1 Clement is a letter attributed to Clement of Rome (fl. second half of the 1st century CE). It is from a single hand, comprising sixty-five chapters, written from a body of Christ followers in Rome to those in Corinth. It is a long and often rambling writing whose chief aim does not appear until chapters 39–44. Clement, on behalf of the Roman community, advises his audience to restore harmony to the Corinthian church through the reappointment of leaders some have deposed. Parts of the early church treated it as canonical. In Codex Alexandrinus it appears, together with 2 Clement, directly after the Book of Revelation, and in a Syriac manuscript both writings appear before the Apocalypse. Clement of Alexandria quoted the letter as a canonical text. It nowhere states it is from Clement but there are three warrants for accepting the attribution: in the 2nd century Dionysius of Corinth cited him as its author; the Shepherd of Hermas, a document many argue to be contemporary with the writing, identifies a Clement who has the responsibility of sending writings to other cities (Vision 2.4.3), arguably a direct allusion to 1 Clement; the possibility of association as a freed person with the aristocratic family of Titus Flavius Clement and his wife Flavia Domitilla, the latter of whom Eusebius of Caesarea records as persecuted by Domitian for Christian belief. Its chief importance is that it is the earliest preserved Christian letter outside the New Testament. As a text that is contemporary with, if not earlier than, several canonical writings, it offers a snapshot of emergent Christianity in Rome and Corinth. Since its discovery it has played a central role in debates concerning the earliest conceptions of leadership in the ancient church and it is here where most attention has been directed. Scholarly study has also centered on its uses of rhetorical conventions, philosophical traditions, liturgical formulae, and lengthy Old Testament quotations, as well as possible echoes of New Testament texts.
A number of texts offer a general orientation to 1 Clement. In recent years there have appeared numerous introductions to the corpus designated as the Apostolic Fathers with dedicated chapters to each the authors or writings. Of these the essay in Lindemann 2010 is most useful because it furnishes an excellent bibliography and critically reviews recent treatments of the letter. Quasten 1983 lists important earlier studies. As 1 Clement has been an important source in debates concerning the development of the ministry in the early church, discussion of the letter often occurs in general studies of early Christian leadership. Fuellenbach 1980 furnishes an excellent overview and precise description of both general and dedicated studies from the 19th century onward. Alongside these overviews, two essays in Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt in Knoch 1992 and Ziegler and Brunner 1992 offer excellent general orientations to the letter with overviews of scholarly debates regarding content and purpose. Grant 1964 presents a general account of the Apostolic Fathers and the place of 1 Clement within the corpus. Harnack 1929 was the author’s third and most important treatment of 1 Clement and engages with earlier 19th-century scholarship. Knopf 1899 treats the letter as a homily that draws heavily from Hellenistic philosophy. Wrede 1891 attends more closely to the letter’s biblical themes and a continuing dispute over spiritual gifts described in 1 Corinthians. Lightfoot 1981a and Lightfoot 1981b (first published in 1899–1900), a two-volume study, that furnishes a critical introduction designed in part to refute earlier German scholarship, especially that advanced by the Tübingen School, and to offer a critical text with commentary. Taken together these investigations focus on critical issues such as the letter’s rhetorical style, its author and date, its engagement with Hellenistic culture, biblical citations, and the reasons for the conflict that has given rise to the Roman response.
Fuellenbach, John. Ecclesiastical Office and the Primacy of Rome: An Evaluation of Recent Theological Discussion of First Clement. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1980.
This is an excellent overview of the chief studies of 1 Clement, specifically with reference to the debate over the form and theology of Christian leadership the letter promotes.
Grant, Robert M. The Apostolic Fathers: An Introduction. Vol. 1, The Apostolic Fathers: A Translation and Commentary. New York: Thomas Nelson, 1964.
Discusses 1 Clement in the context of a general account of issues relating to history and study of the Apostolic Fathers.
