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Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament

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Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament Herausgeber / Editor Jörg Frey (Zürich) Mitherausgeber / Associate Editors Markus Bockmuehl (Oxford) James A. Kelhoffer (Uppsala) Hans-Josef Klauck
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Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament Herausgeber / Editor Jörg Frey (Zürich) Mitherausgeber / Associate Editors Markus Bockmuehl (Oxford) James A. Kelhoffer (Uppsala) Hans-Josef Klauck (Chicago, IL) Tobias Nicklas (Regensburg) J. Ross Wagner (Durham, NC) 342 Early Christian Communities between Ideal and Reality Edited by Mark Grundeken and Joseph Verheyden Mohr Siebeck Mark Grundeken, born 1984, Ph. D (KU Leuven), Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter of Professor Cilliers Breytenbach at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, is Akademischer Rat of Professor Ferdinand R. Prostmeier at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Joseph Verheyden, born 1957, Ph. D (KU Leuven), is Professor of New Testament at the KU Leuven. ISBN ISSN (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament) Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliographie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at Mohr Siebeck Tübingen, Germany. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form (beyond that permitted by copyright law) without the publisher s written permission. This applies particularly to reproduction, translations, microfilms and storage and processing in electronic systems. The book was typeset by epline in Kirchheim/Teck, printed by Gulde-Druck in Tübingen on non-aging paper and bound by Großbuchbinderei Spinner in Ottersweier. Printed in Germany If Second Clement Really Were a Sermon, How Would We Know, and Why Would We Care? Prolegomena to Analyses of the Writing s Genre and Community 1 James A. Kelhoffer ἐγὼ μὲν γὰρ ἀπὼν τῷ σώματι παρὼν δὲ τῷ πνεύματι (1 Cor 5:3a) κατὰ τὴν ἔντευξιν ἐν τῇδε τῇ ἐπιστολῇ (1 Clem. 63.2b) ἀναγινώσκω ὑμῖν ἔντευξιν (2 Clem. 19.1a) That which we call a rose / by any other name would smell as sweet. 2 I. Second Clement Is Not a Letter All scholars, including myself, concur that the so-called Second Letter of Clement is not a letter. The opening verses contain no epistolary prescript, commencing instead with a characterization of God and, by extension, of Jesus Christ as judge (κριτής), and urging that believers not belittle Christ or their salvation (2 Clem ). Also, the original conclusion (2 Clement 18), where the author refers to himself as utterly sinful (πανθαμαρτωλός) and in fear of the coming judgment (18.2), contains no epistolary postscript. Neither does the later addition of 2 Clement contain any epistolary features but ends, instead, with a doxology (20.5). Thus, we can all agree that Second Clement is not a letter. 4 One purpose of this paper is to explore what relevance the observation that Second 1 For constructive feedback on earlier drafts of this paper, I am indebted to R. Matthew Calhoun, Stephen C. Carlson, Rosemary Jermann, Andreas Lindemann and Clare K. Rothschild. 2 Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II (see note 49, below). 3 Second Clement comprises twenty chapters. In this essay, I subscribe to the view that chapters are the work of a later author or editor. See, e. g., D. Völter, Die Apostolischen Väter, II/1: Die älteste Predigt aus Rom (Der sogenannte zweite Clemensbrief) (Leiden: Brill, 1908), 44 6; A. Lindemann, Die Clemensbriefe, HNT 17 / Die Apostolischen Väter 1 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1992), 255 6; W. Pratscher, Der zweite Clemensbrief, KAV 3 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007), 18 22, 220 1; P. Parvis, 2 Clement and the Meaning of the Christian Homily, in P. Foster (ed.), The Writings of the Apostolic Fathers (London: T&T Clark, 2007), at 34 5; W. Grünstäudl, Epilog, Ouvertüre oder Intermezzo? Zur ursprünglichen Funktion von 2 Clem 19,1 20,4, in Early Christianity 4/2 (2013), See further, for example, K. P. Donfried, The Setting of Second Clement in Early Christianity, NT.S 38 (Leiden: Brill, 1974), 24; Pratscher, Der zweite Clemensbrief, 25; C. Tuckett, 84 James A. Kelhoffer Clement is not a letter has for an analysis of the non-epistolary writing s genre and situation and, more generally, for its interpretation. II. Construing Second Clement as a Sermon or Homily Subsequent to the seminal studies of Theodor Zahn, Adolf von Harnack, and J. B. Lightfoot, 5 scholars have been largely content to distinguish Second Clement from both the author and genre of First Clement, designating the former writing as a sermon rather than a letter. 6 Scholars have not, however, given adequate consideration to what it means to call Second Clement a sermon, or even to whether this category is apt, let alone helpful, for interpreting the writing. In 1885, Lightfoot confidently declared, [T]he so-called Second Epistle [of Clement] is the first example of a Christian homily. The newly recovered ending 7 has set this point at rest for ever. The work is plainly not a letter, but a homily, a sermon. 