The learned are now unanimous in regarding the other writings which bear the name of Clemens Clement Though very frequently referred to by ancient Christian writers, it remained unknown to the scholars of Western Europe until happily discovered in the Alexandrian manuscript Who the Clement was, to whom these writings are ascribed, cannot with absolute certainty be determined. The general opinion is, that he is the same as the person of that name referred to by St.
Paul Phil. The writings themselves contain no statement as to their author Although, as has been said, positive certainty cannot be reached on the subject, we may with great probability conclude that we have in this epistle a composition of that [pg ] Clement who is known to us from Scripture as having been an associate of the great apostle. The date of this epistle has been the subject of considerable controversy.
It is clear from the writing itself that it was composed soon after some persecution chapter I which the Roman Church had endured; and the only question is, whether we are to fix upon the persecution under Nero or Domitian. If the former, the date will be about the year 68; if the latter, we must place it towards the close of the first century, or the beginning of the second.
We possess no external aid to the settlement of this question. The lists of early Roman bishops are in hopeless confusion, some making Clement the immediate successor of St.
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Peter, others placing Linus, and others still Linus and Anacletus, between him and the apostle. The internal evidence, again, leaves the matter doubtful, though it has been strongly pressed on both sides. The probability seems, on the whole, to be in favour of the Domitian period, so that the epistle may be dated about A. Roberts, Dr. Donaldson, and Rev. Crombie, pp. This copy is considerably mutilated. In some passages the text is manifestly corrupt, and other passages have been suspected of being interpolations" Norton's "Genuineness of the Gospels," vol. The second epistle is rejected on all sides.
The diversity of style clearly points to a different writer from that of the first epistle" "Apostolic Fathers," page Eusebius, who is the first writer who mentions it, expresses doubt regarding it, while Jerome and Photius state that it was rejected by the ancients. It is now universally regarded as spurious" "Supernatural Religion," pp. There are also other writings reported to be his, verbose and of great length.
Lately, and some time ago, those were produced that contain the dialogues of Peter and Apion, of which, [pg ] however, not a syllable is recorded by the primitive Church" Eusebius' "Eccles. The first epistle "is the only piece of Clement that can be relied on as genuine" "Lardner's Credibility," pt. This very dubious Clement Paley quotes, be it said, from the first—or least doubtful—of his writings only says that one of Paley's original witnesses was martyred, namely Peter; Paul, of course, was not an eye-witness of Christ's proceedings.
The Vision of Hermas is a simple rhapsody, unworthy of a moment's consideration, of which Mosheim justly remarks: "The discourse which he puts into the mouths of those celestial beings is more insipid and senseless than what we commonly hear among the meanest of the multitude" "Eccles. Hist," p. Its date is very doubtful; the Canon of Muratori puts it in the middle of the second century, saying that it was written by Hermas, brother to Pius, Bishop of Rome, who died A. See "Norton's Genuineness of the Gospels," vol.
The editors of the "Apostolic Fathers" dispute this assertion, and say: "It is abundantly established by external testimony, and is also supported by the internal evidence" p. But the chapters wanting in Greek are contained in an ancient Latin version. While there is no ground for supposing, as some have done, that the whole epistle is spurious, there [pg ] seems considerable force in the arguments by which many others have sought to prove chap.
The date of the epistle cannot be satisfactorily determined. It depends on the conclusion we reach as to some points, very difficult and obscure, connected with that account of the martyrdom of Polycarp which has come down to us.
We shall not, however, be far wrong if we fix it about the middle of the second century" Ibid, pp. Poor Paley! The authenticity of the letters of Ignatius has long been a matter of dispute. Mosheim, who accepts the seven epistles, says that, "Though I am willing to adopt this opinion as preferable to any other, yet I cannot help looking upon the authenticity of the epistle to Polycarp as extremely dubious, on account of the difference of style; and, indeed, the whole question relating to the epistles of St.
Ignatius in general seems to me to labour under much obscurity, and to be embarrassed with many difficulties" "Eccles. The first three exist only in Latin; all the rest are extant also in Greek. It is now the universal opinions of critics that the first eight of these professedly Ignatian letters are spurious. They bear in themselves indubitable proofs of being the production of a later age than that in which Ignatius lived.
Neither Eusebius nor Jerome makes the least reference to them; and they are now, by common consent, set aside as forgeries, which were at various dates, and to serve special purposes, put forth under the name of the celebrated Bishop of Antioch. But, after the question has been thus simplified, it still remains sufficiently complex. Of the seven epistles which are acknowledged by Eusebius" "Eccles. Hist," bk. But although the shorter form of the Ignatian letters had been generally accepted in preference to the longer, there was still a pretty prevalent opinion among scholars that even it could not be regarded as absolutely free from interpolations, or as of undoubted authenticity Upon the whole, however, the shorter recension was, until recently, accepted without much opposition But a totally different aspect was given to the question by the discovery of a Syriac version of three of these epistles among the MSS.