Harnack, Adolf. Einführung in die alte Kirchengeschichte. Das Schreiben der römischen Gemeinde an die korintische aus der Zeit des Domitians (1 Clemensbrief). Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1929.
Harnack published three volumes dedicated to1 Clement over his long career. This, the latest study, is the concluding essay to a historical seminar led by Harnack over fifty-four years and raises key issues in the study of the letter that subsequent scholarship continues to engage.
Knoch, Otto B. “Im Namen des Petrus und Paulus: Der Brief des Clemens Romanus und die Eigenart des römischen Christentum.” In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Part 2. Vol. 27.1. Edited by Wolfgang Haase and Hildegard Temporini, 3–54. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1992.
This is an excellent overview that provides an encyclopedic review of proposals concerning the date and purpose of the letter, a history of scholarly investigation, and leading issues in contemporary study of the letter.
Knopf, Rudolf. Der Erste Clemensbrief. Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 20,1 (Neue Folge Volume 5, issue 1). Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1899.
Investigates the letter’s form, its indebtedness to Hellenistic culture, its citations of the biblical canon, and its purpose as a homily sent as a letter.
Lightfoot, J. B. Clement. Part One. Vol. 1, The Apostolic Fathers: Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981a.
Lightfoot presents a discussion of the discovery and publication of Alexandrinus and Hiersolymitanus, compares their contents, and provides photographic plates of the latter. He also discusses the Syriac translation. Reprinted from 1889–1890 edition.
Lightfoot, J. B. Clement. Part One. Vol. 2, The Apostolic Fathers: Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981b.
The second volume presents the Greek text with a critical apparatus and textual commentary, followed by a translation. Reprinted from 1889–1890 edition.
Lindemann, Andreas. “The First Epistle of Clement.” In The Apostolic Fathers: An Introduction. Edited by Wilhelm Pratscher, 47–69. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2010.
Offers an overview of the text tradition, genre, contents, organization, theology, uses of Scripture, occasion, authorship and dating of the letter.
Quasten, Johannes. Patrology. Vol. 1, The Beginnings of Patristic Literature. Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1983.
This is the starting point for research. Quasten furnishes a bibliography with a general overview of chief themes of the letter, its author, and its place in the history of doctrine. Reprinted from 1950 edition.
Wrede, W. Untersuchungen zum Ersten Klemensbriefe. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1891.
Wrede sees 1 Clement as a largely aimless letter that seeks to resolve a conflict that has arisen from pneumatic Christians overthrowing administrative officers.
Ziegler, Adolf, and Gerbert Brunner. “Die Frage nach einer politischen Absicht des ersten Klemensbrief.” In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Part 2. Vol. 27.1. Edited by Wolfgang Haase and Hildegard Temporini, 55–76. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1992.
Furnishes an overview of debates concerning the letter’s attitude toward Rome and political authorities.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- 2 Baruch
- 1 Clement
- Acts of the Apostles
- Adam and Eve
- Aelia Capitolina
- Afterlife and Immortality
- Alexander the Great
- Altered States of Consciousness in the Bible
- Ancient Christianity, Churches in
- Ancient Israel, Schools in
- Ancient Medicine
- Ancient Mesopotamia, Schools in
- Anti-Semitism and the New Testament
- Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
- Apocryphal Acts
- Apostolic Fathers
- Archaeology and Material Culture of Ammon and the Ammonite...
- Archaeology and Material Culture of Judah and the Judeans ...
- Archaeology and Material Culture of Moab and the Moabites
- Archaeology and Material Culture of Phoenicia and the Phoe...
