Early Christianity and Classical Culture: Comparative Studies in Honor of Abraham J. Malherbe

By Abraham Johannes Malherbe | Go to book overview

CIVIC CONCORD AND COSMIC HARMONY
SOURCES OF METAPHORIC MAPPING
IN 1 CLEMENT 20:3

Cilliers Breytenbach


Introduction

In his Carl Newell Jackson Lectures on “early Christianity and Greek paideia” delivered at Harvard in 1960, Werner Jaeger briefly analysed 1 Clement against the background of the Greek rhetorical tradition, comparing Clement to Demosthenes.1 By drawing on the topos that internal discord had overthrown great kings and powerful states, Clement had reverted to classical Greek tradition. Jaeger reminds us:

“…Concord (homonoia) had always been the slogan of peacemaking lead-
ers and political educators, of poets, sophists, and statesmen in the clas-
sical age of the Greek polis. In the Roman period, Concordia had even
become a goddess. … Philosophers had praised her as the divine power
that yokes the universe and upholds world order and world peace. So
we are not surprised, and yet again we are, when we see Clement refer
in that wonderful twentieth chapter of his letter to the cosmic order of
all things as the ultimate principle established by the will of God, the
creator, as a visible model for human life and peaceful cooperation.2

Jaeger, who suggested that Clement used a Stoic source for his argument,3 was not the first and the only one to investigate the Stoic background of 1 Clement. 20. Long before Jaeger, G. Bardy and Louis Sanders followed Rudolf Knopf’s commentary,4 and drew the attention to the parallels, especially between chapter 20 and several authors.5 It was Jaeger, however, who stressed the importance of the notion of

He argued that 1 Clement stands in the tradition of promoting concord

1 W. Jaeger, Early Christianity and Greek Paideia (Cambridge: Belknap, 1962) 12–26.

2 Ibid., 13–4.

3 Cf. ibid., 15 with note 8.

4 Cf. R. Knopf, Die Apostolischen Väter. Die Lehre der zwölf Apostel. Die zwei Clemensbriefe (Tubingen: Mohr, 1920) 75–6.

5 Cf. G. Bardy, “Expressions stoïciennes dans la 1a dementis,” RSR 12 (1922) 73– 85; L. Sanders, L’Hellénisme de Saint Clément de Rome et le Paulinisme (Studia Hellenistica; Louvain: Peeters, 1943) 121–30; Ch. Eggenberger, Die Quellen der politischen Ethik des 1. Klemensbriefes (Zürich: Zwiingli-Verlag, 1961).

-259-

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