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CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

AND A SECRET GOSPEL OF MARK

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
AND A
SECRET GOSPEL OF MARK

Morton

Smith

HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS


CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS
I

973

Copyright 1973 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College


All rights reserved
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 72-148938
SBN 674-13490-7
Printed in the United States of America

This book was written for


Arthur Darby Nock and is
dedicated to his memory

Contents
PREFACE

ix

ONE. T H E M A N U S C R I P T

TWO. T H E L E T T E R

THREE. T H E SECRET GOSPEL

87

FOUR. T H E BACKGROUND

195

F I V E . T H E H I S T O R Y OF T H E T E X T

279

APPENDICES

A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.

Palaeographic Peculiarities
The Evidence Concerning Carpocrates
Clausulae
Clement's Quotations from Mark
Gospel Phrases and Their Parallels
Clement's Quotation of Mark 1 0 . 1 7 - 3 1
Type, Frequency, and Distribution of Parallels

293
295
351
353
357
368
370

INDICES

I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.

The Vocabulary of the Text


Quotations and Reminiscences in the Letter
Ancient Works and Passages Discussed
Greek Words and Phrases Discussed
Notabilia varia

380
390
392
409
412

A B B R E V I A T I O N S AND W O R K S C I T E D

423

T H E F R A G M E N T : P L A T E S , T R A N S L A T I O N , T R A N S C R I P T I O N , AND P H O T O G R A P H S

445

vii

Preface
The Monastery of Mar Saba is located in the Judean desert, a few miles southeast
of Jerusalem. In its tower library there are a number of Greek manuscripts and early
printed books containing manuscript supplements. When I visited Jerusalem in the
summer of 1958 His Beatitude Benedict, Patriarch of Jerusalem, kindly gave me
permission to spend a fortnight at the monastery, study this material, and publish it.
Let me begin this book with my sincere thanks to His Beatitude, to Archimandrite
Seraphim, the Hegoumenos of Mar Saba, and to the brothers of the monastery. M y
greatest debt of thanks, to the late Custodian of the Holy Sepulchre, Archimandrite
Kyriakos, is one which can no longer be paid.
The manuscripts of Mar Saba proved, on examination, to be mostly modern. This
was no surprise, since it was well known that the rich collection of ancient manuscripts,
for which the monastery was famous in the early nineteenth century, had been
transferred to Jerusalem for safekeeping in the eighteen-sixties. Little seems to have
been left behind at that time except scraps and printed books. But in subsequent
years there has been a gradual accumulation of other manuscript material, both new
and old. During my stay I was able to examine, label, and describe some seventy
items. Besides these there were some twenty distinct manuscripts and two large
folders full of scraps which I did not have time to study. M y notes on the collection
h a v e been printed in an article, "'

eV -rj Movfj

,"

translated by Archimandrite Constantine Michaelides, in the periodical of the


Patriarchate of Jerusalem, ME 52 (i960) 11 off, 245fr. To this article readers
must be referred for a description of the manuscript material as a whole.
Among the items examined was one, number 65 in my published notes, of which
the manuscript element consisted of two and a half pages of writing at the back of an
old printed book. The writing begins with the cross which Greek monastic scribes
commonly set down first of all. Then comes a heading, " F r o m the letters of the most
holy Clement, the author of the Stromateis; to Theodore." Then comes the text of
part of a letter, certainly not complete, since it breaks off in the middle of a sentence.
The content of this text is so surprising that if Clement (who wrote at the end of the
second century) really was its author the consequences for the history of the early
Christian Church and for New Testament criticism are revolutionary.
The present book is an attempt to describe this document and to set forth the major
ix

PREFACE

elements which must be considered in judging it. The first chapter describes the
manuscript. The second studies the relation of the letter to the commonly acknowledged works of Clement. T h e similarities and differences are examined in a
word-by-word commentary; then the results thus attained are summed up and other,
general, considerations added. This examination leads to the conclusion that the
letter is correctly attributed to Clement, and this conclusion is made the point of
departure for the third chapter, which studies the letter's quotations from a secret
Gospel it attributes to Mark. After considering the external evidence relevant to this
Gospel, the study proceeds, by way of a detailed commentary on the quoted texts,
to establish, first, their stylistic, then, their structural relations to the canonical
Gospels. The fourth chapter deals with the historical value of both letter and Gospel,
especially with their importance as evidence concerning the secret side of early
Christianity. A final chapter presents what little evidence can be found concerning
the history of the text of both Gospel and letter, and indicates some of the hypotheses
with which this evidence may plausibly be filled out. Important bodies of evidence,
too large for presentation in the text, have been added in a series of appendices.
Appendix B, in particular, contains the complete dossier of Carpocrates and his
followers, who played an important role in the history of the new Gospel material.
For convenience of reference, the photographs of the manuscript, with facing transcriptions and translations, have been placed at the very end of the volume.
M y thanks are due to the Columbia University Council for Research in the Social
Sciences and to the Department of History of Columbia University for grants which
helped me in the preparation of the present work. Mr. Stanley Isser verified the
references throughout the first four hundred pages of the manuscript, Mr. Levon
Avdoyan gave me much help in the preparation of the indices, and Professor
Jacob Neusner of Brown University read the entire text and made many corrections;
I sincerely thank them all. M a n y different scholars have helped me in different
aspects of the work; my indebtedness to them is recorded and my thanks are offered
at the beginnings of the chapters with which they have been concerned. I thank Mrs.
Elisabeth J. Munck, Professor Zeph Stewart, and Mrs. Mailice Wifstrand for permission to publish quotations from the letters of the late Professors Johannes Munck,
A. D. Nock, and Albert Wifstrand. I am grateful to the Akademie Verlag, the
British Museum, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and Usines Brepols for permissions to reprint sections of their publications. Finally, I am indebted to the Harvard
University Press for its consent to publish and care in publishing this difficult
manuscript.
I shall of course want to follow the discussion of this text; I therefore hope that
scholars who write about it will be so kind as to send copies of their publications to
me at the Department of History, Columbia University, N . Y . 10027, U . S . A .
Morton Smith
New York,

1970

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
AND A SECRET GOSPEL OF MARK

ONE

The Manuscript
T h e pages on w h i c h the text is written are reproduced in actual size on Plates
IIII. T h e book in w h i c h they are found is an exemplar of Isaac Voss's edition of
the Epistulae genuinae S. Ignatii Martyris ( A m s t e r d a m : J . Blaeu, 1646). Its front cover
a n d title page have been lost, but Voss's name is given at the end of the dedication;
I was able to identify the edition by photographing the first preserved page (p. 2)
and the last numbered page (p. 318) and comparing these photographs with the
corresponding pages of complete copies. T h e manuscript was written over both
sides of the last page (which was blank) of the original book and over half the recto
of a sheet of binder's paper. T h e binding was of that heavy, white paperboard so
often found on books bound in V e n i c e during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. F r o m the remains of it, I should guess that it was approximately contemporary
w i t h the book itself. Therefore the date of the book, plus about fifteen or twenty
years (1660 or 1665), m a y be taken as the date after w h i c h the manuscript insertion
was p r o b a b l y made.
A s for the date at w h i c h it was probably made, that can be settled only by dating
the hand. For assistance in this m y thanks are due to A . A n g e l o u and C . D i m a r a s
of the Greek National Foundation, the late A . Delatte of the University of Liege,
G . Kournoutos of the Ministry of Education of Greece, M . Manousakas of the
Archives of the A c a d e m y of Athens, the late A . D . N o c k of H a r v a r d University,
M . R i c h a r d of the Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes, V . Scouvaras of
the G y m n a s i u m of Volos, G . Soulis of the D u m b a r t o n O a k s L i b r a r y , and P. T o p p i n g
of the University of Cincinnati. A l l these scholars were so kind as to examine photographs of the manuscript and give me independent opinions about the date of the
hand. T h e i r opinions varied from the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century
(Kournoutos and Manousakas) to the late eighteenth or early nineteenth (Delatte,
Scouvaras, T o p p i n g ) , but all w o u l d agree on an eighteenth-century date as possible.
Delatte and Scouvaras, while thinking it possible that the writer m a y have written
in the nineteenth century as an old man, think it certain that the hand was formed
in the eighteenth century. Kournoutos and Manousakas think it all but impossible
that the writing was done in the nineteenth century. T h e consensus, therefore, w o u l d
date the h a n d about 1750, plus or minus about fifty years.
T h e hand is generally agreed to be that of an experienced writer a n d a scholar. T h e

THE MANUSCRIPT

small size of the letters together w i t h the r a p i d i t y at w h i c h they w e r e e v i d e n t l y


w r i t t e n , the r e m o d e l i n g of the letters to fit the flow of the h a n d , their u n u s u a l l y e v e n
a l i g n m e n t a n d the tasteful, b u t e c o n o m i c a l , p l a c i n g of the text on the p a g e , all
testify to the writer's experience. H e shows considerable skill in o b s e r v a n c e of a
r i g h t - h a n d m a r g i n a n d , like m a n y writers of the eighteenth c e n t u r y , fills out his
short lines w i t h t w o dots ( : ) to k e e p the m a r g i n straight. H i s tiny w r i t i n g , too, is
a n e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y trait a n d one closely c o n n e c t e d w i t h scholarship. T h a t c e n t u r y
p r o d u c e d i n n u m e r a b l e manuscripts of classical G r e e k texts w i t h interlinear translations into m o d e r n G r e e k or w i t h scholia in h a n d s so m i n u t e t h a t it is impossible to
r e a d t h e m w i t h o u t a glass.
T h a t the writer w a s a scholar is also s h o w n b y his spelling. A l t h o u g h confusion of
the various vowels sounded as e w a s c o m m o n in his time, he has only o n c e fallen
into it (,

for ,

I I . 9 , 1 unless i

is to be r e a d ) . H e a l w a y s

writes iota subscript a n d writes it as subscript. H e usually writes the coronis. H e


f r e q u e n t l y distinguishes g r a v e f r o m acute accents, a n d does so c o r r e c t l y ; there is
o n l y one misplaced a c c e n t in the w h o l e text ( for ,

II.7), and

this is p r o b a b l y d u e to haste r a t h e r t h a n i g n o r a n c e , as is his use of 6 for in the


p r e c e d i n g line a n d his omission of the a c c e n t of at the ends of lines (1.2,7
I I I . 1 1 ) . T h a t he consistently accentuates

r a t h e r t h a n

anc^

reflects the

usage c o m m o n in the seventeenth a n d e i g h t e e n t h centuries. H i s most f r e q u e n t fault


is one to w h i c h m o d e r n G r e e k s are especially l i a b l e f a i l u r e to notice r o u g h b r e a t h ings. H e has w r i t t e n w h a t are p r o b a b l y smooth breathings in four places w h e r e
r o u g h breathings should h a v e a p p e a r e d (1.23,26, I I . 2 1 , 2 2 ) , a n d he o n c e has
instead of before a r o u g h b r e a t h i n g ( I I I . 1 3 ) . T h e s e errors do not p r o v e t h a t the
m a n u s c r i p t he c o p i e d w a s i n c o r r e c t in these p o i n t s ; nor does the usual correctness
of his spelling p r o v e t h a t it w a s g e n e r a l l y correct. H e p r o b a b l y c o p i e d b y r e a d i n g
the phrases a n d then r e p e a t i n g t h e m as he w r o t e t h e m d o w n . T h e r e f o r e it is n o t
surprising that w h a t he w r o t e should sometimes reflect either his k n o w l e d g e or his
p r o n u n c i a t i o n , r a t h e r t h a n the r e a d i n g of the text he w s c o p y i n g .
T h a t he was a scholar is s h o w n also b y the shapes o f his letters. T h e w h o l e style
of the h a n d shows the i n f l u e n c e of the G r e e k t y p o g r a p h y of western E u r o p e . I a m
i n d e b t e d to A . A n g e l o u for the observation t h a t the shape of the nu, in p a r t i c u l a r ,
is characteristically western. W e s t e r n i n f l u e n c e , h o w e v e r , is n o p r o o f of western
origin, a n d here the basic h a n d , on w h i c h the i n f l u e n c e has b e e n exercised, seems to
be n a t i v e G r e e k . M o s t of the larger a n d m a n y o f the smaller G r e e k monasteries
stocked their libraries, d u r i n g the seventeenth a n d eighteenth centuries, w i t h western
editions of the C h u r c h fathers, a n d the t y p e used in these editions

perceptibly

i n f l u e n c e d monastic hands. Professor S c o u v a r a s has p r o d u c e d a n e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y


ecclesiastical d o c u m e n t in a n a t i v e G r e e k h a n d strikingly similar to t h a t of o u r
manuscript.

(See Plate I V . ) A n u m b e r of the nus, in p a r t i c u l a r , a r e p r a c t i c a l l y

identical. Since S c o u v a r a s ' d o c u m e n t is a n a u t o g r a p h c o d e x o f the O e c u m e n i c a l


P a t r i a r c h C a l l i n i c u s I I I a n d w a s w r i t t e n a b o u t 1760 in the P h a n a r i o t h a n d w h i c h
. References in this form are to the plates at the end of the volume and to the lines of the text as
shown on the plates.

THE MANUSCRIPT

had been formed in Constantinople shortly before that time, we may suppose with
some probability that the writer of the present letter had been trained in the Patriarchal Academy in Constantinople.
Further proof of the writer's scholarship is his familiarity with many of the older
Greek manuscript abbreviations and ligatures. A list of all his abbreviations and a
number of his more drastic ligatures will be found in Appendix A ; it contains perhaps
slightly more of these forms than would normally be found in a manuscript of the
mid-eighteenth century. T h e writer's usage of these special forms is universally
correct, though sometimes ambiguous. T h e use of a flourish to indicate both the
smooth breathing and the circumflex reduces both - and to f or JT; the circumflex combined with the rough breathing is sometimes no more florid than without
(

\ ou= or -). In general, the hand is remarkably cursive.


As the manuscript progresses the cursive character of the hand becomes more
marked. T h e writer was evidently in a hurry. It may be that lack of time forced
him to break off, as he did, in the midst of a page and of a sentence; on the other
hand, the text he was copying may itself have been a fragment and have broken off
at this point. T h e copyist's haste appears unmistakably in the greater size and sweep
of the letters at the end of his text, by comparison with those at the beginning. It
is shown also by a number of minor mistakes of writing besides those already mentioned. , probably for , in 1.19 may reflect uncertainty rather than
haste, and written over (?) in 1.28 may be a deliberate correction
of the reading of the manuscript he was copying. But in II.20 seems to have
been omitted by haplography after (though such omission of the article is
not uncommon in later Greek prose), and on I I I the curious vs ligature at the end
of the first word probably results from correction of a minor slip of the pen, immediately after it was made; the of u in III.8 shows another slip of the pen, uncorrected,
and the V of in III. 17 shows yet another, caught and corrected at once. For
the most part, however, the text is amazingly correct, especially considering the
small size and obvious speed of the writing. These characteristics prove it to be a
copy of some earlier manuscript. T h a t anyone in the seventeenth or eighteenth
centuries should have written such Greek at such speed as an original composition
is incredible.
From all these observations taken together it would seem that our text was copied
probably in the eighteenth century, by a monk (he began his work with a cross)
who pronounced his words in modern Greek fashion but had an excellent knowledge
of patristic Greek. His handwriting had been influenced by his study of patristic
texts in western editions which were presumably available to him in his monastery
and had probably come by way of Venice. He was interested not only in patristics,
but also in the beginnings of western critical scholarship, for the book into which
he copied our textVoss's edition of the genuine epistles of Ignatiuswas no mere
reprint of a standard author, but one of the most advanced works of scholarly
criticism of its time.
Since the copyist was a scholar, it is impossible to decide how far his copy owes
its amazing orthographic correctness to him. For the same reason it is difficult to

T H E MANUSCRIPT

say whether the avoidance of hiatus by elision, when it is thus avoided, is due to
the copyist or to the original. Admittedly the copyist was in a hurry while he copied,
but he might previously have studied the text and inserted minor corrections. For
the time being we shall assume that his corrections, if any, were minor. With this
assumption we proceed to the primary test for authenticityexamination of the
wording.

T W O

The Letter
I.
II.

Text and commentary, 5


Synthesis of Findings, 67
A. Linguistic and stylistic data, 67
1. Vocabulary, 67
2. Verbal association, 67
3. Comparisons and metaphors, 71
4. Forms of reference, 72
5. Formulas beginning sentences, 73
6. Prepositions, 73
7. Syntax, 75
8. Euphony, 75
9. Clausulae, 75
B. Conclusions from the linguistic and stylistic data, 76
C. Content, 77
1. Knowledge and use of Scripture, 77
2. Knowledge of the classics, 79
3. Knowledge, faith, and gnosis, 80
4. The secret tradition, 81
5. Attitude toward the Carpocratians, 82
6. Differences, real or apparent, 82

I.

TEXT

AND

COMMENTARY

The following commentary illustrates the relationship between the style of the
letter and that of the generally accepted works of Clement of Alexandria. However,
it does not present the parallels to extremely common expressions, which could be
paralleled from any good Greek author of the period; these seemed insignificant for
the question of authenticity. Similarly, when Clement has provided plentiful parallels,
the usage of other authors has not been cited. The discussion of points of content,
likewise, has been limited as far as possible to the presentation of evidence relevant
5

THE LETTER

to the question of authenticity. T h e work for this chapter was completed in 1961,
at w h i c h time I turned from C l e m e n t to study the Gospel fragment. Since that time
I have m a d e only minor changes in the text a n d have not attempted to take account
of recent publications on C l e m e n t , of w h i c h I should mention as particularly valuable
A . M e h a t ' s Etude. I have not been persuaded b y P. N a u t i n ' s a t t e m p t to redate the
events of Clement's later life (Lettres, 13Qf) though the traditional dates are certainly
dubious (Barnes, Origen, 3 1 4 f.)
T h e first draft of the following commentary on the text of the letter was read b y
E . Bickerman, C o l u m b i a University; W . M . C a l d e r I I I , C o l u m b i a ; H . C h a d w i c k ,
O x f o r d ; B. Einarson, C h i c a g o ; L . Frchtel, A n s b a c h ; R . Grant, C h i c a g o ; M .
Hadas, C o l u m b i a ; W . Jaeger, H a r v a r d ; G . L a m p e , C a m b r i d g e ; C . Mondesert,
L y o n ; J . M u n c k , A a r h u s ; A . D . Nock, H a r v a r d ; J . R e u m a n n , L u t h e r a n T h e o l o g i c a l
Seminary, Philadelphia; M . R i c h a r d , Paris; C . Richardson, U n i o n T h e o l o g i c a l
Seminary, N e w Y o r k ; R . Schippers, A m s t e r d a m ; W . V l k e r , M a i n z ; a n d A .
Wifstrand, L u n d . I a m indebted not only for their kindness in e x a m i n i n g the text
and expressing their opinions on its authenticity, b u t also for a great m a n y corrections
a n d suggestions in matters of detail. I sincerely thank them for the help they h a v e
given me. M y thanks are due also to a n u m b e r of scholars w h o h a v e commented
on particular passages a n d whose help is, at those passages, acknowledged. A l l
substantial comments are included in square brackets a n d followed b y the initials
of the commentator; the initials are explained in the list of abbreviations at the
end of the volume. Bracketed comments are not exact quotations except w h e n set
within quotation marks; I h a v e often taken the liberty to summarize or to translate,
the m o r e so because the untimely deaths of a n u m b e r of the commentators have m a d e
it impossible for them to a p p r o v e small rectifications in the w o r d i n g of their statements. Moreover, besides the bracketed comments, m a n y minor corrections have been
accepted a n d incorporated in grateful silence.

I.i1
+

e/c

. Citations from Clement's letters appear in the Sacra Parallela


attributed, perhaps rightly, to J o h n of Damascus, w h o worked at M a r S a b a from
a b o u t 7 1 5 to 750 (Beck, 477, 482). A m o n g the l e m m a t a to them given b y Sthlin,
I I I . 2 2 3 f , a r e

a n d

. Ishodad of M e r v reportedly refers to a writing, possibly a letter, against


heretics w h o rejected marriage, and such were the Carpocratians; but Sthlin, I I L l x f f ,
thinks the reference merely an inference based on Eusebius, HE III.30, where the
passages cited come from the Stromateis.
i. Numerals refer to plate and line. T h e dot between the two numbers is located over the point at
which the new line begins.

1.1-2

THE LETTER

1.2

Clement is cited as in collections of patristic material


attributed to Maximus the Confessor, fl. 620-650 (Beck, 437); citations, III.2i9f. 2
For Maximus he is also (III.220; cf. Osborn, Philosophy, 190, 191 n i ) ;
for Anastasius of Sinai, Upos (ibid.); and for the Chronicon Paschale,

( I l l . a i 6 ) . Already, in his own lifetime, Alexander of Jerusalem called


him and Upos (Eus., HE V I . 11.6; 14.9). T h e use of for ecclesiastical personages appears in Athanasius (Mller, Lexicon s.v.) as a development from
the earlier Christian usage of the absolute (Williger, 84fr).
.

See above, on {. Also used by Maximus (III.220.5,12;


224.15), John Moschus (III.196.21), codex Laura 184 (III.218.15), and Palladius,
HL 60; also (according to Cedrednus) by Sextus Julius Africanus (about A.D. 225).
Africanus, although a friend of Origen, placed Clement's activity in the time of
Commodus, 180-192 (Routh, II.307).
.

. Unknown ? T h e name was common in Jewish and thence in Christian


circles and could easily have been that of a correspondent in Palestine. Clement, before
coming to Alexandria, had studied in Palestine under a teacher of Jewish ancestry
(II.8.23) whom he listed among those who had received the Christian tradition by
straight descent from Peter, James, John, and Paul (Eus., HE V . i 1.5). Clement was
also a friend of a subsequent bishop of Jerusalem (Eus., HE V I . 1 1 . 6 ; 13.3; 14.9), to
whom he dedicated a book against Judaizing heretics or Jews (Photius, 111). He may
have had other connections in the city.
.
As the beginning of a letter, with the following aorist participle,
Libanius, Epistulae (ed. R . Foerster, Leipzig, 1903-1927, vols. , ) 51,679, etc.
Baur, I.584, lists 8 instances, including one from Athanasius and two from Basil.
[This is, of course, a common formula in papyrus letters of the period. C . H . R . ]

1.187.8,
avrfj <()
;
again
1.192.22. This is perhaps a reminiscence of Titus 1.11 where pseudo-Paul declares
that Jewish libertine teachers should be shut up (ovs Set ).
Clement
cited Titus 1.10 (II.27.14^, in an attack on libertine heretics, and Titus 1.12 (II.37.
25fr) in an attack on Hellenizers. normally has for its object a person or an
animalso always in Clementbut it is used with an inanimate object often in Philo,
of the passions, and in Josephus, AJ X V I I . 2 5 1 : ' .

.
2. Hereafter, numerals thus given refer to the Sthlin edition of Clement by volume, page, and, if a
third number is given, line.

1.2-3

T H E

LETTER

ras

oevTes

WS

. 1.17-5'

//

1.3

the Eleusinian mysteries, emphasizing their sexual symbolism.

1 . 1 7 2 , o f t h e w o r s h i p e r s o f D i o n y s u s ,

>

4 7 3 >

. Referred to as a sect (), I I . 197.27; 200.5. (For C a r p o crates and the question whether he or Epiphanes founded the sect, see below, 1 1 . 3 - 4 ;
for testimonia and literature, A p p e n d i x B.) T h e letter agrees with C l e m e n t not
only in its general moral j u d g m e n t of the Carpocratians, but also in identifying them
as the heretics attacked in the Epistle of J u d e and in associating t h e m p r o b a b l y
with the Nicolatans; see the commentary on the following lines. T h e letter also agrees
with Irenaeus' report (Harvey, 1.20.3 = Stieren, 1.25.5) that the Carpocratians
claimed to be the possessors of a secret apostolic tradition w h i c h justified their libertine
p r a c t i c e s ,

iv

'

, etc. Liboron, 46f, conjectured that this claim was based on M k . 4 . 1 1 ; the
present letter confirms at least the conjectured relationship of the sect to M a r k .

I I . 1 9 5 . 1 0 , , , ol

(initial, as in the letter);

I I .178.141 (initial).
. I I . 13524> Christ is 6 ; cf. 1.249-23
. J u d e 13. J u d e is cited b y C l e m e n t (1.262.19fr; II.200. 25fr) w h e r e i t
is said to refer to the Carpocratians, as it does in this letter. A similar interpretation of
this passage of the epistle, referring it to libertine heretics, is probably condensed from
Clement, III.2o6ff, esp. 208. I n a different connection Riedinger, 165, has remarked
on h o w consistently Clement's exegesis follows a certain line of thought w h e n directed
against certain opponents, a n d h o w each line of thought is regularly associated w i t h
certain biblical passages. T h a t C l e m e n t used J u d e in the Stromateis and the Hypotyposes
is remarked b y Eus., HE V I . i 3 f . C l e m e n t also compares sinners to planets in 1.51.2 i f f
(believers in astrology) a n d probably 177.5 (gluttons, lechers, a n d drunkards);
similarly, Theophilus of A n t i o c h , To Autolycus I I . 1 5 end. [ C u m o n t , Egypte 168 n i ,
notes the use of for victims of demoniacal possession. C . H . R . T h i s passage
recalls Plutarch, De genio Socratis 5 9 i d - f , where stars disappearing into a chasm
represent souls completely plunged into the body. C o u l d possibly
refer to shooting stars ? B . E . ]

1.3-4

THE LETTER
1.4

C l e m e n t does not use w i t h ,

b u t he m i g h t w e l l h a v e d o n e so in

the fashion of this letter, since the usage here is p a r t of a reminiscence o f W i s d o m 5.6,
w h e r e the w i c k e d say ,
. T h i s in t u r n is based o n D t . 11.28 ( L X X ) . T h e r e are reminiscences of
W i s . 5.6 in J a m e s 5 . 1 9 a n d I I Peter 2 . 1 5 . C l e m e n t cites W i s . 5 . 3 - 5 in I I . 2 8 7 . 4 - 8 a n d
echoes 5.6 in 1 . 1 4 5 . :

. [ W . M . C . notes

; P l a t o , Politicus 263a.]
.

Inserted a d j e c t i v a l genitives a r e f r e q u e n t in C l e m e n t : e.g., I I . 4 2 3 . 1 0 f .

T h e r o a d " o f the c o m m a n d m e n t s " here is p a r a l l e l e d b y t h a t " a c c o r d i n g to the


c o m m a n d m e n t s " in II.346.6, a reminiscence of D t . 1 1 . 2 8 (see the p r e c e d i n g p a r a g r a p h ) w h e r e the r o a d is t h a t of the c o m m a n d m e n t s . [Expressions o f this t y p e , a
m e t a p h o r w i t h a n a d j e c t i v e attribute a n d a n e x p l i c a t i v e genitive, are for the most p a r t
C h r i s t i a n . I n p r e - C h r i s t i a n prose there are n o instances save in Philo, w h e r e the u s a g e
begins. T h e y arise easily out of allegorical exegesis. I n the N e w T e s t a m e n t there a r e a
f e w e . g . , I Peter 5.4. C l e m e n t has t h e m s o m e t i m e s ; e.g., 1 . 5 . 5 :

as . . . ,

Gospels, as a b o v e w i t h . . . ; a g a i n 1 . 1 9 7 . 1 ,
.

this in c o n n e c t i o n w i t h a phrase f r o m the

I n later C h r i s t i a n G r e e k t h e y b e c o m e m o r e c o m m o n , a n d instances a p p e a r

also in the later neoplatonists. A . W . ]


.

T h e comes f r o m M t . 7 . 1 3 ^ T h e simile w a s a favorite w i t h C l e m e n t ;

see Sthlin's Citaienregister to M t . 7 - i 3 f a n d i n d e x s.v. . I n I I I . 6 7 . 6 heretics a r e


p a r t i c u l a r l y c o n d e m n e d for h a v i n g left the r i g h t () r o a d , w h i c h is, for C l e m e n t ,
t h e r o a d o f the c o m m a n d m e n t s h e is p a r t i c u l a r l y hostile to a n t i n o m i a n s

(Buri,

Clemens 36). T h e b r o a d r o a d of c a r n a l sins a n d p r i d e a p p e a r s in I I . 263.12fr; 346.6.


T h e letter m a y also h a v e b e e n i n t e n d e d to recall P r o v . 2 . 1 3 - 1 4 ( L X X ) , ol
ol

. Proverbs w a s one o f C l e m e n t ' s favorite O l d T e s t a m e n t

b o o k s ; he cited it m o r e often t h a n a n y others save Psalms a n d p e r h a p s Genesis. H e cites


2 . 3 - 7 i n I I . 1 7 . 2 0 f r , a n d 2 . 2 i f i n II.169.6fr.
.

C l e m e n t ' s r e g u l a r u s a g e ; M o s s b a c h e r , 56. W i t h :

.2392.

. . .

I.4-5

THE

letter

5
7

els

D u b i o u s w h e t h e r ,"impassable,"

or ,"limitless."

T h e latter

a p p e a r s in the scholion o n A r i s t o p h a n e s JVubes 3, a n d in p e r h a p s t w o passages o f


Philo, De fuga 57 a n d Quis rerum 212. [But see the note o f F . C o l s o n a n d G . W h i t a k e r
o n the latter passage, w h e r e t h e y w o u l d r e a d ,

in their e d i t i o n of P h i l o

( L o e b L i b r a r y ) IV.572. A . D . N . ] Philo g r e a t l y i n f l u e n c e d C l e m e n t . C l e m e n t uses

of G o d

(II.380.14); b u t in I I I . 1 3 7 . 1 5 he explains D a n . 3.55

"

,"

rfj .

, ' ,

(LXX),

w i t h the w o r d s

> .

Here

almost c e r t a i n l y m e a n s " q u i t e w i t h o u t l i m i t " (as it does in P l u t a r c h a n d

D a m a s c i u s , LSJ

s.v.) a n d

m e a n s " b e i n g l i m i t e d " or " b o u n d e d , " the

process of l i m i t a t i o n b e i n g that b y w h i c h p a r t i c u l a r g e n e r a are s e p a r a t e d f r o m


u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d m a t t e r . F o r this m e a n i n g o f see LSJ s.v., I I . [ I n the letter
the m e a n i n g " l i m i t l e s s " seems i n d i c a t e d by the contrast w i t h . . . I n a n y
e v e n t , the t w o senses are v e r y close in C l e m e n t , P h i l o , a n d elsewhere, as in this
text, w h e r e t h e y a r e almost e q u i v a l e n t . C . M . ]

T h e abyss into w h i c h the errant stars a r e cast for p u n i s h m e n t a p p e a r s

i n Enoch 21.2; cf. the use o f Enoch in the p r e c e d i n g p a r a g r a p h . Enoch is referred to


in J u d e 14, a n d J u d e 13 has b e e n q u o t e d j u s t a b o v e . C l e m e n t b y i m p l i c a t i o n c o m p a r e s
drunkenness to a n abyss in I.206.21, b u t this is h a r d l y a parallel.
.

Many

instances

of metaphorical

use

i n d u l g e n c e , IV.649-650. See b e l o w , o n
.

connection

with

sensual

I I . 3 i 8 . i 7 f >

in

.4.28, ' ",

cf. 1 . 1 2 1 . 9 ^

. . . .

A l l three passages

c o m e f r o m I C o r . 8.1, . F o r the t y p e of sentence incipit ( n o m i n a t i v e


p a r t i c i p l e + + d e p e n d e n t s of participle + v e r b ) , see, e.g., II.204.9fr; this w a s
a structure C l e m e n t f a v o r e d .

10

1.5-6

THE LETTER

1.6

Xeyovatv,

"

,"

els

"

,"
. . . .

A p o c . 2.24,

o f heretics

w h o s e doctrines l e a d t h e m to c o m m i t a d u l t e r y a n d eat things sacrificed to idols.


T h e s e are the followers of a prophetess w h o m the a u t h o r o f the A p o c a l y p s e calls
J e z e b e l (2.20). H e elsewhere attacks a p a r t y called the Nicola'itans a n d accuses t h e m
of t e a c h i n g the same practices ( 2 . i 4 f ) . T h e r e f o r e the N i c o l a i tans a n d the followers
o f J e z e b e l h a v e often b e e n identified. C l e m e n t k n o w s the Nicola'itans,

attributes

to t h e m similar practices, a n d therefore associates t h e m , as this letter p r o b a b l y d i d ,


w i t h the C a r p o c r a t i a n s , w h o m he accuses o f p r a c t i c i n g c o m m u n i t y o f wives ( I I . 1 7 7 .
2 f f ; 2 0 7 . 1 7 - 2 0 8 . 9 ) . H i s a t t e m p t to rescue the r e p u t a t i o n o f N i c h o l a s is p r o b a b l y
a sign of e m b a r r a s s m e n t t h a t his o p p o n e n t s should be a b l e to cite a n a u t h o r i t y so
n e a r the apostles. C l e m e n t k n o w s the A p o c a l y p s e a n d quotes it o f t e n ; S t h l i n ,
Citatenregister s.v. T h e c l a i m to k n o w the d e e p things of S a t a n is a k i n to P a u l ' s c l a i m
to k n o w the d e e p things of G o d , I C o r . 2.10, w h i c h is t a k e n u p b y C l e m e n t ( I I . 116.
25f; 5 1 7 . 2 6 f ) , p r o b a b l y in deliberate contrast to gnostic claims (cf. b e l o w , I I . 1 4 ,
the conclusion o f the note o n a n d the note o n ). P e r h a p s the contrast
w a s not so g r e a t as the t e r m i n o l o g y suggests [ w a s p r e s u m a b l y a n a b u s i v e
c o m m e n t b y the C h r i s t i a n a u t h o r A . D . N . ] . A n d in I I . 3 6 3 . 1 - 1 2 C l e m e n t w a r n s
that

is not to be r e v e a l e d to those w h o m it m i g h t scandalize

(a t h e m e w h i c h recurs in I I . 4 9 5 . 2 i f ; e v i d e n t l y this secret doctrine was likely to


b e misunderstood). H i p p o l y t u s , Philosophumena V . 6 , says the n a m e " g n o s t i c s " w a s
t a k e n b y those ;

and Irenaeus (Harvey II.32.6

Stieren, I I . 2 2 . 1 ) attacks the V a l e n t i n i a n s for their c l a i m " a d i n v e n i s s e

profunda

B y t h i " (cf. T e r t u l l i a n , Adversus Valentinianos 1.4). T h e Nicola'itans w h o a p p e a r in


the M i d d l e A g e s 3 3 3 3 , scholion o n 1 . 2 2 4 . 2 7 a r e p r o b a b l y irrelevant to the
present discussion.
.
els.

1 . 1 9 5 . 2 5 ; 2 5 1 . 1 6 ; etc., w i t h participle as here.

See b e l o w , o n

.
.

C o n t i n u e s the q u o t a t i o n o f J u d e 1 3 ; see a b o v e , o n

T h e c o m b i n a t i o n o f

a n d m a d e a p p r o p r i a t e the i n t e r v e n i n g

reminiscence of W i s . 5 . 6 ; see a b o v e , o n . T h e m e t a p h o r w a s a favorite w i t h


C l e m e n t : e.g., 1 . 6 3 . 1 7 ^ . . .

""

, " 8 . . .

,"

to B o o k I I I of the Stromateisthe

b o o k w h i c h deals p a r t i c u l a r l y w i t h

heretics a n d n o t a b l y the C a r p o c r a t i a n s : "

,"
,

"


""

" "


II

, "

. . .

. . . ol ,

a n d especially the conclusion


libertine

. . .

( I I . 246-247) > cf I I I . 6 5 . 2 i f f .

1.6-7

THE LETTER

8, -

. This looks like a gloss, but m a y possibly be original. T h e r e is a similar


instance of abrubt explanation in Clement's Paedagogus 1.129.1 i f f :
,

, ,

. . . .

T h e e q u a t i o n of darkness

with falsity is a commonplace and is therefore common in Clement's works: I . 4 . 1 1 ;


20.24-f (with , from the Sibylline Oracles), 81.20; 106.22; etc. [Perhaps
is not an appositive explanation of , put in the same case and
to be included in commas. It could be an explicative genitive to the metaphor
, so that here is put in the genitive through the connection with . Cf. , I.20.I2. For two genitives in succession,
the one dependent on the other, cf. Blass-Debrunner, no. 168; also Dio Cassius,
L . I 2 . 7 , . For a single word, like
here, adhering to a quotation as an explanation and grammatically connected
with the words of the quotation, cf. Clement, 1.57.20, . A . W . However,
the two genitives sound too clumsy for this elaborate
style. If not a gloss, m a y perhaps be a variant to . Either gloss
or variant seems likely. W . J . O n the other hand, seems necessary to
provide a contrast to . ..]
.

4549^' 'L

.
II.218.25, a s here, the participle with a dependent infinitive. Used
of heretics who deny marriage. Clement rather favored the word for abusing heretics
(IV.508, eight references). This is a Pauline trait.
. 1.269.31, etc. [ T h e accusative in this construction is frequent in Greek
of this period; see Radermacher, 181, and Schmid, I I . 5 7 ; I I I . 8 1 ; IV.83,620.
m a y be supplied. A . D . N . Nevertheless, the construction in this letter is difficult.
T h e parallels in Radermacher and Schmid have for the most part expressed subjects
of the infinitives and are not so hard as this instance, where the nominative participle
is immediately followed by the accusative. Similarly Thucydides, I.12.1 and IV.84.2,
where predicate adjectives of the infinitive are put into the accusative, are easier
than that of this letter. If the text here is right, I can understand it only as influenced
by the of the preceding line. A . W . ] Cf. A p o c . 3.9:
' etvai. In the preceding phrase, the writer had been thinking of A p o c . 2.24.
[If the text is corrupt, a possible emendation would be . C . H . R . ] T h e
content of the letter here is paralleled in II.216.24, where gnostic libertines are
described as XEYOPTWV
EVOCPLAV
TTJV VITO 7jSovij$
BOVXCIAV.
12

THE LETTER

1.7-8
1.8

r e ,

et

.
Slaves of the passions (also with the perfect ),
1.26.12; cf. II.216.24
in the preceding paragraph. II. 14.20, of the Greeks w h o seek after wisdom. Frequent;
see Tsermoulas, 58.
.

I I I . 15. .

, .
[The style is antithetic throughout, but not in
the naive, early rhetorical w a y of Attic prose. T h e antitheses are calculated to
contrast words and reality, or different meanings of a word, apparent and real
meaning, and so on. E.g., I.8f: he contrasts with in a deeper sense
and summarizes the contrast by saying (1.9) . W e might
compare the truth of certain facts of science with that of which the Christian gospel
says, " I am the truth." A n d going even beyond that, he can contrast the seeming truth
of human and the true truth ( ) which is based on faith. This
sophisticated rhetoric should therefore not surprise us by its repetition of the same
word, which indeed is not Clement's usual manner, but should be valued as a genuine play on the various meanings of one and the same word (-). W . J . ]

. 1.176.21 (of belchings).


.

II.237.27,

Frequent.

. Initial, 1.27.1, etc. A g a i n below, II.10.


Frequent (II.212.19; 2 1 3 . 1 7 ; 240.18) in argument with the gnostics.
T h e form does not appear in Sthlin's index, but Clement was fond of these verbal
adjectives (see below, on in 1.10). Here the use of the verb is perhaps a
reminiscence of I Pet. 5.9, ( ) .
Clement quotes I Peter often,
5.7 in II.52.16 and 5.10 in III.206.16. T h e directive to oppose the Carpocratians
with might and main is repeated below, I I . 1 0 ; it appears also in Epiphanius' attack
on the sect, Panarion X X V I I . 7 , . Evidently
it was a rule accepted in the Church.
.

Verbatim, II.5iI.24.

. . . . Both with optatives, as here, in a " f u t u r e less v i v i d " construction, II.420.20f. concessive and initial, with indicative, 1.48.22; 49.24;
57.8; etc.
, III.89.21; followed by an adjective, 1.254.2 (
);
is frequent in Clement, though not indexed by Sthlin. T h e w a y the letter
in the following lines harps on and its cognates is unlike Clement's usual
concern for variation of terms (Tengblad, 4ff), but Clement sometimes uses repetition
for emphasis (Tengblad, 4,22fr). Cf. the note on in the following line and
Jaeger's note on , , above.

13

I.8-io

T H E LETTER

L9

Xeyoiev

'

Xeyotev. Clement uses in the present active optative nine times, according
to Scham, 13. The use of the optative here in a "future less vivid" conditional
clause is classically correct and is paralleled in II.30.13. This is a general consideration. When the text comes to the particular case, in lines 12-13 below, it will use
the indicative, .
'. Neither ' nor is fully indexed by Sthlin, Ast, or Leisegang,
but the combination with this sense is classical (Thuc. II.76.3; Lysias, 1.14).
av. With the dative, II.233.20. The use of av is normal. (Clement's
use of av is studied in Hort and Mayor in their Appendix B.)
<5 . III.67.3, , in polemic against those
who force Scripture to suit their own ends, without being orthodox. [The phrase
is an echo of Plato, Republic VI.50id. W.M.C.] The notion that
pa (II.252.8f) is fundamental to Clement's thought and is developed at
length in the Stromateis, especially in Book IV.
. . . .

Neither . . . nor, I.45.1 if (initial, as here), etc.

. II.517.14; III.162.11, with crasis; II.465.14; III.66.5, without crasis; these


irregularities in the use of crasis are probably scribal, but Sthlin notes them also
in the other MSS of Clement, IV.223 s.v. . without the article, as a
substantive, III.39.14, where Clement explains that the true Christian will sometimes lie, as might a doctor, for therapeutic purposesa principle he justifies by
appeal to the example of St. Paul (Acts 16.3; I Cor. 9.i9f). [Cf. Philo, Questions . . . on
Genesis IV.204. J.R.] It is characteristic of Clement to talk most of truth when
recommending falsity.
.
For t h e contrast, , cf. II.509.22fr,
, ' ,
'.
that

is to say, one should study theology and not the subordinate sciences. This sort of
play on words is a favorite of Clement's; Tengblad, 80, goes so far as to restore it
by analogy when it is lacking; cf. Jaeger's note on , above in 1.7.
(On the various meanings of in early Christian usage, Bultmann, ,
242if. The contrast here is evidently between his meanings [3] '' wirkliche Tatbestand''
and [5] "die rechte Lehre, der rechte Glaube" or [6] "gttliche Wirklichkeit,
Offenbarung.")
.

Mossbacher, 66: numerous examples of this use.


14

THE LETTER

I.IO-II
I.i

I I . 3 6 5 . 1 5 j to describe the secret doctrines o f the m y s t e r y cults.

(As these a r e h i d d e n f r o m the i g n o r a n t , h o w m u c h m o r e should the h o l y science o f


C h r i s t i a n i t y be h i d d e n ! ) I I I . 6 9 . 1 5 , heretics w h o h a v e not l e a r n e d the mysteries o f
C h r i s t i a n gnosis, a n d a r e not a b l e to g r a s p the greatness , are m o t i v a t e d
by

( c f . 6 7 . 1 3 f r ,

).

o p p o s e d to

I I I . 4 6 . 3 1 . [ C H , E x t r . I I A . 7 t h e w h o l e o f E x t r . I I A illustrates this contrast b e t w e e n


t r u t h a n d h u m a n opinion. A . D . N . ]
.

[ T h e same phrase, b u t in the singular, P l a t o , Sophista

229a. T h i s is skillful i r o n y . P l a t o contrasted doxa w i t h philosophia;

Clement

now

identifies P l a t o ' s philosophia as doxa. W . M . C . ]

II.473.15,

, ( d i f f e r s f r o m i t ) . C f . I I . 6 3 . 2 ,

' ' , a n d ours, of course, is truer. I I I . 6 4 . 2 7 f f , o n e


m u s t distinguish f r o m the t e a c h i n g o f the heretics as true f r o m
wax

fruit,

and

as

meaning

"seeming,"

i.e. " f a l s e , " is f r e q u e n t i n C l e m e n t ; contrast classical usage, w h e r e is u s u a l l y


" s e e m a n d be n o t , " usually " a p p e a r to b e a n d b e . " [ I n I I . 4 7 3 . 1 5 there is
t r u t h in the ; its fault lies in b e i n g p a r t i c u l a r . H e r e , h o w e v e r ,
is " a p p a r e n t " as opposed to " r e a l . " C l e m e n t p e r h a p s d i d not here say
because that m i g h t h a v e i n t r o d u c e d a certain c a c o p h o n y .
B u t the v e r y w o r d seems to h a v e suggested to h i m the opposition of a p p a r e n t
to real. B . E . ]
.

C l e m e n t is f o n d of these v e r b a l a d j e c t i v e s in - a n d -, e.g.,

I I . 3 . i f f ; I I I . 6 4 . 2 5 f r (7 in 13 lines). T h i s p a r t i c u l a r v e r b in this f o r m , w i t h genitive


a n d accusative, as here, occurs in 1.223.19. [For the a b l a t i v a l genitive, cf. P l a t o ,
Apology 35b, a n d K h n e r - G e r t h , 1.393. W . M . C . ]
.

T h e p l a y o n w o r d s is reminiscent o f Plato, Theaetetus 162a,

1 7 1 c . See a b o v e , o n . C l e m e n t cites P l a t o m o r e often t h a n a n y other a u t h o r


outside S c r i p t u r e ; of his citations, those w h i c h stand nearest Theaetetus 1 6 2 - 1 7 1 a r e
155 in I I . 3 4 8 . 4 f f ; 173c in I I . 3 9 1 . 7 f f .

1 1 . 6 4 - 3 ) V

is c o n t r a s t e d t o t h e i n f e r i o r

truth attained b y Greek philosophy.


.

Initial w i t h p a r t i c i p l e f o l l o w e d b y . . . , I I I . 9 4 . 2 1 f f ; cf. 24!";

95-4f> I ff J 27f. F u r t h e r e x a m p l e s in T e n g b l a d , 47.


.

T h u s i n 1.9.24; 10.20; etc. F r e q u e n t .

15

1 . 1 1 12

THE LETTER

1.12

rrepl

OeoTrvevarov

evayyeXiov,

F r e q u e n t l y c o n t e m p t u o u s , as h e r e ; e.g., I I . 13.5,

, 213-28, etc.
.

M o s s b a c h e r , 69: m a n y examples, w i t h the genitive is used thus w i t h

in E p i c u r u s ( H . U s e n e r , Epicurea frag. 423). Aristotle, Historiae

animalium

I.36, 620b. I o f ( . . . . . . ) is interesting as


p r o o f t h a t o u r a u t h o r sometimes d i d not use accusatives for w h i c h there w e r e precedents.
.

I I I . 7 3 . 5 f f , a n a t t a c k o n those w h o

re

is

'

E x p l i c i t l y o f Scripture, w i t h q u o t a t i o n of I I T i m . 3-i6f, in

I.65.. A g a i n , I I I . 7 1 . 2 3 .
.

V e r b a t i m , I I I . 163.13. N o t h i n g is said in the r e c o g n i z e d

works o f C l e m e n t , or a n y w h e r e else in the heresiologists, a b o u t special use b y the


C a r p o c r a t i a n s of a p e c u l i a r G o s p e l a t t r i b u t e d to M a r k . H i p p o l y t u s , Philosophumena
V I I . 3 0 . i , speaks o f r e f u t i n g M a r c i o n i t e s b y p o i n t i n g out t h a t the G o s p e l a c c o r d i n g
to M a r k does n o t c o n t a i n m a t e r i a l t h e y h a d e v i d e n t l y c l a i m e d to find in i t b u t
p r o b a b l y h a d f o u n d b y exegesis. T h e m a t e r i a l w a s hostile to the d e m i u r g e

T h i s phrase m i g h t c o n c e i v a b l y reflect m a t e r i a l

f r o m the C a r p o c r a t i a n tradition q u o t e d b e l o w ( 1 1 . 3 - 4 , at the e n d of the note o n


C a r p o c r a t e s ) , " o p p o s i n g " things truly g o o d to things c o m m o n l y b e l i e v e d to b e
so; b u t it m i g h t e q u a l l y w e l l reflect M a r c i o n i t e doctrine, m o r e or less misunderstood
(especially if

b e r e a d for ).

Irenaeus

(Harvey,

I I I . 1 1 . 1 0 = Stieren,

I I I . 1 2 . 7 ) speaks o f those qui autem Iesum separant Christo, et impassibilem perseverasse


Chnstum, passum vero Iesum dicunt, id quod secundum Marcum est praeferentes evangelium.
T h i s could h a v e c o m e f r o m c a n o n i c a l M a r k , 1 . 1 0 + 15.34 [but it is not likely t h a t
I r e n a e u s r e a d M a r k in this w a y A . D . N . ] . Irenaeus could h a v e h a d the C a r p o c r a tians in m i n d , b u t he adds cum amore veritatis legentes illud, corrigi possunt, a n d this
is n o t like the things he said elsewhere a b o u t the C a r p o c r a t i a n s ; see

Irenaeus

( H a r v e y , 1.20.2 = Stieren, 1.25.3), ad velamen malitiae ipsorum nomine abutuntur. O n


the other h a n d , I r e n a e u s is n o t a l w a y s consistent. It is interesting t h a t

Harvey,

in his note o n this passage, w a s led to postulate the existence in E g y p t of a secret


G o s p e l a c c o r d i n g to M a r k a c o n j e c t u r e w h i c h the present text confirms. B u t , alt h o u g h no special c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the C a r p o c r a t i a n s is r e p o r t e d , the Gospel a c c o r d i n g
to M a r k w a s the most p o p u l a r of the c a n o n i c a l Gospels w i t h the gnostics in g e n e r a l
( w h i c h m a y a c c o u n t for its c o m p a r a t i v e n e g l e c t b y the o r t h o d o x ) . S w e t e , x x x i , remarks
o n this a n d cites e v i d e n c e of its use by H e r a c l e o n a n d other V a l e n t i n i a n s , certain
docetists, the Gospel of Peter, a n d the Clementine Homilies, esp. X I X . 2 0 . 1 :
"

."

' "

16

"

T h i s p r o b a b l y uses M k . 4 . 1 1

THE LETTER

,
,

I.I2-I3

I-I3
,

'

and 434 a s proof of secret teaching by Jesus (Sanday, Gospels 17gf), and it quotes
the preceding agraphon as if it came from the same Gospel. Now Clement of Alexandria quotes, from some unknown author, a quotation of the same agraphon (in the

form ) as written ev
(II.368.27. Ropes, Sprche 94f, is mistaken in thinking the quotation continued
from the preceding sentence, which comes from Barnabas 6.10. His attempt to explain
rot? viols as derived from a mistranslation of " " is ludicrous.)
Resch 1 correctly noted the Semitism, which suggests translation from a Hebrew
original (167fr). Taken over from Clement or the Clementina (?) and hellenized
the agraphon spread through Christian tradition, is preserved in Hilary
Jerome, Chrysostom, Theodoret, and John of Damascus and in a contamination
of some M S S of Symmachus and Theodotion on Is. 24.16where a literal mistranslation of the Hebrew had yielded ; Field, II.470 n24; Resch 1 ,
167fr, i03f, 282.
. Clement uses the verb in III.40.6, as here; 1.22.25; etc. The usage is
classical, LSJ s.v. . II.
.

Final, following verb, as here, 1.274.16; II.31.6.

el . In a concessive, inserted clause, with the indicative, as here, II.201.7. In


both instances what is conceded is probably no more than the facts of the particular
case, el . . . , both with indicative, 1.221.9-12.
.
.

II.55.10, ev

ol

Of books, II.13.1; 70.7; 71.23; 235.23; etc.

' . With the indicative following , II.305.31-306.1; classical examples


plentiful, LSJ s.v. ?.
.
III.43.29, etc. Frequent. The use here was determined by the concern
to play on .
.
traditions he
handed down
of a sect, the
tradition.

The same form of the verb, III.41.11. Clement uses the verb for
believes true, but he must have been aware that the heretics also
their teachings. Like , which is also used for the doctrines
word here suggests not commonly known, but specifically sectarian,
17

THE L E T T E R

13-15
1.14

"

V5

."

. The perfect middle participle (singular), III. 125.12 (Extracts from


Theodotus). For the structure, see above, 1.5, .
Cf. Clement's usage, III.70.7, where the gnostics

which are evidently synonymous. In the present instance


the choice of was probably determined by the desire not to repeat too
often forms cognate with . Tengblad, 4ff, collects examples of Clement's
use of such deliberate variation. [Further, the word had been used for
religious fictions throughout pagan Greek theological language. Xenophanes of
Colophon (Diels, frag. 1.22) calls impious myths about the immorality of the Homeric
and Hesiodic gods . For the way in which Critias imagined
such to have been introduced into religious thought, see the great fragments
taken from his satyr play, Sisyphus (Diels, frag. 25), and the comments in Jaeger,
Theology i86ff. W.J.]
.

.28. igff,

.
,

()

ol

, ,

(-rrjvy

. Both the metaphor expressed by


and this verb to express it were favorites with Clement. Sthlin cites
nine uses of the verb (Register, s.v.).

. Sthlin (IV.827 s.v.) remarks Clement's frequent use of with a following


infinitive.
.
Verbatim. Interjected, as here, to introduce a following
conventional expression, 1.8.9; 5 3

M t . 5 . 1 3 , ,

j =

Lk.

14.34 The text here is closer to Lk., which differs from Mt. by beginning
. Behind the choice of this proverb probably lies not only recollection of the
context of these Gospel passages (and Mk. 9.50), which declare corrupted Christians
fit only to be cast out, but also recollection of Jeremiah 28.17 (LXX) ( = 10.14 Heb.)

. . .

(and fF), which made the verse particularly appropriate for use against
gnostics who had corrupted the Scriptures. This sort of multiple biblical allusion

18

THE LETTER

is typical of Clement and would be very difficult for a forger to imitate. In III. 183.23fr
Clement identifies as " t h e salt of the e a r t h " those " m o r e elect than the elect," " w h o
hide away, in the depth of thought, the mysteries not to be uttered." The passage
is clearly a description of orthodox gnostics, and the application to the Carpocratians
of the saying about corruption of the salt suggests that Clement saw the Carpocratian
secret society as a perverted parallel of similar secret groups within the Church.
T h e same suggestion is brought to mind by 1.281.25fr, where Clement argues that
" w e are the salt of the earth" (see below, II. 17, " w e are the children of light")
and therefore should not follow the libertines in their abuse of the Christian liberty
of kissing. In quoting the phrase from the N T , Clement, like this letter, uses ,
elsewhere . Greek proverbs frequently begin with ; e.g. Strmberg, Proverbs
38, 60, 67, 73; Leutsch-Schneidewin, Corpus 1.505; II.809-810. It is possible that
the Gospel saying reflected a popular proverb. Talmud Babli (hereinafter B), Bekorot
8b, has, in a trial of wits, the question

.xrvmrn xnVOa inV


,nV 'nVa
xno xriV^
.no Hn^m ,1? nd^d la's -wi
" { T h e y asked R . Joshua ben Hananya, ca. A.D. 90:) ' W h e n salt has lost its savor,
with what can it be salted?' He said to them, ' W i t h the after-birth of a female mule.'
<They said,) ' But does any female mule have an after-birth ?' <He said) 'And does
salt lose its s a v o r ? ' " Billerbeck, on Mt. 5.13b, saw a slur on the story of the virgin
birth in the reference to a she-mule's giving birth (a possibility which is also dismissed
as absurd in the sentence just preceding the quotation). This may be correct, but
even so the exchanges quoted may reflect either the popular saying, or polemic
against the Christian one, or both. (The literature in Bauer, Wb. s.v. , to which
add Bauer, Sal, and Nauck, Salt, does not suffice to decide the question.) Note the
five successive long syllables in the clausula; Clement often uses this ending, as it
is used here, for emphasis.

. Initial, 1.201.19; II.188.27; 190.23; III.165.15. Clement often used it thus


for introducing proof.

. W e have three reports that Clement gave this account of the origin of
the second Gospel. T w o come from Eusebius (HE II. 15 and V I . 14.5-7), a n d one
from the Latin Adumbrationes Clementis Alexandrini in Epistolas Canonicas, a translation
and adaptation of parts of Clement's Hypotyposes, made in the early sixth century
( I I I . X L ) . These three are arranged on the two following pages in parallel columns
with Eusebius' report of the same account as given by Papias of Hierapolis in Asia
Minor in the early second century.

19

THE LETTER

Adumbrationes Clementis Alexandrini in Epistolas

Eus., HE I I . 1 5

Canonicas ( I I I . 2 0 6 . 1 7 f r )

?

.

'
,
,
,
? ,
, ,

Marcus, Petri sectator praedicante Petro


evangelium palam Romae coram quibusdam
Caesareanis equitibus, et multa Christi testimonia proferente, petitus ab eis, ut possent
quae dicebantur memoriae commendare,

scripsit ex

his, quae a Petro dicta sunt,

,

,

,

.

, '
', ,

,
.

evangelium quod secundum M a r c u m vocitatur;


sicut Lucas quoque Actus
Apostolorum stilo exsecutus agnoscitur,
et Pauli ad Hebraeos interpretatus epistolam.

20

THE LETTER

Eus., HE V I . 14.5-7

1.15

Eus., HE III.39.15 (Papias)

. . .
,
,

,
.
'
, ,
,
,


,

,
. ,
, , ,
, os
'
,

. ,

.
.
.
,
' fjv . '
'
.


,
. ,

.

.

21

THE LETTER

Eusebius r e m a r k e d the similarity of C l e m e n t ' s a c c o u n t to t h a t o f Papias. T h e


parallels b e t w e e n the passages m a k e it seem t h a t C l e m e n t relied o n P a p i a s for his
statement

about

Mark

and

for the p r o o f of it f r o m I Pet.

5.13, which

may

h a v e b e e n the source of the w h o l e story ( t h o u g h P a p i a s a t t r i b u t e d it to one J o h n


of Ephesus,

a presbyter

and

a " d i s c i p l e of the L o r d , " albeit n o t a n a p o s t l e ;

Eus., HE I I I . 3 9 . 4 , 1 5 ) . B u t C l e m e n t h a d other sources, w h i c h he preferred to P a p i a s ,


for his statements a b o u t M a t t h e w a n d L u k e , A c t s a n d H e b r e w s . M o r e o v e r , e v e n in
respect to M a r k he d i d n o t follow P a p i a s closely. P a p i a s w a n t e d to defend M a r k
f r o m charges of confusion, misrepresentation, a n d omission (charges w h i c h b e c o m e sign i f i c a n t in the light o f the present letter). C l e m e n t w a n t s to excuse h i m f r o m w r i t i n g
d o w n oral tradition a n d so m a k i n g it potentially p u b l i c a c h a r g e against w h i c h
h e h a d to d e f e n d himself t o o ; Stromateis I . 1 - 1 7 . H e therefore develops the basic
story, g i v e n b y Papias, in his o w n fashion. H i s a c c o u n t has b e e n f u r t h e r r e w r i t t e n
b y Eusebius, especially in I I . 15 (note the rhetorical l a r d i n g a n d the c o n t r a d i c t i o n
o f the report o f Peter's reaction g i v e n in V I . 14.7). H a r n a c k , it is true, denied t h a t
Eusebius' a c c o u n t in HE I I . 15 c a m e mostly f r o m C l e m e n t a n d Papias. H e m a i n t a i n e d
t h a t the r e p e a t e d in the text there must refer to a s e c o n d a r y tradition. T h e o n e
solid piece of e v i d e n c e in his a r g u m e n t w a s the statement (Pseudopapianisches 160 n 2 ) :
" F o r C l e m e n t , Babylon m e a n s the real B a b y l o n . " F o r this statement, h o w e v e r , I
c a n find no justification. O n the c o n t r a r y , the passage f r o m the Adumbrationes c i t e d
a b o v e ( I I I . 2 0 6 . 1 7 f r ) is a c o m m e n t on I Pet. 5 . 1 3 a n d clearly supposes that the
" B a b y l o n " m e n t i o n e d in that text is R o m e . T h i s disposes of H a r n a c k ' s denial t h a t
t h e r e p e a t e d in Eusebius (HE I l . i s f ) refers to C l e m e n t a n d Papias. I t is not,
o f course, necessary to suppose t h a t b o t h witnesses said e v e r y t h i n g there r e p o r t e d ;
Eusebius is w r i t i n g a s u m m a r y b a s e d o n b o t h their reports. [ " I n c o m p a r i s o n w i t h
the older descriptions of the i m p o r t a n c e of P e t e r for the Gospel o f M a r k , the letter
stresses w h a t Mark has d o n e . . . H e r e n o t h i n g is said of Peter as the source of the
G o s p e l of M a r k . A f t e r Peter's d e a t h M a r k goes to A l e x a n d r i a w i t h his o w n a n d
Peter's hypomnemataa

r e m a r k a b l e c h a n g e in the situation of the hermeneutes o f

P e t e r a n d there he composes his second, m o r e spiritual, G o s p e l ; cf. the C a n o n


M u r a t o r i , quibus tarnen interfuit et ita posuit, i f these w o r d s a r e to be understood as
m e a n i n g t h a t M a r k h a d b e e n a n eyewitness to some o f the doings o f the L o r d . I n this
w a y M a r k is c o n n e c t e d w i t h A l e x a n d r i a , a n d M a r k , n o t Peter, is the a u t h o r i t y b e h i n d
his Gospel. A s the g e n e r a l t r e n d of patristic t h o u g h t is to stress the p a r t of Peter
in the composition o f the G o s p e l a c c o r d i n g to M a r k , this letter seems to be a n A l e x a n d r i a n s t a t e m e n t . " J . M . ] See b e l o w , C h a p t e r F i v e , section I .

22

I.I5-16

THE LETTER

ev '

For synchronism, 1.42.15; 107.3;

etc-j

I.l6

Mossbacher, 65.

'). III. 197.21 in Eusebius' summary of Clement's account,


HE VI. 14.6. Use of iv, I.35.23, etc.; Mossbacher, 60.
.

In this sense, 1.242.11.

.
In Eusebius' summary, HE VI. 14.6, the Christians of Rome beseech
Mark . Clement uses the verb often, IV.232-233. See further
the comment by J . M . on
below, in 1.21-22.
.
Perhaps by analogy from , which Clement
often cites by title, IV.668 s.v. end. However, the usage here may reflect the
influence of Papias, whose account of the origin of Mark's Gospel, we saw, probably
influenced Clement. [Papias said Mark wrote
(Eus., HE 111.39.15)1 with which compare Acts 1.1,

. . . 6 88. A.D.N.] Another source


of influence may have been Roman imperial usage. The Res gestae divi Augusti,
for instance, became in translation . . . ; Bauer, Wb. s.v.
[ were an established literary form, which the author of our

followed as his example. In retrospect, referring to both pagan and early Christian
, the author of this letter here calls the Gospel , and perhaps he is
right in assuming that the Christian Gospel form developed under the influence of
such earlier types of writing. W . J . ]
.
for Jesus; Sthlin has over six columns of references to particular
instances, IV.529-533, nos. 3, 6, 10, 11.

23

1.16-17

THE LETTER

(.

ov8e

[ " O r i g e n in his c o m m e n t a r y o n M t . (GCS,

Origenes,

vol io, 1.2, p. 4 4 1 ) by his treatment of the parable, M t . 20.1-16, showed himself
convinced that M a t t h e w knew the secrets (or mysteries) of this parable as well
as those of the parables of the sower and of the tares, but kept silent about them.
H e did not make known everything which was revealed because he was aware of
the danger." J . M . , comparing Origen's defense of M a t t h e w to the praise of M a r k
in this letter.]
.

" N o t , however," 1.208.28; see also II.329.28.

.
Clement uses this only once, II.43.9, for a prophet's declaring the
decree of the goddess Lachesis (Fate), Plato, Republic 61 yd. T h e use here is probably
determined by the word's connotation, " b e t r a y a secret" (LSJ s.v.). It is used elsewhere with this sense concerning the mystery cults; e.g., Epictetus (Arrian), 111.21.16,
where, having assimilated the teachings of philosophy to the secrets of the Eleusinian
mysteries, the philosopher complains, S
, vev ,

, etc.

. " N o r y e t . " Frequent. Following , 1.45.6; 50.2iff; 206.5; etc. .


/ I have not found in Clement.
.
Clement uses this often, both in the
"pertaining to the mysteries"; it is impossible
Clement uses it in II.496.17 of Jesus' teaching:
through the prophets in order to prove that all

. .

sense of " s e c r e t " and in that of


to prove which is intended here.
T h e Holy Spirit spoke obscurely
gentile sages ignored

' '

^. B u t

this probably refers to all his teaching, as hidden from former ages, while the reference
in the letter is to certain actions as symbolic or secret or connected with a mystery,
by contrast with others which were not. [Most likely, as having symbolic meaning,
but the use with is surprising. A . D . N . C . M . also thinks that the sense of
is " h a v i n g symbolic m e a n i n g " ; Clement considers the person and the
actions of Jesus himself as being par excellence the .]
[If the letter is by Clement, it m a y be that an original re following
as in Acts 1 . 1 h a s dropped out. A . D . N . ] T h e combination of
not only is found in Acts and Papias (who was ignorant of Luke-Acts),
but also is adumbrated in M k . 6.2,30. C a d b u r y (Making 50) thinks it m a y be older
than Lk. Although Clement does not use with the general term he
does use it with terms indicating particular actions, things, or rituals:
, 1.281.9; , 1.117.29. Julius Pollux lists as usual usage

( 1 . 1 7 ) a n d

(1.36).

24

1.17-18

THE LETTER

I.l8

' \

Clement uses the verb to mean "indicate," with no connotation of

o b s c u r i t y , I I . 2 5 0 . 1 r o t s

. (Here the context shows the meaning is "merely indicate," as opposed to


" d e s c r i b e in detail.")

I I I . 162.5,

()

. . .

I . l 0 l . 8 f , {an extremely dubious significance of /

{ I T h e s s . 2."J). I n spite of the

Paul

did not say it explicitly, but perhaps implied it. The implicit contrast with
in the preceding phrase of the letter probably determines the meaning here as the
classical one, "indicate obscurely" or "hint a t " ; so LS J. Clement also uses although in a different sensein a context where the general thought and
vocabulary are so close to this letter as to deserve quotation at length (II.9.4ff):
'

oi

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

. fi

'

'

, . [It should be noted that in the letter the


explicit

contrast is b e t w e e n both

a n d

o n the one h a n d a n d

on the other. A.D.N.]

