From Glorious Past to Miserable Present: First Clement on the Organisation of the Corinthian Community

Khomych, Taras (2015) From Glorious Past to Miserable Present: First Clement on the Organisation of the Corinthian Community. In: Early Christian Communities between Ideal and Reality. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 342 (I). Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, pp. 51-60. ISBN 978-3-16-152670-1

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First Clement provides valuable insights concerning the formation of the earliest Christian communities. The author models Christian ministry on the institutions of Israel. At the same time, the community structure, reflected in the letter, appears to have much in common with the Roman household. It is worth remembering, however, that Clement does not provide us with a holistic view of the community. His writing is circumstantial, dealing with the schism within the Corinthian congregation. Accordingly, the author is first and foremost preoccupied with solving this problem. To achieve this goal, Clement appears to adopt a strategy which was common at that time by using deliberative rhetoric. Clement associates the past with authority, norm or ideal, which he refers to in order to deal with the present turmoil in Corinth. This emphasis on the past distinguishes this letter from other writings of the Apostolic Fathers from roughly the same time period, such as the Didache or Letters of Ignatius, which locate the ideal in the future, in the eschaton. The emphasis on the past in First Clement may be explained by the author’s use of particular rhetorical conventions of the time. The author juxtaposes the imagery of the past and the present of the Corinthian community. In so doing, Clement provides a challenging and, at the same time, appealing model, which the community is encouraged to adopt in the future.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Apostolic Fathers; First Clement; Community; Rhetoric
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Theology, Philosophy and Religion
Depositing User: Taras Khomych
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2016 15:48
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2016 15:48

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