- Art, Early Christian
- Astrology and Astronomy
- Barnabas, The Epistle of
- Biblical Criticism
- Biblical Studies, Cognitive Science Approaches in
- Caesarea Maritima
- Canon, Biblical
- Children in the Hebrew Bible
- Christian Apocrypha
- Chronicles, 1 and 2
- Cities of Refuge
- Clement, 2
- Clement of Alexandria
- Corinthians, 2
- Cosmology, Near East
- Covenant, Ark of the
- Daniel, Additions to
- Death and Burial
- Deuteronomistic History
- Domestic Architecture, Ancient Israel
- Early Christianity
- Economics and Biblical Studies
- Education in the Hebrew Bible
- Election in the Bible
- Epistles, Catholic
- Epistolography (Ancient Letters)
- Esther and Additions to Esther
- Evil Eye
- Exodus, Book of
- Feminist Scholarship on the Old Testament
- Flora and Fauna of the Hebrew Bible
- Food and Food Production
- Friendship, Kinship and Enmity
- Funerary Rites and Practices, Greco-Roman
- Genesis, Book of
- God, Ancient Israel
- God, Greco-Roman
- God, Son of
- Gospels, Apocryphal
- Great, Herod the
- Greco-Roman World, Associations in the
- Greek Language
- Hebrew Bible, Biblical Law in the
- Hebrew Language
- Hellenistic and Roman Egypt
- Hermas, Shepherd of
- Historiography, Greco-Roman
- Holy Spirit
- Honor and Shame
- Hosea, Book of
- Idol/Idolatry (HB/OT)
- Imperial Cult and Early Christianity
- Infancy Gospel of Thomas
- Interpretation and Hermeneutics
- Israel, History of
- Jesus of Nazareth
- Jewish Christianity
- Jewish Festivals
- John, Gospel of
- John the Baptist
- Jubilees, Book of
- Judaism, Hellenistic
- Judaism, Rabbinic
- Judaism, Second Temple
- Judas, Gospel of
- Jude, Epistle of
- Judges, Book of
- Judith, Book of
- Kings, 1 and 2
- Letters, Johannine
- Letters, Pauline
- Levitical Cities
- Literacy, New Testament
- Literature, Apocalyptic
- Lord’s Prayer
- Luke, Gospel of
- Maccabean Revolt
- Maccabees, 1–4
- Man, Son of
- Manasseh, King of Judah
- Manasseh, Tribe/Territory
- Mark, Gospel of
- Matthew, Gospel of
- Medieval Biblical Interpretation (Jewish)
- Midrash and Aggadah
- Minoritized Criticism of the New Testament
- Miracle Stories
- Modern Bible Translations
- Myth in the Hebrew Bible
- Nahum, Book of
- New Testament and Early Christianity, Women, Gender, and S...
- New Testament, Feminist Scholarship on the
- New Testament, Men and Masculinity in the
- New Testament, Rhetoric of the
- New Testament, Social Sciences and the
- New Testament Studies, Emerging Approaches in
- New Testament, Textual Criticism of the
- New Testament Views of Torah
- Numbers, Book of
- Nuzi (Nuzi Tablets)
- Old Testament, Biblical Theology in the
- Old Testament, Social Sciences and the
- Orality and Literacy
- Passion Narratives
- Pauline Chronology
- Paul's Opponents
- "Persian" Period, The
- Philo of Alexandria
- Poetry, Hebrew
- Priestly/Holiness Codes
- Pseudepigraphy, Early Christian
- Qumran/Dead Sea Scrolls
- Revelation (Apocalypse)
- Samuel, 1 and 2
- Sects, Jewish
- Sermon on the Mount
- Sin (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament)
- Solomon, Wisdom of
- Song of Songs
- Succession Narrative
- Synoptic Problem
- Tales, Court
- Temples and Sanctuaries
- Temples, Near Eastern
- Ten Commandments
- the Dead, Egyptian Book of
- the Hebrew Bible, Ancient Egypt and
- Thomas, Gospel of
- Twelve Prophets, Book of the
- Virtues and Vices: New Testament Ethical Exhortation in I...
- War, New Testament
- Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testa...
- Worship in the New Testament and Earliest Christianity
- Worship, Old Testament