highlighting that one should be single-minded, remaining in hope to “receive the reward,” is followed by another γαρ. This moves the discussion offline further, to explain the reward. Again, the notion of recompense (ἀντιμισθία) is activated (cf. 2Cl 1.3–5; 9.7; also 15.2) with perhaps allusion to Mt 16.27; Ro 2.6; Rev 22.12 regarding repayment according to one’s deeds.
§11.7 follows with ουν, indicating development and continuity, with a subjunctive; but this time it is in the context of a conditional statement which also contains an allusion. The structure is used to reaffirm the recompense, that those who hear and do the word of the Lord will enter his kingdom and receive his promises. The following allusion, to 1Co 2.9, which is itself quoting Is 64.3 [64.4 LXX], shows that these are promises which, as Paul notes, are shown through the Spirit.
The quotation from “the prophetic word” in §11.2–4 indicates that those who were double-minded were those who doubted because they had not yet seen the promises realized. The author of Second Clement urges that simply because the promises have not yet been realized does not mean that they are invalid. §12.1 continues his position, to continue to trust the promise, and “wait for the kingdom of God hour by hour with love and righteousness, since we do not know the day of God’s appearance.” This reiterates the general thought behind the previous section (§11), which is an exhortation to serve God patiently and in expectation. The clause at §12.1 begins with ουν, indicating development from and continuity with the preceding argument. He is moving the discussion along, asking his hearers/readers be patient because “we do not know the day of God’s appearance.”
This is followed by §12.2–6:
2 For when the Lord himself was asked by someone when his kingdom will come, he said, “When the two shall be one, and the outside as the inside, and the male with the female neither male nor female.” 3 And “the two are one” when we speak the truth with ourselves, and there is one soul in two bodies with no hypocrisy. 4 And “the outside as the inside” means this: “the inside” means the soul and “the outside” means the body. Therefore in this manner your body is made visible, so also let your soul be evident in good works. 5 And “the male with the female neither male nor female” means this: that a brother, upon seeing a sister, thinks nothing about her being a female, nor does she think anything about him being a male. 6 When you do these things, he says, the kingdom of my Father will come.
The introduction to the quote itself, which introduces “the Lord,” begins with γαρ. It is an expansion/explanation of some topic. We get a clue of this by the introduction itself, “when the Lord himself was asked by someone when his kingdom will come.” This is a response to an explicit or implicit eschatological question, and the authority appealed to is the Lord himself.
It is important to the author that he explain exactly what his authoritative source means. The explanation implies either that his audience was not familiar with this source and would not know what it means, or that they were familiar with it and would have a different idea of what it would mean.
Either way, the author is careful to communicate exactly how he understands the source because it is important to his point from §§10–11: that instead of being single-minded, trusting the Lord that his return would come and doing his will in the interim; some have dissented, become double-minded, and walked away from doing his will, thinking either that the return has already happened or that the promises were invalid to begin with.
§13 begins with an ουν +vocative, indicative of development and continuity, followed by the urging of the hearers/readers to repent, a subjunctive verb, which is appositionally clarified with another subjunctive verb stating the thesis of the section, “let us be self-controlled for the good.” A γαρ clause briefly moves the discussion offline to explain the need for self-control, which is folly and wickedness that lies within.
Another subjunctive follows, and the discussion is moved back to the mainline with a series of subjunctives reiterating the need for removal of sin, repentance, and salvation. This migrates into the author’s main theme, doing the will of God instead of the will of man, with exhortations to avoid becoming “people pleasers” (cf. Eph 6.6; Col 3.22) but to neither focus on pleasing within the community or outside of the community, instead focusing on righteousness so that “the name” not be blasphemed. Into this comes a quotation, this time introduced with γαρ:
2 For the Lord says, “My name is blasphemed continually among all the nations,” and again “Woe to him on account of whom my name is blasphemed.” How is it blasphemed? By you who do not do what I desire.