'.

For emphasis after a string of negatives, I I . 1 1 7 . 1 8 f ; 241.20; 465.13fr; etc.

Frequent in middle with accusative, I V . 3 7 3 . With , I I . 114.29,

see . 2 7

.
The superlative, I I . 1 1 3 . 1 5 ; with , 1.264.21; I I . 1 7 . 3 2 ; Mossbacher, 73-74.
.
.

J u d g e to be, consider, 1 . 1 7 . 2 5 ; I I . 12.20.


F r e q u e n t i n C l e m e n t . W i t h ,

I I . 3 2 7 . 8 f f ,

context declares, as does the text here, that faith can be increased by learning.
25

The

1.18

THE LETTER

U s e d thus as a technical t e r m for persons r e c e i v i n g instruction pre-

p a r a t o r y to admission to the sacraments, I I . 1 3 . 2 5 ; 4 7 6 . 1 9 . T h e m o t i v a t i o n ascribed


to M a r k here, b y the letter, is strikingly similar to that C l e m e n t claims for himself,
I I . 4 7 6 . 1 8 f , '

In II.494

f C l e m e n t , a r g u i n g f r o m the e x a m p l e of St. P a u l , implies, as does this letter, t h a t


c a t e c h u m e n s m a y be left w i t h o u t full i n f o r m a t i o n n o t to say
o r d e r to protect their f a i t h :

' , ,
,
'

" .

sense of

misinformedin

ol ,

(Cf. A c t s 1 6 . 3 ; G a l . 5-2ff; I C o r . 9.1922.) [ T h e

in I I . 4 9 4 . 1 1 f f seems, h o w e v e r , to be g e n e r a l r a t h e r

than

t e c h n i c a l , a n d it is the g e n e r a l sense w h i c h the t e r m in the letter p r o b a b l y has, i f


the letter is b y C l e m e n t . A . D . N . So, too, C . M . O n the other h a n d , W . J . w r o t e , in
s u b s t a n c e : I t is interesting to see h o w C l e m e n t ' s classification o f e a r l y C h r i s t i a n
literature takes for g r a n t e d , as a criterion, the suitability o f e a c h b o o k for the classes
o f A l e x a n d r i a n religious instruction,

a n d

(inf., 1. 22). S u c h

classification p e r h a p s p r o d u c e d the c o n c e p t of a secret G o s p e l , w h i c h M a r k

did

n o t disclose to the simpliciores. T h i s c o n c e p t , in turn, m a y h a v e caused i m a g i n a t i v e


p e o p l e to interpolate the c a n o n i c a l Gospel of M a r k a n d a d d to it their p a r t i c u l a r
k i n d of gnosis, like t h a t of the C a r p o c r a t i a n s . C l e m e n t himself believes in a secret
G o s p e l ; he objects only to the C a r p o c r a t i a n " m i x t u r e " b y interpolation.

Such

C h r i s t i a n fictions of secret or esoteric versions of their a c c e p t e d h o l y books seem t o


follow the trend of G r e e k philosophers in Hellenistic times, to distinguish a n exoteric
f r o m a n esoteric k i n d of P y t h a g o r e a n i s m a n d Platonism, a n d , finally, to forge s u c h
a pseudoliterature as w e still h a v e u n d e r a l l e g e d l y a n c i e n t P y t h a g o r e a n names. A l s o ,
the misinterpretation of Aristotle's

( d i a l o g u e s ) a s opposed to the

esoteric writings (treatises) w h i c h w e r e " h y p o m n e m a t a " m u s t b e u n d e r s t o o d as


a consequence of this later t r e n d . ]

W i t h the article, I . i 1 6 . 1 1 ; 2 7 7 . 5 ; 283.5; etc. in genitive

absolute, b e g i n n i n g a sentence, I I I . 1 9 7 . 2 1 (Eusebius' s u m m a r y of C l e m e n t ) . G e n i t i v e


absolute in the b e g i n n i n g of a narrative to i n d i c a t e the t i m e after w h i c h the events
o c c u r r e d , I I I . 1 8 8 . 3 , 1 2 . T h e repetition of p r o p e r names, f o u n d here a n d a g a i n b e l o w
( ) is a m a r k e d characteristic of b o t h the E u s e b i a n s u m m a r i e s ( a b o v e , 1 . 1 5 ) .

.
has ,

T h e o n l y reference to Peter's d e a t h in C l e m e n t ' s r e c o g n i z e d w o r k s

I I I . 106.24, b u t the c o n t e x t there w o u l d m a k e a reference to the m a r t y r -

d o m intrusive. C l e m e n t r e g u l a r l y uses

as a t e c h n i c a l t e r m w i t h the sense

it has h e r e t o u n d e r g o m a r t y r d o m , I I . 2 5 4 . 2 7 ; 2 8 5 . 1 4 ; etc. [ T h e earliest use in


26

I.18-I9

T H E LETTER

els

'AXetjavSpeiav

[ ]

this technical sense seems to be not in the N T , but in Clement of Rome, First Epistle
to the Corinthians 5.4; therefore this appearance in Clement of Alexandria is interesting.
W.J.] Swete, xxv, remarks that Clement of Alexandria differs from the Asiatic
tradition about Mk. (IrenaeusHarvey, III.1.2 = Stieren, III.1.1, etc.) by representing the Gospel as composed before Peter's death. T h e present letter shares this
Clementine peculiarity. [This is an important argument for authenticity. E.B.]
v.
II.96.13; cf. LSJ s.v. I l l , "pass on and come to a place," which is the
sense here.
els. Regularly used with ;
paragraphs a n d Mossbacher, 55.
&.

see the passages cited in the preceding

Without the article after els, 1.37.17; after , II.86.8; 92.12.

. T h e tradition that Mark came to Alexandria does not appear in the preserved works of Clement, but Clement and Papias were probably the sources from
which it was drawn by Eusebius (HE II. 16). T h e which now stands in the
first sentence of II. 16, if not used impersonally, should refer to Clement and Papias,
who were named as the sources of information in the preceding sentence. [C.M.
thinks this suggestion concerning the subject of plausible. J . . , however, argued
that because, " w e have no tradition . . . about Mark's connection with Alexandria
before Eusebius (HE I I . 16)," therefore this letter depends on Eusebius.]
.
I n Clement this verb usually means " p r o v i d e " ; but the sense it has here,
" c a r r y away so as to preserve, carry, convey, b r i n g " (LSJ s.v. II), is common in
classical authors and perhaps appears in metaphor in II.29.16f, <5
,
,

'
",


cf. I I . 2 5 6 . 9 ^

. [The verb is often used of introducing and, in that sense, " b r i n g i n g " a
doctrine; Bonitz, Index 402 b 23ff. Here it seems to mean simply " b r i n g " from one
place to another, but the extension of this meaning to the former is well illustrated
by the passage. W.J.] Jerome, De viris inlustribus 8, writes of Mark, " a d s u m p t o itaque
evangelio quod ipse confecerat perrexit Aegyptum." Swete, xix n i , thinks this an
inference from Eus., HE II.16.
. . . ' . . . . [If one reads ' , which I find
preferable to ', the . . . cannot mean " b o t h . . . a n d , " because a re
cannot be combined with a in this manner, but the last must be connected
with the and the first is connected closely with and stands for " a l s o . "
H e carried with himself also his own and Peter's hypomnemata. A.W.]
27

1.19-20

THE LETTER

1.20

. M S , . [ A . D . . would read ' , on the supposition that


the copyist did not understand the letters he found in his M S and so reproduced
them en bloc.~\ This would suggest that he m a y have had before him a M S without
accents and breathings. [But had that been the case, there would have been m a n y
more instances of omitted accents and of false divisions. I suspect that an ancestor
had , which became . This can represent either , or .
T o show that it represented someone superscribed hence .
' is odd Greek; I should expect or (omitting )
re . ..] Sthlin, I . X X X V I f , remarks on the frequency with which his manuscript used , etc., after articles, in place of the reflexive forms, and omitted the
coronis in crasis. However, I think the error here must be given an explanation
which will accord with the amazing correctness of the rest of the M S . I should
suppose, therefore, that the writer found a folio of an uncial M S with few or no
explanatory signs or word divisions. Therefore he studied it carefully, correcting
the spelling, marking the divisions, adding accents, breathings, and the like. A l o n g
with his other changes he indicated by a superscribed , as B.E. suggests, that
, which stood in his text, was to be understood as . T h e n he copied
his corrected text into his book. H e was pressed for time when he copied, and therefore
made a number of minor mistakes, of which was one.
.
Clement uses this often for his own writings, occasionally for those
of others; e.g., II.73.25. He apparently uses it to mean " n o t e s " or " p a p e r s , " as
it probably does here [and this is the regular u s a g e W . J . ] . Eusebius, in his summary
of Clement, HE II. 15, describes the cononical Gospel according to M a r k as a
. [The word is normally used in the singular to mean simply " b o o k . "
W . J . J . M . thought it derived from Eusebius; see his comment on
below, 1.21-22.] For the customary use of to describe either
private notebooks or works composed without attention to arrangement of material,
or not in finished form, Lazzati, 24; Lieberman, Hellenism 87; Munck, Untersuchungen
39; Jaeger, Studien 135; Hyldahl, 75fr. T h e term could also mean, generally, " d o c u m e n t s " ; e.g., Eus., HE V I . 1 2 . i . Justin M a r t y r knew " o f Peter,"
Dialogue 106.3 [and " o f the apostles," First Apology 6 7 . 3 W . V . ] and quoted from
them material now to be found only in M k . 3.16f. Clement quotes as statements of
Peter material from M t . , M k . , Acts, I T i m . (! 1.233.10fr), I Pet., the Preaching of
Peter, and the Apocalypse of Peter, but he also had a good deal of information about
Peter from a source or sources now lost, and he seems to have made use of this
information in those of his own works which have also been lostor suppressed:
I.220.15; 453.1 i f f ; 3 I I I . 4 6 . 1 f f ; 1 9 6 . i 2 ( ? ) ; 22ff; 197.17fr; 32ff; ig8.2off; 199.21fr
3. P r o b a b l y not f r o m the Preaching, it differs in type of content f r o m the Preaching material w h i c h
precedes it in this passage of C l e m e n t , and it circulated separately (Eus., HE V . 18.14, w h e r e it is
reported as ? eV 7).

28

1.20

THE LETTER

(cf. I I . 4 6 6 . 9 ) ; 206.17fr; 2 3 o . 2 f f ( ? ) . O f these 11 passages, the last 8 c o m e f r o m works


of C l e m e n t n o w lost, a n d at least 1 is o f t y p i c a l l y gnostic c o n t e n t I I I . 1 9 9 . 2 i f ,
f r o m Eus., HE I I . i . 4 f , w h i c h reports t h a t C l e m e n t said

'

. It is precisely f r o m

these apostles a n d P a u l that C l e m e n t claims his teachers h a d r e c e i v e d , e v i d e n t l y


b y p r i v a t e tradition, a n d h a n d e d o n to h i m the essential teachings of the L o r d .
T h u s I I . 9 . 4 f f : Ol

'

. . .

T h i s is not m e r e l y the p u b l i c C h r i s t i a n tradition. See the

c o n t e x t of the passage (it has b e e n q u o t e d a b o v e , o n ,

1 . 1 7 ) . I t definitely

refers to a b o d y of secret doctrine. O t h e r gnostics also c l a i m e d to h a v e secret traditions d e r i v e d f r o m P e t e r ; C l e m e n t mentions p a r t i c u l a r l y the followers of Basilides,
w h o s e teacher, G l a u c i a s , h a d b e e n Peter's " i n t e r p r e t e r " ( I I I . 7 5 . 1 6 ) , a n d those o f
V a l e n t i n u s , w h o s e teacher h a d been T h e o d a s , a n a c q u a i n t a n c e of Paul's. T h e books
a c c e p t e d as a u t h o r i t a t i v e b y C l e m e n t a n d his f r i e n d s t h o s e books of w h i c h some
e v e n t u a l l y b e c a m e " T h e N e w T e s t a m e n t " s e e m to h a v e said n o t h i n g of G l a u c i a s
a n d T h e o d a s , b u t some books a c c e p t e d as a u t h o r i t a t i v e b y Basilides a n d his friends
similarly said n o t h i n g of Peter's " i n t e r p r e t e r , " M a r k (Eus., HE

I I I . 3 9 . 1 5 ) or o f

P a u l ' s a c q u a i n t a n c e , L u k e ( u n k n o w n e v e n to Papias), f r o m w h o m the p a r t y C l e m e n t


represents c l a i m e d to h a v e g o t t e n their traditions. A n d Basilides (fl. ca. 135) w a s
c o n s i d e r a b l y earlier t h a n C l e m e n t (fl. 1 7 5 - 2 0 0 ) . T h e c l a i m to h a v e apostolic t r a d i tions w a s c o m m o n in the a n c i e n t c h u r c h a n d , since n e w apostolic traditions w e r e
discovered to settle n e w disputes as t h e y arose, it must h a v e b e e n b e l i e v e d t h a t the
traditions h a d been secret before the times of their f o r t u n a t e discovery. T h e r e f o r e ,
this c o m m o n m e t h o d of doctrinal a r g u m e n t presupposes

a general

belief in

considerable b o d y of secret apostolic traditions to w h i c h privileged m e m b e r s o f the


c l e r g y [and p e r h a p s other p r i v i l e g e d persons-J.R.] h a d access. F o r e x a m p l e , see
the m a t e r i a l q u o t e d f r o m Eusebius b y H o l l , 175, o n the c l a i m of a secret tradition
a b o u t the d a t e of the P a s c h a [and cf. Eus., HE V . 2 5 A . D . N . ] . T h e system b y w h i c h
the dates o f the festivals w e r e set w a s a most i m p o r t a n t e l e m e n t of the secret d o c t r i n e
o f the S a m a r i t a n s , a n d p r o b a b l y also o f the Q u m r a n sect ( B o w m a n , Calendar 24,27),
as o f r a b b i n i c J u d a i s m . O n the p u b l i c tradition a b o u t secret traditions, see A . D .
N o c k in Gnomon 29 (1957) 5 2 7 - 5 2 8 .

is used to refer to t a k i n g m a t e r i a l f r o m a b o o k or books,

in I I . 4 3 5 . 3 ; a g a i n , w i t h , as here (II.442.20f)

. . . iv

The

c o n t e x t is c o n c e r n e d w i t h e x a m p l e s of p l a g i a r i s m , so the v e r b almost certainly m e a n s


" t o o k o v e r , " not " r e m o d e l e d " ; cf. line 10 of the s a m e p a g e , ' . . . "
. . .

'

29

I.20-2I

THE LETTER

1.2 I
els

. Clement uses with , but metaphorically, III. 171.31. The literal use
is, of course, well established; e.g., Plato, Timaeus 73.
. For ; so II.442.20ff, quoted above; also III.118.4; noted by
Sthlin, IV.691. [Cf. Acts 1.1. W . M . C . ]
.

Frequent in this sense in Clement; II.51.3, etc.

II.473.9ff,

<( )>

Parallels to

the use of , Mossbacher, 7of. [That is to be understood here in


accord with this usage of Clement's, as meaning "whatever things make for headway"
rather than " t h e persons advancing" toward gnosis, is proved by the concluding
phrase of the sentence, where makes the antithesis to above. Were not the sense of that indicated by the Clementine
parallel, the antithesis would be spoiled by its intrusion and the last phrase would
be tautologous. Parallels are found in Thuc., IV.60.2, and Sextus Emp., Pyrroneion
Hypotyposeon II.240. A.D.N. C.H.R. comments, " appears with as
its subject in a third century papyrus quoted in F. Preisigke, Papyruswrterbuch, but
I find it very hard to take it here otherwise than in a personal sense." A.W. is of the
opinion that "must" stand for "the persons advancing." He observes that the in Thuc. IV.60.2 has a personal subject, while in Sextus
Emp. Pyr. Hyp. II.240 the subject is . W . V . is of the same opinion, remarking that if refers to the persons we have an orderly progression,
, in which this second term is a necessary connective between the first and the third.] But if so, how are we to explain
that by adding to his text things suitable for ? he produced a gospel
for the use of ? This difficulty seems to me to require either the
unlikely equation of rots- with or the translation proposed by A.D.N, and confirmed by the striking parallel in Clement. [But why, then,
?

W o u l d n ' t

b e e n o u g h ? . . ] N o , the

meaning is not the same. Clement's point is that Mark did not write down the essentials of the secret doctrine, but merely things suitable to lead the initiates toward
these essentials. It would seem, therefore, that Clement's wording here is precise
(and precisely answers the objection that the letter cannot be by him because he
thought the gnostic tradition unwritten; see below, on ).
.

I I I . 3 6 . 2 9 ; 142.3,

This

phrase expresses those conceptions of faith as inferior to knowledge, and of the


believer's advance from faith to knowledge, which are also implied by the letter
and by many other passages in Clement's works: e.g., III.41-42; II.187.33f.

30

THE LETTER

1.21


.
268.2; etc.

Frequent with the dative, and of spiritual suitability: e.g., 1.149.25;

.
C l e m e n t regularly uses this for the composition of books, I V . 734 (13
instances). A tradition that M a r k wrote in E g y p t is preserved b y Chrysostom and
certain N T M S S ; Swete. xxxix. [In this account of M a r k ' s writing a second, " m o r e
spiritual," Gospel W . V . finds the principal theological motive of the letter and the
conclusive proof that it is not b y Clement. C l e m e n t knows a gnostic tradition within
the C h u r c h , but for him the characteristic of this tradition is that it is unwritten;
cf. V l k e r , 363^ Gnosis is that ? els eV
8 (II.462.28f). Accordingly, C l e m e n t says explicitly 8e oi
npeavrepoi ( I I I . 144.26), and only this fact explains w h y the Stromateis begin w i t h
Clement's self-defense for h a v i n g broken with this custom and written down the
tradition. Consequently I I I . 1 4 5 . 5 - 1 5 cannot m e a n that the gnostics within the
C h u r c h had secret books; the reference must be merely to written confirmatory
evidence of the oral tradition, in the sense of Stromateis I . i ( = I I . 1 . i f f ) . Consequently,
too, the present letter is not b y Clement. Further evidence for this conclusion is
found in the fact that the letter reflects a C h u r c h more highly institutionalized than
that known to C l e m e n t o n e w h i c h inherits property and of w h i c h presbyters are
ecclesiastical officials rather than spiritual teachers (see below, on 1.28 and I I . 5 ) .
T h e date of the letter is to be determined b y two considerations: on the one h a n d ,
the gnostic controversy is still a living issue; on the other h a n d , the ecclesiastical
organization has become fixed a n d established in the ways mentioned.] H o w e v e r ,
it must be pointed out that: (1) This letter does not say that M a r k , in his second
Gospel, wrote down the gnostic tradition. O n the contrary, it is careful to deny
that he did so (1.22-24). H e merely a d d e d to his former Gospel material he knew
w o u l d serve as points of departure to those instructed more fully (see above, end
of the p a r a g r a p h on . (2) M a r k was not a presbyter, and there is
no doubt that C l e m e n t thought M a r k did write, so Clement's statement that the
presbyters did not write is no evidence as to w h a t C l e m e n t thought M a r k wrote.
(3) Stromateis I . i is not an apology for breaking w i t h the tradition that instruction
should be oral only. C l e m e n t never in this chapter mentions a n y such tradition;
on the contrary, he repeatedly takes for granted that Christian instruction is already
both oral and written (11.4.24^ 6 . 1 2 ; 8.3). H e could hardly do otherwise, since he
goes on in the Stromateis to quote a great deal of written Christian literature. M o r e o v e r ,
H a r n a c k agreed with M e r c a t i that even some of the passages C l e m e n t reports as
" t r a d i t i o n s " were before h i m in written form (Fragment 903). W h e t h e r or not
C l e m e n t thought any secret Christian material was in writing he does not explicitly
say in this c h a p t e r ; but his concession that it is impossible that secret material, if
written d o w n , should not fall into the w r o n g hands ( I I . i i-4f) w o u l d be more understandable if he h a d k n o w n of some material w h i c h had done s o f o r instance,
M a r k ' s second Gospel, w h i c h the Carpocratians h a d got hold of. Further, C l e m e n t

31

1.21-22

THE LETTER

1.22

does not, in Stromateis I . i , d e f e n d himself for w r i t i n g d o w n the gnostic tradition.


Instead, he is at pains to say t h a t he d i d not w r i t e d o w n this tradition, a n d he says
so in w o r d s strikingly similar to those used in this letter to say the same t h i n g a b o u t
M a r k ( c o m p a r e C l e m e n t I I . 1 0 . 1 7 - 1 1 . 1 1 w i t h the letter 1 . 2 2 - 2 4

d 27). C l e m e n t ' s

an

defense in Stromateis I . i is against the c h a r g e of p r e s u m p t i o n , w h i c h m i g h t be b r o u g h t


for his w r i t i n g at all, the c h a r g e of indiscretion, for m a k i n g the truth a v a i l a b l e to
the w r o n g p e o p l e , a n d the c h a r g e of frivolity, for d e c k i n g out C h r i s t i a n doctrine
with

philosophic

communis opinio

argumentation.

(recently

Volker's

repeated

by

misunderstanding

Osborn,

Teaching

is

340);

admittedly
but

the

can

find

n o t h i n g in the text to j u s t i f y it, n o t h i n g w h i c h says or e v e n implies that C l e m e n t ' s


u n d e r t a k i n g w a s a r a d i c a l l y n e w d e p a r t u r e or that there w e r e no previous C h r i s t i a n
writings of the same sort. (Since there c e r t a i n l y w e r e , a n d C l e m e n t k n e w

them

a n d h a d m a d e excerpts f r o m t h e m , it is n o t surprising t h a t he does not d e n y their


existence.)
ol

(4)

III.144.26-145.15

. . .

deserves q u o t a t i o n a t l e n g t h :

. . .

.
. . .

,
'

'

(els avy

. . .

. . .

. T h i s seems to m e

r e a s o n a b l y p l a i n a n d c o m p l e t e justification for m y statement

below

(II.5)

that

C l e m e n t t h o u g h t the t e a c h i n g of the presbyters " h a d b e e n oral, b u t n o w , w r i t t e n


d o w n , f o r m e d part of the b o d y of secret C h r i s t i a n t r a d i t i o n a n d w a s sometimes indiscretely c o m m u n i c a t e d to the u n w o r t h y . " H o w V l k e r k n o w s t h a t this c a n n o t
m e a n t h a t the gnostics in the C h u r c h possessed secret books, I d o not u n d e r s t a n d .
Accordingly,

his basic reason for supposing the letter n o t b y C l e m e n t fails to

c o n v i n c e m e . O n the other c o n s i d e r a t i o n s t h e C h u r c h ' s i n h e r i t a n c e of p r o p e r t y , the


use o f " p r e s b y t e r " to refer to a c h u r c h o f f i c i a l s e e b e l o w , o n 1.28 ()
II.5

and

().

I I I . i g 7 . 2 7 f f ,

. . .

T h i s is Eusebius' report ( H E V I . 14.7)

o f w h a t C l e m e n t said in the lost Hypotyposes; it is c o n f i r m e d b y the L a t i n version o f


C l e m e n t ' s Adumbrationes on I J o h n ( I I I . 2 0 9 . 2 5 f ) , Consequenter evangelio secundum Iohannem

32

THE LETTER

els

1.22

et convenienter etiam haec epistola principium spiritale continet. Clement uses the comparative
form of the adjective in II.465.34fr: ,
nvev . as an adverb, to describe an understanding of the hidden sense of Christian teachings, II.370.i8f. Here it is used to
describe Mark's second Gospel as " m o r e spiritual" than his first because it contained
or indicated more of the hidden sense of Jesus' teachings and actions. [Contrast,
however, the opinion o f J . M . : " T h e central feature of the letter . . . is the importance
ascribed to . . . Mark in Alexandria and his authority as a writer of gospel literature
. . . W e have no tradition, as far as I know, about his connection with Alexandria
before Eusebius (HE II. 16). Some details could be used to argue in favor of the
dependence of the author of the letter on Eusebius: W h e n Eusebius tells about the
spiritual Gospel of J o h n (HE V I . 14.5-7 ) after speaking of the Gospel of Mark, a
later author identifying M a r k with J o h n ('John, called Mark,' Acts 12.25; 1 5-37)
could understand this text as meaning that Mark, after writing his canonical Gospel,
h a d composed another more spiritual Gospel. As smaller items I should like to
mention the use of in HE VI.14.6 and in the letter 1.16, and Eusebius'
use of the word about the Gospel of M a r k (HE I I . 15.1) and the use of
the word in the plural in the letter I.igf. It is possible that the letter tries to combine
the two traditions about M a r k t h a t he wrote his Gospel before the death of Peter
(Clement) and after it (Irenaeus)by stating that M a r k wrote one Gospel before
and another one after the death of Peter (both opinions are mentioned by Eusebius)."]
et'? . . . .
III.36.2, . . . . Clement regularly uses to indicate objectives; Mossbacher, 56f.
.
These might be baptized persons, as opposed to the catechumens
above. Thus 1.105.20fr lists the immediate consequences of baptism:
, , , . [But if referred to baptism it would mean either persons in
the process of being baptized or those on the road to it, who would be identical
with the catechumens. A.D.N. But C.F.D.M. suggests that the participles in this
passage are " f r e q u e n t a t i v e " ; = " a n y who (from time to time)
become c a t e c h u m e n s " ; = " a n y who (at any given time) are advancing," a n d so and , cf. Gal 6.13.] Richardson's discovery
that Mk. 10.13-45 was probably a lection for a baptismal service makes it not
unlikely that here means "persons in the process of being b a p t i z e d "
and that Clement thought the additions were made to adapt the Gospel for catechetic
a n d liturgical use in the Christian initiation. However, the questions raised by
Richardson's discovery require more discussion than can be undertaken in this
commentary; they will be dealt with in section I I I of Chapter Three. Here it is
enough to say that Clement's notion of is very h a r d to define and certainly
33

THE LETTER

1.22

makes possible the interpretation of

as referring either to baptism or


to some initiatory ceremony other than baptism or to a long process of perfection
in gnosis. T h e last of these possibilities is clearly indicated by the discussion in I . 1 0 5 121, following the passage quoted above. There Clement explains that the consequences he has listed are present only potentially (106.30^ ' . . .
) a n d that even P a u l h a d to say (121.1 o f f ) ''
,

" . . . ,

, ,

, '

. D e v e l o p i n g the thought of this passage, C l e m e n t conceives of


as a process which m a y affect only one or another aspect of a Christian's l i f e
one may be perfected in piety or endurance or prophecy, and so on (II.305.19ff;
307. i8fif)but when he writes of " p e r f e c t i o n " without further specification he means
perfection in gnosis (Vlker, 30if). H e sharply distinguishes the gnostic from the mere
believer (II.298.23frand often, esp. 485, 487; I I I . 3 7 . i f f ; 42.8; 60.2; etc.) and thinks
of the gnostic's being perfected as a process normally continuing throughout the
Christian's earthly life (cf. V l k e r , 151, esp. n2). E . g . , II.307.4fr,

. But he thinks its goal can be anticipated by the gnostic already in this
life, I I I . 3 0 . 3 0 f f ,
,

, '

(^

( a c c e p t i n g the

emendations of Tengblad, 96, and of Sthlin, against Lazzati, 92). T h e achievement


is never absolutely complete on earth (II.330.13), but is made almost complete
(II.467.15ff; 468-469; 485fr) by the gift of gnosis. Both Clement and this letter
conceive the gift of gnosis as a process of instruction in elements of the Christian
tradition, including the Lord's teaching (III.42.5)instruction given only to chosen
candidates after considerable probation and leading eventually to deification (II.
367.3; 460.20; 462.24). So, esp., I I I . 4 0 . 2 i f f - 4 i . 2 5 : " ...

,'


"

. . .

. . . ,

. . .

'

. For further discussion of the problem see, besides Vlker, especially


the articles of Butterworth, Lebreton, Moingt, and Wytzes. Particularly important is
M e h a t , Ordres, which shows that Clement distinguished three classes of " philosophic a l , " that is, Christian, material: the protreptic, for complete outsiders; the pedagogic
34

1.22

THE LETTER

(paraenetic), for c a t e c h u m e n s and o r d i n a r y C h r i s t i a n s ; the didascalic, for the a d v a n c e d


students, the gnostics. M e h a t

concludes that this classification of philosophical

m a t e r i a l reflects the system of instruction used in C l e m e n t ' s c h u r c h . H e c o m m e n t s ,


P 3 5 7 : " I t is surprising to see t h a t (within this system) the c a t e c h u m e n a t e does
not constitute a p e c u l i a r phase. O n the other h a n d , the distinction b e t w e e n the
neophytes, still subject to e l e m e n t a r y instruction, a n d the m o r e a d v a n c e d Christians
w h o are initiated into the true doctrine, o u g h t to be g i v e n m o r e attention t h a n it
has hitherto received. F o r m y p a r t , I think the origin of this distinction lies in a
c o m m o n p r a c t i c e of the C h u r c h , established long before C l e m e n t ' s time, a n d g o i n g
m u c h further b a c k t h a n is g e n e r a l l y s u p p o s e d . "

Initial, I I . 3 8 5 . 2 1 ; m e a n i n g " n o t y e t , " i.e., " h e d i d not g o so far as t o , "

I I . 4 6 0 . 2 9 ; 469.23; 483.19. [So A . W . a n d B . E . C . F . D . M . here o b s e r v e d : " I t seems


to m e that a case c a n be m a d e ( t h o u g h I c o u l d not m a k e it w i t h d e e p conviction)
for C l e m e n t ' s i n t e n d i n g three d o c u m e n t s : (1)

(i.e. c a n o n i c a l M k . )

c o m p i l e d at R o m e d u r i n g Peter's lifetime a n d c o n t a i n i n g select p r a x e i s ; (2) the

a n e n l a r g e d edition of (1) a m p l i f i e d b y such m a t e r i a l

f r o m Peter's a n d M a r k ' s hypomnemata as M a r k t h o u g h t a p p r o p r i a t e for a n y

who

m a d e progress in k n o w l e d g e a n d w e r e initiates, or c a n d i d a t e s for initiation; (3) a


mystic gospel, a n e n l a r g e m e n t of (2) b y a d d i t i o n a l praxeis a n d logia of a m y s t i c a l
sort. T h e a r g u m e n t s t h a t m i g h t b e used for distinguishing (3) are as f o l l o w s : (a)

seems n a t u r a l l y to i m p l y not less t h a n t w o p r e c e d i n g stages,

not e v e n n o w ' . . .; (b) m y no. 2 is called

a n d related to ol

'yet,

w h e r e a s there a r e other a n d m o r e ' m y s t i c ' terms w h i c h o n l y b e g i n to a p p e a r at


m y Stage (3), viz. , ,
o f t h a t phrase), OL

(and the w h o l e

(c) to a c h i e v e a reference to o n l y t w o , one has to m a k e several r a t h e r difficult


assumptions, viz. (1)

m e a n s ' n o t yet (and i n d e e d n e v e r ) ' ;

(2) the

clause w h i c h follows ( i n c l u d i n g the phrase in it) has to be t a k e n in a ' b u t o n l y '


sense a n d treated as a m e r e a m p l i f i c a t i o n of w h a t has a l r e a d y been described in
r a t h e r d i f f e r e n t t e r m s t e r m s relating o n l y to ol

a n d to praxeis w i t h o u t

l o g i a ; (3) since, b y assumption no. 1, never w e r e written d o w n b y


M a r k a n d

does not represent t h e m , the rest of the C l e m e n t

f r a g m e n t must be a b o u t s o m e t h i n g less than the most esoteric m a t e r i a l . "


interpretation, h o w e v e r , M o u l e a b a n d o n e d after discussion w i t h M a u r i c e
w h o a r g u e d to the c o n t r a r y that in C l e m e n t ' s v i e w
written d o w n

(Stromateis 1 . 1 3 . 2 ; V I . 6 1 . 3 ) ,

This
Wiles,

o u g h t not to be

that C l e m e n t ' s m e n t i o n of t h e m

was

i n t e n d e d to assure T h e o d o r e that a l t h o u g h the C a r p o c r a t i a n s h a d g o t h o l d of the


secret G o s p e l they h a d not learned the highest secrets, a n d that the use of
r a t h e r t h a n ,

a l t h o u g h surprising, was not a serious objection.] T o the best

of m y recollection, o n l y one other reader of the letter, R i c h a r d s o n , t h o u g h t it m i g h t


possibly refer to three versions of the G o s p e l , a n d he also g a v e u p the notion.

35

THE LETTER

1.22-23

1.23

ovSe

. Postpositive, with the sense it has here, 1.283.21, where, as here, it follows a
vowel.
. . . . , (this ofJ e s u s ' teaching).
I I . 1 0 . 3 ; 1 0 . 1 7 f r , ' . . . . . .

Set, .

This

use of for the mysteries of Christian teaching is frequent in Clement.


.

I I . 1 4 . 1 3 f r ,

. This was a common word for revealing the rites of mystery


cults (Lucian, De saltatione 15), and Clement uses it of them as well as of Christian
mysteries, 1 . 1 1 . 1 0 . [See Nilsson, I 2 .656. A.D.N. For the content, see Origen's statement on Mt. 2 0 . 1 - 1 6 that Matthew knew, but withheld, the secret interpretations
of the parables, GCS, Origenes, vol. 10, 1.2, p. 441. J . M . ]
. In this sense, II.302.15; used of formally written records, Plato, Laws
741c. Clement believed that in Christian tradition ,
.368.2; and he insisted that it was this unwritten tradition which was most important
for the instruction of the gnostic, II.462.24fr; 4 9 8 . 1 5 f r . In this the letter and Clement
agree. Clement's claim to a secret tradition has been emphasized by Lebreton, 4 9 3 f r ,
and is recognized even by Lazzati, 69; Bardy, Origenes 73; and Mondesert, Clement
47-62, n o and Symbolisme 161, 176-180; etc. The most penetrating study of the
problem is that of Mondesert, who begins (51-55) by pointing out that many
supposed instances of this claim are really examples of propaedeutic method or
reflections of the Platonic tradition and of the allegorical theory of exegesis; but
he goes on to recognize that beside these explanations one must admit that Clement
claimed there was a secret body of doctrine, revealed by Christ to Peter, James,
and John, and handed down orally to Clement's own time (56-57). This secret
doctrine is not the ordinary ecclesiastical tradition ( n o ) , but is linked with a special
Christian initiation by which it is communicated, not to all Christians, but to a
chosen few. It thus constitutes a "second gnosis," distinct from the philosophical
gnosis of which Clement usually wrote (161, 176, 180). Mondesert points out that
this notion is contradictory not only to the philosophical system, but also " t o the
profound thought and even to the mentality of Clement"his sympathy for all
men, his belief in God's universal self-revelation, etc. (57). Mondesert also remarks
that this notion is absolutely contrary to the Christian concept of tradition as the
living magistracy of the entire Church (58), a concept beginning to prevail in the
Alexandrian Christianity Clement's time (though it may not have been so important earlier). These observations are acute and from them it follows that Clement
did not himself invent this secret doctrine and its claims; nor did he derive it from

36

THE LETTER

1.23

the contemporary tendencies of the church of A l e x a n d r i a . W h e n c e , then, did he


get it ? A n d w h y did he feel that he h a d to accept it in spite of its contradiction of
his o w n temperament a n d theories? Presumably it was there and he believed its
claims. Mondesert's suppositions that it was merely pretense, " a n esoteric a t t i t u d e , "
or that C l e m e n t thought he h a d a secret doctrine although he actually did not (61)
are implausible in the face of his o w n observation of the fact: in Clement's theory the
secret doctrine is an alien a n d intrusive element. T h i s fact c a n be understood in the
light of the present letter. [ C o m m e n t i n g on this p a r a g r a p h , C . M . w r o t e : " J e suis
d ' a c c o r d avec tout votre commentaire dans son ensemble et m e m e pour votre rem a r q u e sur la page 61 de m o n l i v r e . " See also W . J . ' s remarks in the following
p a r a g r a p h . J . M . , on the other hand, w r o t e : " T h e most important objection against
ascribing the letter to C l e m e n t is that he knew only the apostolic writings, e.g., the
Gospel of M a r k , and the oral tradition from the apostles w h i c h he had obtained
through his teachers, the presbyters (Stromateis I . n . i f f ) . E v e r y link in this transmission of the tradition was, in his words, ' a son receiving it from his father.' T h e great
change in the transmission is effected b y C l e m e n t himself b y his writings where he
publishes the tradition from the apostles w h i c h his teachers h a d given him. I find
it impossible to believe that C l e m e n t could write that Peter a n d M a r k left .
I n that case his words on the transmission of the apostolic tradition in the Stromateis
w o u l d be completely un-understandable. T h e author of the letter has divided the
Christian tradition into three parts, the first being represented b y the Gospel of
M a r k where some of the acts () of the L o r d have been written down, not all,
a n d not the mystical acts, but those w h i c h were most useful to help the faith of the
catechumens. T h e second w a y of expressing the Christian tradition is found in the
mystical Gospel of M a r k . H e r e M a r k introduced material from his o w n a n d Peter's
' n o t e s ' . . . a n d in this w a y he brought together a more spiritual gospel to be used
for those w h o are being initiated . . . T h e third kind of tradition is characterized b y
the subjects w h i c h M a r k did not include in his more spiritual gospel (1.23). I do
not think C l e m e n t w o u l d consent to a threefold division of the Christian tradition
b y w h i c h the oral tradition was divided u p in an already written tradition from those
w h o had been eyewitnesses to the acts of the L o r d (Peter and M a r k ) and then the
tradition w h i c h was transmitted only orally. But this threefold division might be
more natural at a later time in the history of the C h u r c h . " ] W h e n ? After C l e m e n t
the determination of the canon goes forward steadily. Consequently C l e m e n t , of all
early Christian writers w h o can pretend to orthodoxy, is the one most receptive
of " n o n c a n o n i c a l " writings claiming apostolic authorship. A b o u t Peter he undoubtedly believed that, besides his canonical Epistle, the apostle had left his Apocalypse,
his Preaching, a n d considerable other material, some of w h i c h he thought preserved
in written f o r m ; see above, 1.19-20, on . Consequently I see no justification for M u n c k ' s confidence that C l e m e n t cannot have believed that Peter left
" p a p e r s " and that material d r a w n from these was incorporated into a second edition
of M a r k ' s Gospel. As for the c o m m o n misunderstanding of the beginning of the
Stromateis, see item (3) of m y comments on Vlker's remarks, in the p a r a g r a p h on
above, 1.21.
37

1.23

THE LETTER

. 6 3 , of p a g a n mysteries; cf. 1.84.25,

Se ,

of

Christian mysteries. [ O n this W . J . wrote, in substance: T h e letter seems to contradict


those w h o have a tendency to interpret a w a y or attenuate the existence in C l e m e n t
of a theory of a n esoteric Christian doctrine, because they feel that it is not consistent
w i t h his belief in the Christian religion as a universal message to all. I w o u l d not dare
to expect in C l e m e n t a n y t h i n g like logical or philosophical consistency; a n d Christianity w o u l d remain a message to all, b y the w a y , even if it h a d room for some kind of
esoteric knowledge. T h e truth, as all the fathers of the C h u r c h believed, is not
c o m m u n i c a b l e to all m e n in the same w a y a n d b y the same means, a n d the capacity
of the h u m a n m i n d to understand these things is v e r y limited at best. W h o e v e r
assumes different levels of interpretation must differentiate also between those w h o
can see only the literal m e a n i n g a n d others w h o can penetrate deeper. W e should
refrain from letting our m o d e r n ideas or preferences influence our historical j u d g m e n t .
T h e r e was a strong tendency at Clement's time, a n d in him most of all, to construe
Christianity as a philosophy; a n d , as I h a v e said before, c o n t e m p o r a r y philosophical
schools insisted on finding a n esoteric a n d a n exoteric form of teaching in almost
every system. T h i s must h a v e influenced the w a y Christians looked for their o w n
" p h i l o s o p h y " from the beginning, a n d every new, private interpretation given b y
individual Christians or gnostics could be justified only b y saying that it was not to
be f o u n d in the previous tradition of the C h u r c h because it h a d been kept secret.
T h e letter makes clear that C l e m e n t does believe in a n esoteric Christian tradition
a n d thinks that the gnostics h a v e something to do w i t h it, but h a v e got their k n o w l edge of it in a n illegal w a y a n d h a v e corrupted its content. M o s t striking is the
consistent use throughout the letter of terminology derived from the mysteries; this
is f o u n d in C l e m e n t ' s other works as well, but is more concentrated in this letter
t h a n elsewhere because the letter deals w i t h this question, a n d the words are not
merely a stylistic device. I h a v e always felt a n d t a u g h t that Clement's polemic
against p a g a n religion is most violent w h e n he impugns the mystery religions. It is
obvious that they were to h i m the only serious competition for Christianity, since
they were still living religion, involving a personal relation of the individual believer
to G o d . But this letter proves that the competition of Christianity w i t h the mysteries
has influenced the form of the Christian religion itself most strongly, so that a G r e g o r y
of Nyssa could say that in the Christian religion the mystery is far more i m p o r t a n t
than the d o g m a . H e saw it in the Christian worship, w h i c h he interpreted a l w a y s
in this sense. So he solved the p r o b l e m of the " f e w " a n d the " m a n y . " I n C l e m e n t
they were still sharply divided.] See also Jaeger's published remarks, Christianity 56f
a n d n22.

T h i s is Clement's favorite w o r d for " t e a c h i n g " ; he rarely uses ,

the c o m m o n early Christian term. H e often uses with , I V . 3 4 0


( references).

38

1.23-25

THE LETTER

1.24

25/
~
.

A favorite conjunction of Clement's, used probably, on an average, more than

once a p a g e ; so 1 . 3 . 1 5 ; 4.4 a n d 18; 5.3 a n d 19; 7.10 a n d 14; 8 . 1 ; 9.4; etc.


.
N o t in Clement's preserved works, but twice in Eusebius' reports
of his lost statements, I I I . 1 9 7 . 1 9 ; 201.22. [ C . H . R . observes that
,
equivalent to the English " a f o r e s a i d , " is so c o m m o n from the fourth century o n w a r d
in documents of all kinds that he w o u l d lay no weight on its occurrence here. W . M . C .
remarks on the frequency of forms of the perfect tense in this letter, b y contrast w i t h
their comparative rarity in classical Greek, for w h i c h see C l o u d . ] This frequency is
paralleled in the recognized works of Clement. It is probably an atticizing trait; see
Kilpatrick, Atticism 136. T h e letter, apart from the quotations from the secret Gospel,
has 12 perfects in about 560 words (or 13, if is read in I I . 9 ) ; the first two
pages sampled in S t h l i n 1 1 . 6 4 - 6 5 y i e l d e d 11 perfects in approximately 450
words.
.

Cf. above, on 1.16.

eViet'y. T h e same form is used, as here, of literary addition, with


accusative, II.305.6. [However, in II.305.6 the e'mei? occurs as
phrase . A p a r t from this phrase, emeii>
is not very c o m m o n in Clement's time; the ordinary w o r d w o u l d be
cf. A p o c . 22.18. A . W . ]
?.

the dative a n d
part of the set

; but

" O t h e r s of same k i n d , " e.g., 1.3.6 and 8, etc.

e n . T h e sentence structure (participle, I n , main verb), I I I . 169.17 (also in negative


form, I I . 2 3 3 . 2 i f ) .
.

T h e same form, as here, of literary addition, 1.265.10.

.
C l e m e n t has in I I I . 1 6 1 . 1 4 and probably 1.225.4^ H e r e he
might have felt the specifying genitive was adequately replaced b y the context; he
evidently did so in 1.289.27, where are the sayings of Jesus.
.

T h e relative pronoun in the genitive as a connective, 1.256.21

(also w i t h

and infinitive).
.

T h e same form, also with infinitive, in a strikingly similar context,

I I . 10.if,

<( )

, , ots

, TOIS oiois re .

39

1.25-26

THE LETTER

I.26

O f ,

els

III.l6l.I4

.
Also in I I I . 1 6 1 . 1 8 where, as here, it refers to advanced instruction
evidently effected by " e x e g e s i s " of " t h e Lord's sayings." Again, with the same sense,
in II.320.7, where the mystery imagery is further developed with emphasis on the
. Gnostic teachers are described as in III.75.7. T h a t Clement
conceived of documents, especially the books of Scripture, and their interpretation
as means of gnostic initiation is shown by Vlker, 354fr. T h e method which the letter
ascribes to Mark is that followed in the earliest period of rabbinic mystical speculation
but already being abandoned in the time of Clement. Scholem writes, Gnosticism 31:
" T a n n a i t i c tradition has it that a pupil who is found worthy to begin a study of
mystical lore is given . . . only . . . 'beginnings of chapters,' whose function is only to
point to the subject matter to be dealt with and leaves to the student the task of
proving his understanding." For this Scholem finds evidence in the Talmud Terushalmi
(hereinafter J'.) Hagigah II. 1 (77a), and he concludes that texts giving full accounts of
secret doctrine are post-Tanna'itic (third century or later) " e v e n though much of the
material itself may belong to the Tannaitic periodwhich, of course, was, at the same
time, the flowering season of Gnosticism."
.

Frequent (and, as here, without technical sense), IV.219.

. Not used with in Clement's preserved works, but the usage was
probably standard. Photius (Lexicon s.v.) gives as a meaning of ,
"els

."

. Clement was fond of , IV.207 (g references). T h e same complex of


ideas with the veil(s) concealing it from most, even, of the
chosen peopleis found in II.338.27fr, ,

<( / ev

' ,

<(' )

'

.
.505.2. According to . Ketubot 106a, inf., there were seven veils at the
seven gates of the Temple in Jerusalem. Goodenough has seen a reference to them in
the seven walls of the Temple represented in the Dura synagogue (panel W B 3 ,
Jewish Symbols X I pi. X I ) , and these were probably the seven of the Temple
which Clement knew from Jewish tradition and interpreted as symbolic of the ways
in which the truth at the heart of Scripture is concealed: II.347.3flf,

'

. (This passage is part of a long list of examples, assembled from


pagan and Jewish tradition, to prove that wise men always keep their essential
40

I.26-27

THE LETTER

1.27

teachings secret; the list began with the passage cited in the preceding paragraph,
II.338.27fr.) [With compare A p o c . 5 . i f t h e book sealed with seven seals
and also Clement, II.349.13. C . M . ]
.
C l e m e n t uses for the outer veil of the T e m p l e ' s
adyton in II.347.7, the immediate sequel of the passage referred to above. In
II.347.19 a n d 348.i3f he explains the veil as a means of keeping the unworthy from
knowledge of the divine secrets ( ). In II.34O.28 the
style of Greek poetry (? ) is a curtain which concealed the
theology of the poets from the vulgar. In II.13.26f the manuscript of the Stromateis
r e a d s

. . .

'

. W i l a m o w i t z emended to ; Sthlin and M o n desert, Stromateis I, accepted the emendation; it is now confirmed by the reading of
the new text.
.

Initial, II.237.26; 282.2.

. II.422.17. Since LSJ s.v. reports the absolute use only of the
middle forms of the verb, some object ( " t h e t e x t " ? " m a t t e r s " ? ) is probably to be
understood here. [ A n object is similarly understood in Aristotle, Historia animalium
61334. Cf. the use with and a verb in the future, Plato, Gorgias 503a, 51 od.
A.D..]
. . . .

With adverbs, II.289.31; with participles, II.244.25.

. Clement also defends from the accusation of envy his own practice of
teaching only in part, I I . 1 0 . 3 2 - 1 1 . 3 : ,

( ), ,

etc. [ A n d in the same connection he lays d o w n the principle


,

I I I . 145

IQf

A . D . N . ] . H e also quotes Barnabas to the same purpose, in defense of the secret


teaching

of Jesus:

. . .

. . . "

() ,

' . . ."

"

.
"

'

" ,"

"

"

(II.368.12-28). Clement has the adjective (in similar context, II.116.29)


but not the adverb , which, however, appears in Plato (Phaedrus 243c) and
other classical authors (LSJ s.v.). T h e tradition goes back to Odyssey XI.38of. By
contrast, Clement accuses the gnostics of secretive jealousy; Osborn, Teaching 336.
41

THE LETTER

1 . 2 7 - .

1.28
,

reXtve

II.

r f j

r f j iv

. Not in Clement. LSJ cites Dio Cassius, X X X V I I I . 4 1 , and Achilles


Tatius, V I I I . 1. In the latter it has the same meaning as here, "incautiously."
ws . Verbatim, I.26.10; etc., but the simple , inserted without
reference to the construction, is much more frequent in Clement's works (IV.592).
. Frequent. Sthlin, IV.262, cites 11 examples and marks his entry as
incomplete. Here the writer of the M S seems to have written first and then,
over , . T h e form , therefore, may represent a deliberate correction
by the writer of what he found in his text.
.

I I . 3 . 5 ,

' '

with the dative

as here. [ in the letter is an unmistakable claim to legitimate, testatory


inheritance, no doubt by implicit contrast to the gnostics. A . D . N . That a particular
church at this time should be heir to such a secret document, and should entrust its
presbytersin the sense of church officialswith the custody of it, is altogether
contradictory to the practices of the period and, at about the year 200, quite unthinkable. W . V . ] Vlker gives no evidence to support his comment, and I do not
know of any. Long before Clement's time, the letters of Paul had been sent to
particular churches and presumably preserved by them (Goodspeed, Introduction
215ff, who remarks that the practice of Paul in directing letters to individual churches
was followed by Ignatius and the author of the Apocalypse).
. T h e singular, meaning "composition," " w o r k , " II.59.22; 404.8. T h e
of the apostles, II.307.28. Cf. below, II.4, on .
. For single communities, IV.371, sec. 2b. T h e five passages referred to by
Sthlin all refer to churches, in the plural, but the usage here is exactly paralleled by
many passages in the N T , e.g. I Cor. 1.2; II Cor. 1.1; Col. 4.16; I Thess. 1.1.
r f j iv .

I I . g 2 . I 2 , iv 'AXe^avSpeia

. . .

IV.6oo. Frequent.

. 1.8.4; 10.3; 15-26postpositive and used with the present, as here. This
claim on behalf of the church of Alexandria is not unparalleled: the church of Ephesus
claimed to have the original manuscript of the canonical Gospel according to John
(Chronicon Paschale,

M i g n e , PG 9 2 . 7 7 C ,

42

).

Sometime in the

II. 1-2

THE LETTER

II.2

ev

480s the body of the apostle Barnabas was found in Cyprus, with a copy of the Gospel
according to M a t t h e w which Barnabas himself had m a d e ; this copy was taken to
Constantinople (Lipsius, Apostelgeschichten II.2.292). Cf. also Tertullian, De praescriptione haereticorum X X X V I . 1. As late as the end of the eighteenth century a
library in Prague claimed to possess a fragment of Mark's original M S (actually a
good sixth- or seventh-century copy of the V u l g a t e ; Metzger, Survey 4 ) ; the history
of this fragment is given in Acta Sanctorum Aprilis III.348f.
. O n l y (according to Sthlin) in II.30.5, where it means " i n e r r a n t l y . "
Clement uses and in the senses of " s e c u r i t y " and " s a f e " (1.269.23;
II. 100.29), and he could have found in the corresponding s e n s e " s e c u r e l y "
i n M k . 14.44; Acts 16.23; o r T o b i t 6.4. [ O r in many classical authors, e.g.,
Sophocles, Oedipus tyrannus 613. W . M . C . ]
.

Frequent. T o strengthen an adverb, as here, 1.280.34; II.105.8; III.46.3.

.
O f keeping secrets safe, II.332.20; 1.123.32; etc.; objects, 1.83.29; 178.2.
T h a t the orthodox Christian " g n o s t i c s " of Alexandria had certain books which they
were supposed to keep secret from the unworthy, and that sometimes one or another,
yielding to entreaties, " l e a k e d " one of these books to some unworthy person, is
indicated by Clement in his Eclogaepropheticae 27 (III.145.6-15), quoted above, at the
end of the paragraph on , 1.21.
.
IV.231 ( i 2 references, and the entry is incomplete). T h e present
passive participle used of reading Scripture, III.145.20.
Regular usage with verbs of speaking, saying, etc.; see Mossbacher, 73. W i t h
, I Esdr. 9.48; Jer. 3.12; Aristophanes, Ranae 53.

77730s.

Frequent. Declined, e.g. II.455.20, where, as here, it means " a l o n e . "

I I . 4 9 7 . l 6 f f ,

:) ,
,

,
Cf. 1.84.23ff,

'

. . .

I t n e e d not b e supposed t h a t the

participle refers to a very short period of time. Compare the provisions in


Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition X X : at unspecified dates, persons w h o have made
sufficient progress in the catechumenate are chosen and set apart to receive baptism.
A t this time their behavior while catechumens is to be examined. If it proves to have

43

II.2

THE LETTER

been m o r a l l y satisfactory, " then let t h e m h e a r the G o s p e l " ( X X . 2 , m y italics). W h a t


G o s p e l it w a s t h a t the c a t e c h u m e n s m i g h t not hear before this time neither D i x n o r
Botte declares. A f t e r h e a r i n g the Gospel they w e r e exorcised a n d h a n d s w e r e laid o n
t h e m d a i l y for a t least a w e e k before b a p t i s m . D u r i n g all this time t h e y w e r e presumably

11.249-8,

(of

instruction b y degrees in the secrets of C h r i s t i a n d o c t r i n e ; a reminiscence of P l a t o ,


Gorgias 4 9 7 c ) . C l e m e n t ' s use of

has b e e n studied b y M a r s h , w h o concludes

(66) t h a t for C l e m e n t " t h e r e w e r e t w o types of C h r i s t i a n ,

the one r e s e r v e d "

for the true gnostics, " t h e other r e v e a l e d " to all believers. T h i s seems to M a r s h clear
f r o m I I . 3 6 7 . i g f f , a n d b y m e a n s o f this he explains (68) the passages in w h i c h C l e m e n t
distinguishes b e t w e e n a n d ,
II.373.23-374.4,
,

8'
,

e.g. t h a t cited a b o v e a n d especially

' "

<(i.e., the Christians^


()

T h i s distinction seems to

M a r s h (69) to e x p l a i n the fact t h a t w h i l e C l e m e n t usually " e m p h a s i z e s . . . t h a t the

are to be c o n c e a l e d f r o m all save the p r i v i l e g e d few, e v e n a m o n g the

m e m b e r s of the C h r i s t i a n C h u r c h itself," he nevertheless in the Protrepticus " s e e m s to


invite his h e a t h e n hearers to a r e v e l a t i o n of the ,"

without indicating that

some m i g h t still b e h i d d e n f r o m those w h o h a d passed t h r o u g h the C h r i s t i a n initiatory


rites. T h e e x p l a n a t i o n is t h a t C l e m e n t took for g r a n t e d a m o n g the h e a t h e n the
e x p e c t a t i o n of a series of g r a d e d initiations a n d , further, t h a t he c o n c e a l e d f r o m
" t h o s e w i t h o u t " e v e n the existence of the h i g h e r " m y s t e r i e s . " M a r s h then c o n c l u d e s
(80), " t h e r e is n o t h i n g to suggest that in C l e m e n t ' s works the t e r m (_)> w a s
e v e r a p p l i e d to either B a p t i s m or the E u c h a r i s t as a description p e c u l i a r to t h e m a n d
distinct f r o m the other uses of ."

I n this c o n n e c t i o n the passage q u o t e d a b o v e

is p a r t i c u l a r l y v a l u a b l e since it clearly shows b a p t i s m ( ) interpreted as


p a r t o f a series of " m y s t e r i e s , " b u t as the p r e p a r a t o r y cleansing r a t h e r t h a n itself o n e
o f the initiations [cf. the p r e l i m i n a r y rites at E l e u s i s A . D . N . ] . Belief in a n d p r a c t i c e
o f mysteries a l l e g e d l y greater t h a n b a p t i s m a n d the eucharist w e r e , of course, f r e q u e n t
in gnostic circles; see Pistis Sophia, passim (especially chs. 1 4 1 - 1 4 2 ) a n d , for a s u r v e y ,
F e n d t . Discussion of the m y s t e r y t e r m i n o l o g y in C l e m e n t a n d P h i l o has too o f t e n
b e g u n f r o m the presupposition t h a t either this t e r m i n o l o g y refers to a series of secret
rites or it is m e r e l y allegorical description o f the stages o f philosophical instruction.
T h e r e f o r e it has b e e n taken for g r a n t e d t h a t if the philosophical significance c o u l d
b e d e m o n s t r a t e d , the possibility of the series of rites w o u l d be e l i m i n a t e d . B u t the
alternative is n o t j u s t i f i e d : philosophical instruction a n d secret rites c o u l d be c o m b i n e d . Philo has described such a c o m b i n a t i o n in his treatise On the Contemplative Life.

44

THE LETTER

II.2-3

8e yevet
,

Clement hints at something similar in the passage quoted above, a n d something of


the sort seems to be supposed by the text of our letter. [ C . M . agrees with this note in
general, a n d in particular with the above conclusion, b u t adds t h a t one should speak
not only of "philosophical i n s t r u c t i o n " b u t also a n d especially of
"religious"his
i t a l i c s " a n d theological instruction."] A brief a n d brilliant survey of p a g a n ,
Jewish, a n d Christian usage of mystery terminology is given in Nock, Mysteries.
Unfortunately, the conclusions Nock reaches are open to a n u m b e r of objections, one
of which is particularly relevant here: even if the authenticity of this letter be denied,
the parallels between it a n d the recognized works of Clement suffice to show t h a t
Clement's adoption (or inheritance) of mystery terminology to describe Christianity
h a d been considerably more t h a n " s l i g h t " (Nock, Mysteries 202). W i t h Nock's
conclusions contrast the remarks of J a e g e r , above, on I.23.
. . . .
Initial genitive absolute indicating cause or prior condition
( " s i n c e " ) , I.go.2f. Genitive absolutes are rare in Clement, b u t occasionally he uses a
n u m b e r in quick succession, e.g. I I . 2 1 2 . 2 9 - 2 1 3 . 4 (5 in 8 lines). T h e y a p p e a r in his
narrative style, as here, in I I I . 188.3 a n d i2ff.
.
1.30.16, el ovv , re . Clement often
refers to demons (IV.382, almost a full column of references) a n d , though he nowhere
says explicitly t h a t they always plot the destruction of men, he describes t h e m as
hostile to m e n (1.31.17, -, so 33.3, etc.), destructive (), a n d
plotting (ibid). Presumably he was familiar with this theory, which h a d been the
leitmotif of Justin's First Apology, e.g., ch. 26, where the demons were represented as
h a v i n g instigated Simon Magnus, M e n a n d e r , a n d Marcion, as they do here
Carpocrates. For f u r t h e r parallels in the apologists see Wey.
.

1.253.19, e * c Always without article, as here.

.
V e r b a t i m , .2774 Clement often spoke of " t h e race of
m e n " : IV.307 s.v. , i i references, listing not complete.
.

M e a n i n g " a t every m o m e n t , " 1.255.28.

.
Clement uses the middle in 1.261.25, with dative ( understood)
a n d accusative, as here. T h e active appears only in poetry,

(Odyssey X V I I I . 143), which was echoed by Apollonius Rhodius, III.583, a n d of


which the phrasing of the letter m a y be reminiscent. [Cf. the echo of Sophocles,
below, I I . 1 4 - 1 5 ; the active of appears also in Sophocles, Inachus 21 (SP

45

II.3-4

THE LETTER

II.4
6

III.24) and Ajax 1037. O n the latter passage Kamerbeek, Ajax, remarks, " I t would
seem that the rare active use here raises the verb above the all-too-human sphere . . .
Note also the sinister associations of ambush and guile inherent in the verb ."
T h e uses of the passive in Sophocles, Trachiniae 586 and elsewhere, also imply the
existence of an active. W . M . C . ] Clement frequently quoted and paraphrased Homer
( I V . 4 i f , four columns of references, including a quotation of Odyssey X V I I I . 1 3 0 in
II.202.7), and his prose contains many words described in LSJ as primarily poetical
and appearing in prose only in the work of " l a t e " writers, that is, writers of about
Clement's time. Besides these words, Clement uses in prose a considerable number of
words cited in LSJ only from poetry. O f these latter, inspection of Sthlin's index
f r o m - alone has y i e l d e d , 1.40.6; , I . 2 5 3 . 1 3 , e t c . ; ,

I.155.20; and , 1.197. . Therefore this use of a poetical form is not atypical
of Clements' style. [On this point I am particularly happy to record the agreement
of C . M . , who has had so much experience in edition and translation of Clement's
Greek.]
6 . II.197.16 and 19; 199.29 (with article, as here); 200.15; 207.18;
221.6. (For testimonia and literature, see ch. 4, sec. X I I I . ) In the first three of these
references (pp. 197-199) Clement agrees with the present letter to the extent of
representing Carpocrates as an Alexandrian (citizen?)the letter shows him working
in Alexandriafrom whom the sect of the Carpocratians derived at least its name;
further, he describes the Carpocratian doctrine of free love as expounded by Epiphanes, the son of Carpocrates, and he declares that Epiphanes was the founder of
the

sect

( l 9 7 . 2 f ,

8e

'

) or at least the c o f o u n d e r ( 1 9 7 . 1 6 , oi 8e

' ). In the later references (pp. 200-221) he says nothing of


Epiphanes and speaks of Carpocrates as the founder and lawgiver of the sect (200.15,
. . . implies t h a t he d i d g i v e other laws, as do, also, ,

207.18, and 8e , 221.6). Since Clement says Epiphanes died


at seventeen, it would be plausible to explain this contradiction by supposing that the
father and son cooperated in founding the sect and, after the son's death, the father
carried it on so long and conspicuously that it came to be known by his name. A t all
events, the letter says nothing of Epiphanes, and the recognized works of Clement say
nothing of Carpocrates' use of a secret Gospel by Mark. (Given the embarrassment
which the author of the letter felt in writing privately on this subjectbelow,
II. 10-19it is hardly to be expected that he would mention it in his published
works.) Irenaeus, however (Harvey, 1.20.3 = Stieren, 1.25.5), speaks of Carpocratian
d o c u m e n t s r e p r e s e n t i n g . . . ev
'

. . .

THE LETTER

? /cat

II.4-5

,,

, , ,

O n C l e m e n t ' s thoughts a b o u t heretics in g e n e r a l , see R t h e r , Kirche.


[ " T h e description of the C a r p o c r a t i a n s in the letter is c o m p l e t e l y different f r o m
w h a t C l e m e n t writes a b o u t t h e m in Stromateis I I I .

It is possible w i t h de

Faye

(Gnostiques 4 1 4 ^ to d o u b t that C a r p o c r a t e s a n d his son E p i p h a n e s h a d a n y t h i n g to do


w i t h the C a r p o c r a t i a n s k n o w n t h r o u g h other sources. T h e o n l y t h i n g in C l e m e n t . . .
o f interest for the letter is that C a r p o c r a t e s was a n A l e x a n d r i a n ( I I . 197.20). I n the
letter the expressions used a b o u t the C a r p o c r a t i a n s are v a g u e a n d uncharacteristic.
A n y b o d y c o u l d be ' c o r r u p t e d b y the D e v i l ' (cf. Eus., HE I V . 7 . 1 0 ) , c o u l d get a c o p y
o f a secret gospel t h r o u g h a n ' e n s l a v e d ' presbyter a n d h a v e a ' b l a s p h e m o u s ' doctrine
(ibid.)

a n d so on. I h a v e taken some parallels f r o m Eusebius' description of the

C a r p o c r a t i a n s , b u t I do not find the expressions so characteristic <(as to suggest) t h a t


the a u t h o r of the letter must h a v e k n o w n Eusebius. A n y b o d y c o u l d use l a n g u a g e of
t h a t k i n d a b o u t the h e r e t i c s . " J . M . ]
' .

T h e aorist passive participle, 1 . 2 6 1 . 8 ; sensu malo,

1.248.35-

2 4 9 . 1 ; the passive w i t h , I I . 2 2 2 . 2 4 ; 3 6 3 . 1 ; e t c . ; elision o f the of ,

Moss-

b a c h e r , 46. D e m o n s l e a d m e n astray, 1 . 3 3 . 1 0 ; 48.27fr. T h a t m a g i c a l arts in p a r t i c u l a r


w e r e t a u g h t b y demons is e x p l a i n e d in Enoch 8f, a n d the theory was a d o p t e d b y
C l e m e n t , I I . 3 3 2 . 1 6 f r (and e x t e n d e d to i n c l u d e philosophy, I I . 5 3 . 5 f r ) .

1.47.28,

of art used to m a k e images. H e r e too

the a d j e c t i v e is of the second declension. I n the letter it p r o b a b l y refers to m a g i c a l


practices [ t h o u g h A . D . N , thinks this reference not certain], C l e m e n t uses it w i t h this
reference in 1.4.23, etc. T h e C a r p o c r a t i a n s w e r e w i d e l y a c c u s e d of m a g i c a l practices,
Irenaeus

( H a r v e y , 1.20.2 = Stieren, 1 . 2 5 . 3 ) ; H i p p o l y t u s , Philosophumena

E p i p h a n i u s , Panarion X X V I I . 3 ;

VII.32;

etc. C l e m e n t in his r e c o g n i z e d works does

not

m e n t i o n the accusation, b u t he h a d n o occasion to do so.


.

F r e q u e n t in C l e m e n t , I V . 8 1 2 ( a b o u t 60 references).

. . . .
.

I I I . 1 6 8 . 1 4 f , w i t h b o t h verbs in the i n d i c a t i v e , as here.


II.485.10,

. . .

