THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS: by the late J.B.Lightfoot DD., DCL., LL.D. Lord Bishop of Durham. Edited and completed by J.R.Harmer MA. Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, sometime Chaplain to the Bishop. First published Macmillan & Co. 1891. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2014.
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THE so-called Second Epistle of S. Clement to the Corinthians follows immediately upon the first in all the three ms authorities, and is apparently ascribed to S. Clement by them. It has however no claim to this designation; for, although it was known to the Fathers of the fourth century and later, it is not quoted by early writers as being the work of S. Clement, and the internal evidence both of style and doctrine, so far as it goes, is distinctly against this conclusion. There are some indications (§7) that it was indeed written or spoken in the first instance to the Corinthians, but its language and character point to its being a homily rather than a letter. This view has been confirmed by the recent discovery of the latter half of the Epistle. The speaker addresses his hearers more than once towards the close as 'Brothers and sisters' (§§19, 20). Elsewhere he appeals to them in language which is quite explicit on the point at issue. 'Let us not think', he says, 'to give heed and believe now only, while we are being admonished by the presbyters; but likewise when we have departed home, let us remember the commandments of the Lord, etc.' (§17). We may therefore now definitely regard it as the earliest Christian homily extant. As a literary production it has no value, but it is at least interesting for the high moral tone and unswerving faith which it displays throughout. Its date may with some confidence be assigned to the first half of the second century, probably c. A.D. 120-140.