The quotation, appealing to the authority of “the Lord,” is used as supporting material. It explains the previous assertion that the name should not be blasphemed. The same authority, explanatory in nature with the connection via και which here keeps the discourse offline in explanation, is appealed to in the second mentioned quotation. The immediately following interrogative delves the discussion deeper into the nature of blasphemy. The interrogative is answered in §13.3 with another γαρ clause, this one explaining how blasphemy occurs when followers of God appeal to his sayings, which have power upon the hearers, but the speakers do not live in a manner worthy of the saying. This is core to the overall point of the author: when the actions of Christians betray the “sayings of God” which they espouse, then people consider the sayings to be untrue and worthless, and Christians to be fools and charlatans.
4 For when they hear from us that God says, “It is no credit to you if you love those who love you, but it is a credit to you if you love your enemies and those who hate you.” When they hear these things, they are astonished at the extraordinary degree of goodness, but when they see that not only do we not love those who hate us, but that not even those who love us, they laugh at us and the name is blasphemed.
§13.4, another γαρ clause, continues the explanation though the quote itself (here attributed to “God”) is part of a subordinate οτι clause. Thus the quote and its explanation both form an explanatory unit, which the γαρ introduces.
The quotation is an example of the “beauty and greatness” (cf. §13.3) of the sayings of God, but it is also one that is difficult to practice, and exceptions of it come easy to Christians. After the quotation, a second οταν + hearing verb moves the frame from the quotation back to the hearers, and the impact of the quotation and the further impact of contrary practice of those who profess it is made fully evident. When Christians hate those whom they love and hate their enemies even more, they expose their view that while they confess that words of God have power, they live with words of God as platitudes that have no effect on actions.
14.1 So then, brothers, if we do the will of our Father, God, we will belong to the first church, the spiritual one, which was created before the sun and moon. But if we do not do the will of the Lord, we will belong to the scripture which says, “My house became a den of robbers.” So then, therefore, let us choose to belong to the church of life that we may be saved.
Using ωστε + vocative, the author considers his point made regarding the equating of what one says with what one does. Doing the will of the Father, clarified here as God, is living rightly in adherence with both words and deeds to the commands of God. What God says is equated with how one should rightly live, to live contrary is equated with blasphemy. A δε clause follows, indicating further development of this notion. The clause is conditional and parallel to the previous clause, not doing the will of God is equated with turning the house of God into a den of robbers. The contrast is between the church in the first clause and the den of robbers in the second clause. The quotation here does not advance the discourse (as so many quotations have done to this point) but provides opposite options, the first, spiritual church as one and the den of robbers, or corrupters of the house of God, as the other.
A clause with ωστε + ουν + subjunctive follows, indicating development and continuity. This returns discussion to the mainline while holding up the choosing of the first church, the church of life, as the obvious choice, with the result of salvation.
2 And I do not suppose you to be ignorant that the living church is the body of Christ. For the scripture says, “God made humankind male and female.” The male is Christ, the female is the church. And in addition, the books and the apostles say the church does not belong to the present, but has been from the beginning. For she was spiritual as was also our Jesus, but she was made known at the last days so that she might save us.
§14.2 begins with a δε, indicating development, and something like a disclosure formula13 which Runge terms a meta-comment,14 which he defines as “When speakers stop saying what they are saying in order to comment on what is going to be said, speaking abstractly about it.” It functions to highlight what comes next, in this case a γαρ clause that introduces a quotation of scripture. The quotation of Genesis 1.27 is intended to explain how the “living church is the body of Christ.” The next clause is asyndetic, explaining that the male is Christ and the female is the church. A και next connects, continuing the same level of discourse, to introduce an allusion from “the books and the apostles,” likely a reference to a general theme in the whole of what the author considers to be authoritative, to assert that the church is not a newly created entity but has been “from the beginning.” The author continues to describe the nature of the church, with some Pauline overtones, through the balance of §14.