Mary Deipara, in the desert of Nitria, in Egypt [between and ] On these being deposited in the British Museum, the late Dr.
Cureton, who then had charge of the Syriac department, discovered among them, first, the epistle to Polycarp, and then again the same epistle, with those to the Ephesians and to the Romans, in two other volumes of manuscripts" "Apostolic Fathers," pp. Cureton gave it as his opinion that the Syriac letters are "the only true and genuine letters of the venerable Bishop of Antioch that have either come down to our times or were ever known in the earliest ages of the Christian Church" "Corpus Ignatianum," ed.
I desire no better evidence in a thing of this nature But whether the smaller themselves are the genuine writings of Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, is a question that has been much disputed, and has employed the pens of the ablest critics. And whatever positiveness some may have shown on either side, I must own I have found it a very difficult question" "Credibility," pt. The Syriac version was then, of course, unknown. Professor Norton, the learned Christian defender of the Gospels, says: "The seven shorter epistles, the genuineness of which is contended for, come to us in bad company There is, as it seems to me, no reasonable doubt that the seven shorter epistles ascribed to Ignatius are equally, with all the rest, fabrications of a [pg ] date long subsequent to his time.
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Origen, in the third century, quotes a few words, which he ascribes to Ignatius, although without definite reference to any particular epistle; and, in the fourth century, Eusebius mentions seven epistles ascribed to Ignatius. There is no other evidence. There are, however, fifteen epistles extant, all of which are attributed to Ignatius, of all of which, with the exception of three, which are only known in a Latin version, we possess both Greek and Latin versions.
Of seven of these epistles—and they are those mentioned by Eusebius—we have two Greek versions, one of which is very much shorter than the other; and, finally, we now possess a Syriac version of three epistles, only in a form still shorter than the shorter Greek version, in which are found all the quotations of the Fathers, without exception, up to the fourth century.
Eight of the fifteen epistles are universally rejected as spurious ante, p.
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The longer Greek version of the remaining seven epistles is almost unanimously condemned as grossly interpolated; and the great majority of critics recognise that the shorter Greek version is also much interpolated; whilst the Syriac version, which, so far as MSS. It is not surprising that the vast majority of critics have expressed doubt more or less strong regarding the authenticity of all these epistles, and that so large a number have repudiated them altogether.
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One thing is quite evident—that, amidst such a mass of falsification, interpolation, and fraud, the Ignatian epistles cannot, in any form, be considered evidence on any important point In fact, the whole of the Ignatian literature is a mass of falsification and fraud" "Sup. The student may judge from this confusion, of fifteen reduced to seven long, and seven long reduced to seven short, and seven short reduced to three, and those [pg ] three very doubtful, how thoroughly reliable must be Paley's arguments drawn from this "contemporary of Polycarp.
Why, acknowledging this, they call him "celebrated," it is hard to say. Truly, the ways of Christian commentators are dark! Paley's quotation is taken from the epistle to the Smyrnaeans not one of the Syriac, be it noted , and is from the shorter Greek recension. It occurs in chap. What strikes one as most remarkable—if Paley's contention of the sufferings of the witnesses be true, and these writings authentic—is that so very little mention is made of the apostles, of their labours, toils, and sufferings, and that these epistles are simply a kind of patchwork, chiefly of Old Testament materials, mixed up with exhortations about Christ.
The circular epistle of the Church of Smyrna is a curious document. Paley quotes a terrible account of the tortures inflicted, and one would imagine on reading it that many must have been put to death. We are surprised to learn, from the epistle itself, that Polycarp was only the twelfth martyr between the two towns of Smyrna and Philadelphia!
The amount of dependence to be placed on the narrative may be judged by the following:—"As the flame blazed forth in great fury, we, to whom it was given to witness it, beheld a great miracle, and have been preserved that we might report to others what then took place.
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For the fire, shaping itself into the form of an arch, like the sail of a ship when filled with the wind, encompassed as by a circle the body of the martyr. And he appeared within, not like flesh which is burnt, but as bread that is baked, or as gold and silver glowing in a furnace.
Moreover, we perceived such a sweet odour, as if frankincense or some such precious spices had been burning there. At length, when those men perceived that his body could not be consumed by the fire, they commanded an executioner to go near, and pierce him with a dagger. And on his doing this, [pg ] there came forth a dove, and a great quantity of blood, so that the fire was extinguished" "Apostolic Fathers," p.