In

this passage

Clement

allegorizes the title, b u t the fact that he does so proves that he k n e w it as a title, as it
is used here. H e often refers to presbyters as ecclesiastical officials (IV.669C, 9
references). H e also speaks of presbyters in a m o r e g e n e r a l sense as elder leaders o f
the C h u r c h , p a r t i c u l a r l y those of earlier generations, whose t e a c h i n g h a d been oral,
b u t n o w , w r i t t e n d o w n , f o r m e d p a r t of the b o d y o f secret C h r i s t i a n t r a d i t i o n a n d
w a s sometimes indiscreetly c o m m u n i c a t e d to the u n w o r t h y , I I I . 1 4 4 . 2 6 - 1 4 5 . 1 5 . I t is
47

11-5-6

THE LETTER

II.6

iv '

'

e'/co-

/
not surprising that the official presbyters should have been, as the letter represents
them, custodians of the books in which the traditions of the earlier presbyters were
recorded. The term is found frequently in second-century papyri,
regularly as a title of pagan priestsparticularly those in charge of financial matters,
who often furnished to the Roman authorities lists of personnel and of temple
property evidently under their supervision (Hauschildt, 237, 239; cf. 241). According
to Eus., HE V I . 13.9, Clement in his published works referred to presbyters especially
as custodians of oral traditions; see below, II.19, on end, and III.139.20;
144.26fr (Harnack, Geschichte 1.291fr). Irenaeus similarly quoted presbyters as sources
of unpublished apostolic traditions (Harvey, IV.42.2; 49.1 = Stieren, IV.27.1; 32.1).
Papias similarly specifies presbyters, evidently in some technical sense, as the source
of his oral traditions about Jesus; Eus., HE III.39.3ff ( o n which see Munck,
Presbyters). The role of presbyters in Clement's works as bearers of secret tradition is
noted by Lazzati, 34f; Zahn, 158; Lebreton, 495; etc. Hornschuh's denial of it
{Anfnge 359fr) is based on implausible arguments from silence. O n the evidence of
II.485.ioff it has sometimes been supposed (e.g. by Wytzes, 230) that Clement's
gnostic group had its own presbyters, as opposed to those of the main church of
Alexandria. Some presbyters, probably of a church in Alexandria, showed Celsus
reparelas, Origen, Contra Celsum VI.40;
this about A.D. 175.
ev
.
II.92.12, iv
. . . .
On
see above, 1.28. The repeated specification of Alexandria (instead of the use
of " h e r e " ) is perhaps for solemnity. O r perhaps the letter was not written from that
city; cf. , above, II. 1. It may date from the period following Clement's flight
(ca. 202?).
.
Twice, in the middle, of evil spirits enslaving men, 1.8.3; III.5.14.
The active (II Cor. 11.20; Gal. 2.4) is classical ( L S J s.v.); more important, it is used
in PGM I X , line 4, as here, for enslaving the soul by magical means. A presbyter
" d e c e i v e d " (not "enslaved") by a demon acting through a would-be heresiarch
appears in Cyprian, Epistulae L X X V . 1 0 .
'. Use, construction, and elision are all paralleled in Clement; Mossbacher,
45f, 7f. With , III.141.7f.
v. Meaning " g e t , " II.29.17; of writingsas it happens, those of Epiphanes,
the son of CarpocratesII. 197.i8f, where it means " b e in circulation, be preserved."
A similar story (without the magical motif) seems to lie behind the textual confusion
of the , I. Against Vouaux, 147 n7, the Latin versions are to
48

THE LETTER

eva,

II.6

be preferred: Paul did not suspect the hypocrisy of Demas and Hermogenes which
made them unworthy of his secret doctrine (as opposed to his public preaching).
Therefore he taught them things they should not have been permitted to learn.
[W.V. objects that the gnostics had their own chains of tradition and therefore
did not need to borrow from the Church.] However, that in Clement's time some
gnostics did claim the same apostolic authorities as the " o r t h o d o x " is proved by
Clement's grudging report of Basilidean appeal to Peter, and Valentinian to Paul,
III.75.15ff. T h e Carpocratians known to Irenaeus (Harvey, 1.20.2 = Stieren,
I.25.4) would seem to have used Mt. 5-25f or Lk. i2-58f. Moreover, even if we suppose
the letter to be by Clement, we need not suppose its statements about Carpocrates
entirely true. Clement was faced with the problem which now faces us: How did the
Carpocratians come by a Gospel strikingly similar to a secret Gospel accepted by the
church in Alexandria and by it attributed to M a r k ? Clement's statement tells us
only the answer his party gave when forced to give an answer.

. Not in Clementwho has, however, , meaning " t o


copy," II.471.7. meaning " c o p y " or " i m i t a t i o n " is used by Cicero, Ad
Atticum X I I . 5 2 end (overlooked by Oksala, 158); with the same meaning
appears in Dionysius Hal., Usener-Raderm., Isaeus 11. In Diogenes Laertius, VI.84,
is taken by R . Hicks, in the Loeb translation, to mean " a n imitator" [but
more likely it means " a c o p y " B . E . ] . is, in the preserved literature, a
rare word; one can hardly believe that an imitator would have chosen it instead of
the common . [But the rarity of is no argument against Clement's
possible use of it. A great many words which must have been common in ancient
everyday usage are extremely rare in the preserved literature; see the numerous
examples in the vocabulary of Krauss, Lehnwrter. A . D . N . Moreover, (-os)
has a contemptuous sense not found in . Thus in Cicero, Diogenes, and
perhaps Dionysius is dyslogistic. B.E. With this opinion, however, A . D . N ,
disagrees, contending that Cicero was only "apologizing whimsically for his philosophical works," and that " w h e n you speak of a man as being a copy, you imply
inferiority; it is not so with a book."] But the usage in this letter seems to support the
opinion of B.E.

Above, 1.17

Above, 1.12, 21-22.

. This stringing together of sentences by relative pronouns is not uncommon


in Clement, e.g. 11.7.24^ fjs oCSe . . . ; 17.24, ; 2.2; 21.2; 27.13; etc.

49

II.79

T H E

LETTER

II.7

II.8

, iave,

'

;9

.
Frequent with the sense "interpret," IV.397, over 20 examples, listing
incomplete. Aorist, II.232.18, etc.; reference to a specific document, II.308.4;
280.10; 168.3; e t c Irenaeus (Harvey, 1.20.3 = Stieren, 1.25.5) speaks of the Carpocratian doctrine concerning the secret teaching of Jesus as something which iv rots

.
Usage regular; Mossbacher, 66. Used as here to indicate the principle of
interpretation, II.495.4.
.

II.113.23; III.72.29 (of the utterances of libertine heretics); etc.

Frequent, IV.697, 30 references. Not used directly of teachings, but


cf. II.151.1 if, .

.
Frequent of heretical or false philosophical teachings, IV.35of (20 examples,
listing incomplete). The of libertine heretics, who misrepresent the
Scriptures to make them accord with their own desires and doctrines, are attacked in
III.72.28-73.8.

...

en . II.189.17-18, etc.

.
IV.568, 6 times (4 refer to defilement of holy things). None in the aorist
active, but the identical form appears in Philo, De virtutibus 199 end.
.
1.44.3^ (these are divine
attributes). Elsewhere is used of Jesus, the soul, marriage, etc., and of
Scripture, as here (I.289.19, ). The sayings in the sermon on the
mount are , I.77.20; cf. 289.24.

.
O f Scripture, 1.125.22; II.385.15 (meaning " s a y i n g " ) ; 498.29 (probably
meaning " w o r d s " ) ; III.3.11 and 16.
.
1.278.7, (sic). LSJ s.v. gives as the prevailing later
form (see under ). Clement uses the active in 1.37.52; he uses the verb of
literary composition in II. 13.1,
.
He also complains of heretical interpolations in Christian
material; see above on , I . i i .

5 uses of in the absolute and 2 in the comparative, IV.234. The


superlative was used by Plato, Laws 729C.
.

50

II.9-IO

THE LETTER

II.10
.

, ,

. .70.7, of heretics who make up false stories in order to reject the


prophecies: .
.
IV.520 (7 references). Genitive singular, 1.177-24 O f literary or doctrinal mixture, as here, 1 . 1 7 4 .
. Similar use of a postpositive demonstrative at the beginning of a sentence,
to express contempt, I I . 197.18, ' (referring to the son of Carpocrates).
For this function, the position after the noun is customary; Palm, Funktion I2f.
Similar sentence structure, II.493.6, etc.
.
T h e M S reads , or perhaps . T h e latter is paleographically much less likely, but if it should be the correct reading then
could be read by mere change of accent. A n d Clement's fondness for perfects is an
argument for , see above, 1.24, on . But I prefer to follow
the more likely reading. Clement uses the verb in II.9.12,
. This fits the meaning " d r a i n , draw o f f " given b y LSJ
and suggested by the pejorative context of the letter, where the verb m a y be a
sarcastic reminiscence of Jn. 2.8, , in the miracle of C a n a . [The letter's
metaphoric use of is rare, but cf. Gregory of Nyssa, In Canticum Canticorum p.
457, line 7, Langerbeck (col. 1108 Migne). A . W . Also Cicero, Academicorum II.34
(108). W . M . C . ]
.

A b o v e , 1.2.

8a.
I V . 349, 16 times with reference to teachings of philosophers, 6 times to
teachings of the Church, 17 times to teachings of heretics, as here. T h e singular is
used, as in the letter, to refer to the whole dogmatic system of a heretical school, in
III.68.34f.
.

A b o v e , 1.7.

.
1.1 .24, ; the letter's use of the singular
is less formal. For the addition of , 1.237.3, . W i t h or
without , is a regular form of cross-refernce in Clement, II.75.24; 79.1;
91.6 (all three without); 241.1 (with); etc.
.

I I . 5 1 6 . 1 2 ; III.52.26; etc.

51

II.IO-I2

THE L E T T E R

II.II
eiKreov,

11.12

et

IV.365 lists 5 usages of , none of this verbal adjective, butas remarked above (1.10, on )Clement was very fond of the form.
.

. . . .
This I have not found in Clement. [But it is perfectly good
Greek and Clement might well have used it. A.D.N.]

Meaning

"allege,"

II.329.5

(cf.

130.29). T h e

form

II.173.27f.
.
Clement uses the verb once, 1.267.6, in the present participle. T h e
perfect participle, used by the letter, is frequent in Philo (13 references in Leisegang
s.v.). T h e meaning common to Philo and Clementsomething false, an imitation
has here been extended to include something falsified; or perhaps the reference is
especially to the passages peculiar to the Carpocratian Gospel, and the writer wished
to indicate that those were imitations of the true text. [One should consider the
possibility of belonging, as sometimes happens in Greek, both to
and to the infinitive clause dependent on .
If it does so, one
should perhaps translate as follows: " ces gens-la, il ne faut done, comme j e l'ai
dej dit, jamais ceder ni, quand ils presentent eux-memes leurs falsifications, accorder que e'est la 'Evangile mystique' de M a r c : au contraire, il faut meme le
nier avec serment." This is followed by a string of scriptural texts which recall the
ideas of spiritual pedagogy so dear to Clement and which are cited, in Clement's way,
without introduction or words of transition. The reason for the above translation is
the text's report that Mark made, at Alexandria, a second, more "spiritual," redaction of his Gospel; and that, besides these two redactions, there was also the secret
oral tradition. C . M . See also the comment of C . R . , below, on ' .]

Meaning " c o n c e d e , " II.173.20; III.90.24; III.72.31 (sarcastically).


In II.173.20 it has, as here, the indirect object and the direct elvat without .
T h e form found in the letter appears in 1.204.9.
.

. A b o v e , 1 . 1 5 .
.

With genitive, o f a work's being " b y " its author, II.81.2,

els '

Above, .17.

52

. . .

II.12

THE LETTER

4.
.

'

A b o v e , 1.2122.
" B u t m o r e o v e r , " 1 . 1 2 1 . 2 4 ; 11.197-4;

etc

' . This I have not found in Clement. . occurs in Plato,


Phaedrus 240; ' in II M a c c . 4.34 and 14.32; (' in M t . 14.7.
[Preisigke, Papyruswrterbuch, notes an instance in an official document of the third
century B.C. C . H . R . ] Clement's use of is n o r m a l ; Mossbacher, 67. Linguistically,
therefore, the phrase presents no difficulty. But in I I I . 3 7 . 1 9 - 3 8 . 2 7 C l e m e n t says the
true gnostic will never (or hardly ever) swear, and certainly never swear falsely. I n
I.279.26-27 he forbids the ordinary Christian to use oaths in buying, selling, and
similar transactions; and in I I . 3 9 1 . 1 9 - 3 9 2 . 6 he finds the Judeo-Christian tradition
to be the source from w h i c h Plato derived his prohibition of oaths. O n the other
h a n d , Christians, of course, did swear (see Nock, Sacramentum), and in I I I . 1 9 0 . 1 2
C l e m e n t represents the apostle J o h n as swearing; in 11.494.1 i f f he approves deception
practiced for a good purpose (citing Paul's claim to have been all things to all m e n ) ;
a n d in I I I . 3 9 . 1 2 - 4 0 . 1 0 (the sequel of the first passage cited above) he modifies his
previous statements to the extent of teaching that the true gnostic will tell the truth
" e x c e p t sometimes, w h e n it is a matter of helping (someone), he m a y , as does a
doctor . . . lie, or, <to distinguish) as the sophists <do>, 'say w h a t is f a l s e . ' " T h i s
exception he again justifies by the same example of Paul, and finally he insists that the
true gnostic always tells the truth. (See further the paragraphs on the following
quotations). T h i s ambiguous attitude toward truth becomes even more ambiguous
w h e n we recall that the true gnostic is partially an ideal figure, and the account of his
achievements in the Stromateis describes a perfection w h i c h C l e m e n t himself probably
did not hope to realize fully in this life. A c c o r d i n g l y , the contradiction between
Clement's principles as expressed in his published works and the practical advice
given in this evidently private letter should not be exaggerated, especially since the
practical advice was in accord with m u c h philosophical teaching (Dring, Chion 20).
C o m p a r e the reports concerning the Essenes, that there is no swearing a m o n g them
(Josephus, BJ I I . 135; Hippolytus, Philosophumena I V . 2 2 ) and that they bind their
initiates with hair-raising oaths {BJ I I . 1 3 9 - 1 4 3 ; Philosophumena I V . 2 3 - 2 4 ) . [ " T o u t
fait d'accord avec votre conclusion: il ne faut pas exagerer la portee de certaines
contradictions chez C l e m e n t . " C . M . " S u r e l y , however, C l e m e n t is too devious to
advocate unnecessary and downright perjury. O n e could legitimately (as the
Sophists say!) take an oath to the effect that precisely w h a t the Carpocratians h a v e is
not Mark's secret gospel. I find it hard to suppose that Clement's oath is a denial that
Mark's is the C h u r c h ' s secret gospel, with the consequent admission that the C h u r c h
has a secret gospel, but it is b y someone else." C . R . ; compare the similar suggestion
b y C . M . , above, on .] I think the denial is intended to give the impression
that M a r k did not write any secret Gospel, and that consequently the one w h i c h the
Carpocratians h a v e is a fake. T h e one the C h u r c h has should not be mentioned,
53

II.12-13

THE LETTER

II.I3 j
" ov

Ae/cre'ov."

since the C h u r c h has kept its existence a secret even from the lower grades of
Christians; thus T h e o d o r e did not know of it heretofore. H o w e v e r , I agree that
C l e m e n t w o u l d have wished to avoid perjury. Therefore I think the suggestions of
C . M . and C . R . correct in pointing out the deliberate ambiguity of the Greek. [ J . R .
comments: " I assume the oath to be an example of the ' e c o n o m i c b e h a v i o r ' ('
) emerging in the A l e x a n d r i a n fathers as an ethical stance, developing in
part from p a g a n b a c k g r o u n d s . " See his article , 370fr.]
.
M e a n i n g " d e n y , " I V . 2 7 5 (13 references, listing incomplete). T h e piling
u p of forms in reov here (, , , ) is typical of C l e m e n t ;
see above, on , I . i o , and the passages cited there.
ov .

A favorite formula of Clement's for beginning sentences, e.g., I I . 2 2 1 . 2 6 ;

222.24,29; 223.1; 224.12.


ov . . . XeKreov. This saying appeared in Philo, Questions . . . on Genesis I V . 6 7 ,
from w h i c h it was quoted b y Procopius in his commentary on Genesis in the form ov
. Philo's text, according to the preserved A r m e n i a n
translation, went on to elaborate the principle and to teach (in I V . 6 9 ) that " t h e wise
m a n requires a versatile art from w h i c h he m a y profit in imitating those mockers w h o
say one thing and do another in order to save whom they can" (my italics). T h i s text
strikingly parallels Paul's claim in I Cor. g.22, " I b e c a m e all things to all men that
I might by all means save some." Since influence of Philo on Paul or of Paul on Philo is
almost out of the question, it w o u l d seem likely that these two passages derive from
a single source. T h e common-sense idea behind them had long been familiar in
ancient philosophy. Diogenes Laertius, V I I I . 15, quotes from Aristoxenus, as a
saying of certain Pythagoreans, elvai , for further examples
see R e u m a n n , . F r o m philosophy and c o m m o n sense alike it was taken over
b y early Christianity, where the example of the A p o s t l e s a n d especially that of
P a u l i s often cited to justify the use of deception for good ends (Bauer, Rechtglubigkeit, 4 i f ; cf. above, on * ). Clement, as remarked above, shared this
early Christian belief, which he summed up with the words etvai
(II.497-'6) and understood as a principle even of divine revelation; cf.
Sibylline Oracles X I I ( X ) . 2 9 0 f , ' . .
C l e m e n t was deeply indebted to Philo ( I V . 4 7 f f , 7 columns of citationsmore than
any other non-Christian author except Plato, w h o has 10). Both his similarity to
Philo and his borrowing from h i m have resulted in considerable confusion in medieval
M S S , where m a n y passages now found only in Philo are attributed to C l e m e n t
( I I I . L X X I - L X X X I I ) . A m o n g these are at least two from Questions. . . on Genesis
( I I I . L X X I V , no. 5 1 1 . 1 5 ; L X X X , no. 339). Moreover, C l e m e n t himself appropriated

54

II.I3-I4

THE LETTER

II.I4

"

"

without acknowledgment two considerable sections of (Questions. . . on Genesis


(II.474.1-20; 474.23-475.11). Therefore this saying m a y have come into the letter
from Philo; cf. Reumann's note on above, on 1.10. O n the other hand, it m a y
have been a popular proverb (though it does not appear in the Corpus paroemiographorum). For further parallels to the idea see Nock, review of Goodenough V - V I ,
527fr and, for the relation of Paul to Philo, Chadwick, St. Paul and Philo. O n 297f
C h a d w i c k discusses the question of veracity; he has an additional parallel to the
present passage (Cherubim 15).

. . . .

1 . 1 4 6 . g f (also f o l l o w i n g a q u o t a t i o n ) ,

rots followed by Prov. 1.1 off as here by Prov.


26.5; cf. also Lk. 11.49, quoted in the following paragraph. For the structure of this
w h o l e s e n t e n c e ( . . . )

1.1yQ.13f,

s e e b e l o w , o n . . .

. .-,

followed

as h e r e

by

quotation from Prov. (23-2of); cf. II.294.5, . . . , followed by Wis.


3.2ff. probably comes from Lk. 11.49,
, followed by a quotation from some lost sacred book. [The Christians of Clement's
time often quote Proverbs as " W i s d o m " and also share Clement's fondness for
Psalms; see m y remarks on " Traditio," AJP 67 (1946) 365fr. A . D . . ]

S e e t h e t w o p r e c e d i n g p a r a g r a p h s a n d 1 . 1 3 8 . 4 , ]

, followed by Prov. 23.14 i n a form differing


considerably from L X X . A g a i n 1.142.28, } ,
with Prov. 8.4,6, also in a variant form. T h e formula is f r e q u e n t
especially, as here, to introduce quotations from Proverbs.

. . . . Prov. 26.5. Clement was particularly fond of Proverbs (IV.6f,


three and a half columns of citations, which ties it with Genesis for second place among
the books of the O T ; Psalms comes first with over 4 columns, and Isaiah third with
3). In II.338.8f Clement quotes this same verse (26.5) in this same form, which
differs widely from that of L X X ( ). [This
is of capital importance. A n imitator would be likely to know Proverbs and unlikely
to give Clement's form of the text. E.B.] In II.338.8f the exegesis is also basically the
same as in the letterlike is to be given to like; this implies deception of the wicked,
and again the justification, besides this verse of Proverbs, is the example of Paul w h o
was all things to all men. See the preceding paragraphs on ' and . . .

55

THE LETTER

II.14-15
II.I5

for C l e m e n t ' s other uses of I C o r . 9.22b to excuse d e c e p t i o n . I n II.338.8f,


h o w e v e r , the other consequences o f the same principle are the m o r e fully d e v e l o p e d .
S i n c e like is to be g i v e n to like, truth is to be presented to those w h o desire it in
w h a t e v e r f o r m their t r a i n i n g a n d tradition m a k e most a c c e p t a b l e . B u t there c a n b e
n o question t h a t t o w a r d hostile or heretical outsiders C l e m e n t a d v o c a t e d the same
p o l i c y of secrecy as does this letter. H e m a k e s that p l a i n in a n o t h e r passage w h i c h
leads to a q u o t a t i o n f r o m P r o v e r b s : I I . 116. 25fr,

"

"

<(cf. a b o v e ,

1 . 5 )

, ,

'

, ,
els

, , . "

."

P r o v . 5 16. E v e n in his dealings w i t h fellow Christians C l e m e n t a d v o c a t e d a n d c l a i m e d


to h a v e f o l l o w e d the p o l i c y of c o n c e a l i n g certain aspects of C h r i s t i a n doctrine or
practice. H e declares in the Stromateis t h a t he has no intention of w r i t i n g w h a t he
w o u l d hesitate e v e n to say ( I I . 1 i . i f ) , a n d in his m a j o r justification of the p r a c t i c e of
secrecy in religious t e a c h i n g (Stromateis V . I V - X = I I . 3 3 8 - 3 7 0 ) he m a k e s clear t h a t
one of the reasons for secrecy within C h r i s t i a n i t y is the d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n " c o m m o n
f a i t h " a n d " g n o s t i c p e r f e c t i o n , " II.342.2ff. T h e latter is not for e v e r y

believer,

I I . 3 6 7 . 2 4 ; 3 7 0 . 1 0 - 1 6 ; i n d e e d , i g n o r a n t believers m a y be d e c e i v e d b y the gnostic for


their o w n g o o d , I I . 4 9 4 . u - 1 6 . H o r t a n d M a y o r , l v i - l v i i , r e m a r k t h a t this a t t i t u d e
flourished

especially in A l e x a n d r i a . (See a b o v e I I . 2 , o n

W i t h ,

.)

of c o n c e a l i n g t r u t h f r o m the u n w o r t h y , I I . 3 6 3 . 5 . T h e

passage is a n exegesis of E x . 2 1 . 3 3 ^ " I f a n y m a n o p e n a p i t . . . a n d d o not c o v e r it,


a n d a n o x or d o n k e y fall into it, the o w n e r o f the pit shall p a y . " "
<(those w i t h o u t u n d e r s t a n d i n g )
,

?}

, ,

, ,
.
" "

'

(see a b o v e , 1 . 5 )

for is Heyse's e m e n d a t i o n , a c c e p t e d b y S t h l i n b u t not b y Friichtel.) T h e


connections w i t h the passage q u o t e d in the p r e c e d i n g p a r a g r a p h a r e striking.

I.J^.12,

, of idolaters,

j u s t previously called Sodomites. T h e m e t a p h o r of m e n t a l blindness w a s one C l e m e n t


often u s e d : 1 . 6 7 . 1 6 ; 1 6 4 . 1 0 ; I I I . 7 0 . 4 ; 182.20; etc. [ H e r e it m a y be a reminiscence of
Sophocles, Oedipus tyrannus 3 7 1 ; such reminiscences o f classical authors are f r e q u e n t
in Clement. W . M . C . ]

56

II.I5-16

THE LETTER

II.16

\

de

5 /

"

//

V e r b a t i m , . 5 0 2 . 4 ; I I I . 7 0 . 2 ,

etc. T h e f r e q u e n c y of the

metaphor in Clement's works is noted by Tsermoulas, 2gf.


. . . .

II.189.8ff, a sentence of almost exactly the same structure as

t h a t in the letter: 6 '

. . . . . . { G e n . 2 0 . 1 2 ) . . .

Seiv . Another sentence of the same type, and also similar


in content to that of the letter, is found in II.490.15fr, 6 . . . <Ps.
1 7 - 1 2 f y . . .

B o t h a n d

are, of course, frequent in Clement's vocabulary.


.
A favorite verb of Clement's, I V . 4 1 1 (17 references, listing incomplete ; all but 2 in middle or passive). Some of the passages in which it is used fit the
teaching of this letter exactly, e.g. II.35.15
. . . "

" 6

. I I . 497 7> TV ^ 1?
,

. V e r b a t i m and, as here, intial, to introduce a Gospel saying, II. 138.28.


T h e phrase is used thus very often, and Clement's use of both with and without
is so frequent and so peculiar that it was discussed by M a y o r in appendix A
( ) of his edition of Stromateis V I I . O f the peculiarly Clementine uses of
distinguished there, this is evidently that which should be translated " f u r t h e r " or
" a g a i n " (363-364).
. . . .
M t . 25.29 ||Lk. 19.26. T h e text is considerably shorter than that
now found in the Gospels. This might be the result of deliberate abbreviation.
However, Clement's text of this verse probably differed in much the same w a y from
that preserved. H e quotes the first half twice (II.10.21 and III.41.7), both times in
the form , which differs from the preserved forms of the first
half as the text of the letter does from those of the second. Moreover, Clement's text
and that of the letter, put together, yield a simple, epigrammatic, rythmically
balanced version of the verse; the Matthaean and L u c a n forms are unbalanced and
cluttered. This does not prove the simple form the original form. [Simplicity is often
the result of r e v i s i o n A . D . N . ] But it strongly suggests that the letter, since it contains the second half of the simple form, comes from Clement, in whose works we find
the (parallel) first half of the simple form. (II.100. i f f and 263.25, which Sthlin took
as references to this passage, are probably from an extracanonical logion, combined
in 263.25 with M t . 6.33 || Lk. 12.31. T h e tradition of the saying is extremely complex;
see Lindeskog. Logiastudien.)
57

THE LETTER

II.i17

II. 17

"

iv

,."

. As sole connection of two quotations from different sources, II. 10.21; 125.1;
221.16,20; etc. But is much more common.
The use of a group of quotations, after a long stretch relatively free of them, is
typical of Clement; for example, Stromateis I I :
Ch.
Ch.
Ch.
Ch.
Ch.
Ch.
Ch.

I, 3 quotations
I I , 25 quotations
I l l , no quotations
IV, lines 1-50, 8 quotations
IV, lines 51-80, 1 quotation
IV, lines 81-120, 9 quotations
V, 23 quotations

Ch.
Ch.
Ch.
Ch.
Ch.
Ch.

V I , lines 1-6, 3 quotations


V I , lines 7-64, 2 quotations
VI, lines 65-87, 8 quotations
V I , lines 88-117, 1 quotation
V I I , lines 1-34, 3 quotations
V I I , lines 35-55, 10 quotations

These figures are approximate.


<5 . . . . Ecclesiastes 2.14. Clement quotes Eccles. in II.37.3fr
( i . i 6 f f ) and 8f (7.12), and in II.385.18ff (1.2), each time in texts almost identical
with L X X . The text in the letter differs from L X X by substituting for
(as did the above quotation from Prov. 26.5) and for 1. The
Hebrew text has holek ( 1) and no variants are noted, so this latter difference
may be interpretive. [It may also have been motivated at least in part by stylistic
considerations. The imperative is more vigorous Greek. A writer with atticizing
traits, like Clement, would prefer it. Similarly, De sublimitate IX.9 has . . .
, where L X X has >. W.M.C.] Clement's willingness to alter
scriptual quotations to suit his purposes is noted by Kutter, 22; Tollington, II. 178;
and others. [It may well have been subconscious, since he quoted from memory.
A.D.N.] His use of an O T quotation, as here, to follow and clinch a N T one, is
f o u n d in I I . 1 3 1 . 2 0 - 2 9 (the " N T " o n e is f r o m Barnabas)

; 135.2331; 1 4 1 . 2 2 - 2 4 ; etc.

. In Christian self-congratulation, as here, to contrast a preceding unfavorable


O T quotation with a following favorable N T one, I.i I2.i2ff, "
r f j "

(etc.,

J e r . g . 2 2 f )

" "

<1 T h e s s . 4.9). W i t h

slightly different form, contrasting two verses of Paul, II.246.23ff, " . . .

. . .

"

<( C o r . 6.9 )>

" " <1 Cor. 6.11). This comes at the conclusion of Stromateis I I I ,
Clement's major attack on libertine gnostics, in which he gives most attention to the
Carpocratians. There may be an echo of this letter in Apostolic Constitutions VI.10 e n d 11, where the author concludes a list of the abominable teachings of the heretics with
an unmistakable reference to those of the Carpocratians, then declares,

. Se

. . . and follows this up with a declaration of the


mysteries of Christian doctrine which is really an expanded baptismal creed.
58

11.17-18

T H E LETTER

" viol

.8

"

. This, with the preceding and the following , is an adaptation


of I. Thess. 5.5, viol (in contrast to the sinners of the preceding verses,
cf. the preceding note). I Thess. 5.5 is quoted by Clement, 1.206.13. He uses the
metaphor viol again, I.2o6.24f, deriving it from Jn. 12.36, and he also uses
from Eph. 5.8 (1.68.13). The quotation there is introduced exactly as
here, without any reference or identification either before or after it. Kutter, 35,
comments on this manner of quotation as typical of Clement. The metaphor was
commonplace in the early Church; e.g., the fragments of Hippolytus' work against
Gaius argue that believers are "children of light" who do not "walk in darkness"
and should therefore not be treated as unbelievers (Harnack, Gwynn'sehen 122).
However, it seems to have been particularly popular in semignostic circles in Egypt;
Sophia JC, 126; Epistula Apostolorum 28(39); 39(5) > e t c Hornschuh, Anfnge 87,
238fr, suggests an Essene background. [So does J.R.]
. I.2o6.6, in the context of Clement's quotation of I Thess. 5.5 (above),
describes the initiated Christian gnostic. Clement uses the verb often
(IV.806, 26 references). For the thought and the connection with sonship, 1.105.20^

cf. a b o v e , o n i n 1.22.

Illumination by the spirit, as here, II.295.23; 502.5; etc.


Trj .

T h e s a m e m e t a p h o r , I I . 3 6 . I l f , ', ,

, of the Logos as the source of all wisdom. Here it is reminiscent of Lk.


1.78, which Clement echoes in I.8o.i6ff and refers to in II.84.20f. Clement's fondness
for metaphors using the sun and light is noted by Tsermoulas, 2gf. Christ as illuminator is compared to the rising sun in I.63.17fF; 78.19fr; 81.2iff; etc.
Kvplov. This interprets Lk. 1.78 as a prophecy of illumination by
the gift of the spirit, normally in baptism, for which see above, on ,
was no doubt justified by Mk. 1.10 a n d parallels ( . . . sc.
),

a n d Acts 2.2ff ( . . .

) ; cf. Acts 8 . 1 6 ;

10.44; 5 ( ); etc. Clement regularly interpreted Lk. 1.78 as a


prophecy of the illumination of Christians (see the passages listed in the previous
paragraph), and he regularly conceived of the spirit as illuminating and as coming
from without and from above (Frangoulis, 16, citing I.io6.22ff). Clement uses

in I I . 5 0 2 . 4 ^

. In II.295.22 he quotes Prov. 20.27 a s reading


, and develops the idea, but it was one for which he evidently had no
special fondness. Its use here is dictated by the following quotation of II Cor. 3.17, of
which the first half (not quoted) identifies the Lord with the spirit (
). This makes it possible to reconstruct the sequence of the writer's
59

I I . 1819
\\

THE LETTER

~ 77"

de

"

'

ff

\\ 1

e/cet ,

/ // \\

//

thought: Dangerous facts should be concealed from the hereticslet the fool walk
in darknessbut w e are children of l i g h t i l l u m i n a t e d by the dayspring (from on
h i g h ) t h e dayspring is JesusJesus is the L o r d t h e L o r d is the spirit (from on
h i g h ) t h e r e f o r e w e are illuminated by the dayspring of the s p i r i t b u t where the
spirit is, (there) is liberty. This sort of exegetic stringing together of texts is typical of
Clement. T h e close relation, approaching interchangeability, of a n d
in the thought of C l e m e n t is noted by Frangoulis, 14f.
8e . . . .
I I Cor. 3 . 1 7 b . is read by the koine, G a n d most Greek
manuscripts, the V u l g a t e and some O l d L a t i n texts, and the Heraclean Syriac. H e r e
it m a y be a sign of affinity with the " w e s t e r n " text or a " c o r r e c t i o n " b y the copyist.
T h e (unsupported?) is probably a copyist's blunder. C l e m e n t often quotes I I
C o r . , but never this particular verse. [ H . C . comments: Its use here, like that of the
following Titus 1.15, is a piece of self-justification for revealing the secret. W h e n a
secret gospel has been corrupted b y heretics, the true gnostic, being enlightened b y
supernatural gifts, is able to distinguish the authentic from the false and, in virtue of
the conferred by his pneumatic state, can be freer with such dangerous
material than a Christian of inferior status, to w h o m the a p o c r y p h o n w o u l d be
impure and a pollution to read. T h e like opinion is found in O r i g e n , Commentariorum
Series in Matt. 28, middle, a n d Prologus in Canticum, end, and something similar persists even to the time of Isidore of Seville (cf. C h a d w i c k , Sextus 123). Therefore in
describing Clement's motivation here it is not enough merely to emphasize his
concern to justify concealment of truth from the nonelect. T h i s m a y be too simple a n
account of his implied reasoning. O f course he believed in reserve in the communication of religious knowledge, a n d it is a short step from keeping silence on certain
topics to saying w h a t one does not oneself w h o l l y believe because it is pastorally
expedient for the audience addressed. But he is also seeking to justify his o w n status
as a true gnostic w h o is therefore free to handle the secret gospel, and besides this he
wants to make clear to his correspondent, Theodore, that he too must regard the
ensuing quotations as confidential matter. H . C . also calls attention to I I I . 183.16fr:
ol . . . ' rives
. A l l the faithful are elect, but some are more elect than others.]
. This use, interrupting a quotation, is frequent in Clement, e.g., I I . 1 1 5 . 2 4 ;
1 1 6 . 1 6 ; 121.28; 124.20; etc.
. . . .
T h i s stringing together of quotations without connectives
appears often in Clement's works, e.g., 1 . 2 0 6 . 3 - 1 7 ; I I . 1 0 8 . 1 6 f f ; 1 5 0 . 2 6 - 1 5 1 . 6 ;
216.4fr; 382.20; etc. H e r e the quotation is Titus 1.15, quoted by C l e m e n t in II.246.20
60

II. 19-20

THE LETTER

II.20

'

<>

where it is used as here, in polemic against libertine gnostics, including the Carpocratians. The same purpose as hereto justify concealment of truth from the nonelect and revelation of it to the chosen fewis served by a similar scriptual quotation
in II.495.2f, " "

(Prov. 8.9). T h i s

justifies Jesus' teaching outsiders only in parables, which he explained to his disciples.
. Sentences beginning with in epistolary style, e.g., Epistolographi Graeci,
Alciphron, 1.39, Anacharsis, 6; Libanius, Epistulae, 570, 668, 988.
.

Thus used in 1.10.20; 59.7; 95.26; 119.8; etc.

. Another epistolary cliche; Libanius, Epistulae 56,251, etc. Frequent also


in Clement, IV.593, fifteen references. The future with a dependent aorsit infinitive,
as here, II. 11.22; Libanius, Epistulae 251. An exact parallel in content to the present
passage appears in Epistula Apostolorum 8(19), "Behold, therefore"because of the
false teachings of Simon Magus and Cerinthus"we have not scrupled to write you
concerning the testimony of our saviour, Christ, that which he did." This also leads
to the revelation of allegedly secret tradition. The same form was used in a similar
connection by Papias, as quoted by Eus., HE III.39.3,

. . . ,

. . . . ) ,

etc. Further, Eusebius (HE V I . 13.9) reports that Clement used a similar form,

. The general tradition (with instead of ) goes back to Odyssey


XI-38of; see the use of above, 1.27.
. Clement uses the verb often (Sthlin does not index it fully) and has
the perfect middle passive in III.163.32. The perfect participle meaning, as here, " t h e
questions which have been asked" is found in Plato, Laws 662.
. Thus used in II.32.11. Frequent in Clement; not indexed by Sthlin.
The question to be answered is regularly indicated by the accusative, Plato, I
Alcibiades i i 4 d ( ),

etc.

' . . . . S t r i k i n g l y p a r a l l e l e d b y I I . 2 4 8 . 2 5 - 2 4 9 . 3 ,

'

, ,

<>>. Possibly omitted by the copyist through homoioteleuton; cf. II.495.4.


[A.W. thinks its insertion necessary, especially if one thinks the letter written by
Clement. B.E. also suggests it. A.D.N, disagrees.]
61

11.20-22

THE LETTER

11.21

de

^ tf
rrj

'

,"

<

/\

//

11.22

w
,

"

. Above, 1.21-22.
.

A b o v e , .8.

Above, II.

II.

.
Above, on hi . Clement uses the verb often, IV.379 (40 references,
listing incomplete). The present active participle, 1.141.22; 240.13; etc.; with
accusative, ibid, and often (IV.379)I with Sia and genitive, see above.

.
Meaning " f o r instance." Clement uses it frequently in this sense, often to
introduce quotations, e.g. 1.191.24; 455.22; II.39.1 (?); 150.18. A closely related
meaning, which it often has in Clement and which is also possible here, is " t h u s " or
"similarly," e.g. I.6.23; 99.18; 115.3; 194.6.

. . . .

II.332.7; 408.20; 497.2; etc.

. Before citations, as here, 1.110.19; 120.22; II.461.10; 463.26; etc. T h e accentuation before quotations (whether to or ') is dubious here and in III. 11 and 14; I have
followed the appearances, but they may be deceptive.
...
'.
Mk. . 32. Identical with Nestle's text, which records no
variants for these words. [R.S. remarks that the only variants recorded by von Soden
are omission by 1038.] Clement quotes 10.31 in III.176.27. et'?, I I I .
36.16.
.
Verbatim and frequent, I I . 1 1 5 . 1 2 ; 119.14; 135.14; 150.5; etc.
Mondesert, 68, mentions this sort of citation with this formula as characteristic of
Clement.
. . . .
Mk. 10.34 end. is read by the principal
representatives of both the " w e s t e r n " and the " A l e x a n d r i a n " texts; the koine has
ij

. Frequent for the introduction of quotations. to introduce


one from the N T , II.263.17. Other examples: II.43.12; 65.7; 331.13; 359.4; 366.15;
62

THE LETTER

II.32-III.I3

, II.23-III.11 Quotation from the secret Gospel


[III. 11 continued]
III. 12
, "
'
III.13
'/'
,

405.14; etc. With , II.303.25f. .99-3 1 all but verbatim,


. , and introduces a quotation from the works of Epiphanes, the son of
Carpocrates.
and . See above, on <58e. Both are very frequent, IV.421, 539.
The formula or an equivalent was used by Clement particularly when
quoting heretics; with the passage in the preceding note compare his quotations of
Isidore, the son ofBasilides, and of Valentinus, II. 174.23 ( ); 174.30 (?
'), and again of Isidore, 196.1 ( ), and again of Epiphanes, 199.10
( , ); Gassianus, 238. iof
( 4); Valentinus, 458 12 ( ); and again Isidore, 458-20.
. . . . Of literary sequence and, as here, initial, II.248.15, e'm . . .
. The phrase is fairly common in the terminal expression,
, I.26.29; 6i.4; 43 2 3! 2 778; etc.
. . . . Frequent, II.251.16f; 2 5 5 3 0 _ 2 5 5 (loosely connected, as here); 236.16
(the 8 never appears); 264.6; etc.
. Frequent (IV.422, 36 references). Of literary sequence, II.119.20,
(i.e., the rest of the passage). Regularly with , LS J s.v.
.

Above, II.21.

. . . '. Mk. 10.35 No variants.


. Verbatim and used in exactly the same way, II. 154.8-9.
Sthlin cites 8 other uses of (IV.639).
. Above, II.21.
. Above, III.11.
63

III.X3

THE LETTER

"

"
.

A e l i a n , De natura animalium

16.28, i n FGrHist,

no. 564F3,

, .

Kai ,

( ) ,

,
,

, ol

. T h e practice is attested also b y some verses

of Nicander's, which Aelian goes on to quote. See Kings 1.17.21; 11.4.34^ Lucian,
De syria dea 5 5 ; S u l p i c i u s S e v e r u s , Vila s. Martini

(CSEL

I) 7 . 3 ; 8 . 2 ; Vita secunda s.

Samsonis (AnBoll VI.97) i6ff, and Daiches, 492f. This type of miracle has been
discussed by Bieler, esp. 237-243, and by Weinreich. T h e above references, except
that to Lucian, appear in Bieler. Weinreich, 247fr, adds that the method is implied
in Plutarch, De Iside 17 (357D), and the underlying idea in Plato, Symposium I75c-e:

' ,

',

, , ,


P l u t a r c h , De Iside


17

(357^)

and

19

(358E),

reflects the story that Isis, after recovering the body of Osiris, lay upon it and
revived it to such an extent that she conceived from it the child Harpocrates.
T h e story is related to a number of magical and erotic passages, e.g.: PGM
vol. I, p. 71, n7; also no. I V , lines i i g f f , 400fT; no. X X X V I , lines 288ff;
DMP,

col. X V ,

lines

14-20;

Anthologia

Palatina

V . 128;

Anthologia

Latina

430

(Riese); Kerenyi, 39fr. All this material accords with what was said about the
Carpocratians, both by Clement (II.197.16-200.15) and by Irenaeus (Harvey,
I.20.2 = Stieren, 1.25.3-4). A n d the Carpocratians are said to have interpreted
resurrection allegorically as initiation into their sect, Irenaeus, (Harvey, II.48.2 =
Stieren, II.31.2). It is not unlikely, therefore, that the Carpocratian text here had an
account of a resurrection effected by Elisha's somewhat indiscreet method, but used
to justify liturgical or extraliturgical practices of their own. [H.C. refers to the attempt
to strip a dead body in a tomb, reported in Acta Ioannis 70-80.] This is an account of
an attempted assault prompted by necrophilia, but it stands in contrast to the subsequent raising of the body by the apostle; and the raising follows the model in this
letter, not that in Johnthe apostle enters the tomb and takes the hand of the dead.
It is possible, therefore, that the story of the assault may be polemic against the
64

III.13-14

THE LETTER

III.I4

t
/ //
,

vepl

"

Carpocratians and their ritual. A n d since De Iside 17 reports the occasion of the
conception of Harpocrates, was it merely by a scribal error that Origen made Celsus
refer to the sect of the "Harpocratians" (Contra Celsum V . 6 2 ) o r was this polemic?
Clement often uses metaphorically of the state in which the soul must approach
God, IV.321 (some 15 references); he also uses it in its liturgical sense, I.255.15, etc.
[The metaphorical use is often part of the theme of the restoration of the original
condition of humanity in paradise, as is the notion of the disappearance of the
difference of the sexes. A.D.N.] T h e metaphorical use is relevant to the requirement
of actual nudity in Christian and Jewish proselyte baptism (Hippolytus, Apostolic
Tradition X X I . 5 and 11, ed. Dix; Werblowsky, Rite ggf). T h e same conjunction of
metaphorical and literal meaning appears in the Egyptian youth's account of his
j o i n i n g the g y m n o s o p h i s t s , Philostratus, Vita Apollonii

V I . 1 6 :

(sc. their secret doctrine). In this respect Carpocratian practice seems to have been
similar to that of Hippolytus' church, which required that both the initiate and the
baptizing piresbyter be nude ( X X I . 11). See below, pp. 175-177, and the discussions
of Mk. i4-5if and of Clement, Excerpta 66 referred to in the Index of Passages
Discussed.
. For Clement's usage (or that of the copyists of his works) as regards contractions, see above, 1.9, on .
.

I C o r . J.ia., w h i c h , h o w e v e r , h a s .

N o v a r i a n t s . ( 7 . 1 b is

quoted by Clement, II.240.12f.) is an epistolary commonplace; Weichert,


8f. , in Clement II.222.6f; 341.iof; 402.7; etc.
.

T h e copyist wrote .

, of finding in Scripture is rather frequent in Clement, II. 187.20;


442.8; 448.19 ( S'av); etc. T h e form is used, not of Scripture, in
II.316.8 and 466.14; it is used of things being found written ,
which here practically means " i n Scripture," in a quotation from Valentinus,
II.458.14. [Both and with this meaning are common in
grammarians and scholiasts. A . W . ]
. Above, II.20-21. Initial, II.507.23 (without ). with in
citation, II.406.5f.
...'.
Mk. 10.46. is read by the " w e s t e r n " text (D, Sinaitic
Syriac [R.S. adds 788of the Ferrar groupand some Old Latin: a b ff2 r2 ?]);

65

III.I4-18

III.17

THE LETTER

, I I I . 1 4 - I I I . 1 6 : quotation from the secret Gospel

by the rest of the tradition. Clement quotes 10.45 i*1 1.139.30fr and 10.48
(perhaps) in II.498.33.

Very frequent in citations, IV.401 (28 references).

.
.

Frequent, IV.571, not fully indexed.

Not found as the beginning of a sentence in Stromateis I V - V I inclusive.


, II.281.3; , 303.12; ' (following citations,
to indicate further literary material), 333.5; 339-3; 409.4 (no ); ' , 384-15All these are beginnings of sentences. The absence of elision is noteworthy; cf. the
earlier usage of the letter (1.8,9,27; II.4,6,12; etc.). Does this indicate that the earlier
cases were due to the manuscript, not the copyist?

Above, III. 13; further examples, 1.22.22, etc.

Above, 1 1 . 9 .

For the contrast, III.64.32fr, . . .


See above, 1.10. The expression here might be an ironic reminiscence
of Plato, Hippias Major 294a-c, esp. c, . [However,
is so common that it need not have come from the Hippias. Could its usage
here be due to this: Clement's correspondent had said, "These seem () to
be falsifications," and Clement now answers, "They not only seem to be so, they

.
.

are"?

B.E.]

II.249.11,
(also the beginning of a sentence).

. . . .

. At the beginning of a sentence, following an article, II.347.18, etc.


.

Above, I.9.

.
Verbatim, II.3.2; 112.5; 247.15; 421.15f; 422.3f.
Clement's standard description of his own theories.

.
II.495.5 (with ); 498.12 ( and so the preceding instance);
361.1 (of profane writings); 9 other references, IV.397.

66

THE LETTER

II.

SYNTHESIS

OF

FINDINGS

O f the scholars to whom the preceding commentary was submitted, most concluded
that the manuscript's attribution of the text to Clement was probably correctso
Bickerman, Calder, Chadwick, Einarson, Frchtel, Grant, Hadas, Jaeger, Lampe,
Mondesert, Reumann, Richard, Richardson, Schippers, and Wifstrand. Nock was
inclined to deny this attribution, though basing his opinion only on "instinct," and
Munck and Vlker denied it emphatically, for the reasons discussed in the commentary. T o me, the evidence in the commentary seems, if judged by the standards
customarily used in questions ofliterary authenticity, to justify attribution to Clement.
Moreover, there is further evidence which points in the same direction.

A.

Linguistic and Stylistic Data

T h e similarity of the letter to the recognized works of Clement in many details of


language and style has been illustrated frequently in the commentary. These details
must now be summarized and general considerations added.

I.

VOCABULARY

Index I lists the words of the text and indicates whether or not they occur in the
works of Clement and of Athanasius. (A comparison with Philo was attempted, but
Leisegang's index omits too many words.) T h e " l e t t e r " (that is, everything except
the heading and the quotations from the secret Gospel) has a vocabulary of 258
different words, of which 7 are not in Clement, 28 not in Athanasius; by contrast,
the quotations from the secret Gospel have a vocabulary of only 82 different words,
but of these 4 are not in Clement and only 3 not in Athanasius. 4 It appears, therefore,
that the vocabulary of the letter is somewhat closer to Clement than is that of the
secret Gospel, and is much closer to Clement than it is to Athanasius. This is shown
by the following table (see next page).

4. The different figures given in the preliminary report were based on a different division of the
material.

67

T H E LETTER

Not in Clement
Heading

Letter

Not in Athanasius
Secret
Gospel

Heading

Letter
?

Secret
Gospl

(act.)

(act.)

The results above are confirmed by consideration of the words in the text
which occur less than five times in either Clement or Athanasius. Here it seems
worthwhile to report also those usages recorded in the index to Philo. This has
yielded the table on the opposite page, where P, C, and A stand for Philo, Clement,
and Athanasius. T h e plus signs indicate incomplete entries in Sthlin's index.

In sum, the letter, of its 258 words, has 63 (a quarter) which are rare in either
Clement or Athanasius. But of these words 6 8 0 + uses are recorded in Clement, 376
in Leisegang's incomplete index to Philo, and only 142 in Athanasius. By contrast,
68

T H E LETTER

3
28

From the letter

9
2

2
2

4
I

4
3
-

!5

17

C
-

3
!9
II

14

13
4
4
I

5
2

7
5
6

3
4
I

37
I
I
I
12

4
2
2

3
3
I
12
2

2
I

13
I

4
I
6
I
6

'
'

I
-

I
-

!5
I
47
7
-

7
-

4
-

I
I
2
IO

9
7
I
2

3
7
23
-

C.IOO

From the secret Gospel


A

3
15 +
6 +

5
I

6o

21

3
3

3
I

3
I

(act.)

2
2

I
I
2
3
3
6 +
-

23

5
-

7
10
3
8
-

3
-

3
I
2

3
3

68+

12
I

5
8

c.300

376

2
I

I
2

I
2
142

2
11
2

6
I
21 +

I
9

THE L E T T E R

the secret Gospel, of its 82 words, has 12 (only a seventh) w h i c h are rare in either
C l e m e n t or Athanasius, a n d of these words there are only 21 + uses in C l e m e n t
a n d 23 in Philo, but 90 in Athanasius. T h i s shows that the letter is m u c h closer to
the peculiar language of C l e m e n t and Philo than it is to the later A l e x a n d r i a n
tradition as represented b y Athanasius. (Indeed, from the above figures the letter
w o u l d seem closer to C l e m e n t than to Philo, but the figures for Philo cannot be
pressed.) It further appears that the quotations from the secret Gospel use a v o c a b u lary of w h i c h the affiliations are quite different from those of the letter. This suggests
that the different vocabularies c a m e from different authors, but it is not conclusive,
for the difference of v o c a b u l a r y might be explained as a result of content and of
imitation of M a r k .
T h e rare words in the letter have been discussed in the c o m m e n t a r y ; the more
significant cases m a y be recalled here, meaning " b o u n d l e s s " (1.4) p r o b a b l y
appears in Philo, whose influence on C l e m e n t is well k n o w n ; the superlative
seems to be used in the same sense b y Clement, m e a n i n g ' ' c o p y ' '
(II.6) a n d (1.27) are rare in the preserved literature a n d not found
in Clement's preserved works; they w o u l d probably not have been used b y a n
imitator anxious to avoid questionable traits, but they are evidenced b y contemporary
usage and C l e m e n t himself could well have used them, (II. 15) appears in
one of the senses distinguished b y M a y o r as peculiar to Clement, w h o was abnormally
fond of this word, in the active (II.3) is extremely rare (in prose otherwise
u n k n o w n ?); that it should have been used by an imitator is almost incredible, but
C l e m e n t himself might have used it as a deliberate echo of H o m e r h e was very
fond of H o m e r and often uses poetic verb forms in his prose. T h e three remaining
words not in C l e m e n t , Philo, or Athanasius are at ( I I I . 12) quoted
from M k . 10.35, a n c * ? (II.8) a n d (1.27), both in Plato, w h o was
the chief p a g a n influence on Clement. T h e words in the letter and Clement, but
not in Philo or Athanasius, are (II.8), (1.7), ) ( I l . g ) ,
a n d (I.27),
' n Plato; (1.23) in I a m b l i c h u s ;
(1.24) in Polybius; and (1.2) and (1.21) from
the Christian vocabulary, , Philo , scarcely belongs in the list,
especially since the letter uses it in a quotation from J u d e . B y contrast, the words
peculiar to the secret Gospel, ( I I I . i ) and (III.7), are both in L X X ;
but neither is in Plato. T h e r e is only one w o r d shared b y the secret Gospel a n d
C l e m e n t , but not listed for Philo or Athanasius: the name ( . ) a n a m e
particularly important in the gnostic side of E g y p t i a n Christianity with w h i c h
C l e m e n t was involved. It will be discussed below in the commentary on the secret
Gospel.
[ J . R . here remarks: " T h o u g h I find myself convinced b y the cumulative arguments
for the authenticity of the letter . . . I fear the statistics here might only point to a
date for the document in the centuries between Philo and Athanasius. A comparison
w i t h O r i g e n , if a n index verborum existed, w o u l d be more significant."] W i t h this I
agree, but, as things are, the comparisons with Philo a n d Athanasius seemed the
most relevant that could easily be made.
70

THE LETTER

2.

VERBAL ASSOCIATION

Not only do the letter and Clement use the same words, but they associate them
in the same ways:

o f sins ( 1 . 4 )
(5)

, of libertines who boast of their freedom (1.6)


r e
6

(1.8)

(I.g)

a n d

( . ) as o p p o s e d t o Trj

(I.Ii)

(1.17-18)

() = those things which make for (I.2of)


()

(1.2 i f )

(.2)

, of demons (II.2-3)
, of the black art (11.4)

(II.3)

(II.8)

, as a description of the writer's opinions (III. 18)


Associations of words similar to all of these, but not usually identical and usually in
different contexts, are to be found in Clement and are cited in the commentary.
This letter has, also, many of Clement's stock phrases (1.27),
( I I . ) , ( I I . ) , etc.which belong rather to vocabulary than to verbal
association. Against these similarities, I have found in Clement no parallels for the
following associations in the letter: , of the traditions of heretics (1.13);
, of an evangelist's publication of Jesus' teachings (1.16); , of
Jesus' ( 1 . 1 6 - 1 7 ) ; , of addition to a literary work (1.24). It is to be
expected that any work of any author will show some peculiar traits, and these
seem within the range of Clement's possible usage.
3.

COMPARISONS AND METAPHORS

T h e following are found both in the letter and in Clement's preserved works:
sinners to planets (1.3)
the road of the commandments (I.3, a favorite of Clement's)
wandering into sensual indulgence (1.4)
depths of knowledge (1.5)
casting oneself into damnation (1.6)
the darkness of falsity (1.6)
slaves of the passions (1.7)
counterfeiting the truth (1.14)
salt, as a symbol of goodness (1.15, N T )
dancing out mysteries which are not to be spoken (1.23)
Jesus a hierophant (1.23)

71

THE LETTER

instruction acts as a mystagogue (1.25)


the veiled adyton of the truth (1.26; confirming Wilamowitz' conjecture)
unbelief is mental blindness (II. 14!*, a favorite of Clement's)
the light of the truth (II.15, another favorite; Tsermoulas, 29Q
the evil walk in darkness (II. 16, O T )
right believers are children of light (II. 17, N T )
the coming of the spirit of Christ is sunrise (II. 17f)
moral purity (II.i8f, N T )
Clement's works do not speak of drawing off a doctrine from a book (letter, II.9),
nor (clearly) of the abyss of sin (letter, 1.4). T h a t men are enslaved by magic or b y
evil spirits (letter, II.5; Clement, 1.8.3; III.5.14) m a y not be metaphorical. T h e
frequency with which the letter uses metaphors and similes and its failure to develop
t h e m t h e w a y they are merely suggested by a word or two and then abandonedhave
both been remarked as typical of Clement's style (Tsermoulas, 108; M u r p h y , xif).
A l o n g with metaphor may be mentioned two other characteristics of Clement's
style: his fondness for plays on words, conspicuously illustrated in the letter by the
play on (1.7-13, see the note on 1.9), and his deliberate variation of nouns
when referring repeatedly to the same thing, illustrated in the letter by the change
from to (1.12-14).
4.

FORMS OF

REFERENCE

T h e following forms used in the letter are either closely or exactly paralleled in
Clement:
oi , identifying figures of Clement's world as those referred
to by a cryptic phase of Scripture (1.3)
(1.12)
, as an interjection to introduce a conventional expression
(I.14)
. . . , for contemptuous reference to an object previously indicated (II.9)

( I I . I )

. . . , to introduce a quotation from Proverbs (II. 13)


. . . , to introduce a quotation from Proverbs
(.13)
, to introduce a quotation from a Gospel (II. 15)
interrupting a quotation of Scripture (II. 18, very frequent in Clement)
' (

. . . ,

refute heretics (II.20)


. . . (II.2 1 - 2 2 )

( I I . 2 l f )

(11.22)

a n d ( . )

( I I I . 12)

' (III. 13)


a n d

( I I I . 14)

72

i n t r o d u c i n g scriptural quotations to

T H E LETTER

Besides these there are 4 instances in the letter (1.6 a n d I I . 16,17,18) in which
Scripture is q u o t e d without a n y introduction, or with only or to connect it
to w h a t precedes; this way of quoting Scripture is frequent in Clement's works
(see II.18). Like Clement, the letter quotes Philo without mentioning him (II.12).
T h e letter's only form of reference not paralleled in Clement is the epistolary c o m m o n p l a c e
5.

( I I I . 13).

FORMULAS BEGINNING SENTENCES

O f 26 such formulas, 17 are found v e r b a t i m in C l e m e n t :


ol (1.3)

) (II.12)

(1.7; II.10)

( I I . 13)
( I I . 15)

el , C.Opt. (1.8)
(1.9)

8e (II. 16-17)
( . 2 0 - 2 )
() ( . )

(1.15)
() (1.22)
(1.26)

. . . (-9)

/ ( I I I . 17-18)

( I I I . 14)

O f the remaining 9, 5 are exactly paralleled in structure, t h o u g h the words used


are different; these are beginnings with initial participles or with nouns in the genitive,
1.5,11,13,18; II.2. T w o are epistolary cliches not found in Clement's preserved works
(which contain only brief fragments of two letters) b u t frequent in the imperial
epistolography ( , 1.2; l , I I . i g ) . O n e is a quotation of I I Cor.
3.17 (in II.18). T h e one u n a c c o u n t e d for is (III.17). O f t h o s e found in
Clement, a n d are so often used by him as to be characteristics of
his style.
6.

PREPOSITIONS

T h e uses of prepositions are customarily classified by cases a n d meanings; by those


criteria, all the uses found in the letter are found also in Clement. O f the 25 uses
of prepositions with verbs1.3,4,56,jo, 1 i,ig,2obis,2i,26;
11.2,4,6,16,20
21 (), 21 (e iy); I I I . ,,Clement
has, for at least the 17 italicized, the
same preposition in the same sense with the same verb. T h e rest are all to be f o u n d
either in L X X a n d N T or in s t a n d a r d Hellenistic a n d classical authors. T h e prepositional phrases in 1.15,22, II.i2,i3,2i(eV),22bis were excluded from the above list
because they are s t a n d a r d adverbial constructions, practically i n d e p e n d e n t of the
verbs with which they are used. Of these constructions, those in 1.15,22, I I . 1 3 a n d
in 11.22 are all found in Clement, while r f j ( I l . a i ) a n d
(11.22) are quoted from the N T ; only ' ( I I . I 2 ) remains, a n d it is
f o u n d in M t . T h u s the individual uses of prepositions in the letter are always in
accord with Clement's general usage a n d often exactly paralleled in his works. But
the situation is complicated by the question of the relative frequency with which
particular prepositions a n d cases are used. This was studied for Clement's works by
73

THE LETTER

Mossbacher, who listed 18 prepositions in order of frequency, with estimated totals


for the uses of each (p. 7). The first 12 items of his list appear in column M , below;
column L lists the prepositions used in the letter (excluding the heading and the
secret Gospel) and column C the prepositions in a sample passage from Clement, of
approximately the same length as the letter (II.243-246). In the L and C columns
the totals are broken down to indicate the number of uses with each case, the cases
being indicated by the initals A (accusative), D (dative), and G (genitive).

els

9A

!995

I95 6

ev

5D

3A

iG

ev
els

2G

2G

iG

> '

iG

IL)

iG

I I G 6D 24

1743
1589
1239
I0
59
933
730
565
447
404
402

13A i G
7D
77*1
3A 2D

4A
4A
els

>

ev

ps

zA

avev

iG
iG
iG
iG

5G

9D 26A

It will be seen that the 12 prepositions which occur in the letter are precisely the
same as the 12 Mossbacher found Clement used most often, and that the relative
frequency of their uses in the letter is roughly in accord with Mossbacher's report
of their relative frequency throughout Clement's works. In both these respects the
letter agrees with Mossbacher's table much better than does the passage of Clement
chosen for comparison-an atypical passage chosen deliberately to show that the letter
is well inside the range of variations from which Mossbacher's averages were compiled.
On the other hand, according to Mossbacher (p. 9) the average frequency of cases
throughout Clement's works, is 1.8 genitives and 2.7 accusatives for every 1 dative.
The letter has 1 . 8 + genitives and 4 accusatives for every dative, and Clement,
II.243-246, has .55 of a genitive and almost 2.9 accusatives for every dative. Since
the use of the accusative increased sharply in the centuries after Clement's work,
and that of the dative declined even more sharply, the high relative frequency of
accusatives in the letter would be a trait almost certain to be found in a later imitation;
it seems to me the chief ground for doubting the letter's authenticity. On the other
hand, the uses of els, , and which account for this are almost all determined
by content and individually paralleled from Clement's undoubted works, and
isolated passages of Clement would be expected to show considerable deviation from
averages based on the whole. In particular one might expect to find a private letter

74

THE LETTER

s o m e w h a t f u r t h e r a l o n g the line of linguistic c h a n g e t h a n its a u t h o r ' s p u b l i s h e d


works. I t is also possible t h a t some of the letter's accusatives w e r e i n t r o d u c e d b y
m e d i e v a l c o p y i n g ; see b e l o w , o n ,
7.

in I I . 2 4 .

SYNTAX

T h e sentence structures o f the letter c a n all be p a r a l l e l e d f r o m C l e m e n t a n d ,


g e n e r a l l y , f r o m m a n y G r e e k writers of the i m p e r i a l p e r i o d ; so c a n the letter's use o f
m o o d s a n d tenses. F o r the most p a r t these present n o t h i n g e x t r a o r d i n a r y .

The

e x a c t p a r a l l e l in C l e m e n t w i t h q u i t e different w o r d s a n d c o n t e x t t o the r a t h e r
o d d sentence f o r m in 11.1315

( . . .

deserves notice. S o does the g r a m m a t i c a l slip,

. . . . . . )
etvai, in 1 . 6 - 7 ,

w h i c h c o u l d h a r d l y h a v e b e e n m a d e b y a careful i m i t a t o r c a p a b l e of w r i t i n g the
rest of the text, b u t is m o r e u n d e r s t a n d a b l e in a p r i v a t e letter. Besides these details,
the most conspicuous g r a m m a t i c a l characteristics of the letter are the fondness
for the perfect (1.24) a n d for v e r b a l adjectives in -re'os a n d - (1.10), b o t h c h a r a c teristics o f C l e m e n t .

8.

EUPHONY

T h e letter's practices a r e c o m m o n to C l e m e n t a n d to later G r e e k g e n e r a l l y , b u t


m a y be d u e to the copyists r a t h e r t h a n the writer. T h u s , a l t h o u g h the letter agrees
w i t h C l e m e n t ( M o s s b a c h e r , 4 5 - 4 7 ) in n e g l e c t i n g hiatus before prepositions

and

a v o i d i n g it after t h e m (11.4,6,12,20), no i m p o r t a n c e c a n be a t t r i b u t e d to this; so


does the secret Gospel ( I I . 2 6 ; I I I . 5 , 6 ) .

9.

CLAUSULAE

A p p e n d i x C shows the results of a study of the q u a n t i t a t i v e r h y t h m s at the ends


of the sentences of the letter a n d of Stromateis I I I (chosen because it is closest in
content

to the letter).

Quotations,

sentences i n t r o d u c i n g

quotations,

rhetorical

questions of less t h a n f o u r syllables, a n d passages t e x t u a l l y c o r r u p t h a v e b e e n e x c l u d e d .


O f the r e m a i n i n g 3 1 4 sentences of Stromateis I I I , the quantities of the last five syllables
h a v e b e e n t a b u l a t e d . F i v e syllables c a n display o n l y 32 patterns of longs a n d shorts.
I f these 32 patterns o c c u r r e d at r a n d o m in the 3 1 4 sentence endings, e a c h p a t t e r n
s h o u l d o c c u r a b o u t 9 or 10 times. A c t u a l l y , h o w e v e r , there a r e 6 patterns w h i c h
a c c o u n t for m o r e t h a n a third of the endings, a n d 9 patterns w h i c h together m a k e
u p o n l y a ninth. T h i s looks like the result of deliberate preference a n d a v o i d a n c e .
N o w the letter contains 21 i n d u b i t a b l e sentence endings (apart f r o m those in q u o t a tions or i n t r o d u c i n g quotations) a n d to these m a y b e a d d e d , for the sake of c o m p l e t e ness, the endings

(I.23f) a n d

(II.io), which

m a y perhaps c o n c l u d e sentences, a n d ( I I . 13), the e n d of a n u n a c k n o w l e d g e d q u o t a t i o n f r o m P h i l o w h i c h this a u t h o r has p r o b a b l y rephrased.

O f the

resultant 24 units, 10 c o m e f r o m C l e m e n t ' s 6 f a v o r e d patterns, 11 f r o m C l e m e n t ' s


17 neutral patterns, a n d o n l y 3 f r o m C l e m e n t ' s 9 a v o i d e d patterns. A l l his f a v o r e d

75

THE LETTER

patterns are represented in the letter, but only two of his avoided patterns appear
there. T h e 6 favored patterns account for slightly more than four-twelfths of the
endings in Stromateis I I I and five-twelfths of those in the letter, while the 9 avoided
ones m a k e up only a ninth of the endings in Stromateis I I I a n d an eighth of those in
the letter. T h u s the clausulae of the letter are those we should expect in a composition
written b y the author of Stromateis I I I .