8 As recently as 1992, Andreas Lindemann made much the same point: Daß 2Clem kein Brief, sondern eine Homilie ist, ist in der For schung immer schon gesehen worden. 9 The typical reasoning in regard to Second Clement s genre has been (1) Second Clement is not a letter; (2) therefore, it is a sermon. If one accepts the premise of the disjunctive syllogism 10 that Second Clement is to be classified as either a letter or a sermon, the conclusion can be difficult to resist. An objection not considered in any of the secondary literature on Second Clement is that it would be simplistic to surmise that any non-epistolary writing ostensibly addressed to a congregation was de facto a sermon Clement: Introduction, Text, and Commentary, Oxford Apostolic Fathers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), T. Zahn, Das älteste Kirchengebet und die älteste christliche Predigt, in ZPK 72 (1876), ; A. von Harnack, Über den sogenannten zweiten Brief des Clemens an die Korinther, in ZKG 1 (1877), , ; Idem, Zum Ursprung des sog. 2. Clemensbriefs, in ZNW 6 (1905), 67 71; J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers (5 Vols.; London: Macmillan, ; reprinted: Peabody: Hendrickson, 1989), esp. I/2: In the first excursus below (after the discussion of Lightfoot), I address the confusion caused by widely varying definitions of sermon and homily in the secondary literature. 7 Lightfoot refers to the eleventh-century Greek ms published in 1875 by Philotheos Bryennios and, in particular, to 2 Clement 19 20, which are attested in that ms (but not in Codex Alexandrinus). 8 Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, I/2:194, emphasis original. 9 Lindemann, Clemensbriefe, A disjunctive syllogism is an argument postulating that x is either (a) or (b); x is not (a); therefore, it is (b). 11 Historiographically, scholars would want to establish criteria for judging whether a writing that claims to be a sermon was, in fact, delivered as a sermon to a Christian congregation and, moreover, if such criteria could be applied to additional writings, such as Second Clement, that do not even claim to be sermons. Establishment of such criteria remains a desideratum in studies of ancient Jewish and Christian sermons. If Second Clement Really Were a Sermon 85 In this essay, I challenge several scholars rationale for presenting sermon (or homily ) as an apt designation for Second Clement and question whether this designation helps to interpret the writing or to define its Sitz im Leben as a particular liturgical context (that is, as a sermon delivered in a worship service). I begin with brief observations about variety in early Christian epistolography and highlight similarities between the Sitze im Leben (plural), on the one hand, of a letter read to a congregation and, on the other hand, of a sermon read to a congregation. I then review the discussions by eight scholars of Second Clement s genre and conclude that the status quaestionis needs to be revisited. Finally, I suggest that attention to certain similarities in micro-genre between Second Clement and certain types of ancient letters offers a promising way forward. III. The Remarkably Similar Sitze im Leben of Reading a Letter and Reading a Sermon Several considerations collectively provide a conceptual framework for my critique of sermon as an apt designation for Second Clement. 1. Orality and Literacy Virtually all early Christian literature was composed to be read aloud. Paul, for example, places the Thessalonians under oath to read his letter to the whole assembly: I place you under oath (ἐνορκίζω) in the Lord that this letter be read to all the brothers (πᾶσιν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς) (1 Thess 5:27). When an early Christian letter is read in an assembly, the author is, in effect, preaching to the congregation through the person who reads the letter. Positing a binary distinction, then, between a letter composed for a congregation and a sermon composed for a congregation is modern, questionable and, possibly, anachronistic. We have no information from the first, second, or third centuries that could corroborate (or contradict) such a distinction between the role and form of a letter or a sermon in early Christian literature. Both letters and sermons would have had equally oral functions in that they were composed to be read to one or more congregations. 86 James A. Kelhoffer 2. Unusual Letters: The Authentic Letters of Paul With the exception of Philemon, Paul s letters are exceptionally long relative to other Hellenistic Greek letters. Judith Lieu calls attention to this point when she refers to a writing entitled On Style 12 to highlight what is not a real letter: By the standards of the time most of Paul s letters would have been subject to the judgement of Demetrius On Style [ 228] made about this time on Plato s letters, that they should not really be called letters but books with a greeting prefixed. 