Jewish-Christian Interpretation of the Pentateuch in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Title Page, Copyright Page
The Pseudo-Clementine Homilies represent an important witness to “Jewish Christianity” during the third and fourth centuries, and they likely preserve traditions from an even earlier era. This peculiar body of writings offers a distinct approach to the interpretation of the Pentateuch. It is the goal of this study to give a detailed account of the theory of exegesis put forth by the...
1. Overview of Previous Scholarship
Most of our knowledge about “Jewish Christianity” in antiquity is dependent on patristic heresiological sources. But in addition to these, the Pseudo- Clementine Homilies and the Recognitions (hereafter Hom. and Rec.) occupy a special place. For they are widely recognized as a few of the most important primary sources for gaining something of a firsthand knowledge of Jewish...
2. The Rejection of Allegorism
The Pseudo-Clementine Homilies (in twenty discourses) and Recognitions (in ten books) present a life of Clement of Rome (fl. 96 ce). The overarching narrative framework tells of Clement’s quest to be reunited with his estranged family. Within this narrative, and at the outset of the tale, Clement happens to meet up with the apostle Peter, who quickly becomes Clement’s beloved...
3. The Theory of the False Pericopes
The Pseudo-Clementine Homilies maintain a general concern for the sensus litteralis of the Scriptures. As such, allegorical interpretation is not accepted. We saw in the previous chapter that when it comes to Greek myth, allegorism is deemed irrelevant; when it comes to the Pentateuch, allegorism is altogether rejected (owing in part to its association with pagan myth) on the grounds that...
4. The True Prophet’s Teaching as an Exegetical Criterion
Like the theory of the false pericopes, another trademark of this peculiar literature is the idea that correct interpretation of Scripture is not possible apart from a knowledge of the True Prophet’s teaching.1 According to the Homilist,
διὸ πρὸ πάντων τὸν....
5. Oral Tradition as an Exegetical Criterion
I have noted that the Homilist takes a “literalist” approach to the interpretation of the Pentateuch. Allegorism is therefore categorically rejected. I am proposing that, according to the Homilist, a proper management of Scripture requires the use of three “external” criteria. In the previous chapter, I discussed the first of these, according to which the True Prophet’s teaching functions as an...
6. The Harmony Criterion
The present study seeks to offer a coherent account of the exegetical theory put forth in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies. So far, I have examined the Homilist’s rejection of allegorism. We have seen that the Homilist also postulates the existence of various false pericopes embedded within the Pentateuch. I am proposing that, according the Homilist, these “false pericopes” are to be...
7. Summary and Conclusion
Charles Bigg wrote long ago,
The interest of the Homilies is mainly doctrinal and historical. Where and by whom were these strange doctrines preached? What is their origin and lineage? [What is] their relation to the Gnostic heresies, and to the Catholic Church? . . . The overthrow of the Tübingen School by the critical and historical methods, of which Dr. Harnack...
Index of Names and Subjects
Index of Greek Terms
Index of Ancient Sources
Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2013
OCLC Number: 868834804
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