B.

Conclusions from the linguistic and stylistic data

W h e n taken together, the above similarities between the letter and the works
of C l e m e n t virtually prove that the letter is either genuine or a deliberate and careful
imitation. T h e r e can be no question here of accidental misattribution to C l e m e n t of
a nameless document w h i c h some scribe assigned to a familiar author b y a plausible
guess. For that, the similarities are too great. N o r is there a n y evidence to justify
the notion that w e h a v e here a genuine letter expanded b y interpolation: the text
is uniform a n d closely knit throughout. So the letter is either entirely genuine or a
deliberate imitation of Clement's style. But if it be an imitation, its freedom is no
less a m a z i n g than its accuracy. T h e r e is no passage of Clement's extant works from
w h i c h it could have been derived by adaptation. N o r could it have been m a d e u p as
a cento b y putting together snippets of sentences taken from Clement. E x c e p t for
a few fixed phrases and a considerable n u m b e r of syntactic expressions w h i c h
C l e m e n t used over and over, it almost never uses Clement's exact words, though
it constantly uses his v o c a b u l a r y , his phraseology, and his metaphors.
T h u s the relation of the letter to the undoubted works of C l e m e n t is one of close
similarity without either quotation or paraphrase. N o w this is quite different from
the relation of the letter's passages of the secret Gospel to the text of the canonical
Gospel according to M a r k . T h e secret Gospel passages are largely m a d e u p of
phrases w h i c h coincide almost w o r d for w o r d with phrases of M k . I f an imitation,
it is an imitation of the simplest and most childish sort.
But this difference of relation is the opposite of w h a t w e should expect. M k . is
written in simple Greek with m a n y striking peculiarities; it should be easy to imitate
freely. O n the other h a n d , Clement's style is often difficult, but has few striking
peculiarities w h i c h an imitator could exploit. W i t h o u t profound study it could not
be imitated w i t h assurance of a c c u r a c y except b y taking whole phrases a n d piecing
them together or by taking a whole section a n d m a k i n g minor changes in it. So if
one imitator h a d written the whole document, w e should expect his imitation of
C l e m e n t to be a cento or an adaptation, and w e should not be surprised if his imitation of M a r k were considerably freer. T h a t w e find the reverse of this means that
if the letter is an imitation, then the letter and the Gospel fragments were not composed by the
same man. N o m a n w h o could write such a free and skillful imitation of so difficult
an author as C l e m e n t w o u l d then write such a slavish imitation of so easy an author
as M a r k .
76

THE LETTER

But w h a t if the letter should be g e n u i n e ? T h e n , too, it w o u l d follow that the


letter and the Gospel fragments were by different hands. For Clement's works m a k e
clear that he w o u l d never have invented these Gospel quotations. N o doubt he was
of less than perfect honestysee above, on I I . 1 2 b u t neither his conscience nor
his feeling for Greek style w o u l d have permitted him to forge fragments of the sacred
Scriptures. Therefore if the letter is genuine, the letter and the Gospel fragments were not
composed by the same man.
N o w as remarked above, w e must suppose either that the letter is genuine or
that it is a n imitation. Since both these suppositions have led to the conclusion that
the letter a n d the Gospel fragments are not b y the same m a n , w e are justified in
discussing them as separate compositions. W e can therefore deal here with the letter
b y itself a n d reserve consideration of the secret Gospel for the following chapter.
R e t u r n i n g to the question of the letter's authenticity, w e first remark its title:
" F r o m the letters of the most holy Clement, the author of the Stromateis, to T h e o d o r e . "
I f the letter is not genuine, this title must be the result either of deliberate falsification
or of a mistaken guesssome copyist found an unidentified letter " t o T h e o d o r e "
a n d attributed it to C l e m e n t on the grounds of content and style. But it has already
been shown that the mistaken-guess theory is unlikely because the style of the letter
is so close to Clement's that the work must either be his or a deliberate imitation,
a n d if it were a n imitation the imitator w o u l d h a v e provided the title. Moreover,
the words " f r o m the letters" suggest (but do not absolutely require) that the letter
at some time came from a collection of letters b y Clement, a n d a collection is less
likely to h a v e been misattributed than a short, isolated text. O n the other h a n d , " t o
T h e o d o r e " argues against falsification, for no T h e o d o r e is k n o w n to have been
associated with C l e m e n t ; nor was there a n y eminent T h e o d o r e w h o lived a b o u t his
time a n d w i t h w h o m he might plausibly be supposed to have corresponded. T h e
n a m e , especially because of its acceptability to Christians of Jewish background,
fits very well with the content and finding-place of the letter; but a forger w o u l d
p r o b a b l y h a v e attempted something more s p e c t a c u l a r w o u l d h a v e m a d e C l e m e n t
instruct his reported pupil O r i g e n or his u n d o u b t e d friend Alexander, Bishop of
Jerusalem. O f T h e o d o r e one c a n say, as L e b o n said of Dositheus (Fragments 17 n58),
" T h i s n a m e is neither rare nor illustrious at this period; there is nothing a b o u t it
w h i c h w o u l d have tempted a f o r g e r . "

C.
I.

K N O W L E D G E AND USE OF

Content

SCRIPTURE

T h e letter refers to the canonical Gospels as vevarot (1.11) a n d (II.8);


so did Clement. It uses, besides the four Gospels, the Pauline epistles, the Pastorals,
I Peter, J u d e , a n d the Apocalypse. 5 A l l these were accepted b y Clement. A m o n g
the letter's quotations of the N T are a n u m b e r C l e m e n t also used (1.3,5; I I . 16,
5 See Index II for the quotations and reminiscences in the letter.

77

THE LETTER
iybis,ig),

a n d its q u o t a t i o n s s h o w points of c o n t a c t w i t h the western text ( I I . 18,22;

I I I . 1 4 ) , as d i d C l e m e n t ' s ( B a r n a r d ) . 6 Its q u o t a t i o n o f M t . 25.29 || L k . 19.26 suggests


t h a t its a u t h o r h a d the same p e c u l i a r f o r m for the first h a l f o f the verse as d i d C l e m e n t
( I I . 16). O f the N T , it uses M k . 4 t i m e s ; I a n d I I C o r . t o g e t h e r 3 ; L k . 3 ; M t . , T i t u s ,
a n d J u d e 2 e a c h ; J n . , I T h e s s . , I Pet., a n d A p o c . 1 e a c h . T h e p r o m i n e n c e o f M a r k
a n d J u d e in this list is d e t e r m i n e d b y the subject m a t t e r w i t h w h i c h the a u t h o r h a d
to deal. C l e m e n t ' s order o f preference ( b y c o l u m n s of references in Sthlin's i n d e x )
is: M t . 9 cols.; I a n d I I C o r . together 7 ; L k . 5 . 5 ; J n . a n d R o m . 4 e a c h ; M k . 2.5.
(Sthlin's i n d e x is n o t a l w a y s a c c u r a t e in its assignment o f m a t e r i a l to the v a r i o u s
biblical bookscf. A p p e n d i x D.)
O f the O T

(and A p o c r y p h a ) the letter uses P r o v . three times a n d J e r . , W i s . ,

a n d Eccles. o n c e e a c h . C l e m e n t ' s favorites w e r e Pss., 4.5 cols.; P r o v . a n d

Gen.,

3.5 e a c h ; Is., 3 ; b u t there is m o r e t h a n a c o l u m n of J e r . , a n d W i s . a n d Eccles. a r e


b o t h represented. T h e letter quotes P r o v . 26.5 in a f o r m in w h i c h it is q u o t e d b y n o
w r i t e r save C l e m e n t , a n d interprets it as C l e m e n t d i d ( I I . 1 4 ) . I t has w h a t m a y b e
a reminiscence of o n e passage of Enoch; the p a r t i c u l a r detail recalled is one for w h i c h
C l e m e n t e x p l i c i t l y referred to Enoch (1.4).
Besides Enoch, the letter accepts as S c r i p t u r e the secret G o s p e l ; C l e m e n t is outs t a n d i n g a m o n g C h r i s t i a n writers for his a c c e p t a n c e o f O T a n d N T p s e u d e p i g r a p h a .
Z a h n w r o t e of h i m , " H i s a m a z i n g l y u n c r i t i c a l a t t i t u d e to a p o c r y p h a l

literature

exceeds a n y t h i n g to b e f o u n d in other C h u r c h f a t h e r s " (Forschungen I I I . 156). T h i s


j u d g m e n t is d o c u m e n t e d i n v o l u n t a r i l y e v e n b y the m i n i m i z i n g a n d

incomplete

studies o f K u t t e r , 50fr, a n d R u w e t , Clement 4o6f (neither o f w h o m n o t i c e d , for exa m p l e , that C l e m e n t r e p o r t e d l y said L u k e c o m p o s e d the Dialogue

of Jason

and

Papiscus: so M a x i m u s the Confessor o n D i o n y s i u s A r e o p a g i t e s ,


e n d ) . O f all i m p o r t a n t e a r l y C h r i s t i a n writers, C l e m e n t w a s the one most likely
to h a v e a c c e p t e d a secret G o s p e l . H i s o b j e c t i o n to a s a y i n g used b y the heretic
C a s s i a n u s ,

, * ' ( I I . 2 3 8 . 2 7 f ) , does not p r e c l u d e his a c c e p t a n c e o f


a further, secret d o c u m e n t to w h i c h he w o u l d not refer in p u b l i c dispute. C o m p a r e
his statement that the story of the rich y o u n g ruler is f o u n d in all the r e c o g n i z e d
() Gospels, w h i c h w o u l d e x c l u d e J n . ( I I I . 163.13fr; cf. M o n d e s e r t ,
Clement 1 1 8 n2). T h e attitude s h o w n b y the a u t h o r o f the letter is c r e d i b l e of C l e m e n t ;
it w o u l d be i n c r e d i b l e of A t h a n a s i u s , a c e n t u r y a n d a h a l f later.
T h e letter not o n l y has the same sacred literature as C l e m e n t , b u t also uses it
in the same connections, for the same purposes (see the passages cited a b o v e , esp.
6. Barnard's conclusions must now be modified by the findings of Swanson, Text, who has argued
that in the Stromateis Clement's use of a text of western type is demonstrable only in his quotations from
Lk. In quoting Mt. and Jn. he demonstrably used a text closest to the Egyptian type (represented best
by X). His quotations from Mk. have points of contact with the western text, but are not sufficient to
permit determination of the type of text used. The long quotation of Mk. in QDS seems to have come
from a mixed text (pp. 97-102, 167fr). These, at least, are the conclusions set forth by Swanson. I have
not attempted to check his work in detail, but a number of its aspectsespecially the choice of evidence
(see the notes to Appendix D)do not incline me to be confident that these conclusions are conclusive.
Nevertheless, my thanks are due to Professor Metzger for calling my attention to Swanson's work.

78

THE LETTER

I I . 1 4 and 18), a n d interprets it in the same ways. Its peculiar interpretation of


Prov. 26.5 has been mentioned. It also shares with C l e m e n t the habit of using an
O T quotation to follow and clinch one from the N T (II. 16). Further, it agrees w i t h
C l e m e n t in interpreting J u d e as referring to the Carpocratians (1.3fr) and in associating the Carpocratians with Nicolai'tans of the Apocalypse (1.5). T h e beginning
of its peculiar tradition a b o u t M a r k agrees with that w h i c h Eusebius found in Papias
a n d C l e m e n t ; moreover, in m a k i n g M a r k write during Peter's lifetime it agrees
w i t h C l e m e n t against Papias (1.15).
I t is in C l e m e n t , also ( I I I . 1 6 2 . 1 9 - 1 6 3 . 1 2 ) , that w e find the quotation of a long,
uninterrupted section of M k . , like the letter's quotation of the secret Gospel. M o r e o v e r ,
the section of M k . ( 1 0 . 1 7 - 3 1 ) quoted b y C l e m e n t is adjacent to 10.34
4-6> where
the letter locates in M a r k the pericopae it quotes from the secret Gospel. A n d yet
m o r e : T h i s was the one part of M a r k in w h i c h Clement, for some reason, was
especially interested. Sthlin's list of Clement's quotations from M a r k is not reliable;
it includes passages probably quoted from the other synoptics or from extracanonical
sources. A revision of it will be found in A p p e n d i x D . T h e revised list shows no
certain quotation of a n y verse prior to 8.38 (the last verse of ch. 8). T h e certain
quotations are of 8.38; 9 . 7 ; 9.29 ( ? ) ; 1 0 . 1 7 - 3 1 and i 4 . 6 i f . O f the possible quotations
listed b y Sthlin there are 13 prior to 8.38, 25 from chs. 9 a n d 10, a n d 14 from 11.1
to the end. A l l o w i n g for the fact that 11 of the 25 occur in the exegesis of 1 0 . 1 7 - 3 1
in QDS, it remains clear that C l e m e n t was extraordinarily interested in M k . 9 - 1 0 ,
particularly in 10, the chapter from w h i c h this letter quotes the additions in the
secret Gospel. ( T h e reason for this interest in M k . 9 - 1 0 will be discussed later.)
Both the letter and C l e m e n t are m u c h fonder of allusions and reminiscences than
of direct quotations, a n d even w h e n they quote directly they often do not specify
the source. Sthlin recognized 79 quotations of M k . as against 100 reminiscences
(and about 25 of his " q u o t a t i o n s " belong in the reminiscence c a t e g o r y s e e A p p e n dix D ) . O f his 79 quotations only 2 carry with them explicit references to M k . T h e
letter has 18 quotations as against 19 reminiscences, and only one of the quotations
is a c c o m p a n i e d b y a reference to the author (though, of course, the 4 quotations of
M k . used to locate the sections of the secret Gospel are themselves specific references).
T h e reason for the higher percentage of quotation and specific reference in the
letter is its polemic content; in polemic passages Clement, too, makes more use of
specific reference and allegedly precise quotation (1.22). T h e less precise practice
of reminiscence had an advantage w h i c h recommended it both to C l e m e n t and to the
author of the letter: it m a d e possible their favorite practice of multiple reference,
of combining a n u m b e r of O T and N T passages so as to suggest that each should
be interpreted in the light of the rest and that all should be applied as the writer
applied them ( 1 . 3 ^ 6 , 1 4 - 1 5 ; I I . 1 3 - 1 9 ; further examples and comment in R u w e t ,
Clement 253).
2.

KNOWLEDGE

OF T H E

CLASSICS

Besides scriptural learning, the letter shows considerable knowledge of the classics;
for this C l e m e n t was praised by Eusebius, Jerome, C y r i l , Socrates, Anastasius of

79

THE LETTER

Sinai, a n d Photius (Sthlin, I . I X - X V I ) . T h e letter has three or four reminiscences


of Plato (see I n d e x I I ) , one or two of Philo (1.2,4; H 1 I > 1 2 _ I 3 ) i a n d one each of
H o m e r a n d Sophocles. Clement's favorite authors were Plato (10 columns of references in Sthlin), Philo (7), Plutarch (5.5), Chrysippus (5), a n d Aristotle a n d H o m e r
(4 each), b u t Sophocles has more t h a n half a column. As already remarked, Clement
usually quotes Philo as the letter doeswithout acknowledgment. O f all the works
to which the letter p r o b a b l y refers, there is only one (apart from the secret Gospel)
to which Clement does not refer: Plato's Hippias Major.
Because they were learned in classical as well as Christian literature, b o t h Clement
a n d the a u t h o r of this letter h a d to face the problem of contradictions between
faith a n d worldly knowledge ( M a r r o u , Humanisme), a n d both m e t it by distinguishing
two kinds of t r u t h t h e inferior being that recognized by h u m a n opinion, the superior
" t h e t r u t h according to the f a i t h , " a phrase they b o t h use (I.9-11; cf. O s b o r n ,
Philosophy 113). As possessors of this higher t r u t h the Christians are a privileged group,
illuminated, as both writers say, by the spirit (II. 17). Both writers call themselves
a n d their fellow Christians " c h i l d r e n of l i g h t " a n d like to follow unfavorable comments on outsiders with favorable ones on Christians introduced by the complacent
words, " B u t we . . . " ( I I . i 6 f ) .
3.

KNOWLEDGE, FAITH, AND GNOSIS

Even within the Christian community, however, both writers distinguish higher
a n d lower degrees. Both speak of Jesus as a " h i e r o p h a n t , " a teacher of mysteries
(1.23), a n d the Christianity of b o t h has not only mysteries b u t " g r e a t mysteries,"
p r o b a b l y by contrast with the preliminary ones (II.2). Both connect admission to
the great mysteries with progress in " g n o s i s " (1.21; I I . 2 ; Sthlin, II.249.8ff; 367.19fr;
373-374). Both, moreover, think that progress in this gnosis is effected by instruction,
inter alia instruction as to Christian tradition, having as its point of d e p a r t u r e exegesis
of stories a b o u t Jesus (1.25). This , as both call such exegesis, is not
given to all Christians, b u t only to suitable candidates (1.22; I I . 2 ) .
[ J a c o b T a u b e s remarks t h a t one striking similarity between Clement a n d the
a u t h o r of the letter is the ambivalence of their attitude toward gnosticism; b o t h
combine violent abuse of gnostics with claims to enjoy the true gnosis a n d possess
the true secret doctrine; a m o n g the fathers of the C h u r c h this a m b i v a l e n t a t t i t u d e
is most typical of Clement a n d is better suited to Clement's time t h a n to any later
period.] Clement himself was almost certainly attacked, in his day, as a gnostic,
a n d not without some reason (Buri, Clemens 16, io6ff). For the letter's use of
in both good a n d b a d contexts, compare 1.5 a n d I . 2 1 ; for Clement's, the citations
there a n d II.247.12, etc. H . C . suggests t h a t the author's purpose in his catena of
texts (II. 17-19) was partly to m a k e clear t h a t he, as a true gnostic, was free to h a n d l e
the secret Gospel. Clement's demi-vierge position in the gnostic controversy can be
seen by comparing his private excerpts from T h e o d o t u s with his attacks on the
Valentinians in the Stromateis; see also the remarks of Photius (in Sthlin I . X I V f , on
which Casey, Clement, a n d the suspicious scholion 1.317.36^ a n d such passages as
80

THE LETTER

I I I . 183.24, where Clement adopts the V a l e n t i n i a n concept, (further examples


in Buri, Clemens 33, 3gf, 61, 73, etc.). Such ambiguities became rare after the work
of Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Hippolytus. A f t e r the middle of the third century,
moreover, this whole complex of concernsthe inner circle of higher initiates, the
secret apostolic tradition, the opposition of gnosis to mere faith, and so o n i s
overshadowed b y questions of church discipline and organization. L a t e r still it
almost disappears as interest turns to the trinitarian controversy. T h e letter's conception of Christianity and its main concerns are more like those of C l e m e n t than
of a n y other Christian writer I know.

4.

THE SECRET

TRADITION

I n the battle over gnosticism w h i c h raged throughout the second century a n d


reached its climax at Clement's time, private letters played an important role.
M a n y were written; a few are preserved. References to the preserved examples are
collected in Bauer, Rechtglubigkeit 177fr. T h i s was also, as remarked above, the
great age of secret Gospels (Bauer, i 8 i f f ) . So the literary forms no less than the
content of these documents are appropriate to the time to w h i c h the heading attributes them.
Neither C l e m e n t nor the author of the letter identifies the true gnosis (sc. his)
with a purely philosophic position. This was already demonstrated for C l e m e n t
b y D a e h n e (60-67), w h o also pointed out w h a t has since been generally recognized:
that C l e m e n t claimed as the source of his gnosis a secret, oral tradition derived
from Jesus through the principle apostles (11.9.4fr; 462.28fr; I I I . 1 9 9 . 2 i f f ; further
passages collected in Camelot, Foi 90fr). Exactly such a tradition is supposed b y
this letter (1.22). As pointed out ifi the commentary (1.23), Mondesert saw this
claim was alien to Clement's inclinations and to the structure of his thought. Therefore
the claim cannot be explained as Clement's invention; he must have accepted it
because he found it established in the church in A l e x a n d r i a . T h e letter implies that
it was. Both the letter a n d C l e m e n t think this secret oral tradition contains the
highest truth, w h i c h can be revealed only to the gnostic (see the passages cited above
a n d I.26). Both agree that this tradition and other important elements of Christianity
should be hidden, not only from outsiders, but even from catechumens and u n w o r t h y
Christians: it is a Christian's duty to conceal the truth (1.18,22,27; H - 2 , 1 3 - 1 5 ) .
C l e m e n t makes clear that he has no intention of writing down the innermost secrets
( I I . 1 1 . i f f ) and in his published works will exercise such discretion that only the
careful student will be able to make out the significance even of w h a t he does s a y
a promise he kept too well (II.1 i . g f ) . T h i s policy he describes and defends in words
strikingly similar to the letter's description and defense of M a r k ' s actions ( 1 . 1 6 - 1 8 ) .
However, both from Clement's writings and from the letter it appears that some
works containing at least important hints about this secret doctrine had been written,
and some of these written works had fallen into the hands of the u n w o r t h y ( I . 2 1 ;
II.6). T h e least worthy are the heretics, the worst heretics are the gnostics, a n d
the worst gnostics are the libertineson these points C l e m e n t is explicit (Stromateis
81

THE LETTER

I I I ) , a n d the same j u d g m e n t s are implied b y the letter in its initial sentences. T h e


letter agrees with Clement that the knowledge claimed by these gnostics is false
a n d their alleged freedom is slavery to the passions (1.5fr). Both the letter a n d Clement
accuse the gnostics of corrupting the Christian tradition by interpretation a n d by
interpolations (1.11 a n d 14; Buri, Clemens 21-23), a n d both profess to refute the
gnostics by quoting the exact words of genuine documents (II.20 a n d 22).
5.

ATTITUDE TOWARD THE

CARPOCRATIANS

O f all libertine gnostics, the particular sect of most concern to the letter a n d to
Clement, b u t to no other known Christian writer, are the Carpocratians. Clement,
in his m a j o r attack on all gnostics in Stromateis I I I , took the C a r p o c r a t i a n sect as the
outstanding example of libertine gnosticism (cf. Buri, Clemens 19). I t is therefore
plausible to suppose t h a t they are referred to by m a n y of his slurs elsewhere at
unspecified libertines; sometimes they certainly are (III.143.20). I n the works of
Irenaeus they are less i m p o r t a n t t h a n the Valentinians. I n Tertullian a n d later
heresiologists they are of quite minor importance. I n Alexandria itself they seem
to have been almost annihilated by the great persecution which drove Clement
f r o m the city (about 2 0 2 ? ) . Origen, a generation later t h a n Clement, said he h a d
never been able to meet a C a r p o c r a t i a n in spite of his efforts (Contra Celsum V . 6 2 ) .
T h e letter is entirely concerned with them. Clement a n d the a u t h o r of the letter
are at one in referring to t h e m the abusive passages of J u d e (1.3), in associating t h e m
with the Nicolai'tans attacked in the Apocalypse (I.5), a n d in declaring that they
have cast themselves into darkness (1.6). I t appears from both Clement a n d the
letter t h a t Carpocrates worked in Alexandria a n d the sect arose thence (II.3).
6.

DIFFERENCES,

R E A L OR

APPARENT

So far we have seen that the letter has Clement's knowledge both of the Scriptures
(including the pseudepigrapha) a n d of the classics, uses t h e m as Clement does,
a n d adjusts t h e m to each other as Clement does. I t also has Clement's notion t h a t
within Christianity there is a secret tradition reserved for the few true gnostics
(among w h o m the author, like Clement, includes himself), a n d it consequently
shares Clement's hostility to the competing gnostic groups, particularly the C a r p o cratians. Now we must consider the differences to be f o u n d between it a n d Clement's
works.
O f course there is m u c h material found in Clement b u t not in the letter; a d o c u m e n t
of three pages is not likely to reflect all the content of a corpus of three volumes.
O f the material found in the letter a n d not in Clement, the most surprising p a r t
is the information a b o u t M a r k ' s secret Gospel a n d the Carpocratian's corruption
of it. T h e letter presents this as confidential a n d even directs t h a t M a r k a n authorship
of the secret Gospel (or, at least, of the C a r p o c r a t i a n secret Gospel) is to be denied
on o a t h ( I I . 1 2 ; see also the comments on ,
I I . 11). Therefore, if Clement
were the a u t h o r of the letter we should not find this information in his published
works. T o m a i n t a i n t h a t because it is not in his published works it could not have
82

T H E LETTER

been in his private letters, one would have to maintain that Clement was extraordinarily outspoken and veracious. But we have seen that he was not (commentary
on II.12). O n the contrary, he thought the concealment of truth to be part of his
Christian dutya part he said he intended to perform (Sthlin, I I . n ) . Among
the texts Clement used to justify this opinion were some which the author of this
letter used for the same purpose1.18,22,27; 8 > 3 _ 5 Accordingly, it is consistent
with Clement's character that we should find in one of his private letters material
at which his published works barely hint.
Moreover, the material found in the letter sometimes does seem to be hinted at
by passages which are, or once were, in Clement's published works, and on other
occasions it is supported by historical facts and by statements in the heresiologists.
(This does not imply that the heresiologists ever saw the letter, but does show that
the letter's information about the Carpocratians has some claim to reliability, as
Clement's certainly wouldChadwick, Alexandrian Christianity 26ff). In the first place,
there is reason for thinking the Hypotyposes contained the letter's statement that
Mark went from Rome to Alexandria (1.19). That Peter died a martyr would be
common "knowledge." That the canonical Gospel according to Mark was designed
for the use of catechumens (1.17-18) looks like good tradition (Weiss, Christianity
690). That canonical Mk. omits or barely hints at important elements of Christian
teaching, which Christians attributed to Jesus even before it was written, is clear
from a comparison of Mk. with Paul and Q (this question will be discussed in the
following chapters). That a secret Gospel according to Mark was circulating in
Egypt, and that the Carpocratians appealed to Mk. for their claim to have the secret
teaching of Jesus, were conjectures made by Harvey and Liboron from the statements
of Irenaeus (I.a and 12). These conjectures are now confirmed. T h a t the Carpocratians practiced magic is asserted by Irenaeus and others (II.4). Clement says that
most of those who appealed to Jesus for help addressed him as "son of D a v i d " (II.498.
32fr); this form of address is rare in the preserved Gospels, but the portion of the
secret Gospel quoted in the letter adds another case. Clement says ov
(compare I.27) , 6 ,
(see above, on 1.12) and the Clementine Homilies quote the
logion together with material from Mk. (19.20.1). Clement speaks of the rich young
ruler as and says hi
(11.221.27); the secret Gospel represents him as loving Jesus, receiving him in his
house, and then being initiated by him. Trying to prove the Catholic Church older
than the heresies, Clement says that, after Marcion, Simon Magus was for a short
while an auditor of Peter's (III.75.18-76.1). Since this is clearly false the passage
has to be emended, and a number of scholars have conjectured that should
be corrected to ; cf. Sthlin, ad loc., who rejects this emendation but marks
the text as corrupt. It may be that a phrase has fallen out after . Perhaps
. The letter goes to confirm
a conjecture of this sort: it shows why Clement, when the secret, "gnostic" tradition
of the Church was in question, appealed to the authority of Marknot Matthew
or even John. Finally, the Carpocratian version of the secret Gospel had an account
83

THE LETTER

of Jesus' teaching a favored


a n d . Clement,
stand in the true text of the
he was reading the gnostic
(,

disciple the mystery of the kingdom of G o d privately


though he wrote to T h e o d o r e that this phrase did not
secret Gospel, nevertheless chose to note down, w h e n
Theodotus, the statement

/,

(III.i28.24ff). D i d he note with a p p r o v a l ?

A s remarked above (on I I I . 13), his usage of was usually metaphorical.


These are trivialities to none of which, taken alone, one w o u l d attach importance.
But given the document w h i c h confronts us, and taken together, they m a y be thought
significant.
M o r e significant are the obvious differences w h i c h at first sight look like contradictions between statements in the letter and statements in Clement's published
works. C l e m e n t says the true Christian will never swear; the letter recommends use
of an oath to deceive. But we have seen that Clement's statement is so hedged b y
modifications as to be compatible with the letter's recommendation (II. 12). C l e m e n t
says the founder of the C a r p o c r a t i a n sect was Carpocrates' son Epiphanes, w h o died
at the age of seventeen after having written a blasphemous book from w h i c h the
Carpocratians derived their doctrine (II.197.26ff). T h e letter says the doctrines of
the Carpocratians are derived from the secret Gospel of M a r k , w h i c h Carpocrates
got from a presbyter of the church in A l e x a n d r i a and corrupted b y his o w n interpolations ( I I . 3 - 1 0 ) ; there is no mention of Epiphanes. Obviously the account in
the letter admits that the position of the Carpocratians is considerably stronger than
it w o u l d appear from the account in the published work. 7 T h e i r teachings come not
from the philosophizings of an adolescent, but from that same secret Gospel reserved
b y the church of A l e x a n d r i a for those being initiated into its " g r e a t mysteries."
O f course the Carpocratians are said to have corrupted this Gospel; but even so the
admission is obviously embarrassing. W e should need no explanation of its nonappearance in the published work, even if the letter did not order that it be kept
secret (an order which, as w e have seen, is in accord w i t h Clement's character a n d
teaching). M o r e o v e r , as shown in the commentary (II.3), it appears from Irenaeus
that the Carpocratians did claim to derive at least some of their doctrines from secret
apostolic teaching. W h y did not C l e m e n t discuss this claim in his published w o r k ?
W a s he ignorant of it ? O r was it too embarrassing ? W e also saw that Clement, after
disposing of Epiphanes, spoke of Carpocrates as the lawgiver, if not the founder, of
the sect. It should be remembered that Photius said the Hypotyposes contradicted the
Stromateis in m a n y points (Sthlin, I . X V inf.; cf. Casey, Clement). T h e letter supposes
Carpocrates had doctrines of his own b y w h i c h he interpreted and corrupted the
Gospel to produce the mixture from w h i c h it then says the C a r p o c r a t i a n doctrines
are d r a w n ( I I . 9 ) ; it cannot be carefully worded. So the statements in the letter a n d
the statements in the Stromateis could have come from the same m a n .
T h e most important thing a b o u t the apparent contradictions between the letter
a n d the Stromateis is that they are a p p a r e n t a t first glance they w o u l d cause a reader
7. T h e Stromateis was not an esoteric documentMolland, 9; Vlker, 3 1 ; to the contrary, Lazzati, 35.

84

THE LETTER

f a m i l i a r w i t h the Stromateis to d o u b t the a t t r i b u t i o n of the letter to C l e m e n t . T h e r e f o r e


n o i m i t a t o r w h o i n t e n d e d to pass his letter o f f as C l e m e n t ' s w o u l d h a v e i n c l u d e d these
contradictions unless he w e r e i g n o r a n t o f w h a t the Stromateis said o n these subjects,
or unless the points m a d e b y the c o n t r a d i c t o r y elements w e r e his m a i n concern. B u t
the letter is so close to C l e m e n t in style a n d content t h a t i g n o r a n c e c a n n o t be supposed
(especially since it is closest o f all to Stromateis I I I , w h e r e the m a t e r i a l o n E p i p h a n e s
a n d C a r p o c r a t e s is f o u n d ) . A n d the contradictions a r e p a r t l y o n w h a t seem to b e
side issues. A n i m i t a t o r c o u l d h a v e substituted E p i p h a n e s for C a r p o c r a t e s or c o u l d
h a v e a v o i d e d the a p p a r e n t r e c o m m e n d a t i o n of p e r j u r y w i t h o u t altering the m a i n
i m p o r t o f the text. 8 T h e r e f o r e it seems most likely t h a t the letter is n o t a n i m i t a t i o n :
it resembles C l e m e n t ' s w o r k in m a n y trivial details w h i c h a n i m i t a t o r m i g h t n e g l e c t ;
it differs in conspicuous points o f c o n t e n t w h i c h a n i m i t a t o r w o u l d never

have

n e g l e c t e d ; a n d all of its differences c a n easily be e x p l a i n e d i f it is g e n u i n e b y its


p r i v a t e c h a r a c t e r a n d stated purpose, b u t t h e y w o u l d be difficult to e x p l a i n as
consequences of a n y purposes w h i c h c o u l d p l a u s i b l y b e a t t r i b u t e d to a n i m i t a t o r .
W h o c o u l d such a n i m i t a t o r h a v e b e e n ? A n d w h y w o u l d such a n i m i t a t i o n h a v e
b e e n p r o d u c e d ? M u n c k ' s suggestion, t h a t the text w a s p r o d u c e d to g l o r i f y the c h u r c h
of A l e x a n d r i a as possessor of the true secret G o s p e l w r i t t e n b y its f o u n d e r M a r k
( c o m m e n t a r y o n 1 . 1 5 ) , w o u l d be c r e d i b l e o n l y if the c h u r c h of A l e x a n d r i a ever
h a d c l a i m e d to possess such Gospel. ( O t h e r w i s e the c h u r c h w o u l d h a v e b e e n f a c e d
w i t h the c h a r g e o f h a v i n g lost this i n v a l u a b l e d o c u m e n t . ) B u t so far as I k n o w , the
c h u r c h of A l e x a n d r i a never m a d e a n y s u c h c l a i m . T h e r e f o r e , g i v e n the a b s e n c e o f
a n y plausible e x p l a n a t i o n as to w h y this d o c u m e n t w o u l d h a v e b e e n forged, a n d the
a b s e n c e of a n y strong e v i d e n c e in the d o c u m e n t itself to i n d i c a t e forgery, a n d the
m a n y strong reasons r e v i e w e d a b o v e for t h i n k i n g it g e n u i n e , w e c a n p r o c e e d o n
the assumption t h a t the m a n u s c r i p t ' s a t t r i b u t i o n of the letter to C l e m e n t is correct. 9
8. Contrast, in this respect and in the matter of obvious contradictions, the forgeries of Pfaff
(Harnack, Pfaff'sehen). Learned forgery was not rare in the eighteenth century, but was customarily
edifying and tendentious; this text is neither.
9. This conclusion is further supported by the character of the Gospel fragment which the letter
quotes. T o this I have not referred above because a reference would have anticipated the argument of
the following chapter. However, I quote here the comments of Stendahl, to whom I submitted only the
chapter on the Gospel fragment: " N o t having seen your part on the Clement problem as such, let me
volunteer the impression that I cannot imagine a late forgery (of the Clement letter) containing this
type of Gospel text. Nor could such a text originate in a time when Mark was definitely canonized. So,
indirectly, all I have seen strengthens my trust in the letter. If this material be related to baptism it may
well be an Alexandrian piece which was so related and believed by Clement to be properly Markan.
Whether Mark had been in Alexandria is another question to reconsider."

85

THREE

The Secret Gospel


During the academic year 1962-1963 this chapter was discussed in several meetings of the Columbia
University Seminar for the Study of the N T ; my thanks are due to the members of the Seminar for their
consideration of the material and for helpful suggestions. Professors Pierson Parker, Cyril Richardson,
and John Reumann were especially generous in giving my work close study; it has been much improved by their advice. A. D. Nock read the first section of the chapter; the whole was read by
Professors H. J . Cadbury, W. M. Calder I I I , H. Koester, C. Moule, R . Schippers, and K . Stendahl,
and by Dr. T. Baarda. I thank them not only for the major observations hereinafter bracketed and
initialed, but also for many small corrections.
I.
II.

Date, form, and affiliations, 88


Stylistic comparison with- the canonical Gospels, 97
A.
Text and commentary, 97
B.

Synthesis of findings, 1 2 2
1.

Influence on the western text, 1 2 2

2.

Vocabulary, phraseology, and g r a m m a r , 1 2 3


a. Vocabulary, 1 2 5
b.

3.

III.

Phraseology, 1 3 0

c. Grammar, 1 3 3
T h e major parallels to the canonical Gospels, 1 3 5

4. T h e frequency of parallels to the canonical Gospels, 1 3 8


5. Conclusions from the stylistic evidence, 144
Structural relations to sections of the canonical Gospels, 146
A.
B.

Other miracle stories of the same type, 146


The Lazarus story, 148

C.
D.

The order of events in Mk. and Jn., 158


Relation of the new material to the structure of Mk.,
1. Position in the "historical outline," 164
2.
3.

164

Parallels to the transfiguration and passion stories, 165


Relation to the baptismal concern of M k . 1 0 . 1 3 - 4 5 , 167
a. Clement's statement as to the purpose of the longer text, 168
b.

Clement's preoccupation with Mk. g and 10, 168

c.
d.
e.

Clement's association of the longer text with baptismal formulas, 168


The longer text stands in Mk. where baptism does in the paschal liturgy, 168
an<
Details and order in Mk. 10.13-34
^ ^e longer text reflect the baptismal
service, 169

87

THE SECRET GOSPEL


i.

T h e blessing o f t h e c h i l d r e n ( c a n d i d a t e s ) , 169

ii.

T h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r b a p t i s m ( m o n o t h e i s m , ten c o m m a n d m e n t s ,

iii.

T h e m n e m o n i c &

iv.

T h e ten c o m m a n d m e n t s ,

171

r e n u n c i a t i o n ) , 169

v.

el els ,

170

171

T h e a b a n d o n m e n t of property, 172

vi.
vii.

T h e c r e e d p r o p h e c i e d ( p r o p h e c y o f t h e passion a n d

Olli.

T h e c r e e d e x e m p l i f i e d (the r e s u r r e c t i o n s t o r y ) , 1 7 3

resurrection), 173
T h e b a p t i s m (the n o c t u r n a l i n i t i a t i o n ) , 1 7 4

ix.

A f t e r six d a y s , 1 7 5
Nocturnal, 175
T h e sheet o v e r the n a k e d b o d y , 1 7 5
T h e mystery of the k i n g d o m of G o d , 178

4.
E.

f.

The omission from canonical Mk.

g.

The Carpocratian peculiarities,

h.

The concluding sermon, 186

of the secret text, 1 8 4

185

E v i d e n c e for a b b r e v i a t i o n a t M k . 10.46, 188

Conclusions,

192

I.

DATE,

FORM,

AND

AFFILIATIONS

T h e assumption that the letter was written by Clement entails the consequence,
remarked upon above (commentary on I.23), that the secret Gospel was not written
by Clement, 1 but was accepted by himrather against his personal inclinations
I. In his last long letter to me, dated September 20, 1962, A . D . Nock wrote: " I don't think that
anyone could suggest that Clement had written the secret Gospel. T h e alternatives are either your view
or the hypothesis of a later person's writing the whole thing. If that is the case, I a m inclined to think
that it might be a j o b done with no specific tendency, but mystification for the sake of mystification. A
curious instance is P. Oxy. 412, where the learned Julius was either duped or faking for faking's sake.
. . . Another possible point of comparison is the work of the people responsible for the Clementine Homilies
and Recognitions. I think that they had no tendency, like the author or authors of the Grundschrift, and
at the same time they were not seeking personal fame like Euhemerus."
P. Oxy. 412 contains the conclusion of the eighteenth book of the Kestoi of Julius Africanus, including
a quotation of Odyssey X I . 3 4 - 4 3 and 48-51 expanded b y insertion of a transitional passage and a
magical incantation; the incantation is re-edited with commentary as PGM X X I I I . Julius says the
whole of the inserted material (29 verses) was to be found in M S S in Jerusalem (Aelia Capitolina) and
at Nysa in Caria, and the first 13 verses of it in a M S in R o m e , in the library at the Pantheon. Such a
brief interpolation in the text of H o m e r is obviously something quite different from the sophisticated
composition which confronts us if the letter and its quotations are taken as the work of a single forger.
T h e Clementine Homilies afford a better comparison, but the comparison tells against the argument, for
they make no effort to imitate the style of the genuine Epistle of Clement, nor do they set their pretendedly
early material in a speciously later frame. T h e most serious objection, however, against any such
argument is that it is unnecessary. Almost any work of ancient literature can be supposed a forgery
(cf. L . Wiener, Tacitus' Germania and Other Forgeries [Philadelphia, 1920], a work of great learning, or the
attacks on Aristotle's Constitution of Athens referred to b y von Fritz and K n a p p , p. 4, to say nothing of the

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because he found it already accepted b y that church in A l e x a n d r i a to w h i c h he


attached himself w h e n he came to the city, probably about the year 175. (Julius
Africanus said that C l e m e n t was already a prominent figure in A l e x a n d r i a during
the reign of C o m m o d u s , 180-192; R o u t h , II.307. Clement's canon was contrasted
with that of the A l e x a n d r i a n church b y H a r n a c k , Origin n o . ) It w o u l d seem likely
that the church's acceptance of the secret Gospel antedated Clement's arrival b y some
considerable t i m e ; the composition of the secret Gospel of course antedated its
acceptance. T o allow twenty-five years for these two intervals and so put the composition back to 150 w o u l d not be implausible.
B u t Clement's letter indicates an earlier date. It says the secret Gospel was first
written b y M a r k , then stolen and corrupted by Carpocrates.
Christians of Clement's party were always accusing their opponents of corrupting
a n d misinterpreting the Scriptures (Williams, Alterations 3 1 ; Bauer, Rechtglubigkeit
186). Presumably their opponents brought the same charges against them, and the
charges of both sides were occasionally justified: all parties a m o n g the early Christians
revised the texts of their Scriptures to meet their doctrinal needsomitting embarrassing details and inserting words they thought d e s i r a b l e a n d imposed on these
texts interpretations w h i c h were often false (against Bludau, Schriftflschungen, see
Williams, Alterations 2 5 - 5 3 ; Bauer, Leben 492-504 and passim; for Clement's o w n
practice, Buri, Clemens i o 8 f f ) . Consequently, there is no reason to doubt Clement's
statement that Carpocrates " c o r r u p t e d " the text of the secret Gospel. N o r is there
a n y reason to doubt that Clement's o w n text of the Gospels had b e e n i n the j a r g o n
of modern c r i t i c i s m " a d a p t e d to the needs of the growing C h u r c h . "
W e saw above that the letter contradicts the published writings of C l e m e n t b y
admitting that the Carpocratians derived their doctrines from the secret Gospel.
T h i s is a d a m a g i n g concession b y the writer and therefore most likely true. T h e
specious contradiction between the letter's two statements, that Carpocrates misinterpreted the Gospel according to his doctrine and that the Carpocratians drew
their doctrine from the Gospel, is merely a consequence of Clement's shifting from
his o w n account of w h a t happened to a sarcastic paraphrase of the Carpocratians'
claims. His account was that Carpocrates corrupted a n d misinterpreted the Gospel
according to his o w n doctrine. T h e Carpocratians' claim w a s : " O u r doctrine is
derived from this source." C l e m e n t paraphrases the claim, without bothering to deny
it, because he has just declared the source polluted. T h a t the Carpocratians did
claim to derive their doctrine from the secret M a r k is suggested b y Celsus' reference
to " t h e Harpocratians w h o follow S a l o m e " (Origen, Contra Celsum V . 6 2 , with C h a d wick's note, ad loc.). " T h e H a r p o c r a t i a n s " are pretty certainly the Carpocratians (the
assault on the D e a d Sea documents by which S. Zeitlin has more recently made himself more ridiculous).
But the supposition of forgery must be justified by demonstration either that the style or content of the
work contains elements not likely to have come from the alleged author, or that some known historical
circumstances would have furnished a likely occasion for the forgery. In the case of the letter, no such
demonstration seems possible, and the supposition therefore rests on nothing more than the feeling that
this just cannot be genuine. T h a t feeling m a y be correctgiven Nock's knowledge of Greek and his
a m a z i n g intuition, one hesitates even to doubt i t b u t it is not, by itself, conclusive.

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T H E SECRET GOSPEL

god Harpocrates also appears as " C a r p o c r a t e s " ; Nock, review of H a r d e r 221) and
M a r k is the only one of the canonical Gospels in w h i c h Salome appears. She appears
again in the fragments of the secret Gospel quoted by Clement, and the C a r p o c r a t i a n
text seems to have given her a considerably larger role than Clement's did ( I I I . 1 4 - 1 7 ) .
H o w e v e r , she also appeared in the Gospel according to the Egyptians, and Celsus m a y
h a v e been referring to C a r p o c r a t i a n use of that text or some other now unknown to
us.
O n the other hand, the story of how Carpocrates got the secret Gospel (inspired
b y demons and using magic, he so enslaved a presbyter of the church in A l e x a n d r i a ,
etc.) is evidently of the cock-and-bull species. N o doubt the Carpocratians were elsewhere accused of practicing magic (commentary on II.4) and did practice i t t h e
practice and the accusation seem to have been almost equally c o m m o n in ancient
Christian circles. But the story reports that the magic was efficacious. A n d if this be
excused as Clement's notion of w h a t had happened, yet the basic facts reported are
polemic: Carpocrates got the secret Gospel from a presbyter " o f the c h u r c h , " i.e.,
of Clement's party. This claim is intended to prove Clement's party the original
possessor. Therefore, though not incredible, it is suspect, being so strongly motivated
that, even if it cannot be proved false, it cannot be accepted as true without further
confirmation. Nevertheless, it is important because of w h a t it does not say.
I t does not say that the secret Gospel was introduced into the C a r p o c r a t i a n sect at
some recent date. This is a charge C l e m e n t w o u l d have been h a p p y to m a k e had he
k n o w n a n y excuse for it and might have m a d e without excuse had he thought it
w o u l d be believed. But his words in II.7 () suggest there was a c o m m e n t a r y
supposedly b y Carpocrates on the secret Gospel, w h i c h w o u l d be further evidence
that the sect had possessed it ever since Carpocrates' time. (In Irenaeus' time the
Carpocratians did have an interpretation of writings w h i c h reported secret teachings
of Jesus [Harvey, 1.20.3 = Stieren, 1.25.5, ], Basilides, w h o m Eusebius
thought a contemporary of Carpocrates, wrote twerrty-four books of " o n
the G o s p e l " ; and Papias, p r o b a b l y an older contemporary, wrote five books of
of " d o m i n i c a l s a y i n g s " : Eus. HE I I I . 3 9 . 1 ; I V . 7 . 7 and 9; Sthlin II.284.5,
etc.) A t all events, the important fact is Clement's admission that the Carpocratians
have had the secret Gospel ever since the time of Carpocrates himself.
T h e date of Carpocrates will be discussed below in C h a p t e r Four. H e evidently
worked in or before the time of H a d r i a n ( 1 1 7 - 1 3 8 ) . Moreover, if he a d a p t e d the
secret Gospel to his o w n purposes and represented it as the basis for his teachings,
w h i c h C l e m e n t indicates he did, he must have got hold of it at an early stage in his
c a r e e r a t the latest, one w o u l d guess, before 125. M o r e o v e r , unless w e suppose
Clement's church took its secret Gospel, for use in its " g r e a t mysteries," from the
Carpocratians, w e must suppose either that Carpocrates got it from Clement's
c h u r c h a s C l e m e n t says he d i d o r that both Carpocrates and Clement's church
got it from some c o m m o n source. In either event w e shall have to suppose the secret
Gospel somewhat older than Carpocrates' adoption of it. T h u s acceptance of the
letter as Clement's entails admission of a probability that the secret Gospel described
b y the letter was in existence well before 125.
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Besides indicating this terminus ante quern for the secret Gospel, the letter gives us
some notion of w h a t this Gospel was like. First, it was a Gospel " a c c o r d i n g to M a r k "
t h i s was the claim of both the Carpocratians ( I . n f ) and of C l e m e n t ( I . 2 i f f ) . It
certainly included at least parts of the present canonical Gospel according to M a r k :
to such parts C l e m e n t gives precise references (II.21,22; I I I . 1 if,14). It p r o b a b l y
contained all of canonical M k . C l e m e n t says it was composed b y additions to the
canonical Gospel, but says nothing of omissions (I.2of,24ff). T h e additions, C l e m e n t
says, were m a d e by M a r k himself, of material from his " n o t e s " (, I . i g f )
and those of Peter. T h e new material did not exhaust these notes, but was chosen
from them. It consisted of " t h i n g s suitable to those studies w h i c h m a k e for progress
toward k n o w l e d g e " ( nepl , I.20f), both
of stories (, 1.24) like those in the canonical Gospel and sayings ( ,
I.25) of w h i c h the exegesis w o u l d lead the hearers to the hidden truth (1.26). It did
not contain (I.22f), nor " t h e hierophantic teaching of the L o r d " ( I . 2 3 24, probably identical with ). T h e expanded text constituted a " m o r e
spiritual G o s p e l " [ , 1 . 2 i f ) , w h i c h was intended to be useful
to those w h o were being " p e r f e c t e d " or " i n i t i a t e d " (, 1.22).
T h i s text was kept secret b y Clement's church in A l e x a n d r i a and read only " t o
those being initiated () into the great mysteries" (II.2). It was in the custody
of the presbyters of the church, or they had had access to it, so that one of them h a d
been able to secure an inferior(?) copy () for Carpocrates ( I I . 5 - 6 ) . Clement himself either had a copy or knew the text by heart or had access to it; he
could quote it verbatim to Theodore.
T h e Carpocratians also had a text, but it differed from that of Clement's church.
C l e m e n t perhaps ascribed some of the differences to errors of the original copy (this
m a y be implied b y pejorative connotations of , II.6), but his words give
the impression that he thought the more important differences due to additions he
described as " m o s t shameless l i e s " ( , I I . 8 - g ) . T h e adjective
m a y be intended to characterize them as obviously false, or obscene, or both;
in I I I . 13 suggests obscenity, but the obscenity m a y have originated in Clement's interpretation. W h a t would a hostile interpreter have m a d e of the rubric in
Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition ( X X I . 1 1 ) : " A n d let them (the initiate and the
presbyter w h o is baptizing him) stand in the water n a k e d " ? [ A . D . N , thought " f a l s e "
was right, not " o b s c e n e . " ] A t a n y rate, the C a r p o c r a t i a n text was longer than
Clement's in at least two instances ( I I I . 13 and 17) and in the latter of these two it
contained a good deal of additional material ( , I I I . 17unless
this refers to a number of unspecified citations, w h i c h is unlikely in view of the parallel
to I I I . 1 3 where refers to additional material in the passage discussed).
I mentioned above Irenaeus' report that the Carpocratians had writings allegedly
containing the secret teachings of Jesus, w h i c h they interpreted (Harvey, 1.20.3 =
Stieren, 1.25.5). Irenaeus says nothing of these works' being secret and writes as if
he had seen them. However, he seems to have seen a good m a n y " s e c r e t " books of
his adversaries, so his knowledge of these does not disprove their secrecy, which, given
his description of the C a r p o c r a t i a n sect, is a priori likely. H o w it h a p p e n e d that some

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Carpocratians used their Gospel according to M a r k in their argument with T h e o d o r e


w e do not know. C o m p a r e Clement's accusation '
(III. 145
This use of for those w h o
keep things secret appears also in the letter, 1.27. Irenaeus (Harvey, 1.20.4 = Stieren,
I.25.6), followed b y Epiphanius (Panarion X X V I I . 6 ) , identifies those w h o call themselves " g n o s t i c s " as the Carpocratians, but elsewhere other identifications are given
[ A . D . N , suggests that this passage in C l e m e n t m a y refer to " p e o p l e w h o say they
are gnostic in Clement's ideal sense"].
M o s t important in the information afforded b y the letter is the fact that the
Carpocratian text of the secret Gospel and the text of it used by Clement's church
were basically the same. This was the most embarrassing fact the letter had to
explain; therefore it is the least dubitable of the data. Moreover, Clement's admission
is c o n f i r m e d t h e two texts differed from canonical M k . at the same places a n d
a b o u t the same things. Therefore, in spite of their differences, the two must have h a d
a s C l e m e n t said they h a d a c o m m o n original. Accordingly, the question of their
differences from this c o m m o n original and of its differences from the text of canonical
M k . is a question of the history of the text of the N T . T h e letter's evidence shows
that in Clement's time there were at least three forms of the text of M k . : a short form
(preserved in our canonical text) and at least two longer forms (one the possession
of Clement's church, another, of the Carpocratians). T h e longer forms differed considerably from each other, but were both developments of a single, original, longer
text w h i c h itself had differed considerably from the short one. T h e r e is reason to
think that this longer text was in existence well before 125. H o w , then, did it come
into existence and w h a t was its relation to the short text w h i c h has survived? W a s
the longer text produced b y expansion, or was the short text an abbreviation, or
were both derived by different changes from some c o m m o n original ?
These questions C l e m e n t has answered in his letter. H e says the longer text was
an expansion, produced in A l e x a n d r i a , of the short text w h i c h had first been written
in R o m e . Both the expansion and the short text were the work of M a r k , and so on,
as stated above. T h e incredible element in this story is the claim that both texts were
written b y M a r k . T h i s claim is almost certainly false for the short t e x t i . e . , the
canonical Gospeltherefore it can hardly be true for the long one (Bultmann,
Geschichte 1 - 4 , 362-376; against T a y l o r cf. m y Comments and N i n e h a m , Eyewitness).
Clement's credulity about apostolic authorship has already been noticed (above,
1.19 etc.). T h e statements that M a r k came to A l e x a n d r i a and wrote the longer text
there m a y be guesses to explain w h y the longer text was preserved (or, k n o w n to
Clement) only in A l e x a n d r i a . However, M a r k ' s j o u r n e y to A l e x a n d r i a m a y have
been reported b y Papias (above, on 1.15). T h e statement that the longer text was
produced by M a r k ' s expansion of the short one m a y , again, be a guess; or it m a y
reflect local tradition, w h i c h merely imposed a famous n a m e on an essentially correct
report.
A p a r t from the reference to M a r k , the story is not implausible. A l l Christian
Scriptures at this time seem to have been kept secret from non-Christians (Tertullian,
De testimonio animae 1.4), and the m o m e n t in the training of the catechumens w h e n

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they were first (?) permitted to hear the Gospel was evidently an impressive one
(Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition X X . 2 ) . Therefore if Clement's church had further
" g r e a t mysteries" b e y o n d the p r i m a r y initiation (1.22; I I . 2 ; cf. O r i g e n , Contra
Celsum III.59) it might have developed a special Gospel to be used in them. A n d
M k . w o u l d have lent itself to such development because of its well-known esoteric
traits (Wrede, Messiasgeheimnis 146fr; cf. W i k g r e n ,
).
Accordingly, there is nothing improbable in Clement's report that the longer text
of M k . originated in A l e x a n d r i a , b y addition of material hinting at secret doctrines,
and that Carpocrates then got hold of it and adapted it to his own purposes. But
there is nothing improbable, either, in the notion that Clement's church should have
m a d e up the story of M a r k a n expansion to cover its ignorance of the actual origin
of the longer text, just as the story of M a r k a n authorship was m a d e up to cover
ignorance of the actual origin of the short text. W e have already noted the polemic
motivation for the story that Carpocrates got his Gospel from Clement's church.
Invention of such stories is usually observant of probabilities; therefore only the
credulous will find in these probable stories more than a possibility of truth. T o one
w h o looks for objective evidence the preservation of the longer text in A l e x a n d r i a
will seem an argument for its A l e x a n d r i a n origin, but the weight given this a r g u m e n t
will depend on a study of the relation of the longer text to the short one.
This relation is not unique. O f O T books, Jeremiah, Esther, Daniel, and EzraN e h e m i a h ; of uncanonical pseudepigrapha, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
a n d II Enoch; of early Christian literature, the Ignatian epistles and the Didascalia
Apostolorum: these are only a few of the m a n y texts w h i c h have survived in several
redactions. E v e n more are proved b y internal evidence to be either abbreviations
or expansions of texts now lost. T h e literary procedures w h i c h produced these
phenomena are a d m i r a b l y analyzed in Bickerman's Esther.
O f N T books, the text of Acts is preserved in two forms so different that m a n y
critics have thought one a deliberate revision of the other (Hatch, Text i o f f ) . O n
the analogy of Acts, Blass suggested that the differences between the " A l e x a n d r i a n "
a n d the " w e s t e r n " texts of M k . might indicate that there had been two editions of
M k . (Acta 33). O t h e r scholars have come to the same conclusion from study of the
synoptic problem (recently Brown, Revision). But even if this conclusion were accepted
it would not be directly relevant to the problem facing us, for the differences between
the two editions thus postulated w o u l d be small, while the differences between the
two texts of M k . known to C l e m e n t were so great that his church treated the longer
text as a different Gospel. T h e two texts must, therefore, have differed at least as
m u c h as w o u l d the two editions of J o h n , for w h i c h evidence has been found in the
preserved Gospel (Parker, Two Editions).
D u r i n g the past century it was often thought that the present text of M k . h a d
been produced b y extensive expansion of a shorter Gospel. T h e most famous presentation of this theory was p r o b a b l y W e n d l i n g ' s Ur-Marcus; the most recent k n o w n
to me is T r o c m e ' s Formation ( i g f f ) . T r o c m e ' s book appeared in 1963, w h e n this
chapter of the present work h a d been substantially completed; the agreements observable hereinafter are the results of independent consideration of the evidence a n d

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as such m a y have some evidential value. Fortunately, however, we need not rely on
analysis of the present text of M k . for evidence that the Gospel texts were often
extensively revised. T w o longer texts of M k . , generally believed to have been produced
b y expansion of the canonical text but differing so greatly that they are c o m m o n l y
treated as different Gospels, have been p r e s e r v e d t h e y are the canonical Gospels
according to M a t t h e w and L u k e . These are generally supposed to date from the last
quarter of the first century or the opening years of the second (Leipoldt, Geschichte
1.108; Jlicher-Fascher, 286-319). It is a likely guess that they owed their preservation
primarily to their acceptance by particular c h u r c h e s L k . perhaps in Greece, M t .
in Syria (Harnack, Origin 68ff). T h e longer text of M k . produced in A l e x a n d r i a was
not preserved, no doubt because of its intimate connection with the esoteric interpretation of Christianity w h i c h seems to have dominated the churches of E g y p t during
most of the second century (Bauer, Rechtglubigkeit 5 i f f ; cf. Hornschuh, Anfnge 320fr).
Esoteric practice limited this longer text to an inner circle and so prevented its
attaining even in E g y p t the sort of regional pre-eminence to w h i c h M t . and L k . m a y
have owed their ultimate acceptance by the whole C h u r c h .
Since M t . and L k . are generally supposed to have been produced by an expansion
of canonical M k . , Clement's account of the origin of the longer A l e x a n d r i a n text is
supported by analogy, and further analogies might be found in the yet further exp a n d e d texts produced by T a t i a n and Theophilus of Antioch. T h e process had not
stopped in Clement's d a y ; he knew some " w h o alter the G o s p e l s " and quoted with
a p p r o v a l some of their alterations, w h i c h were expansions (II.266.25ff). Moreover,
the same process has been thought to have produced canonical M k . itself, w h i c h
D o d d , Framework, has represented as the expansion of a primitive outline by addition
of various p e r i c o p a e a theory still plausible in spite of the attacks on it b y N i n e h a m ,
Order, Robinson, Quest 48fr; a n d T r o c m e , Formation 23fr. But analogy is not conclusive evidence. In textual history abbreviations are no less c o m m o n than expansions.
T h e Ignatian epistles, for instance, underwent both. So did the text of M k . : even the
e x p a n d e d forms produced b y M a t t h e w and L u k e show abbreviation; M a t t h e w often
condenses the M a r k a n stories and omits some; Luke omits a large section of the text
( M k . 6.44-8.26). T h e expanded form produced by L u k e was abridged by M a r c i o n
a n d the abridgment was represented as the original t e x t a claim w h i c h still finds
occasional defenders ( K n o x , Marcion). T h e expanded form produced by M a t t h e w
seems to have been abbreviated by the Ebionites (Hennecke-Schneemelcher, 100).
A n o t h e r abbreviation is probably represented by the so-called " F a y y u m f r a g m e n t "
(ibid., 74). T h e canonical text of M k . itself is often supposed to have been abbreviated
at the end, if not elsewhere (Williams, Alterations 44f; T a y l o r , 610). Dionysius of
Corinth, about 170, complained that his o w n letters in his o w n lifetime had suffered
both deletion and interpolation; hence, he said, there was no reason to wonder that
even the Scriptures of the L o r d had been tampered with (Eus., HE I V . 2 3 . 1 2 ) .
Accordingly, the question whether the longer, A l e x a n d r i a n text was an expansion,
or the shorter, now canonical, text an abbreviation, will have to be considered carefully. A t this point all to be said is that Clement's account of an expansion (except
for its claim of M a r k a n authorship) is consistent with the probabilities of the situation

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in A l e x a n d r i a , with the history of early Christian literature in general, and in particular with the history of the canonical M a r k a n text as indicated b y the other synoptics.
Additional evidence in support of Clement's account could be brought from the
fragments of the apocryphal Gospels, of w h i c h some show further modifications of the
basic texts of the synoptics, although others m a y be (like the canonical Gospel according to J o h n ?) wholly or partially independent compilations from cognate oral traditions ( M a y e d a , Leben-Jesu-Fragment, in spite of Benoit's review; D o d d , Historical
Tradition 328 n2; Hornschuh, Anfnge 17ff; Hennecke-Schneemelcher, 34, 47fr, 57fr,
104). Fortunately, however, there is no need to rely on this material of w h i c h the
interpretation is so uncertain. T h e Gospel described b y Clement's letter was unquestionably a variant form of M k . In structure its closest analogues would seem to
have been the other synoptic Gospels. By vocabulary, style, and content it is obviously
connected with the synoptics rather than the apocryphal Gospels. Accordingly, the
importance of the apocryphal Gospels to the following discussion is chiefly as evidence
that from 75 to 125 the production of Gospels was not limited to the canonical four,
and traditional material about Jesus was not limited to the m a n y Gospels produced.
O n the contrary, all the Gospels, canonical and apocryphal alike, are but partial
representatives of an oral tradition w h i c h still outranked them in the time of Papias
(ca. 125; Eus, HE III.39.4) a n d lived on at least in isolated figures to the end of the
second century. (Irenaeus, in Eus., HE V . 2 0 . 5 - 7 , was still " c h e w i n g " this " c u d . "
See also K l i j n , Survey 164-165.)
This background of oral tradition is reflected not only by the apocryphal Gospels,
but also b y the a g r a p h a in the apostolic fathers, of w h i c h Kster's study has led him
to the conclusion that: " T h e source of the synoptic tradition . . . is . . . the community,
w h i c h from its practical needs not only hands down and uses the synoptic material,
but also recasts, transforms, and increases the material already available. A c t u a l l y ,
moreover, this whole development is still far from completion at the time w h e n our
Gospels are composed, i.e., toward the end of the first century. It continues, indeed,
not only on the basis of the now developed Gospel texts, but also alongside t h e m "
(berlieferung 257). A c c e p t a n c e of this thesis by reviewers so different as M o u l e and
M a r t i n is significant. Substantially the same thesis was a d v a n c e d b y D o d d as an
explanation of Johannine parallels to the synoptics (Herrnworte 75). T h e same conclusion was reached by D u p l a c y , from his survey of recent work on the history of the
N T text: " M o r e and more, today, the redaction of the Gospels and of Acts appears
as one stage, albeit essential, of written fixation in the course of a tradition partly
written, partly oral, w h i c h preceded these works, contained more than they, and did
not disappear after their redaction. T h e same tradition w h i c h moulded the sources
of these works, and impregnated the minds of their authors, continued to act on the
transmission of their text; the sources themselves did not disappear overnight, a n d
they, too, can have influenced the t e x t " (Ou en est II.274). See also the remarks of
Robinson,

88f, on the multiplicity of sources available to the


apostolic fathers.
This background, then, of o r a l a n d in part, as D u p l a c y observes, w r i t t e n t r a d i t i o n
is of fundamental importance for the following study. In the first place, it prohibits

95

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

hasty conclusions as to literary relation on the basis of occasional identities in wording.


V e r b a l reminiscences of the sort w h i c h in classical literature are indications of sources
m a y here be evidence of nothing more than the common tradition of the community
or the contamination of the manuscript. In the second place, as Kster pointed out
in his crushing critique of Jeremias (Herrenworte 222 f), the question of priority is
reduced to comparative unimportance. O n c e it is admitted that all Gospels alike
are abstracts from the traditions of the early churches, then the fact that one was
written d o w n ten or fifteen years before or after another does not m a k e m u c h differe n c e ; the later document can easily contain the more important traditionas
C l e m e n t said the later text of M a r k did. So w e have two questions before us, the
literary and the historical. T h e y are at least partially independent. W e n o w turn to
the former.

Postscript, ig6$: T h e above argument, written in 1962, can now be strengthened b y


the authority of D o d d and by his demonstration in Historical Tradition that the fourth
Gospel is not directly dependent on the synoptics, but derives from another, similar,
body of material. Particularly important are his remarks on oral tradition (pp. 7 f f ) :
" I t is important to realize that we are not dealing with a primitive period of oral
tradition superseded at a given date by a second period of literary authorship, but
that oral tradition continued to be an important factor right through the N e w
T e s t a m e n t period a n d beyond. Papias, in the first half of the second century, still
preferred oral tradition, where it was available, and Irenaeus, towards the close of
that century, could cite with great respect that w h i c h he had ' heard from a certain
presbyter w h o had heard it from those w h o had seen the apostles'. . . . T h e early
C h u r c h was not such a bookish community as it has been represented. It did its
business primarily through the m e d i u m of the living voice, in worship, teaching and
missionary preaching, and out of these three forms of a c t i v i t y l i t u r g y , didache,
kerygmaa tradition was built up, and this tradition lies behind all literary production
of the early period, including our written gospels. T h e presumption, therefore, w h i c h
lay behind m u c h of the earlier criticismthat similarity of form and content between
two documents points to the dependence of the later of these documents on the earlier
n o longer holds good, since there is an alternative explanation of m a n y such similarities, and one w h i c h corresponds to the conditions under w h i c h gospel writing began,
so far as we can learn t h e m : namely, the influence of a c o m m o n tradition. T o establish literary dependence something more is n e e d e d s o m e striking similarity in the
use of words (especially if the words are somewhat unusual) extending over m o r e
than a phrase or two, or an unexpected and unexplained identity of sequence, or the
like."
Also of great importance for w h a t will follow here is the a r g u m e n t D o d d uses
again and a g a i n : " I t is impossible to treat a n y one of the Synoptics as the primary
source of the Johannine version . . . since he (sic) is sometimes closer to one and sometimes to another of the three . . . T h e hypothesis of literary conflation of documentary
sources seems less probable than that of variation within a n oral t r a d i t i o n " (p. 79).