13 A Pauline letter is recognizable as a letter primarily in the opening and closing verses that is, in rather small portions of the overall writing. Given the obvious differences between Paul s overgrown letters and their stunted Hellenistic counterparts, Judith Lieu appropriately questions the wisdom of letting Paul s letters provide the starting point for the analysis of the New Testament letters as letters. 14 Especially in the body of his letters, Paul bends and expands the usual epistolary genre as he makes any number of context-specific appeals to his congregations. A Pauline letter, then, has the function of an admonition from Paul to the assembly much like the function a sermon would have if read by someone other than the author. Paul is aware of this function when he announces to the Corinthians, For though absent (ἄπειμι) in body, I am present (πάρειμι) in spirit (1 Cor 5:3a; cf. 16:5 12). Udo Schnelle writes about the apostolic parousia (or presence ) of Paul that is effected through the apostle s letters: Since Paul thinks of himself being present in the congregation either personally or by means of a messenger, or through his letter, the letter brings his apostolic authority to bear on the congregation One can ask, then, what the difference in genre would be between the appeals in a Hellenistic letter s modified form (for example, in a Pauline letter), on the one hand, and a collection of appeals lacking an epistolary prescript and postscript, on the other hand. I would suggest that, in terms of the writings overall genre characteristics, the differences could be rather small. Without abrogating 12 Gk.: περὶ ἑρμηνείας (ca. 1 st c. b.c.e. to 2 nd c. c.e.), attributed (incorrectly) to Demetrius Phalereus (3 rd c. b.c.e.). Lieu s point holds even more so for First Clement. 13 Lieu, The Second and Third Epistles of John: History and Background, Studies of the New Testament and Its World (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1986), 38, continues: 2 and 3 John alone in the New Testament conform to these standards of brevity; each would probably just fill a papyrus sheet. 14 Lieu, Epistles, 49; the former emphasis (above) is added; the latter is Lieu s. On a prevalent trend in scholarship since Adolf Deissmann, Lieu, Epistles, 49, surmises, The results [of starting with Paul s letters] have been misleading and it might be better to recognise that it is 2 and 3 John which can most fruitfully be compared with the papyri letters, and primarily 3 John. 15 U. Schnelle, The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998 [1994]), 40 1. If Second Clement Really Were a Sermon 87 those differences, I contend that possible similarities also merit attention. This is not to question the importance of epistolary features for interpreting letters. Rather, I question the significance of a lack of epistolary features for interpreting non-epistolary writings. 3. Pseudepigraphic Pauline Letters One can wonder if letters written pseudonymously in Paul s (or another apostle s) name were actually intended to be sent and read as letters. True, they have the form of a (modified Pauline) letter. But did they have the function of a letter? An assessment of the difference in form between a (modified Pauline) pseudonymous letter and an anonymous, non-epistolary appeal likewise merits attention. 4. Hortatory Writings without Epistolary Features Some early Christian authors most notably, the authors of Hebrews and First John dispensed with the formal features of an epistolary prescript and/or postscript. The Sitze im Leben of a letter and of an appeal written to be read to a congregation are quite similar. Would the original hearers even have noticed much of a difference? As an example of the need for terminological precision, I mention briefly Georg Strecker s remark on the genre of the Johannine epistles. On the one hand, I could concur with Strecker that, if one grants his inference that First John addresses multiple congregations, it would make sense to characterize the text as a homiletic writing addressed to the whole [Johannine] church. 16 Strecker correctly recognizes that a non-epistolary writing read to one or more congregations, where the author is not present to deliver the message, would have a homiletic function. On the other hand, Strecker s characterization of First John as a homily in the form of a letter 17 exacerbates the confusion surrounding the category of sermon or homily in relation to ancient letters. 16 G. Strecker, The Johannine Letters: A Commentary on 1, 2, and 3 John, Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996), 3, emphasis original: In both form and content, 1 John must be categorized differently from 2 and 3 John. [Unlike 2 and 3 John,] 1 John lacks the essential marks of a letter. [Those addressed in 1 John] apparently belong to multiple congregations that make up the community as a whole, rather than to a particular local congregation. From this point of view it seems that one should regard the writing as a combination of letter and sermon, and designate it a homily in the form of a letter, a homiletic writing addressed to the whole church, but without thereby eradicating the immediate horizon of the Johannine community. 