96

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

O f greater i m p o r t a n c e for the present w o r k t h a n for D o d d ' s o w n are his passing


remarks o n the p r o b a b i l i t y that elements from
established G o s p e l texts as interpolations

floating

oral tradition entered the

(e.g., p. 355 n2, w i t h reference to the

insertions at L k . 6.5 a n d 9.56, t h o u g h the great e x a m p l e is, o f course, J n . 7 . 5 3 - 8 . 1 1 ) .


F u r t h e r points, o n p a r t i c u l a r questions, will be noted hereinafter.
T h e extent of a g r e e m e n t b e t w e e n D o d d ' s a n d m y o w n estimates of the history of
the composition of the Gospels is not o n l y a source of gratification to m e , b u t also,
since the estimates w e r e i n d e p e n d e n t , a piece of historical e v i d e n c e . C o n s e q u e n t l y ,
I h a v e in g e n e r a l left the present text j u s t as it w a s before m y r e a d i n g o f D o d d ' s
b o o k , c h a n g i n g it o n l y b y insertion of references to his w o r k a n d b y correction of a
f e w errors. T h e reader will see t h a t in spite of the large a g r e e m e n t there is considera b l e difference. I n p a r t i c u l a r , the n e w m a t e r i a l seems to m e to i n d i c a t e l i t e r a r y
relation as w e l l as d e p e n d e n c e on similar oral traditions. H o w far m y conclusions
should be m o d i f i e d in the light of D o d d ' s study o f the J o h a n n i n e e v i d e n c e , or D o d d ' s
in the light of the n e w m a t e r i a l , are questions for others to discuss.

II.

STYLISTIC

COMPARISON

A.

WITH

THE

CANONICAL

GOSPELS

Text and commentary

T h e literary p r o b l e m before us is: T o d e t e r m i n e the relation of the shorter, n o w


c a n o n i c a l , text of M k . to the longer text w h i c h C l e m e n t referred to as " t h e secret
G o s p e l " a n d of w h i c h C l e m e n t ' s c h u r c h a n d the C a r p o c r a t i a n s possessed s o m e w h a t
different forms. T h i s question c a n n o t b e stated as one of " a u t h e n t i c i t y . "

Contrast

the previous question a b o u t the letter. T o ask w h e t h e r or not the letter is " a u t h e n t i c "
is to ask w h e t h e r or not it was written b y a k n o w n i n d i v i d u a l , C l e m e n t , f r o m w h o m
w e h a v e a large b o d y of original compositions w h i c h p r o v i d e criteria for a u t h e n t i c i t y
a n d m a k e the term " a u t h e n t i c " m e a n i n g f u l w h e n used of works a t t r i b u t e d to h i m .
B u t " M a r k , " the h y p o t h e c a t e d writer of the c a n o n i c a l text of the second G o s p e l , is
not a k n o w n i n d i v i d u a l , w e h a v e n o w o r k of his save this one text, a n d this text is
far f r o m a w h o l l y original composition. I t combines m a n y different kinds of m a t e r i a l
w r i t t e n in c o n s i d e r a b l y different styles ( W o h l e b , Beobachtungen, G u y , Sayings; etc.).
T h e c o m b i n a t i o n p r o b a b l y arose b y stages ( B u l t m a n n , Geschichte, passim; G u y , Origin
I 2 2 f f ; Schille, Formgeschichte 1 i f ) ; a n d the present text m a y be t h o u g h t as m u c h the
w o r k of a " s c h o o l " (a p r e a c h i n g or t e a c h i n g tradition) as of a n i n d i v i d u a l e d i t o r
S t e n d a h l , School, has s h o w n t h a t even the c o m p a r a t i v e l y w e l l - o r d e r e d M t . has such
a tradition b e h i n d it. P e r h a p s the strongest a r g u m e n t for this estimate o f M k . is
a f f o r d e d b y recent efforts to m a i n t a i n the c o n t r a r y : M a r x s e n , Evangelist,

Farrer,

St. Mt., C a r r i n g t o n , Mark, are p r i n c i p a l l y interesting as e x a m p l e s of the e x t r a v a g a n c e


of exegetic f a n t a s y n e e d e d to transform " M a r k " f r o m a n e d i t o r o r a series of editors
-to a n a u t h o r . T h e r e f o r e (as i n d i c a t e d in the conclusion of the p r e c e d i n g c h a p t e r )
the question before us is not to decide the " a u t h e n t i c i t y " of the n e w m a t e r i a l , b u t

97

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

to determine its relationship to the evidently long process of writing a n d editing


w h i c h produced the present text of the second Gospel.
L e t us begin by comparing the v o c a b u l a r y and style of canonical M k . with those
of the letter's quotations from the longer text. D a t a for the comparison are collected
in A p p e n d i x E, of w h i c h the figures are based on M o u l t o n - G e d e n a n d Y o d e r a n d
have been checked, w h e n possible, against Morgenthaler. I n the event of differences
(which were frequent) Morgenthaler's figures were preferred. It is m y impression
that the differences are not sufficient to affect the substance of the conclusions. I hope
this will be true also of the errors which, in spite of checking, have doubtless crept in.
Collection of statistics about c o m m o n phrases is difficult not only because of its
monotony, w h i c h induces error, but also because of the frequency with w h i c h such
phrases have been introduced into some M S S by scribal corruption. In the following
pages and in A p p e n d i x the notes on textual variants are from Nestle-Kilpatrick
a n d (somewhat abridged) from Legg's editions of M t . and M k . I was not ignorant
of the crticisms m a d e of Legg's editionse.g., Massaux, Etat ^but had nothing
better to use. I was ignorant of the criticisms of the Nestle-Kilpatrick, but those I
have heard to date do not seem to justify such reworking of the following figures as
w o u l d be required b y the change of a basic text. T h e data collected in A p p e n d i x
are discussed seriatim in the following commentary. T h e y include material for comparisons with M t . and L k . as well as M k . Since the style of the longer text of M k . is
v e r y close to that of the synoptics, but has only tangential connections with that
of J n . , data on Johannine usage are not included in A p p e n d i x but are given in the
following commentary w h e n they deserve notice.
Before proceeding, one observation must be m a d e : we know the longer text only in an
eighteenth-century copy of Clement's quotations of it. N o w one of the commonest phenomena
in M S S of the Gospels is harmonization of the text of one Gospel with that of the
others (Williams, Alterations i f f ; D o d d , Historical Tradition 77 n4, 165^ etc.; T r o c m e ,
Formation 169 n i ) ; and the peculiar readings of M k . , because M k . was the least
familiar of the Gospels, suffered particularly from harmonization (cf. Hills, Caesarean
Text). Further, w h e n C l e m e n t quoted M k . he usually contaminated his quotations
w i t h reminiscences of M t . and L k . This is shown clearly b y the notes in A p p e n d i x D
on Clement's quotations from M k . , and even more clearly by the comparison in
A p p e n d i x F between Clement's text of M k . 10.17-31 ( I I I . 1 6 2 . 1 9 - 1 6 3 . 1 2 ) and NestleKilpatrick's. It is also interesting to see how in I I I . 162fr, after h a v i n g quoted the
M a r k a n text correctly in his m a i n quotation, C l e m e n t carelessly slips into the M a t thaean text w h e n he comments phrase b y phrase (see especially III.166.24). A c c o r d i n g l y i n spite of the in I I . 2 2 w e should expect Clement's quotation
of the longer text to show signs of similar contamination deriving from C l e m e n t himself, and w e should expect our single M S of Clement's quotations to show traces of
the harmonizations of the longer text of M k . to more familiar texts, not only of M k . ,
but also of the more familiar Gospels. A n d , last of all, it must be remembered that
even the text of Clement's Stromateis rests almost entirely on one eleventh-century
M S ; therefore, as Swanson observed, " i t is impossible . . . to determine . . . to w h a t
extent the N e w T e s t a m e n t passages cited b y our author h a v e been altered, accidentally or intentionally, b y the c o p y i s t s " (Text 2).

98

11.23

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

II.23

els.

els ,

M k . has 4 times (2 at the b e g i n n i n g of a p e r i c o p e

3.31 a n d 12.18) a n d 6 or 7 times (5 or 6 times at the b e g i n n i n g of a


p e r i c o p e ) . N e i t h e r M t . nor L k . uses the expression at all. T h i s M a r k a n f o r m u l a c a n n o t
be taken as p r o o f of b o r r o w i n g from a n y p a r t i c u l a r passage (cf. T u r n e r ,

Usage

26.225fr). T h a t the subject (Jesus a n d the people f o l l o w i n g him) must be understood


f r o m the g e n e r a l pattern of G o s p e l stories a n d not f r o m the i m m e d i a t e context is
t y p i c a l o f M k . (cf. D o u d n a , Greek 5fr). A n o t h e r e x a m p l e occurs b e l o w in I I I . 6 , .
&.

Nesbitt, Bethany, has not succeeded in s h o w i n g that the B e t h a n y stories

in the Gospels are based on a special b o d y of traditions, b u t the notion is not certainly
false. M k . uses the n a m e 4 times, M t . 2, L k . 2. B o t h of the M a t t h a e a n a n d one o f
the L u c a n usages are in parallels to M k . I t w o u l d seem that the n a m e w a s m o r e
p r o m i n e n t in the M a r k a n m a t e r i a l . J n . has it 3 times in c o n n e c t i o n w i t h L a z a r u s
( 1 1 . 1 , 1 8 ; 1 2 . ; p e r h a p s 1 . 2 8 t h e text is dubious). Besides these usages, D a n d

it.

m a j o r witnesses to the " w e s t e r n t e x t " a t M k . 8.22 h a v e ' &,


the phrase f o u n d in the longer text. B u t the r e a d i n g of D a n d it. is w r o n g ; the p l a c e
n a m e , as g i v e n b y all other witnesses, should b e B e t h S a i d a . Y e t there is n o t h i n g at
8.22 to suggest B e t h a n y . W h y , then, d i d the scribe of the a r c h e t y p e of D a n d it.
m a k e such a b l u n d e r ? W a s it because he k n e w the longer t e x t ? D is c h a r a c t e r i z e d
b y c o n t a m i n a t i o n of texts f r o m similar passages ( H a t c h , Text 1 2 ; W i l l i a m s , Alterations 1).
.

V e r b a t i m in M k . 3.1, as the b e g i n n i n g o f the second sentence of a story

f o l l o w i n g a n initial statement of place, as here. T h e same words, b u t w i t h a d i f f e r e n t


m e a n i n g ( " a n d he stayed t h e r e " ) o c c u r in M t . 2.15. M o r e r e l e v a n t is the o c c u r r e n c e
in all three synoptics of / Se as a narrative f o r m u l a : M t . 2 7 . 5 5 , 6 1 ; M k .
5 . 1 1 [| L k . 8.32. M a t t h e w has i n t r o d u c e d the f o r m u l a w h e r e M k . d i d not h a v e it.
I t is a f o r m u l a , not a sign of literary d e p e n d e n c e . [ W . M . C . questions this conclusion,
r e m a r k i n g that M k . 3.1 also has the same sentence structure as this phrase of the
longer t e x t : c o p u l a , v e r b , a d v e r b , subject, attribute.] B u t substantially the same
sentence structure is also f o u n d in M t . 27.55,61 a n d L k . 8.32. E v i d e n t l y it w e n t w i t h
the f o r m u l a .
.

M k . has this a d j e c t i v a l use o f els for TIS in 12.42,

b u t it is m o r e c o m m o n in M t . (4 instances, w i t h a fifth in the western text, D

de

g y c.s. A r m . ) . H a w k i n s (Horae 4, 3of) lists it as a M a t t h a e a n trait, b u t it is p r o b a b l y


a S e m i t i s m (no instances in L k . ) , not a sign of literary d e p e n d e n c e . ( T h e r e a r e
occasional occurrences in classical G r e e k c f . Aristophanes, Aves

1292, a n d

van

L e e u w e n ' s n o t e b u t the Semitic usage was so c o m m o n that its influence is p r o b a b l y


to be supposed.) for TIS in other constructions (els ,

etc.) is c o m m o n in all the Gospels, as in the p a p y r i . Since the decision as to the


n u m b e r of instances d e p e n d s o n the subjective j u d g m e n t , w h e t h e r or n o t the a u t h o r

99

.23

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

fjs 8

intended to emphasize the singleness of the object referred to, there will be differences
of opinion about the lists in A p p e n d i x E, w h i c h give 14 or 15 instances in M k . ,
14 or 18 in M t . and 13 or 15 in L k . Cf. M o u l e , Idiom-Book 125 and 176; BlassDebrunner-Funk, no. 247.2; D o u d n a , Greek 33f.
. W o m e n come to Jesus in M k . 5.27 (the w o m a n with an issue); 7.25 (the
Syrophoenician); 14.3 (the anointing in B e t h a n y ) ; 16.2 (the resurrection). T o these
M t . adds 20.20 (the mother of James and J o h n ) ; L k . adds 7-37f (the L u c a n anointing
t h a t the w o m a n came is implied if not stated); 10.40 (Martha's complaint);
23.27 (the w o m e n of Jerusalem); J n . : 11.20 ( M a r t h a , in the raising of L a z a r u s ) ;
11.32 ( M a r y , in the same); 20.1 (the Johannine resurrection). Besides these the
adulteress is brought to Jesus (Jn. 8.3) and there are a number of meetings with w o m e n
or mentions of them in Jesus' entourage. Evidently they played a large part in early
Christian tradition. T h e multiplicity of these stories makes it impossible to be sure
that the story in the longer text of M k . was d r a w n from a n y one of them.

. . . . R e d u n d a n t following os in the oblique cases is found twice in


M k . , once in M t . , and twice in L k . (one M a r k a n ) , always in the genitive, fjs . . .
appears only in M k . 7.25. T h e same construction appears again in I I I . 15, below,
in the accusative. It is probably a Semitism rather than a sign of literary dependence;
there are 10 instances, in all three oblique cases, in A p o c . (These figures do not
include the peculiar readings of codex B e z a e ; Y o d e r ' s concordance has not indicated
the peculiar usages of .) Both the instances in the longer text, and all those in
canonical M k . , have in c o m m o n a trait w h i c h D o u d n a was not able to find in the
papyri, " n a m e l y , the fact that the redundant possessive pronoun follows its noun
i m m e d i a t e l y " {Greek, 38). See also the note on I I I . 15, ov .

. . . . . . .

This verbal sequence appears also in M k . 7.25 (the


Syrophoenician). H o w e v e r , it w o u l d be hasty to conclude that either passage is
dependent on the other, because: (1) . . . appears again in M k . 5.25^
(2) in our text is not part of the same sentence as .. . but is
part of the formula 4 , of w h i c h there are 7 variants in M t . (see
b e l o w ) ; (3) M k . 7.25 is omitted by X D W J Pap. 4 5 , / a m . i , f a m . 1 3 ( ^ . 1 2 4 ) ,
28.225.237.253.475**.565.569.7oo.a/.^ac.z'i.vg.Cop. s a b o , Geo. (so L e g g ) . N o w if w e
suppose the longer text of M k . to have been compiled from texts of the types known
to us, we should suppose the compiler to have used a text akin to the archetype of
D and it., since only from such a text could he have gotten
(above). But the archetype of D and it. evidently did not have the redundant
in M k . 7.25. So there is some difficulty in supposing that both similarities resulted
from imitation.
100

II.23-24

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

II.24

. T h e form: 2 in M t . , 6 in M k . , 5 in Lk. This perfective meaning for the


aorist ( " h a d d i e d " or " w a s d e a d " ) appears in Lk. 8.53 and possibly in M k . 9.26
and 15.44 (in spite of the fine distinction made by Swete and accepted by T a y l o r ;
the emendations W 0 472.1342 and D,/253show how the copyists
understood the Greek). It is regular in L X X : Ex. 16.3; N u m . 14.2; 20.3; Judges
8-33b; 9-55(?); I I Sam. 13.39; e t c T h e sentence structure here, with the verb at
the end, is thought typically M a r k a n by Turner, Usage 29.352fr.
+ participle of in the nominative + finite verb: 5 in M k . , 12 in M t .
(only one Markan) and 5 in Lk. (none Markan). These figures would be larger if
account were taken of the instances with instead of or with compounds of
(els-, -, -). This standard construction cannot be taken as evidence
of dependence on any particular passage. For the same construction with other
verbs see below, on (II.25). T h e use of redundant participles, especially
and ( I I I . i o ) , is studied by D o u d n a (Greek, 55fr and 117ff) as characteristic of Mk.'s style.
Xeyei. [ W . M . C . notes the connectionby of an aorist with a
historical present and remarks that, though unusual, it does appear in T h u c . ,
V I . 4 . i . ] In M k . it is common, particularly so with Ae'ytt (1.37,41,43^ etc.), as here
in the longer text. In III.7, below, it recurs with , as in M k . 6.1. [For a study
of earlier examples W . M . C . refers to von Fritz, Present esp. 195f.]
.

after :

7 or 8 in M t . , never in M k . or L k . I n 5

of the 7 instances it follows a participle. O n e instance (15.25) is particularly close


to the above: ( L K X / 1 o i i g V 15755^
pler.it.pc.vg.pler.Sy.Cop.b0,Aeth.Or.;
J i 7 4 - I 5 I 5 ) This again is the story of the
Syrophoenician woman. If the longer text of M k . was compiled from the canonical
texts, the compiler took his first sentence from M k . 7.25 and his second from M t .
,15.25, which he revised by substitution of initial for 'not a likely procedure.
Matthew's interest in proskynesis is remarkable; but the verb cannot be taken as
proof of dependence on M t . , especially since it here governs the accusative, which
it never does in M t . except when he is quoting the O T . M a r k also represents suppliants
as approaching Jesus with proskynesis (5.6, governing the accusative) and might
have used the formula to introduce them [R.S. calls attention to M t .
20.20,

. This introduces a proskynesis by a woman into the story ( = M k .


10.35-45) which, according to Clement, immediately followed the present quotation
from the longer text. Moreover, the woman introducedthe mother of the sons
of Zebedeereplaces Salome in Mt.'s parallel to Mk.'s list of the women w h o
witnessed the crucifixion (Mt. 27.56 || M k . 15.40). Her request, in M t . 20.20, was
101

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

11.24

refused. Salome is one of the women w h o appears in the next section of the longer
text (immediately following the pericope introduced by M t . 20.QO) ; there she comes
to see Jesus and is refused.] This suggests that Matthew incorporated in 20.20 traces
of the preceding and following stories of the longer text of M k . His introduction
of the mother of the sons of Zebedee is commonly explained as a consequence of
reverence for the apostles: where M k . reported their ambition and rebuke, M a t t h e w
reported their mother's ambition on their behalf (so, for example, McNeile). But
M a t t h e w associated the sons with their mother's request, and the rebuke is still
addressed to them (Mt. 20.22ff). A n d it is Matthew's way, when abbreviating M k . ,
to use the introduction of an omitted story at the beginning of the next story; for
example, he retains M k . 5.18a ( = M t . 9.1a), omits 5.i8b-20, and uses 5.18a to
introduce M k . 2.1 ( = M t . 9. i b ) . He also takes details from omitted episodes and uses
them elsewhere: thus M k . 1.21-22 in M t . 7.28b(f); M k . 1.24, , in M t . 8.29;
M k . 1.28 in M t . 4.24a; etc. Therefore it is noteworthy that, besides introducing
in 20.20 his substitute for S a l o m e m a k i n g proskynesishe has also introduced into
the story of the Syrophoenician woman the appeal not found there in M k . :
, , mos AaveiS (Mt. 15.22). T h e story of the Syrophoenician was that of which
the beginning most closely resembled that of the story in the longer text where the
appeal is found. These two pieces of evidence (20.20 and 15.22) fit together and
suggest that M a t t h e w knew the longer text of M k . Somewhat similar conclusions
have been reached on other grounds by several scholars (Parker, Gospel; V a g a n a y ,
Absence; etc.). Further evidence suggesting that M a t t h e w m a y have known the
longer text of M k . appears below, on (III. i f ) .

.
T h e accusative after was the classical Greek construction
(Blass-Debrunner-Funk, no. 151.2) and appears in M k . 5.6, where, however, there
is minority support for the dative. In M t . and Lk. it is found only in quotation of
Dt. 6.13 (Mt. 4.10 = Lk. 4.8, ). However, besides
the variants noted in Appendix E, most relevant passages have one or two minuscule
variants replacing the dative by the accusative; this was the tendency of later Greek.
In studying the letter we saw that its chief difference from Clement's usage lay in
the preponderance of accusatives after prepositions. If some accusatives there and
the one here were introduced by a medieval copyist, they would hardly have been
eliminated by a later corrector. [T.B. remarks that " i n M k . 5.6 it is especially the
Alexandrian group that testifies for the accusative: B C L J ! F 892,1241. Beside these
M S S we find additional testimony in the I-group of von Soden: A,047,179,230,273,
482,495,544,659,700,1346,1574,1588,1606, of which A , at least, testifies to the
Alexandrian reading. This would be an indication for the Alexandrian source of the
secret gospel."] O r of classicism in the Alexandrian revision? But see below, on
(III. ), where the agreement with the Alexandrians is in a detail contrary
to classical usage.
102

II.24-25

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

.25

A e y e t

vie

8 in M k . ; in M t . 6 or 7 (only 2 M a r k a n ) ; never in L k . N o t e v i d e n c e

o f d e p e n d e n c e on a n y specific passage, is often used in the Synoptics to i n t r o d u c e

(but almost a l w a y s w i t h some other v e r b of utterance, usually

f a c t to w h i c h m y attention was called b y T . B . ) . I n M t . 1 7 . 1 5 , h o w e v e r , it stands


alone, as here. T h e parallelism p r o b a b l y results, not from d e p e n d e n c e , b u t f r o m
the presence in both instances of a n o t h e r v e r b f o r m ( i n d i c a t i n g m o t i o n ) .

Three

v e r b s together are c u m b e r s o m e .
vie . . . .

T h i s form of a p p e a l is f o u n d in M k . 10.47,48 |] L k . 18.38,39. I n M t .

9 . 2 7 ; 15.22; 20.30,31 ( a l t h o u g h 20.30,31 are M a r k a n a n d 9.27 m a y be) the w o r d i n g


has been c h a n g e d , p r o b a b l y u n d e r the influence of the liturgical use o f
(also used in appeals to p a g a n deities, Epictetus, Dissertationes I I . 7 . 1 2 ) . O n
see a b o v e , s.v.

to be m a d e a v a i l a b l e to everyone, says,
" , " ,
,

15.22

end. C l e m e n t , II.498.32fr, a r g u i n g that gnosis is not



,

T h i s is surprising because the c a n o n i c a l Gospels contain

m a n y instances of Jesus' b e i n g r e c o g n i z e d as son of G o d ( M k . 3 . 1 1 ; 5.7 a n d parallels;


15.39

an

d parallels; L k . 4 . 4 1 ; M t . 14.33; etc.), w h i l e the a p p e a l to the son of D a v i d

a p p e a r s o n l y in M k . i o . 4 7 f a n d parallels, M t . 9.27 a n d 15.22. P e r h a p s C l e m e n t m a y


h a v e h a d in m i n d also M t . 2 1 . 9 a n d

1 5 s e e his v a g u e exegesis in

1.97.10-13.

Nevertheless, his mistake is surprising in one w h o k n e w the Gospels so well. Surprising,


too, is his choice of the M a r k a n f o r m of the a p p e a l rather t h a n the m o r e f r e q u e n t
f o r m in M t . , his favorite Gospel. A r e b o t h these surprising details to be e x p l a i n e d
b y his k n o w l e d g e of a d d i t i o n a l M a r k a n m a t e r i a l , i n c l u d i n g the selection q u o t e d
in the letter, in w h i c h other speakers beside B a r t i m a e u s a p p e a l e d to Jesus as " s o n
of D a v i d " ?

[ W . M . C . : T h e omission of before the v o c a t i v e w o u l d , in classical

G r e e k , h a v e been impolite a n d i n d e e d insulting.] I n the Gospels w i t h the v o c a t i v e


has b e c o m e a sign of e m o t i o n ( B l a s s - D e b r u n n e r - F u n k , no. 146). I n M k . it a p p e a r s
o n l y in ,

9.19. N o n e of the eight c a n o n i c a l a p p e a l s to the son of

D a v i d (listed a b o v e ) has .

Initial, w i t h a n i m m e d i a t e l y following v e r b , in M k . 10.13 a n d 24.

M a r k has a h a b i t of using the same construction several times in q u i c k succession:


see the distribution of in his text. I f the quotations f r o m the longer text stood
w h e r e the letter says they d i d , their usage of w o u l d form a third m e m b e r
of the a b o v e g r o u p . M t . 19.13 is M a r k a n , b u t M t . has the construction i n d e p e n d e n t l y
in 12. ( w h e n c e it has been taken into M k . 2.23 b y a few M S S ) a n d in 28.16 ( +

a n d , m o d i f i e d , in 14.26. . h a v e it in M k . 14.4, w h e r e it m a y be o r i g i n a l c e n s o r ship (altering passages discreditable to the H o l y Apostles) w o u l d e x p l a i n the c o m m o n


text. N e v e r in L k . ; in M t . a n d M k . evidently a s t a n d a r d locution.
103

11.25

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

avrrj

T h e v e r b , 9 times in M L , 6 or 7 in M t . (all M a r k a n ) , a n d 12 in L k .

(5 n o n - M a r k a n ) . I n M k . a n d M t . rebukes are c o n n e c t e d w i t h the d a n g e r o f r e v e a l i n g


secrets. T h e d e m o n s are r e b u k e d that they should not m a k e h i m k n o w n , M k . 3.12
a n d parallels; the disciples are r e b u k e d that they should not declare w h a t Peter has
said, M k . 8.30 a n d parallels; Peter rebukes Jesus for t e a c h i n g o p e n l y that the S o n
of M a n must die, M k . 8.32 a n d parallels (note the r e a d i n g in c a n d k, ne cut haecfilla
diceret); E b e l i n g , Messiasgeheimnis

136^ thinks the followers of Jesus r e b u k e d Barti-

m a e u s for d e c l a r i n g Jesus the son of D a v i d , M k .

10.48 a n d parallels. T h a t

the

disciples should h a v e r e b u k e d L a z a r u s ' sister for b l u r t i n g out the same title is therefore
in a c c o r d a n c e w i t h M a r k a n practice.
ol 8e

V e r b a t i m in M t . 19.13 a n d m a n y M S S of M k .

10.13-

c o m b i n a t i o n of a c o m m o n v e r b w i t h a s t a n d a r d locution for a c u s t o m a r y purpose.


+ n o m i n a t i v e

participle +

finite

verb.

One

of the most c o m m o n

sentence

structures in the Gospels. M a t t h e w was fond of it w i t h participles of

(see

a b o v e , o n ,

Mk.

I I . 2 4 ) , b u t a check of occurrences w i t h all v e r b s i n

1 - 3 a n d 10, M t . 4, 8, 9, 19, a n d 20, a n d L k . 4, 5, 6 . 1 - 1 1 , a n d 18suggests that


it is most c o m m o n in M k . I n these chapters M k . has 33 instances, against 22 in M t .
(10 M a r k a n ) a n d 20 in L k . (8 M a r k a n ) . , participle, ',

verb, without

interruption, occurs in these chapters 3 or 4 times in M k . , 2 in M t . , a n d 2 in L k . ;


b u t b o t h L u c a n instances are the cliche
.

'

[ M a r k d i d not eliminate emotions of Jesus, as the other evangelists d i d :

cf. M k . 1 . 4 1 , 4 3 ; 7.34; 8 . 1 2 ; 10.14,16,21 w i t h the parallels. R . S . ] H a w k i n s , Horae


1 1 9 , notes that e x c e p t for the western r e a d i n g in M k . 1.41, is n o w h e r e in the
Gospels ascribed to Jesus save in M k . 3.5. T h e r e f o r e , a l t h o u g h M t . uses the v e r b
3 times a n d L k . 2, their usage is p r o b a b l y irrelevant to the use here in connection w i t h Jesus. T h e aorist passive participle occurs in M t . 18.34 (

a n d in L k . 14.21 in a similar c o n s t r u c t i o n :

. I t is used of Jesus in the D text of M k . 1.41 :

, w i t h support f r o m it., T a t i a n , a n d E p h r a e m . H o w e v e r ,
in M k . 1.41 is h a r d to e x p l a i n (Eitrem, Demonology 42), w h e r e a s

the r e a d i n g of all other M S S , fits the context ( w h i c h contains n o trace of opposition).


I n the letter's longer text of M k . , h o w e v e r , is easily e x p l i c a b l e : Jesus c o u l d
h a v e been a n g e r e d either b y the use of his secret title or b y the disciples' r e b u k e o f
the suppliant (cf. M k . I 0 . I 3 f ) .

?,

text is of the raising of L a z a r u s , its

"

I f the Story in the l o n g e r

corresponds to

in J n .

1 1 . 3 3 . A n d

occurs in M k . 1.43. P e r h a p s the a r c h e t y p e o f D i t . intro-

d u c e d

1.41 i n a d v e r t e n t l y , b y reminiscence o f the longer text

into M k .

104

II.25-26

THE SECRET GOSPEL

11.26
6

'

et?

and anticipation of . The reminiscence would be facilitated by the


fact that the following words in Mk. are soon
p a r a l l e l e d in the l o n g e r t e x t :

. i n I I . 2 3

suggested that the archetype of Dz/. in Mk. 8.22 was corrupted by a reminiscnece
of the longer text. Since Dit. are representatives of the western text, which was used
by Clement, and since Clement knew the longer text, these suppositions are not
unlikely. It is interesting that Westcott and Hort, II.appendix.23, supposed
in Mk. i.41 "perhaps suggested by verse 43, perhaps derived from an extraneous
source." Can it be that we now have the source? [ C . F . D . M . thinks more likely a
suggestion he heard from W. Howard: that in Mk. 1.41 originated as a
marginal gloss on .]
. This form, 9 in Mk., 7 in Mt. (2 Markan), and 6 in Lk. (2 Markan).
It is followed by with the genitive only in Mk. 5.24. There, as here, Jesus goes
off with a suppliant (Jai'rus) to raise a dead relative. However, the construction is
normal and can hardly be taken as evidence of literary dependence. L X X : I I Sam.
1 6 . 1 7 ; To. 1 4 . 1 2 ; Siracides 14.19. is common.
.
,

I n the synoptics o n l y i n L k . 1 3 . 1 9 , ( )

. T h i s m a y b e a n a d a p t a t i o n

of the mustard-seed parable to the story of Jesus' burial in and resurrection from a
, J n . i g . ^ l f F . fjv 8 ,

, ... Interpretation of the Lazarus story as foreshadowing Jesus' resurrection


may have led to the location of Lazarus' tomb, too, in a . Tombs in gardens
near Jerusalem are mentioned in Josephus, AJ I X . 2 2 7 and X.46. [Burial in gardens
was common in the Greco-Roman world and was reflected by the Greek words,
a n d o r , a n d the L a t i n cepotaphium, LSJ
.

s.w. A.D.N.]

, 1 5 times i n M k . , 1 3 i n M t . , 5 i n L k . occurs i n M k . 5 . 4 0 (as

here, of Jesus' going to raise the dead), in Mk. 2.4, and twice in the D text of Lk.
(4.16 and 5.19the second Markan). 6 uses in J n . One is in the Lazarus story
( 1 1 . 3 2 ) , one in a reference to Bethany fjv ( i 2 . i ) , and one in a reference
to the where Jesus was arrested (18.1). It is difficult to be confident that the
expression in the longer text of Mk. was taken from any one of these possibly relevant
passages.
.
6 in Mk., 7 in Mt., and 7 in Lk. (Morgenthaler); Yoder adds 3 in
M k . and 3 in Lk., from D. The only reference to Jesus' having raised a dead man
from a tomb is in the Lazarus story, where occurs 3 times (Jn. 1 1 . 1 7 , 3 1 , 3 8 )
and is subsequently mentioned in the popular report of the miracle ( 1 2 . 1 7 ) .

105

11.26-111.

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

III. I

. As the beginning of a sentence or i n d e p e n d e n t clause, 25 in Mk., 2 in


M t . (both instances M a r k a n ) , never in the best supported text of Lk. Of the instances
in Mk., D has only 1.30, 4.5, a n d 11.3. D omits both the well supported instances
in M t . , b u t is u n i q u e (?) in reading in M t . 13.5 (also M a r k a n ) a n d almost
u n i q u e in reading it in Lk. 5.6. Otherwise it consistently substitutes , or omits.
T h e longer text's repeated use of , therefore, links it not only with Mk., but with
a small M S tradition of the M a r k a n textonce again t h a t of the Alexandrian
M S S . See A p p e n d i x E, a n d T.B.'s r e m a r k on above, on II.24. Since the
longer text is right, against D , in this characteristic, it seems more likely t h a t the
corruptions of the D text noted above ( a n d , cf. I I . 2 3 a n d 25)
were derived from the influence of the longer text, t h a n t h a t the latter derived these
details (which, in it, do not seem to be corruptions) f r o m the archetype of D , to which
they were peculiar, immediately followed by a finite verb, 1 in M t . , 9 in
M k . T h e entry in M o u l t o n - G e d e n for M k . 7.35 is contradicted by the readings in
Legg. I n the present usage in the longer text, seems to be a connective r a t h e r
t h a n a n a d v e r b of t i m e ; so it is in M k . (Kilpatrick, Notes 4 f ) .
. T h e form occurs in M k . 2.1 a n d in M t . 2.18, where the subject is, as
here ( ' , L X X J e r . 38*15)probably coincidental. [T.B
remarks that in some " w e s t e r n " texts is a d d e d where the n o r m a l Greek
texts read only : so M t . 3.17 (Sy. s ) ; 17.5 (Sy. ) ; M k . 1.11 (O.pauc.); Lk. 3.21
(Sy. 3 ).] Influence? follows in M k . 7.25, '
(RBL.J 33579^9 2 ; Dit.] rell.), in the story of the Syrophoenician w o m a n , which paralleled the letter's Gospel above in I I . 2 3 - 2 4 . However,
given the difference of the constructions a n d the frequency of both a n d
in M k . , this similarity, too, is p r o b a b l y coincidental.

. T h e following story shows m a n y traits in c o m m o n with resurrection storiesvoice, youth, stone, etc. O n these see the c o m m e n t below on
, 111. .
. T h e local sense of after does not occur in the Gospels.
(Cf., however, J n . 12.34.) B u t the construction is c o m m o n : Apoc. 10.4.8; 11.12;
etc. O n see above, on II.26. does not a p p e a r in the synoptics
(though M t . a n d M k . have ), b u t is used 3 times in J n . Note J n .
1 2 . 1 7 , , a n d 5 2 8f,
. These verses reflect the J o h a n n i n e
version of the story, in which Jesus cries o u t ; in the longer text of M k . the voice
comes from the tomb. This contentual relationship will be discussed later.
106

III.I-2

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

III.2

.
4 i n M k . , 2 or 3 in M t . , 6 in L k . (one is omitted b y D , but another
is added). O f the 3 M a t t h a e a n usages, the 2 certain ones are M a r k a n ; of the 5
certain L u c a n usages, 3 are M a r k a n . A l l the uses in the synoptics are in oblique
cases. T h e phrase is used in J n . only once, in 11.43: <f>u>vfj <o
'), , . Since the phrase was not a c o m m o n element in John's
v o c a b u l a r y but was in M a r k ' s , J o h n is more likely to have derived it from a M a r k a n
story of the raising of Lazarus than M a r k from a Johannine one. ( T h e rarity of the
phrase in J n . is the more remarkable because of his fondness for in other
constructions, noted by D o d d , Historical Tradition 282.)
.
Initial, 1 or perhaps 2 in M k . , in M t . 5 or 6 + 1 in D , in L k . 2.
O f these instances the dubious one in M k . corresponds to the dubious one in M t . ;
the rest are i n d e p e n d e n t e v i d e n t l y the locution was standard. In L k . 7.14 (the
y o u n g m a n of Nain) the actor is Jesus and the following action is a raising from the
d e a d , as here; but there is no other contentual similarity, so these are probably
irrelevant. In M k . 1.31 the following words are (Peter's wife's mother),
but she was raised only from a sickbed. B y requiring exact parallel in form and
position, the above figures obscure M a t t h e w ' s characteristic preference for . M o u l t o n - G e d e n list 52 uses in M t . , 6 in M k . , a n d 11 in L k . ; Morgenthaler
lists 52 uses, 5 a n d 10, respectively.
.
V e r b a t i m , as the beginning of a sentence, in M t . 28.18.
Followed by the charge to make converts of all nations. Here also w e have
+ explicit subject + verb, without interruption, as in M t . 4.3 a n d 8.19
a n d the longer text of M k .
.

F o u n d in the middle of a verse, in M t . 28.2


(the angel at the resurrection), is omitted by m a n y M S S , including D . O n e form
or another of + appears once or twice in both M k . and L k . ,
the usages in L k . being M a r k a n . T h e closing the entrance of the
appears also in Jn.'s raising of Lazarus (11.38fr) a n d there, too, is removed. M t .
28.2 is not a parallel to M k . , but m a y be an attempt to explain w h a t M k . reports.
M t . ' s angel of the L o r d coming to raise Jesus is m u c h like Jesus coming to raise
Lazarus. W h e r e did M a t t h e w get the i d e a ? Not from the M a r k a n resurrection of
Jesus; nor from the Johannine story of Lazarus. Perhaps from the longer text of
M k . ? T h a t he did not copy thence is not surprising.
H e did not copy it from M k . 16.3, either; his w a y was to abbreviate. T h e details of
the Style in the longer text suggest M k . , . . . , . . . . . .
. C o m p a r e the examples at the end of the note on ,
below, on I I I . 3 - 4 .
107

.2-3

THE SECRET GOSPEL

.3

Verbatim, M k . 16.3 CW@Wfam.l^(exc.l2^).^4:3- l 57*


with ab, it.vg.; h< ,1?
minusc.
pier. T h e reading ', native to M k . , crept by contamination into M t . 28.2. T h e
contaminated reading is exactly that of the longer text with , not . T h e stages
of the contamination are shown in Appendix E. W h e n complete it produced
, word for word parallel
to the longer text, except for the absence of 6 '. But this complete form appears
only in the later versions and uncials, and in minuscules. Thereforeunless it be
one of the rare examples of early readings found only in late M S S (Williams, Alterations 32)it cannot have influenced the longer text, already known to Clement,
nor can it reflect the influence of the longer text, almost unknown after Clement's
time. T h u s one of the most striking parallels between the longer text and a canonical
Gospel cannot be explained by direct dependence on either side. A m o n g the m a n y
possible explanations are (1) that the author of canonical M k . also wrote the longer
text and repeated himselfas he often did in canonical M k . ; (2) that the longer text
was produced by the same process of conflation which later produced the contaminated text of M t . ; (3) that the longer text was conformed to that of M t . by some
medieval copyist. [ H . K . remarks that Lk. 24.2 also has .] Therefore,
it is likely that M t . and Lk. reflect a text of M k . which had rather than ,
but the phrase is so commonplace that no secure conclusion is possible.
.

(cor.**).i4-47 2 -5 I 7-Eus. d e m 'Greg.Nyss.,

(etc.). Initial, 5 or 6 in M k . + in D and Sy. 3 ; 1 in M t . ; 4 in


Lk. (1 Markan) + 1 in D . A standard introductory phrase most favored by M a r k ;
hardly useful as a sign of authorship and not evidence of borrowing from any particular passage. This conclusion is confirmed by the frequency of in all
forms: M t . 36, M k . 30, Lk. 50 (Morgenthaler). , initial, appears
in M k . 6.25, but the passage (Salome's approach to Herod) has no contentual
similarity to the text here. Therefore, given the frequency of both and
, the coincidence is probably accidental, , without and not initial,
introduces in M t . 9.18 the raising of Jai'rus' d a u g h t e r w h i c h has a number of
verbal parallels to the present passage, probably because of similarity of content.
See below, on .
/

See above, on II.26. M k . 2.4 and 5.40. T h e second occurs in the raising
of Jai'rus' daughter, where it follows and precedes, as here,
. T h e conjunction of these conventional phrases in the same sequence is
explained by the common content of the passages. [ W . M . C . remarks that in
. . . the is pleonastic, would suffice.] However, as already stated, M k .
5.40 has the same construction with ; and similar pleonastic constructions
with and preceded by occur in M k . 6.10,56, and 14.14
but not in the other Gospels. This seems to be a M a r k a n trait.
f)v.

108

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

iereivev

III.4
,

.3-4

.
2 in Mk., 2 in Mt., in Lk. All of these have traits which
relate them to the present story. The one in Mk. 14.51, wearing a sheet over his
naked body, was (almost) caught with Jesus late at night; the one in Mk. 16.5,
wearing a white garment, was found in Jesus' tomb and announced his resurrection;
the one in Mt. ig.2off was loved by Jesus (Mk. 10.21,

) and was rich (Lk. 18.23, fy );


the one in Lk. 7.14 was raised
from the dead, and the story contains the verbal sequence . . .
veavi . . .
(but this is probably mere chance). Another was
raised or saved from death in the D text of Acts 20.12. Yet none appears in a story
so close to the present one as the story of Lazarus, and in the canonical Gospels
Lazarus is not called a . This multiplicity of partial parallels suggests
narration in traditional patterns with traditional vocabulary, rather than compilation
from written sources. [H.K. agrees, remarking that a similar variety of parallels
voice, youth, stone, etc.appears also in the earliest apocryphal Gospels, especially
Peter, and probably for this same reason. For a study of these parallels he refers to
L. Brun, Die Auferstehung Christi (1925), which I have not seen.]

.
+ , 3 or 4 in Mk. (one with merely implicit),
6 in Mt. (3 Markan, once implicit), and 5 in Lk. (2 Markan, 2 from D).
The exact combination ivev seems to have stood in the achetype of
Sy. and some M S S of it. at Mt. 12.13. The story there (the man with the withered
arm) has no similarity to the present one, so the identity of wording was probably
coincidental. More striking are the western variants to Mk. 1.31, the only place
where precedes . On these see below, on . Taking the hand
and raising the dead is frequent in Acta Ioannis. 1 1 , 47, 79, 83, 1 1 2 . There are many
pagan parallels (emperors raising the afflicted, gods welcoming the deified dead,
etc.); see Schrade, Ikonographie iogff.

.
Mk. 19; Mt. 36; Lk. 18. appears only in an O T reminiscence
in Lk. 1.69 and in Mk. 1.31 and 9.27 ( ); on these see the following note.

in Mt. 8.25 (stilling the storm) is a coincidence, as
is in Mt. 1 2 . 1 1 (the man with the withered arm) and ,
, in Lk. 7.14 (the young man of Nain).
.
Verbatim, 2 or 3 in Mk., I in Lk. (Markan). , Mk.
15, Mt. 12, Lk. 2. as an instrument of supernatural help, 10 or 1 1 in Mk. ( + 1
in the long ending), 7 in Mt. (5 Markan), 5 in Lk. (2 Markan + 1 in Dii.).
in the same use, Mk. 1 1 , Mt. 9, Lk. 10. Neither nor ever has this use in
J n . The exact phrase is always used in the Gospels in connection
with ".

log

.3-4

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

Mk. .31 (Peter's mother-in-law) || Mt. 8.15; Lk. not similar.


X B L .
D ^^ .
W (sic) ,
bq ille autem venit et extendens manum adprehendit earn et levavit.
r1 et Verdens externa manu adpraehensam elevavit eam.
M t . 8.15 . . . . . . .
Mk. 5.40/ {Janus' daughter) || Mt. g.25 || Lk. 8.54.
XB, etc.
. . . .
Dit. 6
(eius, it.) . . . .
M t . 9.25 NB, etc.
D .
it.vg. intravit et tenuit manum eius et dixit puella surge.

L k . 8.54 , , .
Mk. g.2j (the demoniac boy). Mt. and Lk. not similar.
XBDLJ0y / /am.r./a/72.i3(A:c.i24).28.53.543.565.892.ii.^.Sy. W e r C o p . s a b 0 G e o r .
A r m . .
A C N X 1 ? 22.124.33 1 57-579-7 0 0 0 7 1 .a/./>/'.Sy.s-pesh-h1 A e t h .
( + C * S y . s e t c Aeth.) .

( O n M k . .31 see C o u c h o u d , L'Evangile 174. Pernot, Pretendu 50, supposes D influenced


by M k . 1.41, but this is unlikely: the verses are not sufficiently similar. C o u c h o u d ' s
reply, Marc latin 294.)
Here the words in boldface type appear in the same forms in the longer text of
M k . T o attribute this fact to deliberate compilation from the multiplicity of written
texts is implausible. Evidently the similarity of the longer to the shorter text of M k . ,
like the similarity of the different passages of the shorter text to one another, is
the product of free composition in a standard form and with a standard v o c a b u l a r y .
It is hard to believe that a n y compiler w o u l d have produced the a w k w a r d repetition
. . . . T h e Dit. text of M k . 1.31 might be a deliberate revision of this,
a n d the W text a further revision of D . C a n it be that here, again, m e m o r y of the
longer text contaminated the archetype of D and produced a text reading
, of w h i c h various corrections n o w a p p e a r
in D W i t ? Pleonasm is a well k n o w n trait of M a r k a n style (Hawkins, Horae 139fr);
so is verbal repetition (above, on , in I I I . 2 ) . Both the later synoptists and the
later M S tradition tended to eliminate these traits b y choosing one or the other
half of M a r k ' s redundant expressions. For e x a m p l e :
M k . 1.22
I.26
I.29
1.34

. . . , om. , L k .
, om. L k . ; / A C D ^ ?

fam.l.al.pler.

. . . , om. M t . L k . ; 73.
. . . , om. second Lk.@Dli.D.Sy. s , Aeth.
no

THE SECRET GOSPEL

III.4

35

, . Lk.B28*a/.; . Wfit.Vg.
1.43
. . . , om. Mt., Lk., Wb.c; om. 349.51 ja.e.vg.; om.
255Sy.8
2.9-12 apovjapas ter, om. first Mt., Lk., W 544.692.it.; om. third
Mt.
2.15
. . . , om. Mt., Lk.
2.15-16 ter, om. second Mt., Lk., W ; tant. 69al.
2.1819 . . . . . . . . . . . ,,
om. Mt., Lk.; om. second Lk. 543
Pauc >
om. first Mt.; om. second Mt., Lk. DUW fam. 1 {exc.
131) 33.7oo.ii.^.Sy. pesh Geor. 2
Further examples in Hawkins, Horae 139fr. For the tendency of the later synoptists
and the M S tradition to make the same or similar corrections of Mk., see Turner,
Usage, passim.
6 . Morgenthaler counts 160 instances of in Mk., 1078 of . In the quotations
from the longer text there are 3 uses of and 18 of . Thus the proportions of
to are 1:6.7 in canonical Mk. and 1:6 in the longer text. This coincidence
in proportion can scarcely be considered significant, since the quotations of the
longer text are so short. However, its . . . . . . , with an occasional '
thrown in, is paralleled in many Markan stories: for example, that of Bartimaeus
(Mk. 10.46-52), which, according to Clement, immediately followed the second
quotation. (See Hawkins, Horae 150fr. on Mk.'s characteristic preference of to
'.)
.
29-349)

See above, on III.3. Mark was fond of diminutives (Turner,

Usage

. / at the beginning of a sentence, with a


following finite verb: 3 in Mk., 3 in Mt. (1 Markan), and 1 Lk. In Mk. the
sequence is twice / + verb. Two of the Markan usages (10.21,27) come
close together, immediately before the place where the letter locates this usage
(following 10.34). This accords with Mark's habit of using the same construction
several times in quick sequence. (See above, on , and, in Appendix
E, the distribution of . [But other writers also have this habit, notably Paul
and Luke. H . J . C . ] is frequent in the Gospels, Mk. 5 ( + iD), Mt. 8 (2
Markan), Lk. 13 (none Markan, 2 omitted by Dit.). Therefore, on stylistic grounds
the fact that the clause occurs in Mk. 10.21 is no
reason to deny that Mark might have repeated it after 10.34. The question of the
significance of the repetition must be postponed to the discussion of the content
of the quotations from the longer text.
Ill

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

III.4-5
.5

Aetv

/.

rj

W i t h f o l l o w i n g infinitive: 26 in M k . (Dit. o m i t 3 b u t a d d 3 others),

9 in M t . (6 M a r k a n ) , 19 in L k . (2 or 3 M a r k a n ) + 4 (2 M a r k a n ) in the D text o f
L k . T u r n e r (Usage 28.352fr) a n d H u n k i n () r e m a r k t h a t the use of

w i t h the present infinitive as a substitute for the i m p e r f e c t is t y p i c a l l y

Markan.

as the b e g i n n i n g o f a sentence is p a r t i c u l a r l y so: 10 in M k . , 3 in L k . ,

n e v e r in M t . or J n . (For comparisons w i t h classical G r e e k a n d L X X see D o u d n a , Greek


5iflf a n d 11 i f f . )
.

M e a n i n g " e n t r e a t , " 9 in M k . , 6 in M t . (4 M a r k a n ) + 1 D i t . , 5 in

L k . (3 M a r k a n ) of w h i c h 1 is o m i t t e d b y XDa/., b u t Di<. also a d d a n instance.

r e g u l a r l y governs the accusative. F o l l o w e d b y a Iva clause a n d

s u b j u n c t i v e : 5 or 6 in M k . , 1 in M t . ( M a r k a n ) , 2 in L k . (both M a r k a n ) . LSJ

the
cites

the construction f r o m Aristeas, A r r i a n , a n d others; in the Gospels it seems a M a r k a n


trait. T u r n e r t h o u g h t M k . c h a r a c t e r i z e d b y fondness for Iva a n d use o f it w i t h other
t h a n " i t s p r o p e r sense of p u r p o s e " ; he i n c l u d e d the uses after

in his

l o n g list of e x a m p l e s (Usage 29.356).


. . . .

T h e repetition is p a r t i c u l a r l y n o t i c e a b l e since it follows . . .

in the p r e c e d i n g line. D o u d n a , Greek 36, r e m a r k s : " O n e of the o u t s t a n d i n g


features of the G r e e k o f the gospels is the f r e q u e n c y of the o b l i q u e cases of the personal
p r o n o u n s ; M a r k shares this to a slight d e g r e e " a n d so, as he shows, do the p a p y r i .
K i l p a t r i c k , Atticism 136, takes the f r e q u e n c y of as one sign of a well-preserved,
p r i m i t i v e text.

fj.

M k . r e g u l a r l y speaks o f Jesus as a c t i n g .

(37> 8 . ; . ; 14 4> 1 7)
o f the disciples as ol

there seem traces o f a tradition w h i c h spoke

. T h u s the t w e l v e are " m a d e " '

( 3 . 1 4 ) ; the G e r a s e n e d e m o n i a c beseeches Jesus

fj ( 5 . 1 8 ) ; w h e n Jesus

goes in to raise Jai'rus' d a u g h t e r he takes w i t h h i m o n l y her parents a n d


(5.40); w h e n he leaves C a p e r n a u m he is p u r s u e d b y S i m o n a n d ol '

'

(1.36, a l t h o u g h , as H . J . C . notes, the reference here is n o t c e r t a i n ; L o h m e y e r , ad


loc., p l a u s i b l y c o m p a r e s 16.7,

).

Cf. also 2 . 1 9 ; 9-3^;

14.67. [ O f the p r e c e d i n g passages, in 1.36; 3 . 1 4 ; 5 . 1 8 ; 5.40; 8.10, a n d 1 1 . 1 1 , M k . ' s


is not p a r a l l e l e d in M t . or L k . R . S . is therefore justified in seeing here a M a r k a n
trait.] T h e phrase
(cf.

6.66)

and

w i t h this sense a p p e a r s also in M k . 16.10 a n d J n . 9.40

perhaps

Lk.

22.59 (cf. J n .

usage m a y p e r h a p s be seen in M t .

18.26).

F u r t h e r traces o f the

12.30 a n d p a r a l l e l s ; 2 6 . 5 1 , 6 9 , 7 1 ;

same

28.2o(?);

L k . 22.21,28,33; 23.43; J n . 13.8,33; 14.9; 1 5 . 2 7 ; 16.4; 17.12,24. T h e r e f o r e , t h a t


per fj should a p p e a r b o t h in M k . 5 . 1 8 a n d in the longer text is n o t surprising.
M o r e o v e r , w e h a v e here a n o t h e r n e a r - c o i n c i d e n c e w i t h a false r e a d i n g of D a n d its
allies. I n M k . 5 . 1 7 f the g r e a t m a j o r i t y of texts r e a d
112

(sc. the Gerasenes)

111.5-6

T H E S E C R E T GOSPEL

III.6

. . . . . .

'

But D (with considerable support) reads . . . . . .


'

f j '

. T h i s shift in the position o f

the () construction could hardly have been motivated by considerations of


style or meaning; it m a y reflect a memory of the longer text. M a n y D variants
indicate that the D text of M t . and Lk. was corrupted by the scribe's memories of
canonical M k . (e.g., those at Lk. 5.14 and 6 . 1 ; cf. below, on , H I . 5 ;
' , I I I . 6 - 7 ; etc.); similar corruption by memories of the longer text is
therefore possible. [H.J.C., however, comments: " M e m o r i e s of short M k . affected
scribes of M t . and Lk., yes, but perhaps oftener memories of M t . and Lk. affected
scribes of short M k . " ]
.
Initial, with a following finite v e r b : 7 or 8 in M k . (in 3 Dit. have
); 7 in M t . + 1 in D , 1 in X B C L 0 , etc. Both these additional instances are M a r k a n ,
but only one of the 7 secure readings is so; more contaminationsee the preceding
note. O n l y 2 in Lk., and of these 22.62 m a y be a gloss taken from M t . O f the 8 in
M k . , 3 are followed by and 2 of these by . O f the certain instances in M t . ,
3 (and in al. a fourth) are followed by or its compounds, and one by .
L k . has after in 22.62.
. Not found verbatim in the Gospels, but in
M t . 28.8 all uncials except XBCL, and most minuscules, have
;

a n d M k . 16.8 has

(of t h e w o m e n

after their Easter morning visit), while M t . 27.53 has


. . . (of the dead raised along with Jesus). [P.B. compares also M k . 1.29,
w h e r e a f t e r the cure of a d e m o n i a c t h e text goes on,
.] In view of these multiple parallels it seems
plausible to explain the text as free composition in conventional style rather than
direct borrowing from any one passage, or word-by-word compilation from several.
[T.B. points out that the western text of M t . 27.53, especially in the Syriac, is very
close to the longer text of M k . Sy. pa1 omits . , D S y . p a L s Lat.
{partim) have instead of , and the Syriac K ' i t a t
ye canbe understood as a singular. Perhaps the western variants m a y reflect some recollection of
the longer text.] O n . .. as a M a r k a n usage see Turner, Commentary
155. O n the subject of , see above, on II.23, .

, M k . 18, M t . 25, L k . 25. , M k . 12, M t . 10, L k . 33. A g a i n

the longer text goes with M t . and M k . against Lk. References to particular houses
which might be called " h i s t o r i c a l " (by contrast to those in parables or sayings)
with : 6 in M k . ( + 2 in D ) , 9 or 10 in M t . (only 3 M a r k a n ) , 9 or 10 in L k .
"3

III.6
rjv

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

( + in D ; only 2 Markan). Often these follow forms of (els) with : 2


in Mk. + 2 in D, 5 in Mt. (1 Markan), 3 in Lk. (1 Markan.) This reference to
going into a house often connects two scenes, as it does here: Mk. 1.29; 2 . 1 5 ; 9 . 3 3 ;
Mt. 9 . 2 3 ; 9 . 2 8 ; 1 3 . 3 6 ; 17.25. There is no reason to suppose this transition borrowed
from any one of its many parallels. Kilpatrick, Notes 5ff, kindly put at my disposal
an unpublished study in which he concludes that in Mk. corresponds to " h o m e , "
to "house." He observes, however, that the two are sometimes interchangeable,
as " h o m e " and " h o u s e " in English. This would seem to be the case here.

. / , as introduction of an appended explanation; 9 or


1 0 in Mk. (1 omitted by Dit., etc., 1 by XB, etc.), 5 in Mt. (all Markan), 4 in Lk.
( + in D, only 1 Markan). It is a Markan trait (Turner, Usage 2 6 . 1 4 5 f r ; Zerwick,
Untersuchungen i3off; Bird, ) and Mk. might have used it with as a
predicate adjective. The canonical text of Mk. uses twice (a third use
appears in a variant). However, is typical of Lk. (11 uses, against 2 in Mk.
and 3 in Mt.), and fy [Sy. omits R.S.] appears in
Lk. 1 8 . 2 3 , where Mk. and Mt. have . This is the young
man in Mk. 1 0 . 2 2 of whom Mk. uses the phrase ,
also found in the longer text, above. Mk. 10.22 preceded by little the present passage
of the longer text, which stood after 1 0 . 3 4 . Given Mark's habit of repeating himself
after short intervals, he probably would have repeated , rather
than have summarized it with . The longer text here may have been corrupted by a copyist's memory of Lk. or by a gloss. Perhaps the latter is more likely,
since the rest of the text shows no knowledge of Lk. (except in the concluding clause
of the second quotation, which is probably spurious; see below, on I I I . 1 6 ) . Yet
another possibility is that Clement misquoted; for the contamination of his quotations
of Mk. by his memories of Mt. and Lk., see Appendix F. O n the other hand, the
dangling phrase is in Mark's manner and makes sense: They went to the young
man's house, for he was wealthy (and therefore able to receive the company which
traveled with Jesus). Cf. Zacchaeus, Lk. 1 9 . i f f . [W.M.C. remarks that the subjects
of . . . are, strictly, only Jesus and the youth.] However,
as Turner noted (Usage 2 6 . 2 3 1 ) , Markan reports of the movements of Jesus, even
when the verb is in the singular, are normally to be understood as implying that
his followers went with him. See the note on , in II.23, above. The notion
that is a copyist's corruption can be supported by the fact that a similar
corruption has introduced into Mk. 1 0 . 1 7
A K M W 0 7 7 , many minuscules,
and some MSS of the Old Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, and Georgian
translations. [My attention was called to the variant by R.S.] Turner, Readings 6,
thought the in Mk. 1 0 . 2 2 a corruption introduced from Mt. 1 9 . 2 2 and
maintained that the correct reading was , preserved by the western text
and Clement and repeatedas usualby Mk. (in the following verse, 1 0 . 2 3 ) .
114

111.6-7

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

.7

'

' . M k . is characterized by its separation of events from eath other


by precise numbers of days, intervals it indicates by with the accusative: 5
instances. M t . has only 3 (2 M a r k a n and 27.63probably an echo of M k . ) ; Lk.
has only 2 (and 9.28 seems a deliberate correction of M k . ) . D it. have 2 more instances
in M t . and one more in Lk. (another example of the corruption of their archetype
by the influence of M k . ; see above, on ). Per contra, the Matthaean usage
(with the dative) has corrupted the later uncials of M k . If Lk. 9.28 is a deliberate
correction of M k . 9.2 (so Rengstorf on Lk. ad loc.), there was some tradition about
these intervals and some importance attached to them. Therefore the specification
of the interval m a y be a datum of tradition, not an echo of M k . 9.2, where the same
words occur. O n Mark's fondness for giving specific numbers, Turner, Usage 26.337fr.
.
T h e verb: 4 in M k . , never in M t . , 4 in Lk. (1 Markan) + 1 in D . T h e
person commanded is always in the dative. T h e form occurs twice in M k .
and in the D variant to Lk. (8.55). is found in Dit. to M k .
6.39 (where other witnesses lack ). These parallels demonstrate merely that
the word was used normally by M k . and Lk. T h e peculiarity here is the failure to
specify the content of Jesus' c o m m a n d ; that is understood from the context, as in
M k . 1.27; Lk. 4.36; 8.25. [ C . F . D . M . , however, remarks that without
direct object is odd, and the parallels adduced here are not quite similar for in
all of them the content of the verb is perfectly clear. Moreover, w h y did the young
man have to come to Jesus and stay with him, if Jesus was at his house ?] T h e direct
object m a y have been part of the secret oral teaching. It will be argued later that
the young man came to Jesus to receive baptism, conceived as a magically efficacious
rite. If so, he had to come to Jesus becauses Jesus had to prepare (purify ? exorcise ?)
the area and the materials for the rite. T h e story suggests a large house, perhaps a
villa. T h e young man was rich. Jesus and his followers m a y have been given a w i n g
for themselves.
,

as a g e n i t i v e a b s o l u t e a t the b e g i n n i n g o f a

sentence: 4 in M k . (3 introduced by ), 6 or 7 in M t . (6 with 8, never with ),


never in Lk. or Jn. It is followed by in M k . 14.17 (the introduction to the
last s u p p e r a secret ceremony, like the one here, but this m a y be chance), by
in M t . 27.57 (Joseph of Arimathea), in M k . i5-42f (also Joseph of Arimathea),
and in M t . 14.15 (the introduction to the feeding of the five thousand).
By contrast with these stylistic affiliations, the content of this story resembles Jn. 3:
Nicodemus and received instruction on baptism as necessary
for those who would enter the K i n g d o m of God.
.
As a historical present: 10 in M k . ( + 1 in X * A , etc., and 2 in Dit., etc.),
4 in M t . (2 Markan), 1 in Lk. || , historical present, in M k . ) . Recognized as
a distinctively M a r k a n trait by Hawkins (Horae 143). It is so frequent that its conjunction with the also frequent is no evidence for dependence on
M k . 14.17.
"5

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

.7-9
III.8

Ill.g

0 veavi

TTepieXy

ei

epeive

. See above, on 111.3. This is the fourth occurrence of the word in 6


lines. More Markan repetition.
,

after :

i 2 i n M k . ( + in .);

12 in M t . ( + d u b i o u s ) ;

9 in Lk. Only 2 of the Matthaean and 2 of the Lucan constructions are Markan.
Therefore it would at first sight seem pure chance that after
occurs 7 or 8 times in Mk., once in Lk., and never in Mt. But was used
52 times by Mt., 5 by Mk., and 10 by Lk.
' . Verbatim in Mk. 14.51 (except that W jam.
i.c.A.Sy.s Cop. sa have discreetly omitted , while jam.i$[exc. 124].543,
565.Sy. p Eth. have accidentally replaced it by the of the following verse). In
14.51, too, the subject is the young man in a sheet who was with Jesus
at the time of his arrest and who, on being seized, fled naked (an episode both Mt.
and Lk. chose to omit). All the words in the phrase (except ) are comparatively
rare in the synoptics: , Mk. 2, Mt. 5, Lk. 2; , Mk. 4, Mt. 1, Lk. 1;
, Mk. 2, Mt. 4, Lk. o. Consequently, the occurrence of the phrase both in the
longer and in the canonical texts of Mk. can hardly be explained as an accident
of free composition. Either the phrase was a fixed formula in the life of some early
church (a baptismal rubric?) or its presence in both texts is evidence of some
historical connection.
.

2 in Mk., 3 in Mt., 7 in Lk., 40 in J n . Of the 3 in Mt., 2 are Markan;

of t h e 7 i n L k . , 1. . . , i n L k . 1.56 ( t h e v i s i t a t i o n ) ,
' , i n J n . 1.39 (the first disciples),

, in J n . 4-4 (Jesus in S a m a r i a ; cf. 10.40; 11.6), a n d

. in J n . 11.54 (after the raising of Lazarus) testify to common usage


rather than literary dependence. (Some historical fact ofJesus' practice may underlie
the similarity with the story of the first disciples; or the basis may be some early
church usage, or mere chance.) was affected by J n . because of its theological
connotations (e.g., 15.4fr), which probably had some connection with baptism and
might be relevant here; but the word is too common to justify speculation.
. To indicate the person accompanying or accompanied: 5 in Mk., 2 in Mt.,
23 in Lk. Cf. in the preceding line. Another instance of Mt.'s preference
for compound verbs.
. 4 in Mk., 9 in Mt., 7 in Lk. + 1 Dit. (11.30). In the accusative of extent
of time: 3 in Mt. and Lk. 11.30. Cf. also the adverbial accusatives
6

III.9-IO

THE SECRET GOSPEL

,
KLVTjV.

'

in M k . 4*27 and Lk. 2.37, and in Lk. 21.37. These parallels are insignificant; the longer text probably derived its phrase from common usage, not from
a literary source.
.

T h e position after the noun is normal in M k . , as shown by Kilpatrick,

i.

' ,
: M k . 17, M t . 14, Lk. 17. T h e form used of
Jesus: 6 in M k . , 2 in M t . (neither Markan), 2 ( + 1 D) in Lk. (none M a r k a n ) . In
M k . 9.31 it is followed by and refers to the secret teaching of the passion. This
follows the stories of the transfiguration and the raising of the demoniac boy, both
of which have similarities to the story in the letter's Gospel. Note especially the sequence 9.27 . . . (30),

. . . rjOeXev ( 3 1 ) ,

, e t c .

Mk.

9 . 2 7 - 3 1 precedes by little the place (10.34) where the letter locates its Gospel fragment, and the recurrence of similar constructions after short intervals is typical of
M a r k a n style. As to content, on the other hand, the synoptics never represent Jesus
as teaching a single person; but accounts of his having done so are prominent in Jn.
(3, Nicodemus; 4, the w o m a n of Samaria; etc.). Kilpatrick, Mission 149fr, points out
that M k . frequently uses verbs to begin sentences. [ W . M . C . here finds " t h e interlaced
word order (verbouter objectsubjectinner object) . . . contrived."] It is not
precisely paralleled in M k . in sentences of which Jesus is the subject, but M k . often
has the similar order: verbindirect objectsubjectdirect o b j e c t 1 . 2 5 ; 2.19;
6.4; 12.24; 4 2 7 ; 3 In all these, as in the longer text, the verbs imply speaking, the
first object is the person spoken to, Jesus is the speaker, and the second object is the
thing said.