17 Ibid. See the citation in the preceding footnote. See further Donfried, Setting of Second Clement, 44 5. 88 James A. Kelhoffer IV. The Genre of Second Clement: A Selective Forschungsbericht The preceding section problematized common assumptions about differences between a letter and a sermon. It remains to bring these remarks into conversation with views on Second Clement s genre. To show how common assumptions about differences between a letter and a sermon routinely contribute to misunderstandings of Second Clement s genre, I review the work of J. B. Lightfoot (1885), Holt Graham (1965), Karl Paul Donfried (1974), Klaus Wengst (1984), Andreas Lindemann (1992), Wilhelm Pratscher (2007), Paul Parvis (2007), and Christopher Tuckett (2012). Each of these offers much to appreciate in his analysis of Second Clement, but with the exception of Donfried, who resists the designations sermon and homily for the writing, none offers a satisfactory rationale for why they construe Second Clement as a sermon. My interaction with their work gives rise to three excurses: I. Assumptions about the Role of a Single, Prepared Sermon in Early Christian Worship (Justin, First Apology 67) II. Genre and Accountability: Sermon as an Excuse for Objectionable Theology? III. 2 Clem Points to an Acceptance of 2 Clement 1 18 among the Scriptures These excurses critique in greater detail assertions that Second Clement is a sermon and consider possible implications of using sermon as an interpretive category. 1. J. B. Lightfoot Lightfoot s comprehensive five-volume commentary, The Apostolic Fathers, was a considerable achievement in its day and, in subsequent generations, has retained its status as a learned and influential work. Lightfoot refers to First Clement as The Epistle of S. Clement 18 and to Second Clement as An Ancient Homily. 19 The designations are helpful insofar as they highlight that First Clement and Second Clement stem from different authors and occasions. Above, I mentioned Lightfoot s conviction that it has been set at rest for ever that Second Clement is plainly not a letter, but a homily, a sermon. 20 Lightfoot supports this genre classification with two arguments. First, The speaker addresses his hearers more than once towards the close as brothers and sisters. 21 Second, the admonitions to remember the commandments of the Lord 18 Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers ( ), I/2:1 188; cf. Lightfoot s designation The Epistle of S. Clement to the Corinthians, pp Ibid., I/2: Presumably for clarity, on p. 189 Lightfoot refers to The so-called Second Epistle of S. Clement to the Corinthians. Cf. his designation of Second Clement as an ancient homily by an unknown author (pp ). 20 See above on Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, I/2: Ibid., I/2:194 5 at 194, referring to 2 Clem. 19.1; 20.2. If Second Clement Really Were a Sermon 89 (2 Clem. 17.3) and to pay attention to what is written (19.1) find a roughly contemporary analogy in Justin Martyr, who describes the simple services of the Christians in his time. 22 Both of Lightfoot s arguments are dubious. First, imploring one s brethren (ἀδελφοί) is also a common feature of early Christian letters (!), including those of Paul, Ignatius, Polycarp, and First Clement. 23 Further, the vocative ἀδελφοί occurs throughout Second Clement (1.1; 4.3; 5.1, 5; 7.1; 8.4; 9.11; 10.1; 11.5; 12.5; 13.1; 14.1, 3; 16.1), not just in the final chapters that were added later (ἀδελφοὶ καὶ ἀδελφαί, 19.1; 20.2). Further, the vocative ἀδελφοί occurs in other non-epistolary writings, such as the Martyrdom of Polycarp and the Shepherd of Hermas. 24 Thus, the vocative ἀδελφοί [καὶ ἀδελφαί] does not distinguish Second Clement from early Christian epistolary literature. Nor does it suggest that Second Clement originated as a sermon. On the contrary, the writing s many admonitions directed to ἀδελφοί could be taken as a similarity between Second Clement and certain early Christian letters. Second, appealing to Justin s First Apology 67, Lightfoot argues for its similarities to the setting of a sermon posited for Second Clement. Justin describes Christian gatherings in which Scriptures are read and a leader gives instructions that the hearers are to carry out. Inasmuch as Justin s descriptions are quite general and succinct, however, the recourse to Justin is unpersuasive. 25 Nor do Justin s admonitions support Lightfoot s inference of simple [worship] services, to the exclusion of possibly more ritually or liturgically complex ones. 26 Justin s descriptions could, hypothetically, be applied to any number of Sitze im Leben even to the reading of an early Christian letter within a congregation. The general descriptions of First Apology 67, then, do not support the inference that Second Clement was a
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