.
is used only once in each of the
synoptics, and in both M t . and Lk. its use is a parallel to M k . 4.11,

' (+

, C 2 D * ? [ exc. ]

fam.l.22.fam.I^.^4:3

2 8-33- I 57-565-597-7 0 0 - I 0 7 I - a '-/ > ' e r - i i -5-Sy- p e s h ' h l 'Cop. b o a ! i 9

G e o . A e t h . A r m . ; :, GZ<P /am.1.67.106.115.201.235-258-5 I 7-569-Sy- h l 'Arm.). Cf. M t . 13.11,


(mysterium a.c.d.f.

[3

MSS.]Sy.- t p e s h

Geo.Aug.serm165;

jf2.g1.l.q.aur.vg.

sacramentum k); Lk. 8.10,

( transp. post D , . \

Cit.vg.

Sy.Clem.Iren.). T h e uses of in M S S of M t . are further examples of the


early corruption of the western text by reminiscences of M k . Matthew's interpretation
of the M a r k a n phrase, by changing to and adding ,
ii7

.11

THE SECRET GOSPEL

III. I I

inearpeipev

els

got into Lk. (where the secondary character of is indicated by the difference
as to its position) and almost got into Mk. The use of in the longer text
of Mk. is either a Markan trait or evidence that
was a fixed phrase in some circles of early Christianity. Its significance will be discussed below, in the section on content. [W.M.C. remarks that we never hear what
happened to the youth's sister.] Such disappearance of minor characters is typical of
Markan narratives: so Simon, Andrew, James, and John in ./(.off; the men who
brought the paralytic in 2.3fr; Levi in 2.15fr; etc.
v.

5 in M k . (and ,

in 9.30), 12 in M t . , 3 in Lk. (and ,

in 11.53).

With a participle, as the beginning of a sentence, 3 in Mk. ( + 2 more in D), 5 in


Mt. (only 1 Markan), 1 in Lk. In Mt. the participle always precedes and is never
. In two of the well attested uses in Mk. (7.24 and 10.1) the participle is
and follows , as in the western text (Dz7.) of Mk. 6.53,
and after in 9.30. The usage here is characteristically Markan.
T h e exact phrase

appears in M k . 7.24; 10.1 has

[and R.S. remarks that it is followed by .. .

].

.
The participle used pleonastically, imitating the L X X translation of Dip,
with a following finite verb (Blass-Debrunner-Funk, no. 419.2); 4 or 6 in Mk., 2 in
Mt. (both Markan), 11 or 12 in Lk. (only 1 Markan). Certainly not a Matthaean
usage. See above, on II.24, + participle.
.
The verb: 4 in Mk. (1 with , 13.16), 4 in Mt. + 2 D, 7 in Lk. + 1 D
(with , 2.39; 17.31 || Mk. 13.16). The usage is normal.
'.
Not found in the synoptics. M k . 5.1 has
; Lk. 8.22, ; the Alexandrian text of M k . . ,

. Otherwise the usage is either with no following genitive


(Mk. 4.35; 5.21; 6.45; 8.13 and parallels), or without the article
(Mk. 3.8; 10. see variants in Appendix E). These seem to represent the normal
Markan usage, and the expression is predominantly Markan: Lk. has it only once,
where he takes it from Mk. and modifies it; Mt. has 7 uses, all Markan except 4.15,
a quotation from L X X Is. 8.23. Accordingly it might be argued that the words
in the letter's Gospel are an epexegetic gloss. But all the Markan uses of
alone refer to the opposite side of the Sea of Galilee and are explained by the
context, while in the letter's Gospel the determinant is required by the
context. Mk. 5.1 is a parallel case.
118

III.I4-I5

THE SECRET GOSPEL

W i t h the above words the first of the letter's quotations from the secret Gospel
concludes. T h e r e follow the comments: , "

KaL
,"
<(Mk. .35!)
, "
"
- , " ' "
<(Mk.
10.46a) ( . 1 1 - 1 4 ) . These have been discussed in the commentary on
the letter in Chapter T w o , above. T h e letter's second quotation from the secret Gospel
reads as follows:
I I L l 5

l e'/cet

.
See above, on , in II.23 For the plural the closest parallels
are M k . 2.6,
, where Sy. p e s h h1' perhaps read
aaP

before , and M t . 27.55 V


* *< where Sy.^Aeth.Geor. 1 put the
conjunction at the beginning. Such phrases are narrative cliches and can hardly
serve as evidence of dependence. [T.B. queries: Is it coincidence that in M t . 27.55
the phrase also introduces a group of women, and that this group alsoto j u d g e
from the parallel i n ' M k . 15.40once contained Salome?] It is not impossible that
M a t t h e w m a y have used the longer text of M k . Cf. the remarks on
,
above, 11.24.
.
Unparalleled. Sisters of a specific brother (other than Jesus)
appear only in Jn. 1 1 t h e Lazarus s t o r y a n d only in the synoptics; see
above.
.
See above, on , in III.4. Although all the Gospels
use frequently, the synoptics only once speak of Jesus' loving a n y b o d y t h e
man who questioned him in M k . 10.21:
.
Jn. says Jesus loved () M a r t h a and her sister and Lazarus (11.5) and his disciples (13.1,34; 15.9,12) and the Father (14.31) and an unnamed disciple
, thus referred to 4 times: 13.23 (in the last supper); 19.26 (at the cross);
21.7,20 (the resurrection appearances at the Sea of Galilee). Cf. the

of i 8 . i 5 f and 20.2ff. It has often been argued from Johannine evidence that the unnamed " b e l o v e d disciple" was Lazarus (e.g., recently, Eckhardt, Tod 11-20). T h e
longer text strengthens the argument by first telling a version of the Lazarus story
in which the dead youth's sister plays an important role and the youth is said to
have loved Jesus, and then locating shortly after this a reference to the disciple w h o m
Jesus loved and his sister. So the M a r k a n and the Johannine traditions here, as often,
are remotely similar. Therefore it is not surprising that the same traditional formulas
should occur in both, is a fixed periphrasis in Jn. and the reader
will immediately suppose that the longer text got it from Jn. But then the reader
will have to explain w h y the longer text shows no other trace of John's peculiar
phraseology. Matters of plot are not in question here; they will be dealt with in the
"9

111.15-16

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

III.16

next chapter. T h e present question is: W h e n an isolated J o h a n n i n e phrase occurs


in a text which otherwise shows no i m p o r t a n t traces of J o h a n n i n e phraseology, is the
isolated phrase to be taken as proof of dependence, or is the absence of other traits
to be taken as proof of independence ? Are we to prove the dependence of ) on J n .
by M t . n . 2 5 f II Lk. i o . 2 i f ? [ H . J . C . compares also the J o h a n n i n e 6 , el
, in M k . 13.32 a n d the parallel between J n . 3 . 3 - 5 a n d Justin, First Apology
6 1 . 4 - 5 . ] Notice also the similarities to J o h n in the phraseology of the D e a d Sea
documents (Brown, Schrolls), a n d the phrases of canonical M k . which a p p e a r in
section I V of A p p e n d i x G with parallels only from J n . Evidently, a n u m b e r of phrases
best k n o w n to us as " J o h a n n i n e " were taken by J o h n from his Christian a n d Jewish
environment. O n e of these phrases seems to have been the periphrasis ov
, which a p p a r e n t l y was a fixed formula in at least two strains of early Christian
tradition, like () e f j as a designation of J u d a s : M k . 14.10,20,43; M t .
26.14,47; Lk. 22.47; J n 6.71 ( + eV; cf., however, 20.24, where the same formula
refers to T h o m a s ) . A n early date for the periphrasis is suggested by its anonymity.
(Cf. Bultmann, Geschichte 72, 256^ etc. T u r n e r ' s a r g u m e n t to the contraryUsage
26.338from the practice of rhetoricians is irrelevant. T h e Gospels were not written
by rhetoricians a n d their content shows the authors did multiply names.) F u r t h e r
evidence t h a t the longer text did not get its formula from J n . appears in the pleonastic
, to which the uses in J n . afford no parallel, a n d which a writer familiar with
Greek would h a r d l y have a d d e d ; it is p r o b a b l y a Semitismcf. . . . in II.23,
above, a n d the note there. [P.B. would distinguish the examples of this construction
in the longer text a n d in M t . , where he thinks t h e m Semitisms, from those in canonical
Mk., where he thinks t h e m emphatic, a n d would find in this distinction evidence t h a t
the letter's Gospel is not by M a r k . ] T h e distinction seems to me so fine as to be
subjective; it escaped Moule, Idiom-Book 176, a n d Blass-Debrunner-Funk no. 297.
. V e r b a t i m in M k . 3.31; M t . i 3 . 3 5 ; L k . 1,60; 2.48,51; 8.19 (XDii.Sy.);
J n . 2.5,12; 19.25. T h e phrase is s t a n d a r d a n d cannot be referred with confidence
to a n y single source.
.
Salome appears in the N T only in M k . 15.40 a n d 16.1, in both as the
final figure in a list of female witnesses of a n i m p o r t a n t occasion (15.40, the crucifixion; 16.i, the discovery of the empty tomb). I n 15.40:
'

I n 16. : -

' . (There is considerable difference between


M S S as to the spelling of the second M a r y ' s n a m e a n d her connection with J a m e s
a n d Joses.) T h e list in the longer text of M k . is of the same type as the other two,
a n d m a y be of the same women. Luke (23.55; 2 4 - 0 has omitted b o t h the lists preserved in canonical M k . ; M a t t h e w has deleted the n a m e of Salome f r o m the first list
120

THE SECRET GOSPEL

III.16

(27.56) a n d deleted her altogether from the second (27.61; 28.1); J o h n (19.25) has
replaced her by " t h e sister of his (Jesus') m o t h e r " (or?) " M a r y of Klopas." [ R . S .
remarks that i f we suppose the lists to be of the same women, and if we suppose the
beloved here to be the same as the loving in the former fragment,
and i f we therefore suppose him to be Lazarus, then his sister here would be the M a r y
M a g d a l e n e of the other M a r k a n lists. And since M a r y , Lazarus' sister, anointed
Jesus in Bethany in J n . 12.iff (cf. M k . 14.3; M t . 26.27), and a woman who was a
sinner anointed Jesus in Lk. 7.36, it would follow that M a r y Magdalene, Lazarus'
sister, was the sinner {from whom also seven devils were driven out, Lk. 8.2she had
a n eventful life.) Again, M a r y , the mother of J a m e s and Joses, of the other M a r k a n
lists, would be " h i s m o t h e r " in the list in the longer text, and " h i s " would be Jesus',
since J a m e s and Joses were his brothers: M k . 6.3, 6
' ' .] If this latter identification be not accepted, M k . did not mention the mother of Jesus among those
who witnessed his passion and burial and discovered his resurrection. On the other
hand, by similar reasoning Salome would be both " t h e mother of the sons of Zebedee," who replaces her in M t . 27.56, and " t h e sister of (Jesus') m o t h e r " (or?) " M a r y
of Klopas," who replaces her in J n . 19.25. [In favor of at least the former of these
identifications, R . S . points out that " t h e mother of the sons of Z e b e d e e " appears
in M t . 20.20, where she m a y again be a M a t t h a e a n substitute for Salome, who played
a similar role in the following story of the longer M a r k a n text. See above, on II.24.]
T h e role of Salome in early Christian polemics will be discussed later in this chapter
(section III. D.4, "EVIDENCE FOR ABBREVIATION AT MK. 1 0 . 4 6 " ) .
.
In the NT, is found only in Lk.-Acts. Lk. 8.40
(),
of the crowd's giving a good reception to Jesus; 9.11, of Jesus' receiving the crowd
kindly. 5 uses in Acts, of which 3 (18.27; 2 I > i 7J' 28.30) have the same sense (receive
a person kindly) and the same construction (an immediately following accusative of
the person received). [With the whole phrase here, C . F . D . M . compares Lk. 9.53,
, of the Samaritans' refusal to receive Jesus.] This clearly L u c a n
trait contrasts as such with the preceding text, which is almost entirely free of L u c a n
traits (the only very probable one being , above, III.6). Clement uses the
verb often in the cognate sense, " a p p r o v e o f " a personthat is, of what he says or
does1.178.27; 186.8; 223.10; 265.3; 11-3-8; 4.13; 235.25; 237.21. A number of
these citations, particularly the last two, show the disciplinary connotationalmost
" a c c e p t as communicants"which the word has in Clement's usage. It is this connotation which the word is meant to carry in the above text of the letter's quotation,
a n d which is necessary to give force to the otherwise trivial ending. T h e story, as
Clement quotes it, is quite unlike any other NT story because it has no apparently
significant content. There is no miracle, no saying, nothing but Jesus' refusal to
receive, on one occasion, three women. Therefore the story, as it stands, can have
been invented and preserved only as polemic against these women or their followers
or persons who appealed to their authority (as the Carpocratians did to that of
Salome: Origen, Contra Celsum V.62). But that such a bare polemic notice was w h a t
121

III. 16

THE SECRET GOSPEL

originally stood in the longer text is almost i n c r e d i b l e : it is too little like the patterns
of Gospel stories. T h e original text must h a v e g o n e on to report some action or saying
o f Jesus. A c c o r d i n g l y , this final phrase w i t h its sudden c h a n g e o f v o c a b u l a r y a n d its
anachronistic c h u r c h discipline is to be attributed to C l e m e n t or some editor o f
almost C l e m e n t ' s time a n d v o c a b u l a r y w h o deleted the original e n d i n g of the story
as it stood in the longer text of M k . a n d substituted this L u c a n phrase (with its
second-century m e a n i n g ) for w h a t he h a d deleted. W h a t he h a d deleted w e can only
guess from the p r e c e d i n g context a n d from the f o l l o w i n g a n d last p r e s e r v e d
sentence o f the letter: .
M o s t likely it w a s a conversation w i t h S a l o m e (again see b e l o w , in section I I I ) .

B.
I.

INFLUENCE ON T H E WESTERN

Synthesis of findings
TEXT

Perhaps the most surprising of the facts revealed b y the a b o v e c o m m e n t a r y is the


e v i d e n c e for the influence of the longer text of M k . on the western text of the c a n o n i c a l
Gospels (or, in K l i j n ' s terminologySurvey, 4 t h e " w e s t e r n r e a d i n g s " of the fathers
a n d the Gospel M S S ) . T h e relationship o f the two texts w a s i n d e p e n d e n t l y discovered
b y Prof. R . Schippers a n d myself. T h e r e are three cases in w h i c h a n a p p a r e n t l y
w r o n g r e a d i n g in the western text affords the closest parallel to a n a p p a r e n t l y correct
r e a d i n g in the longer text of M k : els I I . 2 3 ;
a n d

11.25;

" ' I I I . 4 - 5 Y e t other cases a p p e a r in

I I I . 4 a n d I I I . 7

6 ,

b u t in

I I I . 4 the parallels are so loose a n d in I I I . 7 the w o r d i n g is so b a n a l that neither


constitutes evidence. B y contrast, the error o f in M k . 8.22 a n d the difficulty
of

in 1.41 d e m a n d e x p l a n a t i o n , w h i l e the extent o f the paralleled phrase

in I I I . 4 - 5 makes the supposition of influence notunlikely

(but does not prove

i t ; see a b o v e on I I I . 1 - 2 ) . T h e c o n j u n c t i o n of the t h r e e n o t to say

fivecases

is

impressive. A s to the question, W h i c h influenced w h i c h ? i t is surely m o r e p r o b a b l e


that the b a d readings o f the western text were p r o d u c e d b y c o n t a m i n a t i o n from the
longer text, t h a n that the g o o d readings of the longer text were p r o d u c e d b y a selection of the errors peculiar to the western. A s a l r e a d y r e m a r k e d , c o n t a m i n a t i o n is
characteristic o f the western text (Williams, Alterations i f ; Glasson, Mt.

i8of), and

c o n t a m i n a t i o n of M S S of the c a n o n i c a l Gospels b y u n c a n o n i c a l m a t e r i a l has often


been demonstrated (Black, Aramaic 204 a n d 2 1 4 ; W i l l i a m s , Alterations 7, i 2 f f , 23).
Q u i s p e l (Thomas 198; Hebrerevangelium 142), has a r g u e d that the western text w a s
influenced b y the Gospel according to the Hebrews, a fortiori, it m i g h t h a v e been influenced

b y the longer text of M k . Further, the longer text shows a n u m b e r of readings

w h i c h are n o n w e s t e r n : .. . . . . (II.23),

( I I I . 3 - 4 ) ; ( 1 1 . 2 6 - 1 1 1 . ; I I I . 2 ) . I f the longer text be supposed to


derive from the western, these nonwestern readings c a n h a r d l y b e a c c o u n t e d for.
T h e r e f o r e the m o r e p r o b a b l e e x p l a n a t i o n of the facts w o u l d seem to b e that the
122

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

archetype of the western text was contaminated by the scribe's recollections of the
longer one. [But the influence m a y h a v e been more contemporary than " recollections "
implies. H . J . G . ] This explanation accords with the fact that C l e m e n t both quoted the
longer text and used the western (Barnard; K l i j n , P. Bodmer II, 327, 332, 334).
[Moreover, as Pierson Parker pointed out to me, if C l e m e n t did not use the western
text of M k . a possibility w h i c h Swanson, Text 102, leaves o p e n t h e n the western
readings in the longer text cannot be corruptions due to Clement, but must come
from an earlier tradition.] T h e theory that the western text was shaped by the longer
text of M k . also accords with the date reached above for the longer text (before 125)
and with the current dating of the western text, w h i c h is now thought to have
originated in E g y p t about A.D. 150 (Duplacy, Ou en est I.43of). It also suggests both
that the scribe w h o produced the archetype of the western text regarded the longer
text of M k . m u c h as he did the canonical Gospels, of w h i c h he also conflated the
readings, and that the sections of the longer text quoted b y C l e m e n t had some important role in the life of the scribe's church, since so m a n y recollections of them
turn up in his text. T h e importance of the sections quoted b y C l e m e n t might h a v e
been inferred also from the facts that they played a leading part in the argument
between T h e o d o r e and the Carpocratians and that C l e m e n t chose to reassure T h e o dore particularly a b o u t them. T o the question of w h a t their importance was w e shall
return later.

Postscript: Further evidence for these conclusions is now afforded b y the addition to
the L a t i n translation of Origen's commentary on M t . , to w h i c h K l i j n , Question, has
called attention. It quotes from a Gospel according to the Hebrews a text closely related
to M t . i g . i f f but deviating from it in details w h i c h agree w i t h or approximate the
western text (Sy. and Diatessaron). K l i j n (154Q thinks these details would indicate
its priority to the Diatessaron, but he then rejects this conclusion as " i n c o n c e i v a b l e . "
N o w M t . 19.16fr is the synoptic parallel to M k . 10.17frthe story of the " r i c h y o u n g
r u l e r " w h i c h stood shortly before Clement's quotation from the longer text and was
closely connected with it, as will be shown below. It is just possible, therefore, that
this fragment m a y be another scrap (more or less rewritten) of the longer text. T h e
close relation to M t . and the attribution to the Gospel according to the Hebrews both fit.

2.

VOCABULARY,

PHRASEOLOGY,

AND

GRAMMAR

T h i s establishment of the dependence of the western text on the longer text of


M k . enables us to rule out further consideration of the parallels peculiar to the
western text. T u r n i n g now to the relation between the longer text of M k . and the
Nestle-Kilpatrick text of the canonical Gospels, we observe that the parallels pointed
out in the above commentary are of two sorts:
O n the one hand there are m a n y brief parallels of words or phrases, like
els, eVf , and so on, w h i c h are most frequent in one or another of the
synopticsusually M k . , occasionally M t . , very rarely L k . or J n . b u t w h i c h are so
c o m m o n p l a c e that they cannot be used as evidence of dependence on any particular
123

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

passage. P e r h a p s it is not strictly impossible t h a t a c o m p i l e r should h a v e p i c k e d t h e m


out f r o m r e m o t e parts of different Gospels a n d pieced t h e m together in a mosaic
(where, nevertheless, there are n o a b n o r m a l joints, no irrelevant words, n o clear
signs of mosaic c o m p o s i t i o n ! ) . B u t it is m o r e plausible to suppose t h e m the result o f
free composition b y a n a u t h o r to w h o m the formulas of M a r k a n style c a m e as easily
as they d i d to " M a r k " himself. (Cf. the similar j u d g m e n t s of D o d d , Historical

Tradi-

tion, passim.)
O n the other h a n d there are several e x a c t parallels of considerable phrases. C o n spicuous e x a m p l e s are vie ,

. T h e s e

c a n n o t be e x p l a i n e d as a c c i d e n t a l results of free composition in a v o c a b u l a r y full


of fixed formulas. E i t h e r they m u s t be e v i d e n c e of literary relationship to the passages
w h e r e they stand in the c a n o n i c a l Gospels, or they must c o m e f r o m the technical
t e r m i n o l o g y a n d fixed tradition of early Christianity. I n either case they h a v e some
special theological significance. C o n s e q u e n t l y , their relation to their parallels in
the c a n o n i c a l Gospels must be t h o u g h t m e a n i n g f u l . ( C o n t r a s t the cliches like

els, o f w h i c h the use in o n e or a n o t h e r story is a m e r e m a t t e r of c h a n c e ,

signifying nothing.)
U n f o r t u n a t e l y , the d i v i d i n g line b e t w e e n these t w o groups is not clear,

almost certainly belongs to the latter,

a n d

doubtless result f r o m assimilation of the L a z a r u s story to

the Easter story, or v i c e versa, b u t j u s t w h e n the assimilation took p l a c e is h a r d to


say. m a y be a n y t h i n g f r o m a n c i e n t a c c i d e n t to m e d i e v a l c o r r u p t i o n .
T h e - .. . . . . sequence is p r o b a b l y a m e r e collection
of cliches of w h i c h the a r r a n g e m e n t was d e t e r m i n e d b y content. A n d other cases
suggest y e t other relationships.
C o n s e q u e n t l y , w e shall first collect the e v i d e n c e a f f o r d e d b y the v o c a b u l a r y , the
phraseology, a n d those g r a m m a t i c a l traits w h i c h h a v e b e e n p i c k e d out as c h a r a c teristic of one or a n o t h e r of the evangelists. T h i s sort of e v i d e n c e is the most objective,
it will i n c l u d e the shorter parallels, a n d it m a y y i e l d some results w h i c h will b e helpful in the m o r e difficult questions raised b y the longer parallels.
T h e bulk of the v o c a b u l a r y is m a d e u p of c o m m o n words, a n d the different n u m bers of their o c c u r r e n c e s in the several Gospels usually reflect the different sizes of
the Gospels. T h e fragments of the longer text are so short that a r g u m e n t s f r o m the
n u m b e r s of times it uses w o r d s a r e mostly worthless ( a n d p e r h a p s a n d
m a y be e x c e p t i o n s : see a b o v e , o n I I I . i

a n d 4). T h e distribution of

is

r e m a r k a b l e b u t a c c o r d s w i t h M a r k ' s h a b i t of r a p i d r e p e t i t i o n ; cf. the distribution


o f

(4 f r o m M k . 7 . 3 6 - 9 . 1 , in M k . 5.43, 1 in M t . , none in L k . o r j n . ) ,

(3 f r o m M k . 1 5 . 3 9 - 4 5 ,

n o n e

elsewhere),

(4 in M k . 2 . 4 - 1 2 , I in

M k . 6.55, none in M t . or L k . , 4 in J n . ) , a n d so on.


T h a t 12 w o r d s f r o m the longer text are not in J n . , as against 3 not in M k . , 4 not in
M t . a n d 3 not in L k . , is further evidence of the remoteness o f the longer text f r o m
J n . M k . io.26b~34 ( w h i c h , henceforth, w e shall call CScanonical sample) has 4
not f o u n d elsewhere in M k . (?, ,

a n d ),

not in M t . , 3 not in L k . , a n d 14 not in J n . ; the similarity of these t w o sets of


124

figures

a.

Vocabulary*
SG

1 /

1 /

, ,

>

2
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
6
I
I
I
It
I
I
I
I
I

Mk.
5
5
20
44
17
23
47

I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
4

Jn.
36
6
14

65
26

58
8

19
127
2
10
I

21
40

13
31
906 1074
46
55
2
2
124
97

3
39
63
4
35
113
-

9
I

5
I

27
758
20
4
64
55
2
16
7
160
17
19
104
192
37
30
67
11
5
23
3
3
4
I
39
73
4
4
9
86

Lk.
13
3
24

167
I
I

Mt.
8

75
4
29
17
491
14
36
210
288
216
66
36
82
28
12

129
-

41
13
548
17
18
215
361
223
44
50
87
16

54
6
8
2
I

3
33
3
4
2
2

43
120

44
160

7
4
12
100

6
III

SG
adv.

'

28
-

750
5
4
64

t (
/
0, ,

51
I
17
2
196
9
13
465
442
182
39
15
165
22
2
70
I
-

2
3
29
33
I
-

156

* Figures from canonical Gospels from Morgen thaler;


f Two more uses of appeared in the Carpocrati;
125

2
I
I
I

Mk.

Mt.

42

7
45
51

27
48
6
81

4
150

I
65
41
I
6
4
8 1078 1169
I
I
12
15
I 202 289
I
8
II
I
46
73
I
20
!5
I
2
3
70
55
I
17
27
6
7
I
I
I
2
I

Lk.
I
83
122
4
89
46
2
!455

I
2
217
14
37
26
7
63
17
7
I
I

Jn3
31
83
7
237
147
3
818
4
2
266
6
78
5
40
55
II
16
-

6
4
9
7
32 1504 2777 2629 2144

I
8
25
25
5

07
30
13
5
5

I
2
3
, ,
85 122 182 152

I 7 204 174 286

I
2
7
5

I
9
9
7

I
I
8
7
7

I
I
2
2
5

I
II
2
3

I
41 165 101
63
I

10
I
52
5

I
2
11
2
13

I
2

I
I
I
4

I
6
4
23
3
r/

I
34
89
77
55

I
7
14
7
15
26
2
25
24
15
longer text of Mk. see Index I, s.v. Secret Gospel (SG).
version ( ).

V o c a b u l a r y (figures from Morgenthaler) of the 1 7 5 words of canonical M k . preceding the first quotation from the longer text (i.e., M k . i o . 2 6 b - 3 4 ) .
Mk.

24
I

14

39
I

7
10

!3

3
18

17

25

17
35
6

19
101

16

5
20

43

37

13

31

9
56

9
112

17
II
22

10

27
758

Mk.

Jn.

48

Lk.

2f

Mt.

'

3
I

16

95
26

60

13

12

12

25

15

21

13
31
906 1 0 7 4

34
64
21

47
124
22

160

750

14

97
14

64

548

196

202
I

2
I
2

ig
2

ff

33
230

237

17
18

43

29

33

31
16

17
6

!5

67
8

128

!52

63

64
23
50
6

56
8

137

19

5
I

10

224

> / I
eav

!5

13
66

4
12

78
28

29

59

210

215

465

15
288

13
361

5
442

167
I

216

223

182

5
2

5
I

137

291

354

220

5
86

7
III

5
100

156

192

eV

()

I
I

36
12

49

69

48

31

3
6

45

83

15

5
10

89

45

57

7
67

21
I

10

27

7
26

, ,

5
8
33
24

55
117
11

19
147

36

63
142

174

26

12

204

27

12

33

46
266

141

3
10

22
217
I

3
-

5
52
271
286

53
289

237
818

25
182

>

4
12

25
122

85

79

35
104
6

11

70

57

129

491
I

83

62

55

18

122

27
17
28
14
3
4
1504 2777 2629 2 1 4 4
16
20
22
4

Jn.

51

17

, ,

0?, ,

20

Lk.

81
150
89
1078 1169 1455
10
5
13
2
3
4

22

50

Mt.

5
207
-

15
4

90
12

34

89

75
6

247

12

f The numerals following each word indicate the number of its occurrences in Mk.io.a6b-34

7
8

73

52

34
36
-

17

79

3
4

77
220

255

23

55

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

is striking. T h e occurrence in the longer text of a good number of John's favorite


words should not be made an argument for relationship. John is notorious for the
frequency with which he uses his favorite words, of which the longer text of M k .
contains, , ,

, , , , ', ,

, ,

, , , and . It would be absurd to suppose that the uses of these


common words in the other Gospels were signs of Johannine influence. C S has the 5
u n d e r l i n e d a b o v e , plus , , , , ,

, , , ,

and . Similar collections can be made for Lk. (Longer text, , , ,


, ,

, , ", C S , , -, , , , ) a n d M t . ( L o n g e r

text, , ,

, , ,

C S , , , ,

) a n d are e q u a l l y insignificant.

O f Mk.'s favorite words (as listed by Morgenthaler, 181, on grounds of frequency


only) the longer text contains , , , and ; C S , , , ,
, and . T h e brevity of these lists, by comparison with those from the other
Gospels, is explained by the small number of "favorite w o r d s " to be found in M k .
M k . has the largest vocabulary in proportion to its size of any of the Gospels: 1,345
words in 11,200. M t . has 1,691 in 18,300, Lk. has 2,055 i n i9400, and Jn. has only
1,011 in 15,400: (Morgenthaler, 164). Therefore M k . uses most words least often,
Jn. least words most often. Accordingly, the list of Jn.'s favorite words contains 75
items, and any N T text is sure to show a substantial " J o h a n n i n e " vocabulary. L k .
has 62 favorites, M t . 37, and M k . only 18 (so Morgenthaler, i 8 i f ) . T h u s the 15
" J o h a n n i n e " words in the longer text (or the 16 in CS) are a fifth of the 75; the 8
" L u c a n " words are about an eighth of the 62 (the 6 in C S are a tenth); the 7
" M a t t h a e a n " (7 also in CS) are about a fifth of the 37, and the 4 " M a r k a n " (5 in
CS) are about a quarter of the 18. Here again, the similarity between the figures for
the longer text and those for C S is obvious; and the longer text, like CS, contains a
slightly higher percentage of the list of Mk.'s favorite words than it does of the list
of any other Gospel's. This, however, m a y be no more significant than the other data
concerning these frequencies.
Morgenthaler's 18 M a r k a n favorites occur 444 times in M k . , that is, about once
every 25.22 words. O f the longer text we have just 175 words (181 less the final interpolation 6 , on which see the commentary). A n average
175 words of canonical M k . should contain 6 or 7 uses of Mk.'s favorite terms. T h e
175 words of the longer text contain 6 (2 of , of , of , and 2 of
); the 175 words of C S contain 5 (one each of , , , ,
and ). This, again, is perhaps insignificant, not only because of the banal
character of most of the "favorites," but also because so small a sample might be
expected to diverge widely from the average. Consequently, its agreement with the
average m a y also be mere chance.
Parker, Gospel, has made a careful study of the vocabulary characteristic of both
M k . and M t . and has condensed the results into four tables (pp. 41, 245-250) listing
with considerable duplication some 119 expressions. O f these, 11 appear j n the longer
text (, , ,
,

a n d ),

j-,

w h i l e o n l y 8 a p p e a r i n C S (,

127

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

rrj , ,

a n d ).

T h u s the l o n g e r text, w i t h

o n l y a sixty-fourth of M k . ' s 11,200 words, contains a b o u t a tenth of the M a t t h a e a n M a r k a n expressions in Parker's list, w h i l e C S contains o n l y a fifteenth. T h i s m a y
possibly be significant in v i e w of the e v i d e n c e seen a b o v e (on ,
for supposing t h a t M t . k n e w the longer text. A g a i n , h o w e v e r , the

in I I . 2 4 )

commonplace

c h a r a c t e r of most of the w o r d s a n d the b r e v i t y of the quotations f r o m the longer text


m a k e it impossible to b u i l d o n these d a t a .
T h e studies of H a w k i n s (Horae) a n d T u r n e r (Usage)

h a v e b e e n most v a l u a b l e

because t h e y take into a c c o u n t not only relative frequencies of usage, b u t also the
w a y s in w h i c h w o r d s w e r e u s e d q u e s t i o n s of s y n t a x a n d style. F o r the same reason,
h o w e v e r , their d a t a a r e m o r e difficult to classify, since some b e l o n g p r o p e r l y in the
sections o n p h r a s e o l o g y a n d g r a m m a r . Nevertheless, since H a w k i n s ' classification of
his m a t e r i a l w a s p r i m a r i l y lexical, his results m a y be stated here. H e listed 95 " w o r d s
a n d phrases characteristic o f " M t . (pp. 4 - 8 ) . O f these, 5 (, for ,
in n a r r a t i v e , ,

a n d )

a p p e a r in the l o n g e r text of M k . (none

a p p e a r s in C S ) . A m o n g these, H a w k i n s t h o u g h t

a " m o s t distinctive a n d

i m p o r t a n t " trait (p. 7 h e d i d not e x p l a i n h o w it h a p p e n e d to o c c u r 10 times in


L k . ) a n d " l e s s i m p o r t a n t t h a n the rest, because m a i n l y or entirely a c c o u n t e d
for b y the subject m a t t e r " (p. 4). F o r M k . he listed 41 characteristics, of w h i c h 3
(/-

historic present, , a n d )

C S ( rfj , ,

a n d ).

a p p e a r in the l o n g e r text, 4 in

H e t h o u g h t a n d

"most

d i s t i n c t i v e , " " l e s s i m p o r t a n t . " F i v e is one-nineteenth of 95, 3 one-fourteenth


(and 4, one-tenth) of 4 1 ; so these figures show C S m a r k e d l y , a n d the longer text
slightly, m o r e M a r k a n t h a n M a t t h a e a n . T h e 41 M a r k a n characteristics a p p e a r e d in
M k . 357 times, a b o u t o n c e e v e r y 3 1 . 5 words. I n b o t h the l o n g e r text a n d C S t h e y
s h o u l d therefore h a v e a p p e a r e d b e t w e e n 5 a n d 6 times. T h e y a c t u a l l y a p p e a r 5
times in the longer text (2 in historical present, 2 , ), 4 in C S (one
e a c h of the traits listed a b o v e ) . H a w k i n s listed 151 characteristics o f L k . (pp. 1 6 - 2 3 ) ;
of these o n l y 3 ( r e d u n d a n t ,

a n d ) a p p e a r in the l o n g e r text o f

M k . a n d o n l y 1 () i n C S . T h i s seems to g o b e y o n d c h a n c e a n d to i n d i c a t e c l e a r l y
t h a t , like C S , the l o n g e r text has little or n o c o n n e c t i o n w i t h L k . Besides his lists,
H a w k i n s d e v o t e d a c h a p t e r to m i n o r M a r k a n peculiarities. O n e of these (p. 1 1 9 ) is
the f a c t t h a t is a t t r i b u t e d to Jesus n o w h e r e in the Gospels save M k . 3.5 a n d the
western r e a d i n g in 1.41. T h e latter n o w seems to h a v e b e e n d e r i v e d f r o m the l o n g e r
text. A n o t h e r p e c u l i a r i t y H a w k i n s noted w a s M a r k ' s preference for as against
a t the b e g i n n i n g s of sentences. I t w a s s h o w n a b o v e (on 6 , in I I I . 4 ) that the p r o p o r t i o n
o f to ' in the longer text is almost the same as in c a n o n i c a l M k .
T u r n e r , Usage, c o n c e r n e d himself chiefly w i t h g r a m m a r , b u t i n c l u d e d a n u m b e r
o f lexical o b s e r v a t i o n s ; he n o t e d M a r k ' s fondness for n u m e r a l s (26.337), his use o f
-

as a substitute for the i m p e r f e c t (28.352), his preference for as against

( M a t t h e w a n d L u k e prefer the latter, 29.281), his use of after


his fondness for diminutives (29.349frcf. ),
" i m p r o p e r " use of it after

(ibid.),

a n d his fondness for Iva a n d

(29.356). A l l these a r e f o u n d in the l o n g e r text

of M k .
128

THE SECRET GOSPEL

T o these observations a few may be added, , of Jesus' loving another man,


is found in the synoptics only in M k . is a rather rare word which Matthew
and Luke seem to have derived from Mk. , as noted in the commentary, was
more prominent in Mk. than in the later synoptics. Mk. uses twice as often
as any other evangelist, and 3 out of 4 times in the /- construction
used in the longer text, is another word which Mt. and Lk. use only when
they parallel M k . ; in the longer text the use of the singular is specifically Markan.
is peculiar to Mk., the later synoptists chose to omit her name, is 4
times as frequent in Mk. as in Mt. or Lk. (Moulton-Geden omits the first instance in
15.46). Whenever Mark mentions the word he repeats it; in any other author this
would be thought emphatic. as an instrument of supernatural help is typical of
M k . : 10 or 11 times, 7 in Mt. (5 Markan), 4 in Lk. (2 Markan).
Combining the above observations with the lists of Morgenthaler, Parker, Hawkins,
and Turner, we have:
(of Jesus)
*

(initial, vs. )

(for imperfect)

(qua diminutive)

(vs. )

(of Jesus)

*
*

*
()

(qua numeral)

*7
*

- (historic present)

()

(with supernatural power)

Listed by Parker as characteristic of both Mk. and Mt.

In all, 29 of the 82 words listed can claim to be, at least in one construction or another, characteristically Markan. Here it may be objected that to consider special
constructions confuses the data on vocabulary with those on phraseology and grammar, and has resulted in some overlapping of the above list with those in the preceding
and following sections. The objection is justified. However, it seemed impossible to
exclude consideration of special constructions from an account of the vocabulary,
since vocabularies differ not only by the words used, but also by the special meanings
given them. If this be granted, it follows that the vocabulary of the longer text is
preponderantly Markan.
Indeed, it is so preponderantly Markan that it must be explained as the result
either of the same stream of tradition which produced Mk., or of deliberate imitation
129

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

Phraseology*

b.

Mk.

Kai

fjV

6/7t
I
I
5

KL

(/ eVei
+ p a r t i c i p l e of ' + v e r b

' +

ol Be
07T0V

initial + v e r b

2/3
2

Lk.

Mt.

Jn.

0t)

0
5

12

7/8
6/7

3/4

i n i t i a l

25

4
1/2
6/8

2/3

4/6

5
I

19/23

initial

i n i t i a l
/-

3/4

2/3
3

+ v e r b
/-
+ infinitive

26

10

, of J e s u s ' f o l l o w e r s
i n i t i a l

7/8

7/9

i(?)
2

/ e x p l i c a t i v e
() . . . + n u m e r a l
i n i t i a l
i n i t i a l

9/io

5
4

12/13

/-

initial

+
(

7/8

6/7

9
I

11/12
-

52
-

10)
2

, of J e s u s

6
14

2/3

1/2
-

4/5
I

4)
0
I

2
4
32
I
+ p a r t i c i p l e , i n i t i a l
5
3/5
( I n M t . t h e p a r t i c i p l e a l w a y s p r e c e d e s , i n M k . a n d i n t h e l o n g e r t e x t it follows.)

2
I

3
I

* For details see Appendix .


f 6/7 means " 6 or 7 , " and so hereafter. T h e uncertainty reflects textual variants.
i In a different sense.
T h e indented expressions in this list are not found in the longer text of M k .

130

3/4

THE SECRET GOSPEL

o f M k . ( C o m p o s i t i o n as a cento seems u n l i k e l y ; the parallels c o m e f r o m too m a n y


places, are c o m b i n e d a n d m o d i f i e d too freely, a n d fit together too well.) I f imitation,
it was imitation of a v e r y simple sort. T h e imitator must h a v e k n o w n M k . almost b y
h e a r t a n d deliberately told his story as m u c h as possible in the w o r d s a n d phrases of
the original. T h e r e f o r e w e should e x p e c t his w o r k to show almost n o other w o r d s or
phrases. O n the other h a n d , if the longer text w e r e a free p r o d u c t o f the same stream
o f tradition, w e should e x p e c t it to differ f r o m c a n o n i c a l M k . at least as far as c a n o n i c a l
M k . , in its various parts, differs from itself. N o w the quotations f r o m the longer text
c o n t a i n o n l y 3 words not in M k . , a n d of these three

w a s p i c k e d out in

the c o m m e n t a r y on I I I . 16 as p a r t o f a later a d d i t i o n , a n d

remain. But

M k . uses some 634 w o r d s once o n l y ( M o r g e n t h a l e r , 1 6 6 ) a p p r o x i m a t e l y one w o r d


in e v e r y 17.8. T h e quotations f r o m the longer text ( e x c l u d i n g the a d d i t i o n c o n t a i n i n g
)

h a v e 175 w o r d s a n d should therefore h a v e a b o u t 10 not f o u n d in M k .

T h a t t h e y a c t u a l l y h a v e only 2 n o n - M a r k a n w o r d s suggests that t h e y were p r o d u c e d


b y i m i t a t i o n of c a n o n i c a l M k . , not b y i n d e p e n d e n t composition. B u t this e v i d e n c e ,
a g a i n , is not conclusive: C S has o n l y 4 w o r d s not f o u n d elsewhere in M k . T h e percentile originality of M k . ' s v o c a b u l a r y w o u l d p r o b a b l y decline as the a m o u n t o f
m a t e r i a l i n c r e a s e d ; the c o n t e n t u a l similarity of the m a i n story in the longer text to
the other stories of cures a n d resurrections w o u l d m a k e for the use o f m a n y of the
same w o r d s ; a n d , a b o v e all, the distribution of h a p a x l e g o m e n a is u n e v e n a n d the
q u o t a t i o n s f r o m the l o n g e r text are so short t h a t their v a r i a t i o n f r o m the a v e r a g e
m i g h t be m e r e c h a n c e . C o m p a r e J n . , o f w h i c h P a r k e r states that " t h e n u m b e r of
w o r d s o c c u r r i n g in o n l y one c h a p t e r . . . ranges f r o m 2 in c h a p . 17 to 47 in c h a p . 1 9 "
(Two Editions 306 n g ) .
T h e e v i d e n c e y i e l d e d b y this list is clear, especially since M k . contains only a b o u t
11,200 w o r d s , M t . a b o u t 18,300, L k . a b o u t 19,400 ( M o r g e n t h a l e r , 164), a n d the
figures for M t . a n d L k . s h o u l d therefore n o r m a l l y e x c e e d those for M k . b y 7/11 a n d
8/11 respectively. I n the a b o v e list, of the 33 entries w h i c h represent usages f o u n d in
the longer text of M k . there are 18 in w h i c h the n u m b e r of parallels from c a n o n i c a l
M k . is greater t h a n t h a t f r o m either M t . or L k . , a n d 9 m o r e in w h i c h it runs so
close to the largest n u m b e r f r o m either M t . or L k . t h a t the d i f f e r e n c e is insignificant:
ol ,

, , , ,

+ participle, a n d '.

O f the 6 r e m a i n i n g , 3 are most f r e q u e n t in L k . : , , a n d


. T h e differences in f r e q u e n c y of these are d e t e r m i n e d b y content, n o t
style, a n d are insignificant for the question of the w r i t t e n sources of the longer text
o f M k . w h i c h should not be supposed to h a v e d e r i v e d its references to

or f r o m L k . simply because L k . uses these phrases most often.


, too, is o r d i n a r y G r e e k a n d n e e d not be t h o u g h t to h a v e b e e n d e r i v e d f r o m L k .
T h e list clearly shows the distance of L k . f r o m the style of the longer text of M k . O f
the 33 items, 11 are not represented at all in L k . , 6 others a p p e a r in L k . less often t h a n
in either M k . or M t . , a n d for 2 others L k . is tied w i t h the l o w e r of its competitors.
M t . is m u c h closer t h a n L k . to the longer text of M k . (as it is to c a n o n i c a l M k . ,
P a r k e r , Gospel 3 2 - 4 3 ) . A n d the traits to w h i c h most parallels a p p e a r in M t . a r e usually
131

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

traits of style, not content (/cat + participle of + verb, initial,


initial, initial, + participle, initial). T o a number of these data Parker called attention in his preliminary report to the Society of
Biblical Literature and Exegesis at its New Y o r k meeting in December, i 9 6 0 a n
unpublished report to which this study is often indebted. However, in comparison
with the full list, the Matthaean traits are insignificant. M t . leads in only 9 out of 33
instances. I n 6 o f these 9 (ot Se ,

, + participle, ) there are so many M a r k a n instances that the trait cannot be considered typically Matthaean. In two, indeed, there
are minor peculiarities which distinguish the M a r k a n from the Matthaean usage,
and the longer text has M a r k a n form (/cat , not ; before the participle). Therefore, as truly Matthaean traits we have only the sentence structure
/cat + participle of + verb, followed by , and initial
. O f these, however, canonical M k . uses the first 5 times and the last 1 or
2, so they are not alien to M a r k a n style. T h e only Matthaean trait found in the
longer text, but not in canonical M k . , is the use of to introduce .
Since M k . 5 times uses to introduce other verbs, and once uses
of a petitioner coming to Jesus, it is not improbable that a M a r k a n text should have
combined these constructions. T h a t the longer text is M a r k a n rather than Matthaean
even in this detail is suggested by the fact that in it governs the accusative,
as it does in M k . 5.6, but never in Mt.'s 13 uses except once, when he is quoting the
O T . This argument is not conclusive, because the accusative in the longer text, and
also in M k . 5.6, m a y be corrupt. However, against the one Matthaean trait of
+ must be set the list of non-Matthaean traits ( ,
, ,

, ,

+ inf.,

initial, of Jesus' followers, ), most of which are typically


Markan. In Hawkins' list of expressions characteristic of M t . (Horae 4fr) there are
27 of which one example each appears in canonical M k . ; it should be expected,
therefore, that a longer text of M k . would contain additional examples of such
isolated M a r k a n usages of expressions common in M t .
T h e letter's occasional contacts with John are clearly insignificant for the question
of its style (as opposed to content). and are determined
by content and have no stylistic peculiarity; , while more frequent in Jn., is
also found in canonical M k . and is ordinary Greek. Those w h o would see in such
occasional parallels proofs of dependence should look at section I V of Appendix G ,
where it appears that of M k . 5.1 has 3 parallels in Jn., none elsew h e r e ; so does

o f M k . 5 . 2 ; in M k . 5.3 has 5 p a r a l l e l s

in Jn., in M t . , and none elsewhere; in M k . 5.7 has a verbatim parallel


only in Jn. 2.4. Y e t no one would take these as proof that M a r k used Jn. or John,
M k . See also the Johannine parallels to the material from M t . 9, in section V of
A p p e n d i x G , and the remarks above in the commentary on 111.15.
Finally, it has not seemed worthwhile to undertake a detailed comparison between
the quotations from the longer text and the " a p o c r y p h a l " Gospels. O f the latter,
Thomas, being in Coptic, does not admit of close verbal comparison. T h e earliest
132

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

m a t e r i a l in G r e e k t h e fragments of Thomas, the pericope De adultera, P. Egerton 2,


the Gospel of Peter, e t c . a r e obviously m u c h m o r e r e m o t e f r o m c a n o n i c a l M k . t h a n
is the longer text. T h e r e f o r e close c o m p a r i s o n of their v o c a b u l a r i e s a n d p h r a s e o l o g y
is unnecessary.

c.

Grammar
M a n y of the g r a m m a t i c a l peculiarities of the text h a v e a l r e a d y b e e n m e n t i o n e d :

u n d e r phraseology, several types of sentence s t r u c t u r e ; u n d e r v o c a b u l a r y , the use of

w i t h the present infinitive as a substitute for the imperfect, the pleonasms

, cf.

), the use of the historical present (,

),

of

w i t h the s u b j u n c t i v e after , a n d of initial . T o these c a n be a d d e d


the use of the accusative after (unless it be a later c o r r u p t i o n of the d a t i v e
used b y the other evangelistssee the c o m m e n t a r y , I I . 2 4 ) . A l l these h a v e b e e n noted
as M a r k a n traits.
I n his p r e l i m i n a r y report, P a r k e r used the relative rarity of historical presents as
a n a r g u m e n t against assigning the longer text to the M a r k a n tradition. D i s r e g a r d i n g
verbs in subordinate clauses a n d quotations, the text has 3 historical presents (all in
formulas, ,

, ),

3 imperfects, a n d 16 aorists. A g a i n

d i s r e g a r d i n g verbs in s u b o r d i n a t e clauses a n d quotations, the story of the rich y o u n g


ruler, w i t h w h i c h the longer text is closely linked b y location a n d content, has 3
historical presents (all ),

3 imperfects, a n d 7 aorists; the p r o p h e c y of the passion,

w h i c h f o l l o w e d it a n d i m m e d i a t e l y p r e c e d e d the first q u o t a t i o n f r o m the longer text,


has no present, 4 imperfects a n d 1 aorist; the story of the sons of Z e b e d e e , w h i c h
stood b e t w e e n the t w o quotations, has 2 presents ( a n d )

and 6

aorists; M k . 10.46a, w h i c h i n t r o d u c e d the second q u o t a t i o n , has a historical present


( );

the story of B a r t i m a e u s , w h i c h f o l l o w e d the second q u o t a t i o n , has 1

historical present (), 4 imperfects, a n d 7 aorists. I t a p p e a r s t h a t in this section


of his G o s p e l M a r k w a s using historical presents almost exclusively in formulas
,

(,

etc.) a n d using the i m p e r f e c t a n d aorist " c o r r e c t l y " in the b o d y of his

narratives. T h a t is j u s t w h a t w e find in the q u o t a t i o n s f r o m the longer text a n d is


also characteristic of most passages of M k . ; see the study of Z e r w i c k , Untersuchungen
49fr. It m a y be, h o w e v e r , t h a t the small n u m b e r of historical presents argues against
the supposition t h a t the longer text w a s a deliberate i m i t a t i o n of M k . , for the freq u e n c y of historical presents in m a n y sections of M k . is j u s t the sort o f t h i n g a t o n c e
o b v i o u s a n d e a s y w h i c h a n i m i t a t o r w o u l d affect. T h a t in this respect the quotations
should a c c o r d w i t h the sections of M k . a d j a c e n t to t h e m , a n d n o t w i t h the p o p u l a r
notion of M k . ' s style, suggests they w e r e not imitations b u t p r o d u c t s of the same
tradition.
A s other g r a m m a t i c a l peculiarites of the longer text m a y be m e n t i o n e d three
Semfitisms: the use o f for s in I I . 2 3 , f o u n d in M k . , b u t most f r e q u e n t in M t . a n d
r e c k o n e d b y H a w k i n s (Horae 5 a n d 30) as a M a t t h a e a n t r a i t ; r e d u n d a n t in
II.23

an

d I I I . 1 5 , almost e v e n l y distributed t h r o u g h the synoptics; r e d u n d a n t

in I I I . 10, w h i c h H a w k i n s (16) considered a L u c a n trait, t h o u g h there are 5 or 6

133

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

instances in M k . O n all these see the c o m m e n t a r y , ad locc. T h i s f r e q u e n c y of Semitisms


in the longer text m i g h t be a sign either of early material or of late i m i t a t i o n
Semitisms c a t c h the eye a n d a r e easy to c o p y .
Less conspicuous are a n u m b e r of g r a m m a t i c a l details noted b y T u r n e r , Usage, as
M a r k a n traits: ( ) T h e f r e q u e n c y of parenthetical e x p l a n a t o r y clauses, especially of
clauses like those in the longer text, 1 1 1 . 6
',

a n d I l l . g f

etc. (26.145) ( 2 ) T h e use of the p l u r a l , usually of ', to

denote the m o v e m e n t s of Jesus w i t h his disciples a n d the c r o w d (26.225). ( T h e later


synoptists a n d M S tradition, c o n c e n t r a t i n g o n the M a s t e r , r e g u l a r l y r e p l a c e this
w i t h the singular.) T h e r e are 3 e x a m p l e s in the longer text, I I . 2 3 ,
,

I I I . 6 .

III.5

(3) T h e use of the singular, referring to m o v e m e n t s o f

Jesus, i m m e d i a t e l y followed b y a reference to the disciples or the c r o w d (the reference


is usually e l i m i n a t e d b y the later t r a d i t i o n 2 6 . 2 3 1 ) . O f this the longer text as it
stands does not p r o v i d e a n e x a m p l e , b u t the conclusion of the first q u o t a t i o n , I I I . 11
, w a s i m m e d i a t e l y followed b y
';

'

this is p a r a l l e l e d b y T u r n e r ' s e x a m p l e s f r o m M k . i . 3 5 f ; 2.23; 6.1. (4)

L o c a t i o n of the v e r b at the e n d of the sentence (29.352). I n the longer text, I I . 2 3


. O n this T u r n e r ' s c o m m e n t s : " I t is not suggested t h a t
these instances are t y p i c a l of M a r k in the sense t h a t this order of w o r d s is his n o r m a l
u s a g e : b u t they are not inconsiderable in n u m b e r " (29.355). K i l p a t r i c k , Mission

I49f,

f o u n d t h a t " f o r M k . 13, the n o r m a l position for the v e r b is the initial o n e , " b u t he


reports a c o u n t of verbs in five pages of M k . w h i c h y i e l d e d 40 initial, 66 m e d i a l , 24
terminal. I n M k . 1 0 . 1 7 - 5 2 ^ - t h e i m m e d i a t e c o n t e x t of the quotations f r o m the longer
t e x t 5 2 verbs in i n d e p e n d e n t clauses are p r e c e d e d b y expressed subjects or objects,
18 h a v e no expressed subject or object, a n d 23 are f o l l o w e d b y expressed subjects
or objects (these figures do n o t i n c l u d e the O T q u o t a t i o n in verse 19). E v i d e n t l y
M k . ' s usage in this respect differs greatly f r o m one pericope to another. See further
Z e r w i c k , Untersuchungen 75fr, w h o s e careful critique of T u r n e r leads h i m to c o n c l u d e
t h a t in this question it is not possible to d e t e r m i n e a n y characteristically

Markan

practice.
T h i s concludes o u r survey of the e v i d e n c e f r o m v o c a b u l a r y , p h r a s e o l o g y ,

and

g r a m m a r . I think it has s h o w n that the longer text is related to c a n o n i c a l M k . not


o n l y b y a few conspicuous parallels, b u t also b y a m u l t i t u d e of small details w h i c h
are m o r e like the details of M k . t h a n of a n y other evangelist. T h e v o c a b u l a r y shows
a distribution of M a r k a n a n d n o n - M a r k a n w o r d s almost identical w i t h t h a t in a n
a d j a c e n t section of e q u a l length f r o m c a n o n i c a l M k . M o r e t h a n a third of the w o r d s
listed are themselves characteristically M a r k a n or a p p e a r in characteristically M a r k a n
constructions. T h e p h r a s e o l o g y is y e t m o r e clearly M a r k a n : 18 items most f r e q u e n t
in M k . , 9 in M t . , 4 in L k . , a n d 2 in J n . a n d these gross figures require modifications
w h i c h incline the b a l a n c e even further to the M a r k a n side. T h e g r a m m a r t h r o u g h o u t
a c c o r d s w i t h M a r k a n usage a n d shows h a l f a d o z e n t y p i c a l l y M a r k a n constructions.
A b o v e all, there is n o t h i n g in the text (except the terminal interpolation) w h i c h on
stylistic grounds requires us to suppose k n o w l e d g e of a n y Gospel save M k . T h e text

134

THE SECRET GOSPEL

could not have been written by anyone who was not familiar with the tradition
represented in Mk., b u t someone familiar with the M a r k a n tradition could have
written itso far as the style is concernedwithout knowing M t . , Lk., or J n . This, I
think, is as far as the stylistic evidence will take us. Accordingly, we now t u r n to the
m a j o r parallels.
3.

T H E M A J O R P A R A L L E L S TO T H E C A N O N I C A L

GOSPELS

T h e m a j o r parallels differ from those already discussed either by size, being so


long t h a t it is difficult to explain t h e m as chance collections of cliches, or by peculiarity of content, containing some unusual element which requires explanation. Since
these distinctions are matters of degree, there will be differences of opinion as to
which parallels should be discussed here.
T o begin with, there are those parallels to the western text which seemed evidence
for its dependence on the longer text of M k . : (II.23),
( I I . 2 5 ) , " ' fj (III.45)) a n d
possibly ( I I I . 4 ) a n d

(III.7). If these are evidence of the influence of the longer text of


Mk., they throw no light on its origin, save to locate it before t h a t of the western text
(in other words, before 150 ?) a n d p r o b a b l y in the same area where the western text
arose (Egypt?).
Next there are the similar (but reverse) cases where the present text of Clement's
quotations seems to have been corrupted by the influence of the texts of the canonical
Gospels: in I I I . 6 is the most likely example, . . . in I I I . 1 - 2 m a y be a n o t h e r , b u t

is a cliche a n d the rest of the parallel is so fixed by content (and appears so late a n d
so sparsely in the history of the canonical text) that no confidence as to the origin
of the parallelism can be justified. I n any event, such corruptions from the texts of
the canonical Gospels are similar to those found in Clement's quotations from canonical Mk., as shown in A p p e n d i x F, a n d therefore yield no evidence as to the origin
of the longer text, into which they were p r o b a b l y introduced by Clement himself
or some later copyist (see above, section I I . A , end).
Elimination of these leaves the following:
II.25
III.4
111.5-6
III.8
III.10

>

* (2 in M k . , 2 in L k . , 4 in M t . )
( M k . 10.21)
rat ' ( M k . 9.2)
( M k . 4 - 5 1 )
( M k . 4 1 )

III.15

(4 i n J n . )

T o these m i g h t be a d d e d I I I . 3 - 4 ( M k . .31)
a n d ( M k . 16.8), b u t t h e parallels to these a r e o n l y

approximate, that to the former is f o u n d only in p a r t of the textual tradition (XBL,

135

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

etc.), a n d all the elements of both are cliches, except for a n d ,


which are determined by content; accordingly these are not of the same class as the
six l i s t e d a b o v e . O f t h o s e six,

a n d V 6 p r o b a b l y were fixed phrases of early Christian tradition.


( T h a t the third did not come from J o h n is indicated both by the general absence of
J o h a n n i n e traits f r o m the longer text a n d by the fact t h a t the form in the longer text
preserves a Semitism, , which the J o h a n n i n e form has eliminated.) T h e a p p e a r ance of these fixed phrases in the longer text is no more evidence of imitation t h a n it
is of o r i g i n a l i t y . B u t t h e o t h e r t h r e e ,

'

, a n d , are phrases of M a r k a n narrative a n d their


recurrence requires special explanations.
Explanations are suggested both by M a r k ' s practice of self-repetition a n d by
repetitions of M a r k a n material in the earliest of the expanded texts of M k . which are
still preserved (that is, in M t . a n d Lk.). As shown above, M a r k frequently repeats
individual words, narrative phrases, a n d basic sentence patterns. H e also tells stories
so m u c h alike that they are generally thought different accounts of the same event
(the feedings, the prophecies of the passion), b u t in these different accounts he does
not usually duplicate exactly m u c h of the wording. H e often tells several stories of the
same type a n d w h e n he does so he is apt to use the same phrases for similar situations
(see above, on a n d ). Within individual stories
he is fond of repeating phrases or even clauses ( 2 . 5 , 9 , 1 1 , 1 2 , 1 5 , 1 6 , etc.; note in A p pendix G, section I V , the parallels to M k . 5 from M k . 5 a n d 6 ) . Finally, in different
stories he will repeat striking phrases or entire sayings to indicate some connection
b e t w e e n t h e d i f f e r e n t e v e n t s : M k . i ^ i i || 9 . 7

. . .

a t baptism a n d transfiguration; 1.24 | | 5 . 7 , , the demons' confession; 4-9 II 4 2 3 II


, , to indicate that something has
b e e n w i t h h e l d ; 5 . 3 1 I I 10.52
. . . /;
. . . ;

6 . 1 5 | | 8 . 2 8 '

92 || 14-33

(cf. 5-37) > 9 - 3 5 II .44

'

; 5 - 4 3 II 8 . 3 6

. . . . . . '

. . .

. . .

. . .

I n most of these the M S tradition shows a tendency to eliminate differences between


the parallels. A similar tendency m a y be supposed to have been at work in the transmission of the letter's quotations from the longer text. [However, as H . K . observes,
the longer text was not copied so often as the canonical text a n d was not subject to
the same theological, liturgical, a n d political pressures. I t was therefore less exposed
to contamination.]
O f these sorts of M a r k a n repetition, the last is closest to w h a t appears in

a n d

P a r t i c u l a r l y close t o t h e

latter is M a r k ' s repetition of a n O T formula in order to identify the Baptist as Elijah


without stating the identification directly: M k . 1.6 . . .

I I K g S . 1.8

.2 If the

phrase be a formula connected with baptism (a question to

2. The omission of the Markan phrase by Dit. does not seem to me to warrant the conclusion that
it is an interpolation.

136

THE SECRET GOSPEL

b e discussed hereafter, in the section o n content), then this m e t h o d o f i d e n t i f y i n g the


t w o y o u t h s b y their c l o t h i n g as baptizandi,

w i t h o u t stating the fact directly, is in

M a r k ' s m a n n e r . So w o u l d b e the repetition of the t e m p o r a l specification ' -


, to e q u a t e the secret r e v e l a t i o n g i v e n b y the transfiguration w i t h the t e a c h i n g of
the m y s t e r y o f the k i n g d o m of G o d ( M k . 9 . 2 f r || I I I . 7 - 1 0 ) ; b u t h e r e the parallelism
m a y be d u e to some S a b b a t a r i a n interest. S u c h repetitions b o t h presuppose a n d e x p e c t
exegesis of the sort k n o w n in the Hellenistic w o r l d as

' a n d in the

m i d r a s h i m as gezerah shawah (on w h i c h see L i e b e r m a n , Hellenism 58fr), a t e c h n i q u e


w h i c h takes e v e n m i n o r identites of w o r d i n g as indications of relations b e t w e e n the
c o n t e n t of the passages c o n c e r n e d . S u c h use of repetition in M k . is therefore i m p o r t a n t
as a n i n d i c a t i o n that the G o s p e l w a s e x p e c t e d to be a text for t e a c h i n g a n d t h a t (as
C l e m e n t said in his letter, 1.25) some t h i n g s i n this case, the significance o f the
r e p e t i t i o n s w e r e deliberately left to b e e x p l a i n e d b y the teacher.
O n the other h a n d , the repetition o f

remains some-

w h a t p e c u l i a r , because the a c t i o n is a t t r i b u t e d in M k . 10.21 to Jesus a n d in the l o n g e r


text to the y o u t h in the t o m b , w h e r e a s , of the a b o v e e x a m p l e s of M a r k a n selfrepetition, all a r e a t t r i b u t e d to the s a m e person e x c e p t that in 6 . 1 5 (to the people) ||
8 . 2 8 (to the d i s c i p l e s w h o , h o w e v e r , a r e r e p o r t i n g w h a t the p e o p l e say). H e r e the
relation b e t w e e n M k . a n d the longer text is m o r e like t h a t b e t w e e n M k . a n d the
later synoptics, f r o m w h i c h H a w k i n s m a d e a l a r g e collection of such " w o r d s differently a p p l i e d " (Horae 67fr; cf. D o d d , Historical

Tradition 3 3 1 ) w h i c h he considered

e v i d e n c e for oral, as against written, tradition. O f his e x a m p l e s , the closest is the


p a r a l l e l of M k . 1 0 . 2 1 , w h e r e Jesus says to the rich m a n ( w h o m he loved) ev ae ,
w i t h M t . 1 9 . 2 0 , w h e r e the same m a n asks Jesus ;

( t h o u g h here the c h a n g e

is p r o b a b l y d u e to d e l i b e r a t e correction rather t h a n oral tradition). I n A c t s w e find


stories, a l r e a d y told a b o u t Jesus in the Gospels, retold a b o u t Peter (Acts 9.33fr || M k .
2 . 3 f r ; 9 . 3 6 f r II M k . 5 . 2 1 f r ) , a n d e v e n o n e o f Jesus' m i r a c u l o u s c o m m a n d s p u t in the
m o u t h of P e t e r ( M k . 5 . 4 1 || A c t s 9-4) T h u s the c h a n g e
o f speaker in the repetition of

suggests a relation b e -

t w e e n M k . a n d the l o n g e r text similar to t h a t b e t w e e n M k . a n d M t . or A c t s . O n


the other h a n d , the use o f

recalls J o h n , for in J n . Jesus' love o f in-

d i v i d u a l s a n d theirs of h i m is often m e n t i o n e d ; b u t in the synoptics, a l t h o u g h

is c o m m o n , o n l y 4 of its 2 7 uses refer to specific persons a n d o n l y 2 o f these m a y


refer to Jesus ( M k . 1 0 . 2 1 a n d perhaps L k . 7.47). H o w e v e r , neither the parallel to J n .
n o r that to the relationship b e t w e e n M k . a n d the later synoptics a n d A c t s c a n b e
considered decisive. W e must l e a v e the p r o b l e m o p e n for the present, r e m a r k i n g o n l y
t h a t , since is used o f Jesus' personal relations in the synoptics, the usage c a n not c o n f i d e n t l y b e a t t r i b u t e d to J o h a n n i n e influence. M o r e o v e r , as r e m a r k e d a b o v e ,
the

f o r m u l a is a c o m m o n M a r k a n i n t r o d u c t i o n . H o w m u c h t h e o r y c a n

safely be b u i l t o n its r e c u r r e n c e w i t h the t w o w o r d s

I n sum, then, the m a j o r parallels b e t w e e n the longer text a n d c a n o n i c a l

Mk.

seem mostly d u e to textual c o n t a m i n a t i o n , either o f the western text of M k . b y the


i n f l u e n c e o f the longer text ( 5 possible instances) or of the longer text b y the i n f l u e n c e
o f L k . a n d p e r h a p s M t . ( 2 possible instances). O f the 6 r e m a i n i n g m a j o r parallels,

137

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

4 (vie AalS /Lie, , 6 ,


and ) are probably phrases fixed in the usage of
certain early Christian circles. Their repetition by the original author is no less likely
than their use by an imitator; indeed, it can fairly be said that the repetition of such
fixed phrases is a M a r k a n trait. O n the other hand, ' - is probably derived
from a recurrent theological pattern and remains a
problem. Thus the evidence from the major parallels confirms that from the minor
stylistic traits: it points almost always to Mk. as the source of the material, shows no
strong reason to suppose knowledge of any other Gospel, and leaves the alternatives
still openeither a free composition by the same school of tradition which produced
canonical Mk., or an early imitation of material now found in the canonical Gospel.
Again, too, the evidence slightlybut not decisivelyinclines to the side of early
imitation.

THE FREQUENCY

OF PARALLELS TO T H E

CANONICAL

GOSPELS

It remains to consider the frequency of parallels and their distribution in the material. This is an important question, for one of the commonest results of imitation is
a product too much like the genuine article. Thus, among the strongest reasons for
thinking the Epistle to the Ephesians a forgery are the facts that it parallels Colossians
far more closely a n d in different places than any undoubtedly Pauline epistle parallels
any other. Cognate questions are raised by the other cases of N T parallelism: the
relationship of J u d e to I I Peter, of the transfiguration in I I Peter and the last supper
in I Cor. to those in the Gospels, and so on. These, together with the synoptics and
their parallelism to J n . have provided evidence for many different hypotheses. T h e
hypothesis of deliberate imitation can appeal to the example of Ephesians a n d the
clumsier Pastorals; M t . and Lk. show several more or less faithful sorts of copying
combined with omission of occasional passages and addition of material apparently
from other traditions (though Parker, Gospel, has made a strong case for a close
relationship of some of the Matthaean material to the tradition which produced M k . ) ;
J n . was variously interpreted as reworking of synoptic material or independent development of cognate traditions until Dodd, Historical Tradition, practically settled
the question in favor of independent development. Reworking is seen again in I I
Peter's use of J u d e , a n d independent development in the various stories of the transfiguration and last supper.
T o choose between these hypothesesand others also possibleit is necessary to
determine the frequency, type, and distribution of the parallels between the longer
text of Mk. and the canonical Gospels, a n d to compare these with the frequency,
type, and distribution of the parallels between a similar passage of canonical Mk.
and the canonical Gospels. Evidence on these points is given in Appendix G.
Unfortunately, Mk. does not afford an exact parallel even for the miracle story
138

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

in the l o n g e r text. M a r k a n m i r a c l e stories are of several kinds, b u t none, in p o i n t


o f style, is e x a c t l y similar. M i r a c l e s told in c o n n e c t i o n w i t h stories o f legal a r g u m e n t s
or o f sayings are o b v i o u s l y irrelevant here, as a r e miracles of w h i c h Jesus is himself
the subject (baptism, transfiguration) a n d miracles told o n l y g e n e r a l l y , in s u m m a r y
a c c o u n t s of Jesus' w o r k . T h e r e s t t h e true m i r a c l e storiesfall into t w o g r o u p s
distinguished b y their style. T h o s e of the one g r o u p are told verbosely, w i t h m u c h
realistic detail, repetition of phrases, a n d so o n ; those of the other, briefly, almost in
outline, w i t h little m o r e t h a n the necessary d a t a - o c c a s i o n , parties c o n c e r n e d , trouble,
a n d m e a n s of relief (Dibelius, Structure 1 5 8 - 1 6 3 ; D o d d , Appearances 9 - 1 0 ) .
O f the first of these t w o groups, the story of the G e r a s e n e d e m o n i a c has b e e n
chosen for c o m p a r i s o n w i t h the longer text because o f the m a n y similarities b e t w e e n
the t w o s i m i l a r i t i e s p o i n t e d out in Parker's p r e l i m i n a r y report. O f the second g r o u p
the story of Peter's wife's m o t h e r has b e e n chosen, also because o f its p a r a l l e l s : 4 k . . .

els . . . . . .

as

.
C o m p a r i s o n o f the w a y s in w h i c h these t w o stories a r e p a r a l l e l e d b y the rest o f the
m a t e r i a l in the Gospels w i t h the w a y s in w h i c h the longer text is so p a r a l l e l e d r e v e a l s :
(1) T h e r e are m o r e parallels to the longer text t h a n to the c a n o n i c a l texts. (2) C o n versely, the l o n g e r text has less of the p e c u l i a r details w h i c h i n d i v i d u a l i z e the c a n o n i c a l
stories. (3) T h e elements p a r a l l e l e d in the longer text are usually longer a n d m o r e
significant; m a n y of the parallels to the c a n o n i c a l text are little m o r e t h a n elements
of v o c a b u l a r y ( w i t h infinitive, , , etc.), w h i l e in the l o n g e r
text w h o l e phrases are paralleled. (4) I n the c a n o n i c a l texts the parallels are c h i e f l y
to transitional formulas, elements o f f r a m e w o r k at the b e g i n n i n g s a n d ends, t e c h n i c a l
phrases ( ,

the f o r m u l a for exorcism, etc.), a n d a n occasional

s a y i n g like , ,

fixed

w h i c h e v i d e n t l y c i r c u l a t e d in the tradition since

variants of it t u r n u p in various stories. I n the longer text n o t o n l y the transitional


formulas a n d f r a m e w o r k , b u t also the m a i n narrative elements are mostly p a r a l l e l e d ;
the parallels c o n t i n u e

throughout

the stories, a n d

length of the p a r a l l e l e d t e c h n i c a l expressions a n d

the n u m b e r a n d
fixed

sayings is

individual

conspicuously

higher.
T h e s e differences must not b e e x a g g e r a t e d . C a n o n i c a l M k . sometimes does, briefly,
parallel itself v e r y closely. C o n s i d e r , for instance, M k . 8 . 2 2 - 2 4 :

els ,
, , ei ",

. H e r e the u n d e r l i n e d w o r d s

a r e p a r a l l e l e d (solid, v e r b a t i m ; dotted, a p p r o x i m a t e l y ) in M k . 7 . 3 2 - 3 4 , the c u r e


o f the d e a f m u t e . Nevertheless, e v e n in these stories there a r e p e c u l i a r
the m e n as trees w a l k i n g , the use of which

details

i n d i v i d u a l i z e the episode, as

the cure of Peter's wife's m o t h e r is i n d i v i d u a l i z e d b y the specification of the parties


c o n c e r n e d . I n the m o r e verbose M a r k a n stories, like t h a t of the G e r a s e n e d e m o n i a c ,
such p e c u l i a r material is conspicuous. ( T h e r e f o r e o n l y the first sixteen verses o f
t h a t story h a v e been presented in A p p e n d i x G ; t h e y suffice to show the difference.)

139

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

T h e lifelike details a n d realistic verbosity of M a r k a n narrative are c o m m o n l y supposed to be primitive traits, and primitive they certainly are vis--vis M t . and L k . ,
w h o frequently eliminated them. It is not sure, however, that they were primitive
in relation to oral tradition. T h e i r realistic details can no longer be taken as evidence
of eyewitness tradition and are suspiciously like the developments in later apocryphal
Gospels (Nineham, Eyewitness 22). Dibelius, Structure 161, 165^ has maintained on
literary grounds that the full M a r k a n miracle stories are secondary expansions of
earlier, brief ones. [In this he m a y be mistaken, H . K . remarks; it is possible that the
full a n d the schematic stories represent equally old traditions from different circles
of narrators.] H o w e v e r , if Dibelius were right, w e should expect that the formulas of
the earlier, schematic accounts w o u l d turn u p again and again in the framework of
the later expansions. N o w , as already noted, it is the framework of the M a r k a n stories
for w h i c h there is a plethora of parallels, like that found for the longer text. A c c o r d ingly, the multiple parallels to the longer text can be explained in at least two w a y s :
either this is material earlier than canonical M k . , simpler a n d more s c h e m a t i c
perhaps a text connected with some important ritual and therefore widely echoed;
or this is later than canonical M k . and shows the M a r k a n phraseology still being used,
but in formulaic fashion, as w e find it especially in M t . t h e fixed formulas are
preserved and the story is told almost entirely in these, the individualistic details
h a v i n g disappeared.
O f these two explanations the first is supported b y Clement's statement that the
longer text was used in " t h e great mysteries," a n d also by the evidence that it has
frequently influenced the western text. H o w e v e r , the second explanation is supported
by Clement's statement that the longer text was p r o d u c e d by expansion of
canonical M k . , and also by the analogy of the existing synoptic Gospels w h i c h were so
produced.
T h e analogy is particularly close for certain sections of M t . , w h i c h show the same
sort of formulaic narration, and have the same plethora of parallels, as does the
longer text of M k . M o s t conspicuous of these M a t t h a e a n passages is 9.27-34, presented in section V of A p p e n d i x G , w h i c h shows all the secondary traits pointed out
above as characteristic of the longer text: It has almost no individualizing details,
the elements paralleled are often of considerable length, the parallels are not limited
to transitional elements, but continue throughout, a n d they contain not a few fixed
sayings like , vios 8. Nevertheless, D o d d has m a d e a strong case (in
Historical Tradition i 7 o f ) for supposing 9.27-31 an original composition, independent
of its M a r k a n parallels a n d based on a variant form of oral tradition. O t h e r passages
in M t . w h i c h present similar problems are 12.22-24 a n d 2 1 . 1 4 - 1 6 . Richardson points
out the sending of the seventy in L k . 1 0 . 1 - 2 0 a striking example, but one not included in A p p e n d i x G because it draws principally on material from the sayings
tradition, whereas Clement's quotations from the longer text are entirely narrative
(though he says that the longer text also contained sayings , 1.25).
G i v e n this similarity of type between M t . 9.27-34 and the longer text of M k . ,
it is important to notice that most of the parallels to the M t . passage are found in
M t . , most of the parallels to the longer text are found in M k . T h e figures are as follows:
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THE SECRET GOSPEL

T o Mt. 9.27-34:
T o the longer text: 3

Mt. 74,
Mt. 84,

Mk. 25,
Mk. 143,

Lk. 21,
Lk. 68,

Jn. 38.
Jn. 33.

This evidence is even more impressive when the different sizes of the Gospels are recalled
(Mt. 18,300 words; Mk. 11,200; Lk. 19,400; Jn. 15,400). Given these figures there
can be no doubt of the peculiarly close relation of the longer text to the Markan
tradition.
The longer text, without the final interpolation (to which, by the way, there are
no verbatim Gospel parallels), contains 175 words, for which Appendix G shows 328
parallels. Mt. 9.27-34 contains 112 words, for which there are 158 parallels. Thus
the extent of parallelism to the longer text is substantially higher. This may be insignificant, since 99 of the parallels to the longer text are afforded by the three phrases
(27), (22), and (50), whereas Mt. 9.27-34
has only one phrase for which the figure is above the teens (Ae'yei 6 ,
42).
T h e high frequency of parallels in the longer text affords support for a special
theory of imitation which has been suggested independently by P. Benoit and R . Grant,
viz.: The longer text is. a cento produced from the texts of the canonical Gospels.
Grant supports this theory by reference to Irenaeus (Harvey, 1.1.15-20 = Stieren,
1.8.1-9.5). Irenaeus is there attacking the Valentinians. He says that, since they have
a theory which neither the prophets proclaimed nor the Lord taught nor the apostles
handed down, but which they read out of (that is, uncanonical works,
Harvey), they try to twist dominical, prophetic, or apostolic sayings to fit their teachings, so as to have some evidence for what they say, and to this end they neglect the
order and context of the scriptural passages they use and also distort them. He compares their treatment of Scripture to the breaking up of a mosaic in order to make
a different picture with the same tessarae. The examples he gives to illustrate this,
however, are examples of allegorical or esoteric exegesis of individual sayings or
passages of the canonical Scriptures and afford no evidence for the composition of
new, pseudo-Scriptural centos. However, he goes on to say (Harvey, 1.1.20, middle =
Stieren, 1.9.4): " T h e n , collecting scattered expressions and terms, they transfer them,
as we said, from the (sense they have) in reality to an unreal (sense) much as do
those who set themselves any handy themes and then try to treat them in lines from
the Homeric poems, so that less experienced readers might think Homer had composed the verses about the themes treated ex tempore." This he illustrates by an example of a Homeric cento, excusing himself by saying, " T h e r e is no reason not to
cite even such verses, since both (the composer of the cento and the Valentinians)
are attempting a similar and, indeed, identical feat." And he concludes that, as the
man acquainted with Homer will recognize the verses, but not the theme, and by
referring the verses to their proper contexts will show the theme to be spurious, thus
3. When alternate numbers of parallels to phrases in the longer text are given in Appendix G, the
lower ones have been counted, since the higher reflect readings with weaker M S support and these are
not commonly reported by Moulton-Geden, from which the numbers of parallels to the Matthaean
passage have been derived for comparison.

141

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

the true Christian " w i l l recognize the terms from the scriptures and the expressions
a n d the parables, but will not recognize this blasphemous t h e m e . " H e will acknowledge the tessarae, but not the picture w h i c h has been m a d e of them, " a n d , referring
each of the things said to its proper place and fitting it into the body of the truth, he
will expose their fiction and show it to be unsubstantial."
O n the strength of this passage, G r a n t has suggested that the longer text m a y be a
gnostic work of the sort attacked by Irenaeus. H o w e v e r , the longer text has no connection with the Valentinians, and though it was used by the Carpocratians it was
also used b y Clement's church, w h i c h is c o m m o n l y supposed to have been orthodox.
C l e m e n t expressly asserts that the Carpocratians got it from the orthodox (that is,
from his church), and nothing in the text is clearly gnostic. Therefore there is no
reason to associate the text with the Valentinian centos, unless it can be shown to
be a cento, w h i c h is the point in question. Further, the text of Irenaeus does not
precisely say that the Valentinians made centos. Irenaeus m a y have intended to give
that impression. [But in the opinion of E.B. he actually had in mind compositions
like the Q u m r a n hymns, w h i c h are full of O T echoes but are not true centos. H e
introduced the bit of cento merely to give his Greek readers the best example he
could of the sort of thing he had in mind.] A t all events he does not explicitly state
that the Valentinians m a d e centos, a n d w h a t is most i m p o r t a n t h e does not
produce and demolish any V a l e n t i n i a n cento. This suggests that either he had no
such document and was merely using the comparison as a reductio ad absurdum of
their neglect of context in exegesis, or he had a V a l e n t i n i a n Gospel w h i c h paralleled
the canonical Gospels in m a n y places and w h i c h he wished to discredit, so he charged
that it was a cento but did not give an example from it for fear of discrediting his
charge.
O n the other hand Irenaeus (Harvey I.20.2 = Stieren, 1.25.4) quotes a Carpocratian version of the counsel to be reconciled quickly with one's adversary, w h i c h
alternately parallels M t . 5.25 and L k . 12.58 in a w a y that can be interpreted as
deliberate choice of elements suited for Carpocratian exegesis (Grant-Freedman, 95).
A n d D o d d , New Gospel 24fr, has practically proved that the text on fragment 1 verso
of P. Egerton 2 is a cento of J n . 5.39,45 and 9.29. T h e cento form goes back in Greek
tradition at least to Aristophanes, Pax 1090-1094, and appears in the O T with the
psalms in Chronicles and Jonah. So the possibility that the longer text was produced
as a cento is undeniable. A n d there is no necessity of connecting the cento form with
the gnostics: Paul used it in R o m . 3 . 1 1 - 1 8 ; Tatian's Diatessaron, the most famous
example of the form, was not a gnostic w o r k ; and even M t . and L k . could be considered, loosely, as centos compiled from M k . , ) , and other sources. So the question
of form and method of composition need not be confused by introducing the question
of doctrinal affiliation.
In favor of the cento theory is the high frequency of parallelism and particularly
the frequency of the long parallels discussed above. Against it, however, are the
following facts: (1) Some elements of the longer text are not paralleled from the
canonical Gospels, w h i c h w o u l d be impossible were it a true cento of the canonical
texts. (2) T h e great majority of the parallels are brief formulas, most of them used
142

THE SECRET GOSPEL

m a n y times in the canonical Gospels a n d more likely to have been put together freely
b y an imitator than to have been picked out laboriously from here and there by the
compiler of a cento. (3) T h e text cannot be m a d e u p by drawing elements from only
two or three stories; to suppose it a cento, one must also suppose that the author
derived his scraps from practically every chapter of M k . , to say nothing of the other
G o s p e l s n o t a likely procedure, especially in antiquity, w h e n most writers, even in
citing explicitly, cited from memory. 4 (4) M a n y details in the text do not look as if
they had been produced by the compiler of a cento; see, for examples, the notes on
in I I . 2 4 ; , I I I . 3 j as , III.34, a n d
, . 6 . (5) T h e text is too well constructed and economical to be a
cento: there are no irrelevant details, every word comes naturally in its place, the
narration moves without delays or jumps. Possibly some leisured litterateur might
h a v e succeeded in piecing together such a text from the phrases available in the
canonical Gospels, but the easier explanation is to suppose it a free composition. (6)
T h e hypothesis that the text is a cento requires the supposition that someone w e n t to
great pains to imitate the style of M k . as closely as possible, since making a cento is
the most laborious, but the closest, kind of imitation. But the longer text is datable,
b y external evidence, before 125 (see above, section I of this chapter) and at this date
M k . ' s prestige was not high enough to motivate this sort of imitation. M a t t h e w a n d
Luke, in their expansions of M k . , m a d e no attempt to imitate his style. J n . and the
earlier a p o c r y p h a l gospels (Hebrews, Thomas, Egyptians, Peter) show no considerable
effort to imitate synoptic style. [E.B. remarks that almost none of the early apocryphal
Gospels are even attributed to canonical authors.] So to suppose the longer text a
cento w o u l d be to suppose it a work unparalleled and unlikely in its time. (7) Finally,
it is worth recalling the considerations w h i c h led D o d d (New Gospel 35fr), after he
had proved that one fragment of P. Egerton 2 was a cento, to conclude that the rest
was not (a conclusion he has now reasserted more strongly in Historical Tradition 328
n2). H e observed that the attempt to explain all variations of early Christian traditions as editorial rehandling of written sources h a d been discredited by form criticism,
w h i c h h a d demonstrated the oral prehistory of the written material and the possibility that variations might have arisen in the oral period. H e found evidence of the
realization of this possibility in the story of the centurion's servant in M t . a n d L k .
a n d the nobleman's son in J n . u n d o u b t e d l y the same story, yet in forms so different
that literary dependence seemed to him unlikely. In the unparalleled elements of
P. Egerton 2 he found evidence that the author was using sources other than the
canonical Gospels; he therefore concluded that the divergent forms of canonical

4. C o m p a r e the remarks of J . Pouilloux in Fondation Hardt, Entretiens sur l'antiquite classique, X,


Archiloque, Vandoeuvres-Geneve, 1963, 172f, on the use of Homeric formulas b y Archilochus and the
imitation of H o m e r by Apollonius Rhodius. Apollonius never draws on the whole of the Homeric
poems at once, but imitates one passage at a time, whereas the poems of Archilochus are m a d e u p
almost entirely of Homeric formulas and variations of Homeric formulas, but the formulas come from
all parts of the poems and no one passage is imitated. Archilochus was composing freely in the Homeric
tradition, as D. Page showed in the paper (Archilochus and the Oral Tradition, i i g f f ) which Pouilloux
was discussing. T h e longer text is related to M k . as Archilochus to Homer, not as Apollonius.

143

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

stories w h i c h P. Egerton 2 contained were p r o b a b l y also derived from noncanonical


sources. A n d he remarked in conclusion that " a s the n u m b e r of apocryphal Gospel
documents increases, it becomes less and less plausible to suppose that they all
originated in expansions of material derived from the canonical G o s p e l s " (p. 48).
These arguments D o d d has now, in Historical Tradition, greatly developed and applied
at length to the study of the Johannine problem. M u c h of his reasoning therein is
applicable, mutatis mutandis, to the present case.
If, for the reasons just given, w e reject the cento theory, w e are left with the alternative previously proposed between free imitation and independent composition in
style fixed by the M a r k a n t r a d i t i o n t h a t tradition of which, by this hypothesis,
different elements w o u l d appear in the stories of both the canonical and the longer
texts. Perhaps, however, the alternative between " i m i t a t i o n " and " c o m p o s i t i o n in
traditional s t y l e " is false. A s remarked above, at this early date " i m i t a t i o n " can
hardly have been deliberate f a k i n g M k . ' s prestige was not yet so high as to motivate
a forger. " Imitation," therefore, w o u l d have been a conscious effort to perpetuate the
style of the M a r k a n tradition to w h i c h the writer was evidently attached, to express
in the traditional phraseology the material now being written down, a n d to attach
it to already written stories by the established M a r k a n technique of repeating phrases
as cross references. But this w o u l d be practically the same thing as " c o m p o s i t i o n in
traditional style."
A similar problem is posed by the remains of early Greek oral poetry which, like
the synoptics, was largely written in fixed formulas. T h e relations of poetic compositions of this sort and the history of their gradual reduction to writing have been
elucidated by Parry (Studies), L o r d (Singer), and Notopoulos (Homer, Hymns). Parry's
formulaic analysis of the beginning of the Iliad is given at the end of A p p e n d i x G ; its
similarity to the preceding analyses of Gospel material is obvious. Notopoulos, Hymns
343-347, is particularly interesting for the question of transition from free developm e n t to exact memorization and written preservation.
5.

CONCLUSIONS FROM THE STYLISTIC

EVIDENCE

W i t h the phenomena of oral literature in m i n d , w e c a n see the literary problem


before us as that of placing the longer text in relation to the other remains of a tradition w h i c h was only gradually being fixed in writing. For this purpose, let us review
the evidence presented by the preceding stylistic study: (1) T h e longer text contains
nothing w h i c h M a r k could not have w r i t t e n n o t h i n g incompatible with the canonical
Gospel or without analogy t h e r e e x c e p t for the final clause of the second quotation,
a clause w h i c h seems a later addition. (2) Its v o c a b u l a r y is largely n e u t r a l m a d e u p
of words used b y all the evangelistsbut insofar as it inclines toward the v o c a b u l a r y
of any of the Gospels it is M a r k a n (29 words in a list of 82). (3) Its phraseology is
predominantly M a r k a n (18 items out of a list of 33, in w h i c h 9 of the remaining 15
are neutral). (4) Its grammatical peculiarities, in relation to Gospel usage, are few
and mostly M a r k a n . (5) It is connected with the canonical text of M k . b y 6 m a j o r
parallels, of w h i c h 4 are peculiar to M k . O n the contrary, of the m a j o r parallels w h i c h
m i g h t seem to connect it with other Gospels, none affords convincing evidence. (6)
144

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

It has far more parallels to M k . than to any other Gospel. (7) I t contains nothing
w h i c h necessitates a supposition that the author knew a n y canonical Gospel other
than M k . O n the other h a n d : (8) It uses only 3 n o n - M a r k a n words, whereas an
equally long section of canonical M k . might be expected to use 10 (though the
section actually tested used only 4). (9) It contains more M a r k a n clauses found in
other sections of M k . than w o u l d an equally long section of canonical M k . (10)
Besides these long clauses, it has m a n y more minor parallels to phrases of the canonical
Gospels than w o u l d an equal section of canonical M k . , and these parallels are individually longer and are distributed more evenly throughout the text than they
w o u l d be in a section of canonical M k . (11) In these last three characteristics (8, 9,
a n d 10) it resembles M t . , and particularly M t . 9.27-34. (12) But there are a few small
pieces of evidence (commentary on , II.24, on iae,
I I I . a n d on eVet, I I I . 15) w h i c h s u g g e s t b u t do not suffice to p r o v e t h a t
it was k n o w n to M t .
O f the points above, 8 - 1 1 all are aspects of one essential fact, the plethora of
parallelism. T h i s has been said to a d m i t of two explanationseither that the piece
was early a n d widely imitated, or that it was late and highly imitative. Point 11,
the similarity to M t . , is prima facie evidence for a late date; point 12, the evidence
suggesting it was known to M t . , for an early one. Both possibilities remain open,
though the later date has the strong support of the tradition reported by C l e m e n t
that the longer text was an e x p a n s i o n a n d the analogy to the other synoptics. T h e
longer text w o u l d then be a n expansion of M k . by addition of further material from
the M a r k a n tradition, as M t . and L k . were expansions of M k . by addition of further
material from the Q_ tradition and other traditions accessible to their respective
editors.
As for the date of the longer text: there seems to be no stylistic evidence indicating
a n y date later than that of M t . A date somewhere between canonical M k . and M t . is
suggested not only by the evidence for M t . ' s use of it, but also by the consideration
that an expansion of M k . with material from the M a r k a n tradition might be expected
to have preceded expansions with alien material. But this consideration has little
more than rhetorical plausibility to recommend it. A m u c h stronger reason for an
early date is the absence of any clear evidence of knowledge of any Gospel save M k .
M t . and L k . seem to h a v e eclipsed M k . early (to j u d g e from the indices locorum of the
apostolic fathers and the apologists), so it is unlikely that an author writing long after
their composition should have d r a w n chiefly on M k . , and it is almost incredible that,
had he k n o w n M t . and L k . , he should not have left in his phraseology m a n y unmistakable traces of his knowledge. But the only strong argument for supposing knowledge of L k . (apart from the terminal interpolation) is , and its isolation
makes it easier to explain as a corruption of the text than as an original element.
(If original, w h y isolated ?) T h e r e is no strong argument for supposing knowledge of
M t . Nor is there any valid stylistic evidence to indicate knowledge of J n . (and it
will be shown below that the similarities of content do not indicate such knowledge).
Finally, to this stylistic study of the longer text must be a d d e d the statement that
the above conclusions are b y no means conclusive. T h e quoted fragments are so

145

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

short t h a t it w o u l d be f o o l h a r d y to take t h e m as fairly representative of the lost m a t e rial, or to b u i l d on the stylistic d a t a w h i c h they a f f o r d a n y considerable theory.
M e t z g e r , Reconsideration, a n d C a d b u r y , Dilemma,

h a v e a r g u e d t h a t the

evidence

a f f o r d e d b y the P a u l i n e corpus is i n a d e q u a t e to settle the p r o b l e m of the a u t h e n t i c i t y


of Ephesians. A f o r t i o r i . . . . P e r h a p s even m o r e in p o i n t is the case o f the pericope
adulterae, o f w h i c h C a d b u r y ' s discussion (Case) leads to results so pertinent for the present investigation that I s u m m a r i z e the article h e r e : L k . " h a s the most distinctive
v o c a b u l a r y of a n y N e w T e s t a m e n t writer, a n d a style so i n d i v i d u a l as to b e recogn i z a b l e in n e a r l y e v e r y v e r s e . " A n d in th pericope adulterae " t h e r e a r e a few u n q u e s tioned words that a r e really characteristic of L u k e , " as ,
,

Se, ( = w h e n ) . A n d besides these there are a n u m b e r of L u c a n

expressions attested b y some, b u t not all, M S S , a n d of expressions t h o u g h t to b e


L u c a n , b u t perhaps limited to L u k e - A c t s b y m e r e a c c i d e n t . E r g o , " i t c a n safely be
a f f i r m e d that the passage in its oldest f o r m c o n t a i n e d as m u c h distinctively L u c a n
l a n g u a g e as the a v e r a g e passage of e q u a l b r e v i t y a n d simplicity in L u k e ' s a c k n o w l e d g e d w o r k s . " H o w e v e r , the best M S S o m i t the passage altogether, a n d w h e n it is
f o u n d it is almost a l w a y s located in J n . 8 or at the e n d of J n . T h e F e r r a r g r o u p a l o n e
places it after L k . 21.38. T h e r e f o r e : " E i t h e r (1) the pericope adulterae is a n o r i g i n a l
p a r t of L u k e ' s G o s p e l a n d was o m i t t e d w i t h o u t l e a v i n g a n y a p p r e c i a b l e trace in the
M S tradition of that G o s p e l , or (2) it is w r i t t e n b y a n o t h e r t h a n the third evangelist
in a style that c o m p l e t e l y m a t c h e s his o w n . . . I f the first solution is the correct one,
then w e must believe that in spite of their a g e , m u l t i p l i c i t y a n d a g r e e m e n t , our
authorities for the N e w T e s t a m e n t text do not p r e c l u d e such r a d i c a l d i v e r g e n c e f r o m
the a u t o g r a p h s as the c o m p l e t e omission of a considerable section f r o m one of the
f o u r G o s p e l s . . . H e r e , . . . w e should h a v e a

flagrant

case of p r i m i t i v e t a m p e r i n g ,

for the omission c o u l d o n l y be intentional . . . If, on the other h a n d , the passage is


not f r o m the p e n of the auctor ad Theophilum, then some one . . . w r o t e a style t h a t is
indistinguishable f r o m the most distinctive of N e w T e s t a m e n t styles. I n this case
style proves to be a most unreliable criterion, a n d all critical a r g u m e n t s d r a w n f r o m
identity of s t y l e s u c h as the c o m m o n a u t h o r s h i p o f J o h n a n d I J o h n , o f L u k e a n d
A c t s , of the P a u l i n e letters, a n d e v e n of the separate parts of a single w o r k l o s e some
of their w e i g h t . "
S i n c e stylistic a r g u m e n t s a r e thus inconclusive, w e t u r n to questions of content.

III.

STRUCTURAL

RELATIONS TO SECTIONS OF

CANONICAL

A.

THE

GOSPELS

Other miracle stories of the same type

I n discussing the v e r b a l parallels to the longer text w e h a v e a l r e a d y m e n t i o n e d its


similarity in c o n t e n t to the stories of the G e r a s e n e d e m o n i a c a n d of Peter's wife's
m o t h e r . Parker, in his p r e l i m i n a r y report, called p a r t i c u l a r attention to the f o r m e r
a n d p o i n t e d o u t a series of details in w h i c h it resembled the story in the longer text.
146

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

T o estimate the significance of these similarities, we must consider the extent to


which the stories in the canonical Gospels are also similar to each other. Fortunately,
not all of the stories need be considered, since the resurrection reported in the longer
text belongs to a readily recognizable classthat of miracles performed in response
to intercession.
O n e of the historical traits of the Gospels is their account of the revelation of divine
power in Jesus as spatially limited; later legend m a y represent it as bursting on distant
strangers (the shepherds, the magi) or producing a general resurrection of the
deserving dead (Mt. 2 7 . 5 2 ) ; but in the stories which approach historicity, miracles
happen when the patients are somehow brought to Jesus' attention or touch his person. Therefore either the patient must bring himself to Jesus' person or attention, or
an intercessor must act on his behalf. Accordingly, most of the miracle stories fall
into these two classes (the chief exceptions being miracles in which Jesus himself is the
patientthe baptism, transfiguration, resurrection, etc.). T h e class of miracles in
response to intercession comprises the following stories and their parallels: M k . 1.30fr
(Peter's wife's mother); 4-35ff (stilling the storm); 5 . 2 2 f r (Jairus' daughter); 7 . 2 5 f r
(the Syrophoenician's daughter); 9 . 1 4 f f (the demoniac b o y ) ; Lk. 7 . 2 f r (the centurion's
slave); Jn. 2 . i f f (the miracle at C a n a ) ; 4 . 4 6 f r (the nobleman's son); 1 i . i f f (Lazarus).
T h e intercession m a y be more or less explicit: Jn. 2 . i f f is a borderline case; also
marginal are Lk. 7 . i 8 f T ; M k . 6 . 3 5 f r c o n t r a s t 8 . i f f and Jn. 6 . 5 f r a n d M k . 9 . i f f .
A l l these stories necessarily follow a single basic pattern: situation, intercession,
response, miracle. T h e pattern is found elsewhere, t o o w i t h M k . 7.25fr and 9.14fr
cf. Philostratus, Vita Apollonii III.38. It is obviously useful for resurrections of the
dead, though not necessaryone corpse came to meet Jesus (Lk. 7 . 1 1 f r ) as another
met Apollonius (IV.45). Accordingly, among the nine stories listed above there are
two resurrections (Jairus' daughter, Lazarus) and two hairbreadth escapes (the centurion's slave, the nobleman's son). Most of these stories begin with the intercessor's
coming to Jesus, and in three of them the intercessor is a woman (the Syrophoenician,
the miracle at Cana, Lazarus). Often, moreover, the similarities go far beyond these
basic structural elements. For instance, consider the parallels between the M a r k a n
story of Jairus' daughter and the Johannine story of Lazarus:
T h e patient is not dead, at first, but only sick.
The intercessors arrive and beseech Jesus.
Jesus' coming is delayed; the patient meanwhile dies.
Jesus declares the dead asleep but is misunderstood.
H e reassures the relatives and demands that they believe.
The intercessor falls at his feet.
H e sees the mourners weeping and is angry or puts them out.
T h e mourners do not believe he will be able to raise the dead.
He then goes to the body.
He calls the dead by name or title and orders him or her to arise or come forth.
In response to his command the dead arises and walks.
Jesus gives directions for further treatment.
147

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

Of all these parallels between the Lazarus story and that of Jai'rus' daughter, only
the ones underlined are also found clearly stated in the longer text of Mk. By way of
contrast with these it is worthwhile to list the similarities of the resurrection story in
the longer text of Mk. to the stories of the Gerasene demoniac and Jai'rus' daughter:
Gerasene demoniac
Jesus arrives
is met
man from the tomb
with accusative

Janus' daughter
intercessor
falls at his feet
beseeches him

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trouble with disciples


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is angered (?)
goes in to corpse

nudity (?), clothing


return to house

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raises the dead


Neither of these lists of parallels is so full as the list of those between the raising of
Jai'rus' daughter and the Lazarus story. Consequently there is no need to think that
the story in the longer text has any closer relation to that of the Gerasene demoniac
or of Jai'rus' daughter than the latter does to the Lazarus story. Since all these stories
(and the others of the same type, listed above) so often parallel both the longer text
and each other, it is both unnecessary and unlikely to suppose the longer text modeled
on any one of them. They are all examples of a familiar type of ancient miracle story
and their similarities of content and structure (and sometimes even of phrasing) are
to be explained as consequences of their common type, not as traces of literary
dependence.

B.

The Lazarus story

However, within this type, the resurrection story in the longer text is particularly
close to that of Lazarus. Admittedly there are important differences between them,
as Parker pointed out in his report: one sister instead of two, nameless characters,
the cry from the tomb, Jesus' rolling away the stone and himself raising the youth.
But similar differences are to be found, for instance, even between such synoptic
parallels as the healing of blind Bartimaeus in Mk. 10.46 and the healings of two
nameless blind men in Mt. 9.27fr and 20.29fr. And besides synoptic parallels, the
Gospels are remarkable for the frequency with which the stories they contain seem
to be different versions of the same story. First there are the unmistakable Johannine
parallels to synoptic accountsthe cleansing of the temple, the feeding of the multitude, the walking on the waves, the anointing and the passion story. Whether these
result from literary dependence or from common tradition is a matter of well-known
148

THE SECRET GOSPEL

and unending dispute, but literary dependence has come to seem the less likely explanation (Haenchen, Probleme, and now D o d d , Historical Tradition). Next, there are m a n y
more remote, but unmistakable, parallels which can best be explained as divergent
forms of the same tradition: the call of the first four disciples in Lk. and that in
M k . - M t . ; the miraculous draft of fishes in Lk. and in J n . ; the rejection at Nazareth in
Lk. and in M k . - M t . ; the centurion's slave in M t . - L k . and the nobleman's son in J n . ;
the anointing in Lk. and in M k . - M t . ; Peter's confession i n j n . and the synoptics; the
parables of the pounds and talents in M t . and L k . ; the feedings of the multitude in
M k . (where two different versions are found in a single Gospel); the sendings of the
twelve and the seventy (here the two different versions are both in L k . ) ; the gift
of the power to bind and loose, in Jn. and M t . (here two versions in M t . ) ; the demand
for a sign and the Beelzebub charge (also two versions in M t . ) ; the passion stories in
Lk. and in M k . - M t . H o w far this variation m a y go, it is hard to say. Richardson,
for instance, thinks the ten lepers of Lk. 1 7 . 1 1 f r a gentile development o f t h a t story
of which an earlier version appears in M k . 1.40fr. T h e transfiguration has often been
thought a version of some resurrection story (recently by Carlston, Transfiguration,
but cf. Burkill, Revelation i6of and n i 7 ; D o d d , Appearances 25 and Close, passim, Bultmann, Geschichte 65; etc.; an interesting classification of the material is found in
Strmsholm, Examination 255f). Even m o r e a n d yet more remoteexamples will be
found in D o d d , Historical Tradition, especially in part I I , ch. 1, pp. 315-334.
W e shall come back later to the question of more remote relations, when w e consider the parallels between the Lazarus story and the stories of Jesus' resurrection.
Here it is enough to have established that this sort of relation is typical of Gospel
material and is found within each of the synoptics, and between any two of the
synoptics, and between each of the synoptics and Jn. Indeed, related stories are so
numerous that a more cautious and convincing type of form criticism might have
resulted from the study, not of types of stories, but of these cases, in which comparison
might make it possible to determine rather precisely the developments. See, for example, how the following analysis of the Johannine Lazarus story, as indicated b y
the longer text, differs from the analyses proposed by Bultmann, Johannes, ad loc.,
and by Wilkens, Erweckung.
Comparison of the Lazarus story in Jn. with that in the longer text of M k . must
begin with the observation already made b y Parker, that both occur at the same
place in Jesus' career. Jesus has gone up from Galilee to Judea, and thence to Transjordan. Therefore it is worthwhile to begin with the parallel between Jn. 10.40 and
canonical M k . 10.1 and go on from this to the Lazarus story:
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149

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

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Comparison of these two texts shows that the story in the longer text of M k . is of
more primitive form than that in Jn. T h e majority of the contentual differences
between the two are the results of Johannine 5 additions, to wit:
Jn.

1 1 . 1 - 2 : T h e preface, naming the hero, relating him to M a r y and M a r t h a of the

same village, and identifying M a r y as the woman who performed the anointing in
the same village. T h e basis of this was probably the common name of the v i l l a g e
Bethany. T h e naming of unknown characters and the attempt to relate the characters
5. "Johannine" here means " i n style and/or content typical of the present Gospel according to
John."

"52

THE SECRET GOSPEL

of stories located in the same place are well-known secondary traits (Bultmann,
Geschichte 70fr, and note in Ergnzungsheft to p. 72; also 256^ 338, and Johannes
301 n4 end, 302 n i ; etc.; Barrett, 324 on verse 1 e n d ; Bauer, Leben 5 i 6 f ) . T h a t the
n a m i n g of Lazarus is secondary even in the Johannine story is persuasively argued b y
Eckhardt, Tod 22ff. T h e doubling of the sister is paralleled by the doubling of the blind
m e n in the M a t t h a e a n retellings of M k . ' s Bartimaeus story, Lk.'s doubling of the
angel in the resurrection, etc. (more examples in Bultmann, Geschichte 345; see further
below, on 1 1 . 2 8 - 3 1 ) .
1 1 . 3 : T h e sisters send word to Jesus. T h i s m a y be from the story w h i c h was k n o w n
to J o h n , but is probably an attempt to provide motivation for Jesus' return to Jerusalem. J o h n was in the habit of inventing historical explanations: 4.1,45; 5 . 1 6 , 1 8 ;
6.2,i4f, 22ff; 7.1,5,30; 8.20; u . 4 5 f , 53f, etc.
1 1 . 4 - 1 5 : T h e Johannine explanation of Lazarus' sickness a n d of w h y Jesus let
h i m d i e t o m a k e possible the miracle, to reveal the glory of G o d , and to confirm
the disciples' faith (cf. 9.3). John's use of the passion prophecy will be discussed
later. Here the thing to be noted is that his substitute for it, 11 .gf (as against M k .
io.33f) is typically Johannine ( = 9.4f) and obviously intrusive (Bultmann, Johannes
304 ; D o d d , Historical Tradition 373fr). T h e misunderstanding of a metaphor as an
excuse for Jesus' explanation (verses 1 1 - 1 5 ) is a standard Johannine device for introducing secondary material (3.4; 4 . 1 1 , 3 3 ; 6.34,52; 8.22,33,39; etc.; Barrett, 1 7 3 - 1 7 4 .
Bultmann's distinction of different types of misunderstandingJohannes 304 n 6 i s
unimportant; this author was not so choosy.) Here Jesus' explanation is intended to
prevent a n y discrediting of the miracle, w h i c h might result if were taken
literally a n d Lazarus supposed to have been merely cataleptic. C o m p a r e the addition
of el Sores aneOavev in L k . 8.53 to prevent literal misunderstanding of the similar
saying in 8.52 ( = M k . 5.39), and see below, on 1 1 . 1 7 .
1 1 . 1 6 : T h e report of T h o m a s ' devotion is a n edifying addition (Barrett, 327 on
verse 16; Bultmann, Johannes 305 n4).
1 1 . 1 7 : T h e specification that the body had been four days in the t o m b is a d d e d
to magnify the miracle a n d to refute a n y claim that Lazarus was merely asleep (see
below, on 11.39b and 44; also Barrett, 335 on verse 39; Bultmann, Johannes 305 n 6
cf. n9). J o h n likewise insisted that the blind m a n w h o m Jesus cured was born blind
and that such a cure was therefore unheard of (9.if, 20,32, contrast M k . 8.22f).John
also m a d e the centurion's slave into the son of a royal official (4.46, cf. M t . 8.5; L k .
7.2), m a d e Jesus identify himself after the resurrection b y showing his wounds (20.27),
etc. These stories h a v e g r o w n with time.
1 1 . 1 8 : T h e precise specification of the distance from Jerusalem to Bethany is another pseudohistorical explanation (it explains w h y the Jews c a m e t h e y were so
n e a r b y ; so Barrett, and Bultmann, Johannes, ad loc.). T h u s it is probably late, rather
than early, material, especially since it happens to be incorrect (Dalman, Orte 266).
1 1 . 1 9 : T h e " c h o r u s " of Jewish mourners (so D o d d , Fourth Gospel 363) is introduced
to provide additional witnesses to the miracle (Bultmann, Johannes 306) as "well as
6. Against Barrett, 325 on verse 6, see Lightfoot, Jn. 219 n i , to say nothing of the text, aaBevct,
verse 3.

153

T H E S E C R E T GOSPEL

the standard Johannine foil to Jesus. T h e mixed reactions of the Jewsskepticism,


conversion, and talebearing (verses 37 and 4 5 ) a r e also standard in J n . (chs. 5 - 1 0
passim).
1 1 . 2 0 - 2 7 : T h e homiletic conversation w i t h M a r t h a leading to the formal confession
of faith is completely Johannine, though the confession is presumably that current in
J o h n ' s church (Bultmann, Johannes 308 n8; 309 n2).
1 1 . 2 8 - 3 1 : M o r e " h i s t o r i c a l " explanation, to get the second sister a n d the chorus
into the act (Bultmann, Johannes 309 n2; 311 n3). W i t h M a r y ' s arrival (verse 32)
J o h n returned to the story as it lay before him, that is, to the saying xvpie, el tfs
... from w h i c h he had departed (verse 21) to introduce the intervening sermonette.
(Cf. the similar case below, verse 34-37, and the note on 11.38. M a r k does the same
thing, 2.5b and 10b, evidently it was customary.) T h e parallelism with the longer
text, w h i c h broke off at verse 21, now resumes. T h i s indicates that the doubling of
the sisters was J o h n ' s work and was not in his source. H e probably did it to m a k e
room for both M a r y and M a r t h a , w h o m he knew as a pair located in Bethany. T h e
appeal wpie, el does not necessarily imply that messengers h a d been sent; it
m a y be a typical expression of faith, later " e x p l a i n e d " by the story of the sending
(II-3)
I I . 3 3 : . T h e difficulty of explaining
this behavior as a consequence of the weeping of M a r y and the Jews is indicated b y
Barrett's contortions {ad loc.). But opyiaOels in the longer text is easily explicable
as a consequence either of the w o m a n ' s use of the messianic title or the disciples'
rebuke of her. T h e disappearance of the appeal to the son of D a v i d (a title J n . never
uses) entailed the disappearance of the rebuke a n d left the anger unexplained. J o h n
(or his source) therefore substituted the v a g u e and portentous evepiprjaaTo ...,
w h i c h seemed suitable as an introduction to the miracle because of the words' magical
overtones (Bonner, Technique 177fr; L i e b e r m a n , Tosefta Part V , p. i 3 6 3 ) . J n . regularly
differs from the synoptics b y its use of more pretentious language, w i t h suggestions
of something miraculous, mystical, or royal, e.g.: M t . 8.5 || J n . 4.46; M k . 6.45fr ||
J n . 6 . i 4 f ; M k . 6.53 || J n . 6 . 2 1 ; M k . 8.29 |] J n . 6.69; M t . 18.3 || J n . 3.3; M k . 11.8 ||
J n . 1 2 . 1 3 ; M k . 14.43fr II J n . 18.3fr; M k . 15.37 || J n . 19.29^
11-3f: is perhaps intended to show how the Jews twisted Jesus'
innocent sorrow into evidence for a charge of homosexuality. 48 6
); continues the
theme by a p p l y i n g to Jesus a commonplace of Judeo-Christian polemic against p a g a n
divinities and thus attempting to discredit his miracles; cf. Chrysostom, In Joannem
homiliae, ad. loc., Aristides, Apologia 1 1 . 3 : Si igitur Aphrodite dea est et amatorem suum in
morte eius adiuvare non poterat, qui alios adiuvare potest? Et ut audiatur naturam divinam in
lacrimas (cf. J n . 1 1 . 3 6 ) . . . venire fieri non potest. (Again 11.5, on R h e a , and 6, on
K o r e . ) T h e theme long continued p o p u l a r ; Wetstein on J n . 11.37 quotes Ausonius
on Zeus and Sarpedon. T h a t it was applied to Jesus appears also from its use in the
crucifixion scene, M k . 15.31 || M t . 27.42, , 4 ,
a n d in Midrash Tannaim on Dt. 3.23: " B e f o r e a m a n put his trust in flesh a n d blood
(i.e., in another m a n ) a n d ask h i m to save him, let him ( t h e proposed saviour) save

154

T H E S E C R E T GOSPEL

himself from death first." T h e italicized words appear exactly in the L u c a n parallel
to M k . 15.31 (Lk. 23.35). J o h n ' s purpose in reporting the taunt here is the same as
M a r k ' s in the crucifixion s c e n e d r a m a t i c irony to emphasize (1) the coming resurrection, (2) the contrast between Jesus a n d the p a g a n divinities, a n d (3) the error
of the Jews.
11.38: J o h n again returns to his source b y repeating the w o r d at w h i c h he left i t :
verse 33, verse 38 (cf. above, on 1 1 . 2 8 - 3 1 ) . A g a i n
the parallelism to the longer text of M k . stops with the first occurrence of the repeated
w o r d and resumes with the second. T h i s all but demonstrates that the material between the two occurrences was added b y J o h n a n d was u n k n o w n to the author of the
longer text of M k . (Cf. J n . 18.18 a n d 25, where the repeated words evidently came
from a text like M k . 14.54. T h e evidence of the longer text thus supports Bultmann's
supposition of an interpolation between J n . 18.18 and 25Johannes, ad loc.against
D o d d , Historical Tradition 82 n i . )
n . 3 g b - 4 o : Another Johannine addition to m a g n i f y the miracle and explain its
purpose; see above, on 1 1 . 4 - 1 5 a n d 17, and Bultmann, Johannes 311 nn4,6.
n . 4 i b - 4 2 : T h i s stage whisper to G o d a d d r e s s e d as " F a t h e r " ( B a r r e t t , ad loc.)
is clearly a n interruption in, the story a n d completely J o h a n n i n e ; cf. 5.36; 6 . 5 7 ; 7.29;
9 . 3 1 ; 12.28; 1 7 . ; etc; and Bultmann, Johannes 311 n6. B u l t m a n n thought it obvious
("selbstverstndlich," ibid. 312) that the words of the prayer were not to be heard
by the crowd, but Chrysostom was almost certainly right in treating them as public
instruction {De Christi precibus contra anomoeos I X end).
11.44: T h e grave clothes are another means of emphasizing that Lazarus h a d
really been d e a d ; see above, on 1 1 . 4 - 1 5 , 17, and 38. It is not likely that J o h n thought
Lazarus' moving, though bound, an additional miracle; the evangelist w o u l d not
h a v e been averse to throwing in a miracle, but did not visualize his scenes with sufficient clarity to realize the difficulty. (Contra, Bultmann, Johannes 312.)
1 1 . 4 5 - 4 6 : T h e Jews' reactionsunmistakably secondary in relation to the structure
of the story, and typical o f j o h n , cf. 2.23; 7 - 3 i f f ; i 2 . i o f , 42, etc.; Barrett, 337.
11,47~54a: A n independent tradition, developed b y independent invention. Its use
in relation to the larger structure of the Gospel is obvious (Barrett, 337); it is inserted
at this point to provide John's regular explanation for a w i t h d r a w a l by Jesus, since
a w i t h d r a w a l was reported by his source ( 1 1 . 5 4 b || the longer text) and had to be
" e x p l a i n e d . " Cf. J n . 7 . 1 ; 8.59; 10.39; e t c T h i s completes the list of material in J n . w h i c h is unparalleled in the longer text
of M k . E v e r y bit of it is obviously secondary and obviously Johannine. W i t h the above
analysis that of D o d d , Historical Tradition 228fr, can now be compared. W i t h o u t
knowing the longer text, D o d d concluded that the Johannine account was a reworking
of an earlier story of synoptic type, w h i c h , however, he thought it impossible to
dissect. H e r e m a r k e d 2 2 8 n 2 " a s Johannine traits . . . the identification of individual characters, the measurement of time a n d space (two days, four days, fifteen
stades), the use of the term ol . Locutions w i t h a Johannine ring are
9eov, Iva -fj 6 vios , , ' ,
(cf. 16.23), <" > et>? <" (twelves times in

155

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

J o h n , t w i c e in M a r k , once e a c h in M a t t h e w a n d L u k e ) , 6 els
, "

."

T h e a g r e e m e n t of this

list w i t h the results of the a b o v e anslysis is clear. A c c o r d i n g l y there c a n be n o


question that the story in the longer text of M k . is m o r e p r i m i t i v e in f o r m t h a n the
story of L a z a r u s in J n . F u r t h e r , it is impossible to suppose that the a u t h o r of the
longer text of M k . used, or e v e n k n e w , the J o h a n n i n e L a z a r u s story. H a d he k n o w n
it, his text w o u l d certainly h a v e s h o w n at least some of the s e c o n d a r y J o h a n n i n e traits
listed a b o v e .

S i n c e it has none of t h e m , it must be c o m p l e t e l y i n d e p e n d e n t of

JnT h e s e facts m a k e it possible to distinguish, in the J o h a n n i n e L a z a r u s story, the


source J o h n used. I t is often r e c o g n i z a b l e b y its parallels to the longer text. B u t in
the m a t e r i a l p a r a l l e l e d there are i m p o r t a n t differences: ( ) T h e sisters are represented
as sending w o r d to Jesus ( a b o v e , on 11.3 a n d 32). (2) T h e sister a p p e a l s to Jesus
w i t h the c r y el rjs ...,
(3)

r a t h e r t h a n ,

is r e p l a c e d b y

(on 1 1 . 2 8 - 3 1 ) .

(on 1 1 . 3 3 ) . (4) N o is h e a r d f r o m

the t o m b on Jesus' a p p r o a c h . (5) T h e stone is r e m o v e d b y persons unspecified, not


b y Jesus himself. (6) Jesus calls L a z a r u s forth f r o m the t o m b { )

instead

of g o i n g in a n d raising h i m b y h a n d . (7) T h e J o h a n n i n e story concludes w i t h reference


to L a z a r u s ' g r a v e w r a p p i n g s a n d Jesus' order to untie h i m (on 1 1 . 4 4 ) , w h e r e a s the
story used b y the longer text said n o t h i n g of these, b u t c o n c l u d e d w i t h the raising,
(

...

p r o b a b l y comes f r o m the editor, a n d

... is a n editorial transition to the n e x t episode.)


N o t all of these differences- c a n c o n f i d e n t l y be a t t r i b u t e d to J o h n ' s source. A s
i n d i c a t e d a b o v e , the sisters' sending to Jesus p r o b a b l y w a s J o h n ' s w o r k ; likewise
the r e p l a c e m e n t of

b y .

T h e same p r o b a b i l i t y c a n b e estab-

lished for the c h a n g e in the use of

(4 a n d 6, a b o v e ) . T h e c r y f r o m the

t o m b w o u l d h a v e led m a n y a n c i e n t readers to question the m i r a c l e . H a d the m a n


w h o w a s raised r e a l l y b e e n d e a d ? Stories of persons w h o w e r e t h o u g h t to h a v e died
b u t c a m e b a c k to life w e r e f r e q u e n t in a n t i q u i t y (Plato, Republic 6 1 4 b ; Proclus, In
Piatonis rem publicam, ed. K r o l l , I I . 1 1 3 ; K e r e n y i , passim, Philostratus, Vita

Apollonii

I V . 4 5 , Eus., Against the Life of Apollonius 26 a n d 3 1 ) , a n d the notion t h a t the persons


" r a i s e d " b y Jesus h a d not b e e n really d e a d w a s a f r e q u e n t e m b a r r a s s m e n t to C h r i s t i a n
apologists ( O r i g e n , Contra Celsum I I . 4 8 ; GCS,

Origenes, v o l . 1 2 . I I I . 1 , frags. 1 8 5 - 1 8 6 ;

E p h r a e m , Commentaire V I I . 2 7 p. 7 7 ; C r a m e r , I.321 o n M k . 5 . 4 3 ; C h r y s o s t o m , In
Matthaeum homiliae 31 o n M t . 9 . 1 8 f r ) . W e h a v e seen a b o v e t h a t this e m b a r r a s s m e n t
w a s a l r e a d y felt b y J o h n a n d that (as C h r y s o s t o m r e m a r k e d ) J o h n e m p h a s i z e d the
four d a y s ' e n t o m b m e n t a n d the smell, a n d so on, " t h a t t h e y should n o t h a v e a n y
g r o u n d to disbelieve t h a t the m a n w h o m <(Jesus> raised h a d b e e n d e a d . " G i v e n this
a p o l o g e t i c c o n c e r n , it is u n d e r s t a n d a b l e that either J o h n or his source should h a v e
suppressed the voice f r o m the t o m b a n d transferred the

to J e s u s i n

spite of the fact that it is s o m e w h a t out of c h a r a c t e r , as C y r i l of A l e x a n d r i a r e m a r k e d


(In Johannem, ad loc.).
T h e original significance of the c r y f r o m the t o m b is p r o b a b l y i n d i c a t e d b y the
use of

in M k . , w h e r e it occurs often at crises in the relations b e t w e e n


156

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

spirits a n d m e n s e e the c o m m e n t a r y on I I I . , a b o v e . I n 1.26 the d e m o n


) ;

in 5.7 the legion of demons respond w i t h

a counter spell to Jesus' c o m m a n d that they leave their v i c t i m ; in M k . 15.34 Jesus


himself . . .

a n d in 15-37

(cf. F e n t o n , Destruction 57) I n the longer text, a c c o r d i n g l y ,

the is p r o b a b l y the cry of D e a t h , d e p a r t i n g from its p r e y : cf. M k . 1.42;


L k . 4 . 3 9 ; I C o r . 15.26; A p o c . 6.8; 2 0 . i 3 f ; B r a n d o n , Personification 33of. D e a t h o r H a d e s
releasing the soul of L a z a r u s a p p e a r s in figured representations of the m i r a c l e f r o m
the fifth c e n t u r y on, M i l l e t , Recherches 233. R e a u , Iconographie II.ii.338, calls this
" t h e first version of the m i r a c l e p r o p e r l y s o - c a l l e d . " F o r these t w o references I a m
i n d e b t e d to M e y e r S c h a p i r o . [Substantially this same interpretation w a s p r o p o s e d
i n d e p e n d e n t l y b y R . S . , w h o also, w i t h T . B . , suggests that there m a y be a c o n n e c t i o n
b e t w e e n the longer text of M k . a n d J n . 1 2 . 1 7 , w h e r e the c r o w d a c c o m p a n y i n g Jesus into
J e r u s a l e m celebrates his miracles b y d e c l a r i n g

. T h i s c o u l d h a v e been d e r i v e d f r o m the longer text b y substitution

o f

for

either

deliberately

or b y

misreading.

T h e possibility of m i s r e a d i n g , especially of a n A r a m a i c text, c a n be seen f r o m the


Peshitta, w h e r e J n . 12.17 reads

^o :r^ ye

d o u b l i n g of the first V, this m i g h t represent 6


')

. W e r e it not for the

, w h e r e the sequence of events a n d the u n d e r l i n e d

w o r d s are p a r a l l e l e d e x a c t l y a l b e i t w i t h i n t e r r u p t i o n i n the longer text.] S u c h a


m i s r e a d i n g (substitution of

for 6 )

would be psychologically

likely, since L a z a r u s was d e a d a n d therefore not e x p e c t e d to call out. A n d

the

d e m o n o l o g i c a l parallels g i v e n a b o v e a r g u e that the story of the raising in the longer


text of M k . is primitive. T h e fact that it contains a difficulty, w h i c h the story in J n .
does not, also argues that it is older t h a n the J o h a n n i n e f o r m : difficilior lectio. A c c o r d i n g l y , I think J o h n k n e w the story in a f o r m similar to that of the longer text, a n d the
transference of the to Jesus should be a t t r i b u t e d to h i m rather t h a n to his source.
W e saw a b o v e that it accords w i t h his a p o l o g e t i c concerns. ( T h e possibility t h a t
J o h n ' s source w a s w r i t t e n in A r a m a i c w i l l be of some i m p o r t a n c e hereinafter.)
T h u s a n u m b e r of the peculiarities of the J o h a n n i n e story are to be referred to
J o h n , a l o n g w i t h the o b v i o u s l y J o h a n n i n e interpolations previously listed. H o w e v e r ,
there is at least one d i f f e r e n c e w h i c h c a n m o r e confidently be referred to J o h n ' s
s o u r c e t h e a p p e a l , el , ..., w h i c h J o h n r e p e a t e d as a c a t c h w o r d in
verse 32 w h e n he c a m e b a c k to his source after his h o m i l e t i c a n d e x p l a n a t o r y excursion
in verses 2 3 - 3 1 (see a b o v e , o n 1 1 . 2 8 - 3 1 a n d 38). S i m i l a r l y , the differences as to w h o
m o v e d the stone (no. 6, a b o v e ) a n d h o w the y o u t h w a s raised (no. 7) are p r o b a b l y
d u e to J o h n ' s s o u r c e ; at least, neither of t h e m is directly a c c o u n t e d for b y J o h n ' s
p e c u l i a r interests or style.
T h e s e differences w h i c h c a n be referred to J o h n ' s source a f f o r d reason to believe
t h a t e v e n the source w a s later in f o r m t h a n the story in the longer text.
I n the first p l a c e , the a p p e a l , , , is a
c r y of grief f r o m the C h u r c h after Jesus' d e p a r t u r e a n d a n expression of h o p e in a
f u t u r e resurrection, w h e r e a s , expresses the p r i m i t i v e Palestinian

157

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

hope for immediate action by a present, Davidic Messiah (and was therefore dropped
when Christianity moved away from its Palestinian Jewish origins).
In the second place, that Jesus himself should move the stone is more likely to be
primitive than that others should do it for him. So far as I can recall, Jesus is never
reported in the Gospels to have done any hard manual laborexcept for Jn.'s
emphatic "himself carrying his cross" (19.17), which is the last humiliation before
crucifixion. This lack of reference to Jesus' doing any manual labor is presumably
an attempt to make him respectable, like Matthew's alteration and Luke's omission
of Mk.'s d ' (Mk. 6.3 |[ Mt. 13.55; Lk. 4.22). The quite casual and nondogmatic
way (contrast Jn. 19.17) with which the longer text refers to Jesus' removing the
stone makes it seem that we have here early material.
Finally, it might be argued on similar grounds that a story which reports the
direct, physical method of taking the hand and literally raising the dead is probably
more primitive than one which reports a raising by remote command. It was remarked above (commentary on III.4) that references to as an instrument of
supernatural help are substantially more frequent in Mk. than in the later synoptics
and Jn. (10 or 11 in Mk., 7 in Mt., 5 in Lk., i n j n . ) Notice also the disappearance
from Mt. and Lk. of Markan miracles worked by physical means (7.32-37; 8.22-26)
and the continuation of this tendency in later Christian apologetics (Fridrichsen,
Probleme 61). Is it possible that the Johannine story was also influenced by considerations of purity, to eliminate the reference to Jesus' touching a corpse ?
Having thus established grounds for belief that John's source was later than the
resurrection story in the longer text of Mk. and differed from it substantially, we can
conclude that Jn. was independent of the longer text no less than it of Jn.

C.

The order of events in Mk.

and Jn.

This conclusion gives particular importance to the parallelism in order of events


which appears between the latter halves of Mk. and Jn. once the longer text is put
in its place in M k . This parallelism can best be demonstrated by an abbreviated
synopsis:

Mk.

6.32

'

T h e feeding of the five thousand


6.45

Jn. 6.1 6


58

T h e feeding of the five thousand


6.1617a 8e ,

oi

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

6 . 4 6

( 6 . 1 5 '

els

.)

T h e walking on the sea


6.5455a

ix

T h e walking on the sea


6.2425a ore

S u m m a r y : Jesus' miracles of healing


eipovTes

. . .

Discussion: Jesus is the bread of life

T h e dispute on handwashing
T r i p to the territory of T y r e
T h e Syrophoenician
R e t u r n to Galilee
T h e d u m b man

()

T h e feeding of the four thousand


T h e demand for a sign
T h e saying on the leaven of the Pharisees

T h e blind m a n of Bethsaida
8.27-30

Peter's

confession

(in

Caesarea

6.66-69

Peter's confession

(in

Caper-

naum ?)

Philippi)
=

Peter is Satan

J u d a s is a devil

T h e sayings on self-sacrifice
T h e transfiguration
T h e demoniac boy
9.3031

els

. . .

Tis

7.1

'

'

Jesus' brothers taunt him

T h e dispute on precedence
T h e stranger who exorcized
T h e sayings on scandals
. I a

els

'

7.
,

ol

. . .

T h e disputes in Jerusalem
T h e man born blind
T h e sayings on the door to the sheep
T h e appeal to the witness of his works
.lb ',

cos '

10.4041a

!59

'
,

THE SECRET GOSPEL


T h e question o n d i v o r c e
T h e blessing o n c h i l d r e n
T h e rich y o u n g ruler
T h e sayings o n scandals
T h e p r e f a c e to the L a z a r u s story
IO.32 "
',

fjv

11.7-8

els

els

, , ol

',

Jesus' p r o p h e c y of his o w n passion a n d

Jesus' a n n o u n c e m e n t of L a z a r u s ' d e a t h

T h e L a z a r u s story

resurrection

a n d p r o p h e c y of his resurrection

Longer text: T h e L a z a r u s story


T h e n o c t u r n a l initiation
( T h e J e w s ' plot, M k . 1 4 . 1 - 2 , infra)

III.II eiy

T h e J e w s ' reaction a n d plot


1 1 . 5 4

Trjs , els

Mk. T h e question of J a m e s a n d J o h n
Longer text: T h e events in J e r i c h o
Mk.

Bartimaeus

T h e entry of J e r u s a l e m

T h e cursing of the fig tree

( T h e entry of J e r u s a l e m , J n .

12.12-19,

infra)

T h e cleansing of the T e m p l e

T h e fig tree f o u n d w i t h e r e d

( T h e cleansing of the T e m p l e , J n . 2 . 1 3 17)

T h e question as to Jesus' a u t h o r i t y
T h e p a r a b l e of the rented v i n e y a r d s

( T h e question as to Jesus' a u t h o r i t y , J n .
2.18)

Questions b y H e r o d i a n s , S a d d u c e e s a n d
a scribe
T h e question as to the son of D a v i d
T h e widow's mite
T h e p r o p h e c y of the destruction of the

( T h e p r o p h e c y of the destruction of the


Temple, Jn. 2.19-22)

Temple
T h e p r o p h e c y of the e n d
T h e J e w s ' plot

( T h e J e w s ' reaction a n d plot, J n . 1 1 . 4 7 -

T h e a n o i n t i n g in B e t h a n y

T h e a n o i n t i n g in B e t h a n y

54, supra)
( T h e entry of J e r u s a l e m , M k .

11.1-10,

supra)

T h e entry o f J e r u s a l e m
T h e request o f the G r e e k s
T h e Evanglist's c o m m e n t s o n the J e w s
Jesus' d e c l a r a t i o n o f his mission

T h e p r e p a r a t i o n for the last s u p p e r


T h e footwashing
T h e last supper

T h e last supper

T h e passion story

T h e passion story

THE SECRET GOSPEL

I n this synopsis the things w h i c h require explanation are the continued parallelism
of the geographical framework (shown b y the verses quoted in Greek) and the nearidentity in order of those larger elements w h i c h the two Gospels have in c o m m o n .
O f these elements (indicated by the equal sign) t h r e e t h e cleansing of the T e m p l e ,
the question as to Jesus' authority, a n d the prophecy of the T e m p l e ' s d e s t r u c t i o n
are not properly in question, since they appear in J n . 2. (However, it is interesting
to note: [1] that in J n . 2 they appear in the same order as they do in M k . 1 1 - 1 3 ; [2]
that the Streitgesprche, with w h i c h they are closely connected, are in M k . divided
between 2 . 1 - 3 . 6 and 1 1 . 2 7 - 1 2 . 3 7 . T h e s e facts suggest that their material derives in
part from an independent block of tradition w h i c h h a d some connection w i t h an
early stage in Jesus' c a r e e r a suggestion to w h i c h w e shall return later.) O f the
other 12 m a j o r elements listed as c o m m o n to M k . (including the longer text) and
J n . , all occur in the same order, save that J n . has the entry of Jerusalem after the
J e w s ' plot a n d the anointing, and M k . has it before them.
T h i s coincidence in order of so m a n y events can hardly be accidental. Y e t , it seems
unlikely that J o h n used M k . or M a r k , J n . (Haenchen, Probleme, numerous studies of
detail b y Buse; more recently Smith, Jn. 12.12; and above all D o d d , Historical Tradition). A n d w e have already seen evidence that the longer text and J n . were independent developments of a c o m m o n source, possibly in A r a m a i c , from w h i c h J n . was
separated b y at least two removes (since his immediate source was later in form than
the story in the longer text). Evidence for the independence of J n . and canonical M k .
is to be found in the great differences of form between some of the elements c o m m o n
to t h e m : Peter's confession, the curse on Peter ( " S i m o n " ) or Judas ( " t h e son of
S i m o n " ) , the anointing, the last supper, and the passion story. M o s t of these were
mentioned a b o v e as " r e m o t e , but unmistakable parallels, w h i c h can best be explained
as divergent forms of the same tradition."
T h e same relation seems to hold between the elements of the geographical frame.
T h e y are undeniably parallel, and in outline their accounts of Jesus' movements are
substantially identical. 7 But the verbal coincidences between them are trivial (,
TOVS

ecs ,

et? ,

rjdeXev,

, etc.) and the differences, not only of wording, but also of content, are
so substantial that it w o u l d be implausible to suppose either author got them from
the other (especially since material of this sort is for the most part theologically unimportant a n d therefore not likely to suffer deliberate changes). Therefore their
continual parallelism a n d substantial differences must be explained b y supposition
of a c o m m o n source of w h i c h both authors used different developments.
7. M k .

. I, CKclOtv \ et s opta

77 ( ,

has

often been thought corrupt, or " e x p l a i n e d " as meaning the reverse of w h a t it says. However, neither
treatment is necessary, and the plain sense of the verse as it stands (he went first to J u d e a and then to
Transjordan) is supported not only by the parallels in Jn., but also by the independent tradition in
L k . 9.51fr and 1 7 . 1 1 . See the discussion in T a y l o r , ad loc. [ C . R . suggests that the text of M k . 10.1 as
given above m a y have been produced by abbreviation, that is, by omission of the stories of w h a t happened in J u d e a . H e compares M k . 7.31, where the strange geography (from T y r e through Sidon to the
Sea of Galilee in the midst of the Decapolis) is possibly the result of amalgamation of parts of a number
of introductory notices.]

l6l

THE SECRET GOSPEL

T h e same conclusion is indicated again b y the fact that in both Gospels the parallel
episodes stand in the same relation to the parallel f r a m e w o r k ; that is, the same events
occur not only in the same order, but also in the same places in the parallel frames,
a n d are thus for the most part located in the same geographic places. H e r e again
there are discrepancies sufficient to make it unlikely that either author used the other,
but insufficient to obscure the basic identity of the outlines.
Finally, the similarities demonstrated by the above synopsis would be increased
yet further if w e were to accept the theory of D o d d (Close) a n d H u f f m a n n (Sources
128) that M k . 8 . 1 - 2 6 and M k . 6.30-7.37 are variant forms of the same b o d y of
tradition. T h i s theory yields for J n . 6 . 1 - 6 5 a double set of M a r k a n parallels w h i c h
cannot plausibly be explained as accidental coincidence of editorial constructions,
especially because the coincidence lies less in matters of w o r d i n g (which might be
editorial formulas) than in the order of events w h i c h are not obviously identical but
turn out, one after another, to be basically similar. Discussion of D o d d ' s theory w o u l d
be irrelevant for our present purpose, but his evidence strengthens materially the
already strong case to be m a d e from the synopsis printed above. Incidentally,
although w h e n he wrote Close D o d d was of the opinion that his data were
evidence of John's use of M k . (p. 288), he has since changed his m i n d a n d treated
them as evidence of the dependence of both Gospels on c o m m o n tradition (Fourth
Gospel 448fr; Herrnworte a n d Historical Tradition, passim).
I t seems unlikely, however, that oral tradition should account for so extended an
agreement in orderparticularly
since the events and, even more, the geographical
references reported do not seem to be connected b y any coherent plot w h i c h w o u l d
fix their order in the narrator's memory. I f w e therefore suppose a c o m m o n written
source, h o w can w e account for the differences between the Gospels, and especially
for the differences between the material they have in c o m m o n (which p r o b a b l y came
from the source) ? T h e source m a y have been in A r a m a i c a n d the differences m a y
result in part from different translations. Into these different translations both M a r k
and J o h n w o u l d then have inserted, chiefly from other sources, the additional material
peculiar to their o w n Gospels. These suggestions obviously resemble those of D o d d ,
Framework, on w h i c h there h a v e been m a n y attacksfor example, N i n e h a m , Order,
Robinson, Quest 48fr, and T r o c m e , Formation 23fr. See D o d d ' s reply to N i n e h a m in
Historical Tradition 233 n2. I n the same book, 235fr, D o d d picked out of J n . a n u m b e r
of transitional passages w h i c h he thought derived from material akin to that of the
synoptics. O f these, three (Jn. 7 . 1 - 2 ; 10.40-42; 11.54) occur after 6.1, where the
parallelism w h i c h w e have observed begins. A l l three of these can n o w be seen to
be paralleled in M k . ( 1 1 . 5 4 in the longer text). Clearly, this does not settle the matter.
But the new evidence is strong prima facie support for D o d d . A n d the question is
important. If a good part of the content of a c o m m o n source c a n be discovered by
comparison of M k . and J n . , w e shall have not only some notion of an extremely
early Gospel, but also good indications of the peculiar elements of the M a r k a n and the
Johannine traditions, as evidenced by their additions to this source.
T h a t some of the M a r k a n insertions were m a d e late in the development of M k .
is suggested by the coincidence of J n . with L k . in most of Lk.'s " g r e a t omission" of
162

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

Mk. 6.46-8.26. We need not, however, suppose that either John or Mark copied his
source whole. Each may have omitted or reworked parts of it. In Jn. 11.7-16, for
instance, it is plausible to suppose that John reworked the incoherent elements of the
source (reflected by canonical Mk. and the longer text) into a coherent preface to
the resurrection of Lazarus. Reworking of the Johannine preface into the incoherent
material now found in Mk. and the longer text is incredible. Again, neither Jn.'s
omission of the nocturnal initiation nor the longer text's inclusion of it is proof that
it was notor wasin their common source.
But the facts that both Jn. and the longer text of Mk. do include the resurrection
story, that both locate it at the same place in their outline, and that both introduce
it and follow it by similar pieces of frameworkthese facts make it likely that the
resurrection story was part of the common source on which both Mk. and Jn. were
dependent. But if the story was in Mk.'s source it was probably in the earliest form
of Mk. If so, we should suppose that the canonical text of Mk. was produced, at least
in this instance, by abbreviation of the earlier, longer text. W e shall have later to
weigh this conclusion against the opposite one, reached above from consideration of
the stylistic evidence.
Before leaving the relation of the Johannine Lazarus story to the resurrection story
in the longer text, it should be noted that both have a number of parallels to the
stories ofJesus' resurrection. This is easily explicable. T h e similarity of content would
necessitate some, chance might account for others, the tendencies to assimilate the
phrasing of similar stories and to regard Lazarus' resurrection as a prefiguring of
Jesus' would produce yet more. Accordingly it is not surprising that a tomb located
in a garden and closed by a stone which had to be rolled away should appear in
the stories of both resurrections. (As we saw above on Jn. 11.37, John also included
in his Lazarus story the same sort of polemic material which Mk. put in his crucifixion
scene, and for the same purposedramatic irony before the resurrection.) 8
8. B u t there is one further parallel between J n . and canonical M k . w h i c h deserves a t t e n t i o n : J n .
insists t h a t L a z a r u s was raised on his fourth d a y in the t o m b ( 1 1 . 1 7 , 3 9 , e m p h a t i c repetition). T h e
passion prophecies of M k . 8.31, 9.31, and 10.34

date Jesus' resurrection ( , w h i c h

m i g h t m e a n " o n the fourth d a y . " T h i s is w h y the date was c h a n g e d to b y M a t t h e w in


all instances and by L u k e in two. (In the t h i r d 9 . 4 4 L u k e eliminated the date entirely. N o t e also the
correction b y the copyists of M k . , Williams, Alterations 45.) For the m e a n i n g of the expression in M k .
cf. M k . 9.2, w h e r e ; presumably means " o n the seventh d a y " a s shown b y the parallel
in E x . 2 4 . 1 6 n o d o u b t for Sabbatarian or numerological reasons ( L o h m e y e r , G r u n d m a n n ) . L X X uses
with a n u m b e r of days to indicate the d a y following the n u m b e r given. [ C . R . remarks that this is
particularly clear f r o m the parallelism in Hosea 6.2: ,
(.]

( O n this the third-day resurrection tradition m a y h a v e been built.) See also D a n .

1 . 1 5 ( L X X ) , w i t h w h i c h cf. T h e o d o t i o n ; G e n 7 . 1 0 ; 8.3,6, etc. L u k e seems to h a v e understood M k . ' s


s in 9 2 as m e a n i n g " o n the seventh d a y , " since his woel (9.28) are p r o b a b l y
the 7 days of M k . plus 1 for the d a y f r o m w h i c h the count b e g a n (so, on M k . , Swete, followed b y
L a g r a n g e and K l o s t e r m a n n ; on L k . , C r e e d , followed b y L u c e ; contra, R e n g s t o r f ) . L a t e r on, h o w e v e r ,
both M k . (chs. 1 5 - 1 6 ) and J n . (19-20) date the resurrection on the third d a y after the crucifixion.
T h e r e f o r e the expectation of a resurrection on the fourth d a y is so odd that its a p p e a r a n c e in the
M a r k a n passion prophecies and the J o h a n n i n e L a z a r u s story m a y be t h o u g h t evidence for the h y p o thesis that J o h n used a source like that of Mk.-plus-the-longer-text, in w h i c h the L a z a r u s story w a s
closely connected to a resurrection p r o p h e c y of the M a r k a n type. T h e only (?) other traces of the

163

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

D.

Relation of the new material to the structure of Mk.

N o w we turn to the evidence of M k . itself as to whether or not the canonical text


is an abbreviation of the longer one.
I.

POSITION IN T H E " H I S T O R I C A L

OUTLINE"

T h e longer text reports that the dead man's sister addressed Jesus publicly by the
messianic title " s o n of D a v i d " and that the disciples rebuked her. T h i s is an example
of the M a r k a n motif of the "messianic s e c r e t " w h i c h is always being let slip and then
hushed u p t h e closest parallels are in i.24f; 3.1 i f ; 8.2gf; 9.9,30^ 10.48; a recent
discussion is Burkill's Revelation esp. 62fr. I n canonical M k . the title " s o n of D a v i d "
first appears in 10.47 (the Bartimaeus story) and is difficult to explain there. People
h a d not been saying that Jesus was the Messiah ( M k . 6 . i 4 f ; 8.28). O n l y Peter h a d
guessed it (8.29); a n d he and the others w h o heard h i m h a d been w a r n e d to keep it
secret (8.30). H o w , then, did the title indicative of this secret get into the mouth of
the beggar Bartimaeus, outside Jericho (10.47) ? This question was asked b y Ebeling
[Messiasgeheimnis 92) w i t h the confidence that it w o u l d be historically insoluble. T h e
longer text does not supply a historical solution, but it does present a sequence
of facts from w h i c h historical imagination can create an understandable sequence of
events. For between Peter's confession and Bartimaeus' appeal it puts first the use of
the title b y one of the w o m e n of a family with w h i c h Jesus was intimate (Jn. 11.5)
and then a visit b y this w o m a n to Jericho, where (or before which) she h a d some
sort of difference with Jesus such that he did not " r e c e i v e " or " w e l c o m e " her a n d
her companions. By the time he left the city, even the beggar b y the roadside knew
he claimed to be the son of D a v i d .
T h i s argument might have been well received fifty years ago. T o d a y the reader
will object: (1) W h a t e v e r m a y be thought of the primitive outline of M k . , the present
order of events is not in detail historically reliable (Schmidt, Rahmen). (2) T h e introductory inventions in J n . 1 1 . 1 - 5 are unreliable (see the comments above) a n d cannot
be used to prove Jesus' intimacy with the family of the deceased; in the longer text
of M k . the sister appears without a n y introduction a n d her usage of the title " s o n
of D a v i d " is no more explicable than Bartimaeus'. (3) A likely " h i s t o r i c a l " explanation w h i c h w o u l d account for a given sequence of events is not necessarily true. T o
demonstrate its truth one w o u l d have to demonstrate that no other explanation was
equally likely and that w h a t did happen was w h a t was most likely to h a p p e n (often
not the case). Such demonstration is impossible in the present instance, therefore
this possibly historical construction is of little value as evidence for the question of
whether the longer text was prior to the shorter one or vice versa.
expectation are M t . 12.40; 27.63; and the western text of Acts 10.40another example of the corruption
of the western text b y the influence of this section of M k . (Stendahl, School, has a r g u e d that M t . 12.40
is a later insertion. T r o c m e , Formation 180 and n24, also r e m a r k e d the difficulty a n d d r e w f r o m it the
conclusion that the original M k . did not contain chs. 1 4 - 1 6 . But if a later interpolator could overlook
such contradictions, so could an original compiler. T h e material is better evidence for diversity o f
tradition than for details of literary history.)

164

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

2.

PARALLELS TO T H E TRANSFIGURATION AND PASSION STORIES

More important is the fact that insertion of the quotations from the longer text
into canonical Mk., at the places Clement indicates, enables us to present three
important sections of Mk. as parallel constructions showing the same basic pattern.
M k . 8 . 2 9 : Peter's confession
of faith
(Mt.

1 6 . 1 7 : Jesus' blessing

man's

pro-

1 0 . 2 1 : Jesus loved the man

prophecy

of his passion.

1 0 . 2 1 : Jesus' demand, For-

Jesus'

teaching (an expression of

10.22:

The

man

M k . 1 4 . 2 7 : Jesus' prophecy
of his passion.

sake all and follow me.

rejects

(Lk. 2 2 . 3 1 : Jesus' prayer for


Peter.) 9

(a youth, M t . 19.20).

M k . 8 . 3 1 : Jesus'
Peter

10.20: A

fession of good works.

of Peter.)

8.32:

Mk.

rejects

14.29:

Peter rejects Jesus'

teaching (an expression of

Jesus' teaching.

his love for Jesus).

his love for Jesus).


8 . 3 3 : Jesus calls Peter Satan.

1 0 . 2 3 : Jesus

declares

that

the man can hardly enter

1 4 . 3 0 : Jesus' prophecy that


Peter will deny him.

the kingdom.
8 . 3 4 : Jesus' demand, Deny
yourself and follow me, Lose
your life for me.

10.28:

Peter's

claim,

We

have forsaken all andfollowed


you.

8 . 3 4 : Implies Jesus' passion.

1 0 . 3 2 : Jesus'

9. : Jesus' prophecy, Some

Longer T e x t :

14.31:

Peter's

promise,

Though it cost me my life,


I shall not deny you.

prophecy

of

i 4 - 5 3 f f : Jesus' passion.

his passion.
shall not taste death.10

Resurrection

of the man (a youth). His

(Supposed but not reported:


Jesus' resurrection.)

love for Jesus.


9 . 2 : .

L T : '

16.1:

.11
g.2ff:

Transfiguration

pearance

(in

white)

ap-

L T : Teaching of the mystery

to

to the youth (in w h i t e ) . 1 2

Peter, J a m e s , and J o h n .

1 6 . 5 : A youth in white appears, anouncing the resurrection. 1 3

9. Note the similarity between Lk.'s prayer for Peter (that Satan shall not prevail over him, that he
shall strengthen the brethren) and Mt.'s blessing of Peter (the Church shall be built on him and Hell
shall not prevail over it). Furthermore, Lk.'s prayer follows Jesus' teaching that greatness is service and
the promise that in Jesus' kindom the twelve shall sit on thrones. This is akin to the request of the sons
of Zebedee to sit at Jesus' right and left hands in his kingdom and Jesus' reply that greatness is service.
A n d this request and reply immediately follow the second passage shown here (Mk. 1 0 . 2 0 - 3 4 plus the
longer text).
10. This verse is probably to be connected with the Lazarus story and the expectation that the
beloved disciple would never die, an expectation also attributed to events in a resurrection appearance
( J n . 2 1 . 2 3 ) . Eckhardt's denial of the relationship (Tod i 6 f ) does not allow for the fluidity in form of
traditional material nor the importance of the common tradition (demonstrated above) behind M k .
and J n .
1 1 . In its present Markan context this cannot mean ' - (; yet is used in the very
next verse to mean " w e e k , " and both Matthew (28.1) and Luke (24.1) so changed the construction as
to eliminate the ambiguity. Is it accidental that the rejected sense should accord so closely with the
two parallels?
1 2 . [K..S. suggests that M k . 1 0 . 3 5 - 4 5 is related to 1 0 . 3 2 - 3 4 as is 8 . 3 2 - 3 3 to 8 . 3 1 . ] This I doubt.
There is no rejection of Jesus and no curse on the apostles.
1 3 . Note that M k . 16.7 promises a resurrection appearance, presumably with some teaching (secret?).
It may or may not be supposed that this was the appearance to Peter (Lk. 24.34; I Cor. 15.5) of which
the disappearance is one of the most suggestive mysteries of early Christian tradition. (The attempted
solution b y Annand, He Was Seen, does not convince me.)

THE SECRET GOSPEL

T h e s e texts seem to follow the same basic pattern: acceptance, blessing, demand for
sacrifice, rejection, curse; renewed d e m a n d for sacrifice, Jesus' fulfilment of the
d e m a n d , resurrection, and, one week later, revelation of the mystery. 1 4 Y e t it w o u l d
seem also that the expression of this basic pattern has been carried out with considerable differences even as to the most important points: M k . 8.34 does not explicitly
foretell or report Jesus' passion, but merely implies it, and M k . 16. i f f merely implies
the resurrection; but the implication is certain in both instances, so there is no
denying the identity of the basic pattern. Similarly, in 8.29-9.10 a n d in 10.20-34
plus the longer text, the pattern is presented in concentrated form with relatively
little extraneous material, whereas in 14.27-16.8 it is worked into the m u c h larger
passion story in w h i c h the earlier parts of it (14.27-31) appear as an excrescence
unimportant to the course of the m a i n action.
T h u s the relation between these passages is somewhat similar to that between the
variant forms of identical stories (discussed above) and the variant developments b y
M a r k and J o h n of a c o m m o n narrative presumably given b y tradition. But here
there seems to be an important difference. It can hardly be supposed that the transfiguration,
the Lazarus story, and the passion story are all variants of a single
narrative. (Against the supposition that the transfiguration is an account of a resurrection appearance see above, p. 149). Nor do the stories of Peter's confession and the
rich y o u n g ruler seem variants of a single original. R a t h e r , the c o m m o n pattern
here is the result not of c o m m o n origin, but of c o m m o n purpose, w h i c h has three
times put together pieces of different origins to express the same teaching. T h e
teaching seems to be that of h u m a n depravity and the consequent vicarious atonement : E v e n those w h o accept Jesus (or the L a w ) and therefore receive his blessing
cannot accept the d e m a n d for sacrifice, and therefore come under his curse; consequently he sacrifices himself, rises from the dead, and communicates to his unworthy
followers the mystery of his resurrection. T h e parallels to this in Paul are well k n o w n
(e.g., R o m . 5.8: G o d shows his love for us in that while w e were yet sinners Christ
died for us), and the Hodayot from Q u m r a n have shown that even before Jesus' time
some circles in J u d a i s m were m a g n i f y i n g h u m a n depravity and God's salvation of
his elect in spite of it (Hodayot I.2off; III.24fr; I V . 2 g f f ; etc.).
H o w e v e r , in none of the three passages outlined above is the doctrine clearly expressed. Instead it is implied by the sequence of stories and sayings, of w h i c h no single
one states it clearly. O n l y w h e n the three pericopae are put side b y side does the
repetition of the pattern and thus its significance appear. T h e pattern can hardly
be a c c i d e n t a l t h e parallels are too close; w h y , then, did the author not state its
significance? Evidently he expected his book to be taught, and left the explanation
of these patterns to the teacher. T h i s is exactly w h a t Clement's letter says M a r k did
(1.22-26). T h e same conclusion was reached b y Bird ( 174).
But the fact that C l e m e n t realized that there was latent teaching in M k . does
not prove that his account of the origin of the longer text is correct. A n d the above
14. K . S . comments: " A n o t h e r complex is T h o m a s in J n . 20 with a week's delay, coupled with
T h o m a s ' role in the Gospel of Thomas, where he receives the secret revelation in three words." This is
perhaps important, especially because of the connection of T h o m a s with Salome, to be noted below.

166

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

demonstrated f a c t t h a t the longer text taken together w i t h M k . 10.20-32 embodies


a pattern found in two pericopae of the canonical Gospelsuggests that the longer
text was originally part of the Gospel, since the patterns are presumably the work of
a redactor a n d the three instances of the same pattern look like three examples of
the work of the same redactor. T h i s is particularly so because the patterns are not
explicit or even obvious; therefore one might say they w o u l d not have served as
models for some later editor w h o a d d e d the material of the longer text to produce
another example. But against this there is evidence that these patterns were recognized b y later editors (who h a d the exegetic traditions of their churches to guide
them). M a t t h e w added to M k . the blessing of Peter, Luke, the prayer for Peter, a n d
both of these additions stand in exactly the right places to extend a n d emphasize the
patterns; this can hardly be accident. (See, further, note 9 on the three texts outlined above.) Accordingly, it is not impossible that the material of the longer text
should h a v e been interpolated after 10.34 i n order to produce another example of a
pattern useful for exegetic purposes. However, the supposition that all three examples
were produced by the same redactor seems more likely. T h e additions in M t . and L k .
are comparatively minor a n d a l t h o u g h they e m b o d y independent traditiontheir
attachment to the pattern would have been suggested by its existence. In M k . 10.2032, on the contrary, the most important elements of the pattern are lacking; and the
addition of the material of the longer text w o u l d not merely have filled out an existing
example, but w o u l d have created a new one.
Postscript: O n rereading this section in 1966, some three years and more since it was
written, I must confess I a m more dubious than ever, not only as to the significance
of these parallels, but even as to their actual parallelism. M k . 10.21 is not actually
paralleled in M k . 8 or 14, and even if the additions from M t . and L k . be supposed
to have been derived from early tradition, love is neither a blessing nor a prayer.
T h e rejection of Jesus in M k . 10.22 is something quite different from Peter's expressions of loyalty in 8.32 a n d 14.29, a n d they, in turn, are different from each other.
10.28 is not a new d e m a n d for sacrifice, but a claim to have m a d e the necessary
sacrifice. In the longer text a n d in 9.1 w e have the youth's resurrection, not Jesus'.
C o n s e q u e n t l y t h o u g h the one resurrection was doubtless thought to prefigure the
o t h e r t h e proposed interpretation in terms of the vicarious atonement seems forced.
A further fact w h i c h seems to me important is that these alleged parallels do not fit
easily into the structure of M k . revealed b y the interpretation of M k . 10, to be presented in the following section. But the interpretation of M k . 10 is m u c h better
supported than the argument for the above parallels. Accordingly, I suspect the
parallelism m a y be due not to " M a r k ' s " intention but to m y invention. But if I was
deceived before, w h e n I could see it, I m a y be deceived now, w h e n I can't. A c c o r d i n g ly, I submit the problem to the reader.
3.

R E L A T I O N T O T H E B A P T I S M A L C O N C E R N OF MK.

. 1 3 - 4 5

T h e j u d g m e n t that the material of the longer text was probably coeval with 1 0 . 1 7 34 is further supported b y the fact that they fit together as parts of a larger section,
167

THE SECRET GOSPEL

1 0 . 1 3 - 4 5 a pericope designed to provide a textual basis for systematic teaching


concerning baptism, teaching which followed the baptismal service point by point.
Accordingly, the pericope may have been read at the baptismal service preceding
the pascha. This was first pointed out to me by Richardson in a letter (of January
13, 1961) which furnished not only the thesis, but also some important items of the
evidence I shall use to support it. T h o u g h the bulk of the following argument is
mine, I have profited so greatly by discussions with Richardson that it would be
impossible to indicate exactly the limits of his contributions. This general acknowledgmentwith m y thanksmust stand in place of many brackets and initials. 15
T h e evidence for treating the whole passage, 10.13-45, as a baptismal pericope is
as follows:
(a) Clement says the longer text was written els ( 1 . 2 2 )
and was read (II.2). This proves
its liturgical use in his church; and would most easily be referred
to the pascha, the annual occasion for baptism. Clement sharply distinguishes ordinary baptism as the lowest stage of the Christian initiation, from
see
the commentary on II.2; but Clement's church m a y have
practiced a second baptism by which the believer achieved true gnosis. This question
must be postponed to Chapter Five; here it is enough to remark that such higher
initiatory rites were common in second-century Christianity (Acts 8 . 1 4 - 1 7 ; 1 9 . 1 - 7 ;
Irenaeus (Harvey, I.14.1 = Stieren, 1 . 2 1 . i f ) . [ C . R . thinks a second baptism unlikely; he would explain as baptism administered alone and
as the entire paschal ceremony, including baptism.]
(b) T h e liturgical use of this pericope in a most important service in Clement's
church would account for (1) the fact that almost half of Clement's quotations of
M k . come from chs. 9 and 10 (above, p. 79, and Appendix D ) ; (2) the influence
of this pericope on the western text (above, p. 122); (3) the frequency with which it
is echoed by the other parts of M k . (above, pp. 139fr); and (4) the fact that Luke
ends his " g r e a t insertion" (9.51-18.14) and comes back to the text of M k . precisely
at the beginning of this pericope (Mk. 10.13 = Lk. 18.15).
(c) T h a t the servicethe with
which Clement associated this
material was (or included) some sort of baptism may be indicated by the scriptural
reminiscences with which he justifies himself for quoting the passage to Theodore
( I I . l 6 f f ) : , )
, , ,

T h e baptismal associations of these verses are familiar; the references in the commentary, above, could easily be multiplied.
(d) T h e structure of canonical M k . can be seen as parallel to that of the paschal
service: chs. 1-8.30 can be taken as exoteric teaching for those catechumens not yet
ready for baptism. Then, with the creed (Peter's confession) and the consequent
transfiguration would begin the esoteric teaching for those about to be baptized (so
15. A similar interpretation of the longer text alone as a baptismal lection was suggested by G . L . ,
but this suggestion rested on interpretations of detail which I do not think plausible and therefore have
not presented.

168

THE SECRET GOSPEL

Riesenfeld, Tradition 162). Here the baptismal pericope w o u l d follow. A f t e r the


baptism the story, like the service, proceeds to Jerusalem, the eucharist, passion, and
resurrection, a n d closes with a hint of the disciplina arcani in 16.8. It must be admitted
that this outline is obscured by numerous interpolations in M k . , but one could defend
the proposition that it remains recognizable. Its recognition w o u l d confirm the
hypothesis that 10.13-45 is a baptismal pericope: the section stands at the very place
in M k . where the general outline w o u l d require such a pericope.
(e) Finally, the details of M k . 10.13-34 + the longer text + 35-45, and the
order in w h i c h they occur, correspond to the content and order of the elements in
the baptismal service. T h i s I shall now demonstrate by a commentary (points i - x i i ) :
(i) T h e pericope begins with M k . i o . 1 3 - 1 6 , a pronouncement story of w h i c h the
key verses are 1415, at , ,
, (15) , j
. 15 is omitted by M t . a n d m a y not have
stood in his text; B u l t m a n n (Geschichte 32), L o h m e y e r , a n d K l o s t e r m a n n (both ad
loc.) recognize it as a secondary addition. M t . has a different version in 18.3 (the
c o m m o n supposition that this derives from M k . e . g . , m y Comments 4 5 i s gratuitous).
A n o t h e r presumably underlies J n . 3.3fr. W h a t e v e r the original sense of the saying,
J n . is conclusive evidence of its interpretation to refer to baptism, and the same interpretation probably explains its addition to the stories here a n d in M t . 18 (cf. M t .
H . 2 5 , 2 9 = ' mDVD Vl5? V3p =

the essential act of the convert. T h i s explains the apparent contradiction: only
those w h o accept the k i n g d o m can enter it, D o d d , Parables 34.) C u l l m a n n , Baptism
72fr, has established the likelihood that there was an early baptismal formula
; . O f this the in the text m a y be an echo. Baptism as
rebirth, a n d the childlikeness of candidates and recipients, are commonplaces of early
Christian literature; besides the passages cited above, see I Pet. 1.13F; 2.2; Hermas,
Mandates I I . 1 ; Similitudes I X . 2 9 . 1 ; Acta Thomae 132; Gospel of Thomas (Leipoldt) 22;
Clementine Homilies V I I . 8 ; X I . 2 6 ; Sibylline Oracles V I I I . 3 1 3 f r ; Grant, Children 71.
A c c o r d i n g l y w e need not enter the current controversy as to whether M k . 10.13fr
was written to justify infant baptism (so Jeremias, Kindertaufe, contra, A l a n d , Suglingstaufe). A d m i t t e d l y the passage was used in Tertullian's time to justify infant baptism
{De baptismo X V I I I ) , a n d w h e n infant baptism was provided for, infants were baptized first (Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition X X I . 4 ) , as M k . 10.13fr stands first in the
M a r k a n pericope. But the position of the passage w o u l d be justified even in a pericope
dealing solely with adult baptism, since it states a sine q u a non. T h i s is w h y its parallel
also stands first in the discussion of baptism in J n . 3. T h i s was almost seen by G r u n d m a n n , on M k . 1 0 . 1 7 - 3 1 : " O n e must reckon with the possibility that the pericopae
concerning the blessing of the children and the rich y o u n g ruler, with the attached
conversation w i t h the disciples, had been put together in some p r e - M a r k a n tradition
as answers to the question: H o w can one enter the kingdom of G o d ? "
(ii) H a v i n g begun w i t h the blessing of those w h o are like children (in w h a t w a y
need not concern us), the pericope in M k . goes on to more specific requirements for
baptism (verses 1 7 - 2 2 ) : monotheism, observance of the T e n C o m m a n d m e n t s ,
169

THE SECRET GOSPEL

renunciation of property. 16 These are presented in answer to the question, " W h a t


shall I do to inherit eternal l i f e ? " Equivalent questions in Acts 16.30 and 2.37 lead
directly to baptism; cf. also Acts 11.18, where baptism is (with
a preceding reference to the formula, as here). In Lk. 10.25 the same question
is answered by the two great commandments, which also appear in the Didache as
the first point of the instruction to be recited before baptism (1.2, cf. V I I . 1 ) . Cf.
J u s t i n M a r t y r , First Apology 61.2, the p r e p a r a t i o n for b a p t i s m :

'

a n d t h e r o l e o f J e s u s ) ,

( t h a t is, m o n o t h e i s m

( a c c o r d i n g to the c o m -

mandments of Jesus)these proceed to baptism. Baptismal catechesis presumably


lies behind the similar summary of Christian teaching in Aristides, Apologia 15.3-9
(monotheism, commandments, sharing property with the poor). Again, in the
passages behind which Boismard, Liturgie, has recognized a baptismal catechism (I
Pet. i . 3 - 1 2 ; Titus 2.12-14; I Jn. 3.1-11especially this last) appears the same
sequence as in M k . 10. 13-22: children of God, the holiness of God, the consequent
obligation to keep the commandments and to share with the poor ( ).
O n I Pet. 1.3-21 see also Windisch-Preisker, Briefe 157. Preisker likewise sees in this
a prebaptismal . Note also the sequence of themes in 1 7 - 2 1 : the holiness and
fatherhood of God, the fear ( = obedience) of God, the worthlessness of silver and
gold, the saving death and resurrection of Christ. This same sequence appears in
M k . 10.17-34. T h e evidence given by Preisker and Boismard seems to me to refute
the contention of Robinson, Survey, that in N T times there was no prebaptismal
instruction. Robinson's arguments are all based on silence; and the most impressive
instances of silence, those in Acts, are not probative because most of them report
baptisms resultant on miracles and therefore not to be taken as evidence of normal
procedure.
(iii) In these passages used by Preisker and Boismard, however, the holiness of
God is taken as an attribute to be realized also in the lives of his children. In Mk.
10.18 the goodness of God is sharply declared unique: ;
el eis 6 . This declaration is clearly an insertion irrelevant to the latter
half of Jesus' reply (? , ...) and to all the rest of the story. Only
the latter half of Jesus' reply responds to the preceding question, and only this latter
half is found in the independent version of the same story in Lk. io.25f. Moreover,
the Didache (1.2) parallel to L k . , i n t r o d u c i n g the c o m m a n d m e n t s as

suggests a pre-Christian, Jewish origin for the present question and answer in its
Lucan form, and a variant of the same question and answer appears in many passages
of rabbinic literature as an exegesis of Ps. 39.13fr (Margulies, Wayyikra Rabbah, sec.
16.2). Accordingly, the insertion in the Markan form has to be explained. W h y
should an editor have inserted such a detail ? T o adapt the story to the requirements
of baptismal catechesis. T h e catechesis required an initial proof text for monotheism,
so a verbal detail ("good master") was seized on as an excuse to insert this irrelevant
proof text. T h a t
16. Walter, Analyse, has not persuaded me that the following account should be changed.

170

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

el el

is a p r o o f text is clear n o t o n l y f r o m its m n e m o n i c f o r m , b u t also f r o m its b a c k g r o u n d


a n d its history in C h r i s t i a n exegesis. Its b a c k g r o u n d is g e n e r a l l y i n a c c l a m a t i o n s of
the el t y p e (studied b y Peterson, Els), b u t m o r e specifically in Philo, De mutatione
nominum 7 : Moses,

De somniis 1.148149,

, a n d therefore p r a y e d to see G o d ( E x . 3 3 . 1 3 ) . E v e n m o r e striking is


8

. . .

. .. , ,
.

,
.

The

connections of this passage w i t h the rhetoric of C h r i s t i a n b a p t i s m a r e so n u m e r o u s


t h a t it m a y be t h o u g h t a d d i t i o n a l e v i d e n c e for the b a p t i s m a l usage of the ?
/

phrase a n d consequently of the M a r k a n pericope to w h i c h the phrase

w a s a d d e d . A s for the history of M k . 10.18 in C h r i s t i a n exegesis, t h a t shows the verse


constantly used, as in this passage, to i n c u l c a t e m o n o t h e i s m . I t a p p e a r s in Justin,
First Apology 16.6f, as p r o o f . . . to? ,

a n d Dialogue

as a p r o o f text against the M a r c i o n i t e s J e s u s w a s s a v e d b y the G o d of the O T .


M a r c i o n , for his part, used it to p r o v e t h a t the true G o d , q u a g o o d , is superior to
b o t h Jesus a n d the d e m i u r g e ( H i p p o l y t u s , Philosophumena V I I . 3 1 ) . I n P t o l e m a e u s it
is p r o o f of the nature of the

. . . ,

(Epiphanius,

Panarion X X X I I I . 7 . 5 f ) Irenaeus ( H a r v e y , 1 . 1 3 . 2 = Stieren, 1.20.2) reports t h a t the


M a r c o s i a n s used it to the same p u r p o s e ; so, too, the Naassenes in H i p p o l y t u s

Phil-

osophumena V . 7 (fol. 30 verso). It was not only a n i m p o r t a n t text in gnosticism ( G r a n t ,


Gnosis 4), b u t also a favorite of C l e m e n t ( O s b o r n , Philosophy 6 5 ) a g a i n , as a p r o o f
of a single, supreme G o d ,
' ( I I I . l 6 4 . I l f a g a i n a b a p t i s m a l t h e m e ) .
(iv) T h e use of the ten c o m m a n d m e n t s in b a p t i s m a l t e a c h i n g , as in M k .

10.19,

a p p e a r s a l r e a d y in the Didache (II. 1 - 3 ) a n d p r o b a b l y in Pliny's epistle of the y e a r 1 1 2


( X . 9 6 . 7 ; G r a n t , Decalogue n f ) ; it w a s a n t i c i p a t e d b y their use in c o n n e c t i o n w i t h
the skema'the

nearest t h i n g in Israelite tradition to a confession o f faith

(Kuhn,

Phylakterien, G r a n t , Decalogue 1). [ S t e n d a h l reminds m e t h a t in C h r i s t i a n b a p t i s m a l


p r a c t i c e not the w h o l e d e c a l o g u e w a s used, b u t o n l y the latter half, as in M k . 10.19.
See his School 63.]
()

( M k . 10.21) is n o t p a r a l l e l e d in either M t . or

L k . E i t h e r the later evangelists deleted it as i m p r o p e r (so W e l l h a u s e n EM,

ad loc.),

or t h e y d i d not find it in their texts of M k . Its c o n n e c t i o n w i t h the rest of the M a r k a n


story is difficult to explain. D o e s it i m p l y t h a t because Jesus l o v e d the y o u n g m a n he told
h i m t h a t in order to be s a v e d he must sell his belongings a n d f o l l o w h i m ? I f Jesus
h a d not l o v e d h i m w o u l d he h a v e c o n c e a l e d this secret a n d let h i m g o to h e l l ? (So
L o h m e y e r ! ) O r does it i m p l y t h a t because Jesus l o v e d h i m his f u l f i l m e n t of the c o m m a n d m e n t s , w h i c h w o u l d otherwise h a v e sufficed for salvation, b e c a m e insufficient

17!

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

a n d this extra r e q u i r e m e n t ( w h i c h he w o u l d not meet) w a s imposed o n h i m b y a


special act of d i v i n e l o v e ? (So L a g r a n g e ! ) S u c h " e x p l a n a t i o n s " suggest (by their
desperation) that the phrase here is intrusive. S o does the f a c t t h a t it is not in M k . ' s
m a n n e r , w h e n r e p e a t i n g himself, to transfer to one person w h a t he says elsewhere
of another. S u c h transferences a r e m o r e c o m m o n in the use of M a r k a n material b y
the later evangelists (see a b o v e , p. 137). A c c o r d i n g l y , the phrase here is a n interp o l a t i o n a n d the longer text enables us to e x p l a i n it. I t w a s a d d e d here to i d e n t i f y
this m a n w i t h the y o u t h of the f o l l o w i n g passage in the longer text, w h e r e the same
phrase is used w i t h a clear narrative f u n c t i o n : the y o u t h , l o o k i n g at Jesus, l o v e d h i m ,
and therefore b e g g e d to be w i t h h i m , and therefore the t w o of t h e m w e n t to the y o u t h ' s
house. T h i s m a k e s sense. T h e same h a n d p r o b a b l y a d d e d

to the longer text ( I I I . 6 ) for the same purpose of i d e n t i f y i n g the t w o characters (and
some copyist a b b r e v i a t e d it to ; see a b o v e , in the c o m m e n t a r y , ad loc.).
T h e editor w h o m a d e these interpolations (both in c a n o n i c a l M k . a n d in the longer
text) seems to h a v e w o r k e d after M a t t h e w a n d L u k e , b u t w o r k e d so e a r l y that his
a d d i t i o n has p r o b a b l y left no trace in the M S tradition of M k . 10.21. ( T h e omission
of

b y I i , 15, a n d 579 is m o r e likely censorship.) H o w e v e r , it is

n o t a b l e t h a t M t . 19.20 m a k e s the unidentified rich m a n of M k . a " y o u t h "


l i k e the one in the f o l l o w i n g passage of the longer text, a n d thus effects the same
identification as d i d the editor of M k . , b u t w i t h o u t the a w k w a r d n e s s of the intrusive
phrase a n d the possibly o b j e c t i o n a b l e a t t r i b u t i o n to Jesus of love for a m a n . H e r e
w e h a v e p e r h a p s a n o t h e r i n d i c a t i o n that M t . k n e w the longer text (cf. the c o m m e n t a r y o n ,

II.24,

an

d on ,

I I I . I , a b o v e ) . T h e m o t i v e for

i d e n t i f y i n g the t w o characters was the b a p t i s m a l use of the p e r i c o p e , for

in 10.21 looks f o r w a r d to the resurrection a n d the n o c t u r n a l initiation (baptism)


in the l o n g e r text. B a p t i s m is the gift of love. S o E p h . 5.25fr

. A p o c . 1.5, (, koine,

Pal.gig.vg.)

. J n . 3 1 6 a n d 1 3 i f f (Is f o o t w a s h i n g a
J o h a n n i n e second b a p t i s m ?)
(vi) T h e a b a n d o n m e n t of p r o p e r t y as a r e q u i r e m e n t for b a p t i s m w a s e v i d e n t l y a
p e c u l i a r i t y o f t h a t c h u r c h f r o m w h i c h this m a t e r i a l originally derived. T h e corollary
a n d c o m p e n s a t i o n of this p r i m i t i v e c o m m u n i s m a p p e a r in verses 2 8 - 3 0 : W h o e v e r
j o i n s the g r o u p enjoys its c o m m o n p r o p e r t y a n d is a m e m b e r of its c o m m o n f a m i l y .
. . .

is h a r d l y e x p l i c a b l e otherwise. S o the a n c i e n t

C h u r c h understood the passage ( C r a m e r ; T h e o p h y l a c t ) a n d so, g e n e r a l l y , d o m o d e r n


c o m m e n t a t o r s (cited b y L a g r a n g e , ad loc.). G o g u e l ' s o b j e c t i o n (Persecutions 275 n3)
that c o m m u n i t y of goods w a s " n e v e r " realized is a petitio principii: it a p p a r e n t l y w a s
realized in the c o m m u n i t y f r o m w h i c h this text c a m e (cf. L o h m e y e r ,

214-219;

G r u n d m a n n , ad loc.). T h e parallels discussed a b o v e , p. 165, if v a l i d , w o u l d show


t h a t verse 28 (Peter's c l a i m , " W e h a v e left all a n d f o l l o w e d " ) was a l r e a d y a t t a c h e d
to the story in the earliest f o r m o f M k . Verses 2 6 - 2 7

are

clearly s e c o n d a r y ( B u l t m a n n ,

Geschichte 2 1 ) . T h e y reflect the a b a n d o n m e n t of the original r e q u i r e m e n t a n d e x p l a i n


that, in spite of the f a m o u s s a y i n g a b o u t the c a m e l , salvation is possible e v e n for those
172

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

who keep their wealth. A similar modification appears in Mt. 19.21, where the unconditional requirement of M k . is softened to a counsel of perfection: e'i
ehai. Since the Markan requirement was thus soon abandoned, no survival of it is
to be expected in the baptismal teaching of the later Church. But it is in place in a
baptismal pericope, where later baptismal teaching substituted for it the requirement
of indiscriminate charity: Didache 1.5, .
(Further passages cited above, ii, end.) T h e rewards in this world are the consequences
of church membership, effected by baptism (verses 28-30), " a n d , in the world to
come, eternal life," made available by baptism.
(vii) Hereupon follows the prophecy of the passion and resurrection because, in
the first place, it is the essential of the specifically Christian creed; and in the baptismal
service, as here, this creed follows the preliminary instructions in monotheism, commandments, and charity, which Christianity had in common with other forms of
Judaism (cf. the " T w o W a y s , " in Didache I - V I ) . Mark also attached the passion and
resurrection prophecy to Peter's confession in ch. 8, of which it fills out the credal
content (verses 29-31): Son . . . suffered . . . dead . . . rose again. Like the creed, the
passion prophecy is here presented as a (Theophylact, ad loc.), "esoteric
teaching" (Bultmann, Geschichte 357). In the second place, Jesus' resurrection is the
assurance of the efficacy of baptism and the reliability of the promisein the preceding versesof reward in the world to come (I Cor. 15.12-22). Finally, Jesus'
passion, death, burial, and resurrection are, according to Paul, the essential content
of baptism; the effect of baptism is to make the initiate participate in these (Rom.
6-3f). And this same use of baptism as the symbol of passion, death, and burial appears in the immediately following section of M k . (10.38, . . .
;). It is therefore plausible to suppose that the passion
prophecy appears in this baptismal pericope not only as the assurance, but also as
the explanation of the rite's efficacy.
(viii) Chrysostom, De quatriduano Lazaro, treats the Lazarus story as the immediate
sequel and consequence of the prophecies of the passion, and so, too, it is here, in the
longer text of Mk. Chrysostom sees in it Jesus' demonstration of his power to raise
the dead, thus the antitype of his own resurrection. For the author of the longer text
it was probably also the antitype of the two resurrections of the believer, both the final
resurrection which will bring the life of the world to come, promised abovethis
interpretation appears in Irenaeus (Harvey, V . 13 = Stieren, V . 1 3 ) a n d also the
initial, baptismal resurrection of the sinner from the death of sinthis interpretation
appears in Origen, for example, in Homilia in Jeremiam I X . 3 (ed. Klostermann,
GCS Origines, vol. 3, pp. 6yf) and in Hippolytus Commentary onjn. (ed. Bonwetsch and
Achelis, GCS Hippolytus, vol. 1 .II, p. 216), where the interpretation of the story as a
preparation for baptism is explicit: on the statement that Lazarus was sick, Hippolytus comments,
, . Moreover, the interpretation of
baptism as resurrection from the dead seems to have been held already by the Carpocratians (below, p. 185) and is traceable through the hymn quoted in Eph. 5.14
back to the time and possibly to the affiliates of the ) um ran sect; see Kuhn, Epheser-

173

THE SECRET GOSPEL

brief 342-345. Accordingly, the story is perfectly in place where the longer text puts
it in this baptismal pericope. T h e baptismal and the literal interpretations are conjoined in the second-century and perhaps Egyptian Epistula Apostolorum, 27(38), where
Jesus says, " A n d therefore, indeed, I have gone down to
(the place of} Lazarus, and have preached
<1to the righteous and) the prophets

A b r a h a m , Isaac, and Jacob,


to your fathers the prophets,
and have brought them word
that they might come out of
the rest, which is beneath,

that they might come out of


the rest, which is beneath,
and ascend to that which is (above}

into the heavens;


and I have given
them the right hand

right (hari)d on them . . .

of the baptism of life and forgiveness and release, freeing from all evil, as I have also
done for you, and from now on also for those w h o believe on m e . " 1 7 Here the saviour's
entering the tomb (underworld) and reaching his hand to the dead agree with the
longer text against Jn. Similar interpretation and agreements appear in the Apocryphon
of John (edd. Krause and L a b i b , 195fr, 250fr) and in Methodius, De resurrectione 1.23
end (ed. Bonwetsch, GCS, p. 248): In saving the wicked from sin

. This agrees with the longer text against Jn. in making


Jesus open the tomb himself and (probably) raise Lazarus by hand.
T h u s the Lazarus story, in both its Johannine and M a r k a n forms, was connected
with baptismal resurrection. This perhaps explains w h y John prefaces his version of
the story by a contrast of Jesus with the Baptist, continuing his polemic against the
latter (i.26ff; 3.26fr; 4.1). In l o g o f f he has Jesus go to the Baptist's original territory
a n d t h e r e e m p h a s i z e s t h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e m : ?<
' 8, '

fjv. This leads directly to the raising of Lazarus, Jesus' greatest (that is, miracle,
as in Jn. 11.47; 12.18; cf. Melito, On the Passion 12, line 38), but the intention m a y
also be to contrast the miraculous resurrection effected by the Christian (sign
= baptism: Clement I I I . 1 3 8 . 1 5 ; cf. circumcision, R o m . 4.11) with Johannite baptism
w h i c h J o h n implieshad no such supernatural effect; a similar contrast is made in
Acts 19.1-7.
(ix) T h e baptismal concern which has thus far dominated the pericope makes it
probable that the nocturnal initiation which follows the Lazarus story should be
understood to be a baptism. This probability finds curious confirmation in a tradition
reported from Ephraem Syrus by Dionysius bar Salibi, that Lazarus was raised in
order to be baptized, and that after his baptism he was taken to Alexandria (where
the longer text appears). Baumstark, Lazarusakten, from whose discussion I know the
17. M y translation from Duensing's G e r m a n . T h e italics are his and distinguish elements peculiar
to the older, but imperfectly preserved, Coptic text, from the complete, but corrupt, Ethiopic. His
revised translation (Hennecke-Schneemelcher 1.141) presents no significant difference.

174

THE SECRET GOSPEL

passage, thinks the source must have been a very early , , or


(p. 2 1 1 ) . Another trace of the same tradition perhaps appears in the Iohannis
Evangelium Apocryphum Arabice (tr. I. Galbiati, Milan, 1957), L I I I . 8 , etc., which refers
to " t h e disciple whom Jesus loved and whom he instructed in his mysteries"; cf.
Clement's description of the rich young ruler as uvvt^Xc ( 1 1 . 2 2 .
27). These passages may reflect knowledge of at least the content of the longer text,
where the baptismal character of the initiation is indicated not only by the preceding context, surveyed above, but also by the details of the rite: it is after six days, it is
nocturnal, the prescribed costume is a sheet to be worn over the naked body, and the content is the mystery of the kingdom of God. Let us examine these details one by one.
" T H E SIX D A Y S , " Richardson wrote to me, " a r e the six days of the Alexandrine
paschal feast (Dionysius of Alexandria, Epistle to Basilides 1 end). Cf. the transfiguration six days, Mk. 9.2, and the paschal six days of J n . 12.1. The earlier custom of
two days is in Mk. 14.1, Didache V I I . 4 , and Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition X X . 7 ;
X X I X . 2 , and is referred to by Dionysius, loc. cit." However, Dionysius wrote of the
length of the fast before the feast celebrating the resurrection, and his letter makes
clear that even as to this there were variations of practice. Mk. 14.1, -,
supposes a three-day preparation period (see above, p. 163 n8). Thus the story of the
anointing, which it places on the first day, accords with the preparatory washing of
the catechumens which Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition X X . 5 , sets on Maundy Thursday, to be followed by the fast on Friday and Saturday. And Hippolytus X X . 1 - 3
supposes that even before these three days there had been a preparatory period in
which those set apart to be baptized had undergone examination, Gospel reading,
and daily exorcism. A seven-day period of preparation for baptism is supposed in
Acta Thomae 26 end. J n . 1 2 . 1 , which puts the anointing - ,
probably presupposes such a period, and the importance in pre-Markan tradition of
a six-day period prior to the initiatory revelation is strongly suggested by the similarities (set forth above, section 2) of Mk. 8.29-9.8; 10.20-32 plus the longer text;
and 14.27-16.5. So it seems likely that the six days' preparation before baptism is
even earlier than the two days' fast of the Didache. Both seven- and three-day periods
of preparation are frequently required for magical operations; e.g., PGM I I I . 304;
V . 228; V I I . 334; X I I I . 115= 118, 674.
NOCTURNAL: Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition X X I . 1, sets baptism at cockcrow, following an all night vigil. This is repeated by the later Church orders (e.g., Apostolic
Constitutions V . 19.3) and seems to have been common usage. Baptism is nocturnal in
Acta Petri et Andreae 21 end; Martyrium Matthaei 8; Acta Thomae 27; and probably
Clementine Homilies X I V . 1. If the author of Acts 10.47 knew the geography of Palestine,
he must have thought baptism nocturnal: Caesarea is 1 hours by horse from J o p p a
(Baedeker, Palestine 239) so Peter would have arrived in the evening. Baptism is again
nocturnal in Acts 16.33. The footwashing in J n . 13 (a variant of baptism) is nocturnal.
Nicodemus, in J n . 3, comes to Jesus by night and receives instruction concerning
baptism as the means of entering the kingdom of God (3.3,5,13fr).
THE SHEET OVER T H E NAKED BODY : Nudity in baptism is prescribed by Hippolytus
Apostolic Tradition X X I . 3 , 5 , 1 1 , and was required by the Pharisees in proselyte baptism

175

T H E SECRET G O S P E L

as well as in immersions for purification (Mikwaot V I I I end and I X ; B. Tebamot


4 7 b ) . Particularly close to the longer text, w h e r e the prescribed garment is a ,
is Acta Thomae 121, w h e r e the apostle has to baptize a y o u n g l a d y :

. Undressing for baptism appears also in Acta Barnabae 12 a n d Martyrium Matthaei 27. In the J o h a n n i n e footwashing (which Aphraates, Demonstratio X I I . 10, interpreted as a baptism) Jesus is
naked except for a towel (, 13.4), w h i c h the Syriac versions describe as a
(KJOT). IS it b y chance that the beggar in M k . 10.50 (immediately after the second
passage of the longer text) throws a w a y his himation w h e n he comes to Jesus to be
c u r e d ? T h e gesture was understood as symbolic b y the commentator in C r a m e r , ad
loc. a n d m a y h a v e been so understood b y the author. T h a t naked baptism was already
customary in Paul's time is shown b y his allegorizing the undressing for it a n d dressing
after it: Col. 2.1 if, , Tfj
. . . ",

G a l . 3-27j els

iveSva-

; further, I C o r . 1 5 - 3 3 ^ ( a s interpreted b y Odes of Solomon 15.8, see L i e t z m a n n ,


Korinther, ad loc.) a n d I I Cor. 5.2. Similar allegorization (not apparently dependent
on Paul) appears in the Gospel of Thomas (Leipoldt) 3 7 ; the Gospel according to the
Egyptians (Clement, I I . 2 3 8 . 2 4 f f ) ; a n d P. Oxy. 655 e n d ; a n d the same general theme
recurs in the Gospel according to Philip (Schenke, 77, 1 0 1 ) ; Clementine Homilies V I I I . 2 2 . 4 2 3 . 1 ; Hippolytus, Philosophumena V . 19 e n d

(the

Sethians);

Irenaeus

(Harvey,

1 . 1 4 . 1 - 4 = Stieren, 1 . 2 1 . 1 - 5 t h e V a l e n t i n i a n s ) ; Acta Thomae 132 (text o n l y ) ;


Justin, Dialogue 1 1 6 ; C l e m e n t I I I . 131.25fr (Excerpta ex Theodoto);

140.6ff; 143.24fr

(Eclogae); Apostolic Constitutions V I . 6 ; a n d m a n y later Christian documents. T h i s early


dissemination of the theme argues a n early origin.
T h e indicated baptismal practice (nudity a n d ) lent itself particularly to
Pauline exegesis because (as L i e b e r m a n pointed out to me) the initiatory
(which L X X regularly uses to translate ]HD) was also the regular burial g a r m e n t ;
cf. J . KWayim I X . 4 (32b) = J. Ketubot X I I . 3 (35a) 13 "Dpi f n s pTOS, " R a b b i
<Judah, the P a t r i a r c h ) was buried in a single "
J.

(and no other g a r m e n t ) ;

Terumot V I I I . 10 (46b, inf.), 1 0 3 0 "[TD,) " L e t the d e a d m a n be w r a p p e d i n

his "

(that is, let the m a n be a b a n d o n e d to his f a t e a current saying).

A c c o r d i n g l y , Jesus h a d been b u r i e d in a ( M k . 15.46 a n d parallels). Paul's


interpretation of baptism as death a n d burial w i t h Jesus suggests that the
over the naked b o d y was the customary costume as early as Paul's time.
T h e was not a " p r o p e r " garment, though it was w o r n occasionally. Crates,
the cynic, w h e n called d o w n b y the A t h e n i a n police for going a b o u t in a ,
offered to show t h e m the great philosopher Theophrastus similarly attired. W h e n
they found this incredible, he took them to a barber shop a n d showed t h e m T h e o phrastus in a h a v i n g his hair cut (Diogenes Laertius, V I . 9 0 ) .
A c c o r d i n g l y , since the costume specified in the longer text is unusual a n d is associated with baptism, it can be used as an indication of baptism. T h i s explains w h y
the phrase of the longer text,
M k . 14.51 (except that W fam

, recurs v e r b a t i m in

1 c k Sy.s Cop.s& h a v e discreetly omitted ,

while fam 13. 5 4 3 . 5 6 5 . S y . p A e t h . h a v e accidentally replaced it b y the of the

176

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

following verse). I n 14.51, too, the subject is the y o u n g m a n w h o was


with Jesus at the time of his arrest a n d w h o , on being seized, fled naked (an episode
both M a t t h e w and L u k e chose to omit). As suggested in the commentary on III.8,
above, the recurrence of the phrase is to be explained as that of a fixed
formula, p r o b a b l y a baptismal rubric. M a r k ' s fondness for repetition as a means of
cross-reference was noted above (p. 136); for example, his initial identification of the
Baptist as Elijah merely b y repeating . A n d
fixed formulas, especially those connected with baptism, frequently recur v e r b a t i m
or are referred to by partial quotation in the N T and early Christian literature, for
example, , M k . I i . 3 0 and parallels; L k . 7.29; Acts 1.22; 18.25;
19.3; () M k . 1.4 and parallels; M t . 26.28; L k . 1 . 7 7 ; 24.47; Acts
2.38; 5 . 3 1 ; IO.43; 13-35 26.18; Col. 1 . 1 4 ; , Acts 8.16;
19.5; cf. 2.38 (); 10.48 (); I Cor. i . i 3 f , etc.; ; , C u l l m a n n ,
Baptism 72ff (to his evidence a d d Clementine Homilies X I I I . 1 1 . 1 , where Peter's laughter
is better explained if the previous speaker has unwittingly quoted a part of the formula
of the rite). Further, M k . 14.51 is echoed in M k . 16.5, . . .
, a n d again in the Gospel of Peter 55 (13), . . .
; a n d the recurrent use of and
cognate phrases to describe the saints in the Apocalypse (3.5,18; 4.4; 7.9,13; 19.8)
indicates that the expression and the white garment ( = ) h a d
some special significance in the early C h u r c h . F r o m the longer text a n d the parallels
above, w e can conclude that the garment was the baptismal a n d burial garment.
T h u s the repetition in M k . 14.51 (recognized by B u l t m a n n as primitive tradition,
b y contrast with the " c o m p l e t e l y l e g e n d a r y " agony in 3 2 - 4 2 ; Geschichte 288ff) is an
explanation, from an early M a r k a n stratum, of w h a t the y o u n g m a n was doing there
(a problem for w h i c h no plausible solution has hitherto been suggested). T h e reader
w h o h a d already read the longer text w o u l d realize that this youth, too, h a d come
to be baptized. ( O n the stylistic difference between the story of the arrest a n d that
of the agony, see W o h l e b , Beobachtungen 190; the objections of Zerwick, Untersuchungen
4f are naive.)
H o w e v e r , a further question has to be answered: W h y , then, is the same phrase
used for the angels at the resurrection and the saints in the A p o c a l y p s e ? Because the
burial garment is also the resurrection garment. T h i s is stated explicitly by the first
two of the rabbinic passages cited a b o v e J . Kil'ayim I X . 4 (32b) = J. Ketubot X I I . 3
(35a): " A m a n is raised in the same clothes in w h i c h he is b u r i e d . " (Such is, at least,
the majority opinion). Accordingly, the baptismal shroud is also the robe of the
saints and of the saviour, and hence of the caelicoli generally. T h i s explains the stories
in Acta Thomae 27, Actus Petri cum Simone 5 end, and Acta Barnabae 3, where baptism
is followed b y appearance of a y o u n g m a n in a white garment a n d a blaze of light:
these are the angels whose appearance announces the initiate's resurrection b y
baptism. Finally, this conclusion is confirmed b y a n d itself confirms the observations
of G o o d e n o u g h as to the symbolic importance of white robed figures in Jewish art
(for example, K r a e l i n g , Dura pi. L I I , L I I I , L X I , L X I I , L X I I I , etc.). Goodenough's
point of departure h a d been the obvious importance of such figures in Philo a n d in
177

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

early Christian art (Goodenough, I . 2 8 f f a n d the indices, under Robe; further, I X . 1 3 1 168, where the argument is pushed to absurdity but not thereby wholly invalidated).
T H E M Y S T E R Y OF T H E KINGDOM OF G O D : This phrase, too, recurs in Mk., at 4 . 1 1 .
For the variants there and those of the Matthaean and Lucan parallels, see the commentary above, on I I I . 10.
In M t . and Lk. (as Lk. now stands) the plural " m y s t e r i e s " which the disciples
are given " t o k n o w " are the teachings of the Churchespecially, in this instance,
its interpretations of the parables. This misinterpretation was suggested by the context
into which the logion was inserted in Mk. 4 . 1 1 ; it would also have been suggested by
the use of in the longer text, if Matthew and Luke had read it.
T h a t M k . 4.1 if is an old logion, not an invention by the compiler of Mk., was
shown by Jeremias (Gleichnisse 7 - 1 2 , partly anticipated by Lohmeyer, ad loc. and
Manson, Teaching 77) and has since been widely accepted (Taylor; Cranfield;
Grundmann; Gnilka, Verstockung 2 3 ; Boobyer's attempt in Redaction to defend the
unity of the passage is not convincing). T h e compiler of Mk. knew or represented the
logion as addressed to Jesus' circle ( ); a later glossator has added
(4.10; Bultmann, Geschichte 7 1 ) . T h e compiler also took
to mean, " I teach only in parables," (cf. Mk. 4 . 3 3 ^ , but Jeremias
has argued that, once the logion is separated from its present context, this meaning
is not necessary; he proposes to translate " i s t alles rtselvoll""everything is
puzzling," and this, too, has been widely accepted. If it be accepted, there is no need
to refer exclusively to Jesus' verbal teaching (and such a reference would
not be expected even in rabbinic Judaism, where students customarily learned from
their masters' actions as well as from their wordse.g., B. 'Erubin 64b). may,
therefore, mean "everything I do and say," or even "everything G o d does." Accordingly, one cannot define from the meaning of the to which it might
or might not be sharply antithetical.
T h e , therefore, must be definedif at allfrom the general sense of the
verse and the similar usages elsewhere in the N T and in related works. In the first
place, it is clear that in Mk. 4 . 1 1 the cannot be the explanation that follows
in 4 . 1 4 - 2 0 , for it is something which already " h a s been g i v e n " in the past, something
which Jesus' intimates have already received and which makes it possible for Jesus
to give them now, as a further gift, the explanation of the parable. T h a t they had
already received the was what distinguished them from , which
presumably meant for Mark what it means in I Cor. 5 . 1 2 ; Col. 4 . 5 ; I Thess. 4 . 1 2 ;
that is, those outside the Church (cf. the parallels from philosophic schools cited by
Bauer, Wb., , ). Now that " m y s t e r y " which " w a s g i v e n " to members of the
Church, which distinguished them from nonmembers, and which enabled them to
be given the secret teachings of the Church, was baptism.
T h e word in Eph. 5.32 probably refers to the spiritual union effected by
baptism. T h e argument in verses 2 5 - 3 2 runs as follows: Christ loved the Church,
washed it with water and the word, hallowed it, placed it beside him in glory, and
made it his own body, therefore he feeds and cherishes it; men make their wives their own
bodies, therefore they should love, feed, and cherish them. T h e first half of this argument
178

THE SECRET GOSPEL

reflects the P a u l i n e doctrine of b a p t i s m ( i n c l u d i n g the e n t h r o n e m e n t w i t h C h r i s t ;


cf. C o l . 2 . 1 2 - 3 . 4 ) . O f this d o c t r i n e the w o r d s italicized at the b e g i n n i n g a n d the
e n d w e r e r e l e v a n t to the a u t h o r ' s p u r p o s e ; the m i d d l e terms (washing, h a l l o w i n g ,
a n d e n t h r o n e m e n t ) w e r e not. W h y , then, d i d he i n c l u d e t h e m ? P r e s u m a b l y because
t h e y w e r e fixed parts of the doctrine o f b a p t i s m . T h e r e f o r e w h e n he concludes
, els els , the " m y s t e r y "
is p r e s u m a b l y the spiritual u n i o n e f f e c t e d b y b a p t i s m a n d thence the rite itself w h i c h
m a k e s the C h u r c h the b o d y o f Christ b y m a k i n g Christ's spirit live in the m e m b e r s .
T o this m y s t e r y the w r i t e r c o m p a r e s the spiritual u n i o n e f f e c t e d b y physical intercourse in m a r r i a g e , a n d he finds a reference to b o t h these mysteries in G e n . 2.24.
T h e same use of " m y s t e r y " to refer to b a p t i s m is f o u n d in I C o r . 2.6f Se

. . . ,

w h e r e it is Utterly

i m p l a u s i b l e to neglect the parallelism a n d to separate the initiated ()


initiation ().

f r o m the

A l l o ' s objection {I Cor., ad loc.) that the C o r i n t h i a n converts

w e r e not neglects the distinction b e t w e e n potential a n d a c t u a l salvation, w h i c h


is basic to P a u l ' s t h o u g h t w i t h its constant alternation b e t w e e n d e i t y a n d d e p r a v i t y
( R o m . 7 - 8 , I I C o r . 4, etc.) Baird's a t t e m p t to e x p l a i n a w a y the t e r m i n o l o g y (Mature)
is b u i l t o n the false antithesis: either " a special a n d esoteric doctrine reserved for . . .
the i n i t i a t e d " or " t h e G o s p e l , ' t h e w o r d of the C r o s s . ' " It never o c c u r r e d to h i m
that, to the ancients, b a p t i s m was a n i n i t i a t i o n a ,

as L u c i a n said (Peregrinus

1 1 ) . A n t i c i p a t i n g a r g u m e n t s to be presented later, it m a y be said t h a t a further reason


for u n d e r s t a n d i n g the " m y s t e r y " in I C o r . 2.7 to be baptism lies in the f a c t that the
" w i s d o m of G o d " r e v e a l e d in it involves the secret of Christ's descent in disguise
a n d his assumption of the b o d y from the cosmic powers, for the purpose of s u b j u g a t i n g
t h e m : . . . fjv

cf. Ascension of Isaiah 10Ii. T h i s secret o f

el

descent in disguise underlies the P a u l i n e interpretation o f baptism in C o l . 2 . 1 5 , w h e r e


the second h a l f of the process, the stripping o f f in the ascent, is referred to. A n d the
conclusion of the process in I C o r . 2.9, as in C o l . 2 . 1 2 - 3 . 4 , is the p a r t i c i p a t i o n o f the
b a p t i z e d in Christ's resurrection, ascension, a n d session in g l o r y ,
. . .

the longer text of M k . , the connection of b a p t i s m w i t h ;


e n d ) . F i n a l l y , the " w i s d o m of G o d "

. (Note a g a i n , as in
cf. a b o v e , section v,

(I C o r . 2.7) g i v e n in the m y s t e r y is C h r i s t

(1.24,30) a n d C h r i s t is g i v e n in b a p t i s m , therefore the m y s t e r y is b a p t i s m . T h i s


w i s d o m is g i v e n only b y the spirit ( 2 . 1 1 ) a n d the gift o f the spirit is the f u n c t i o n o f
b a p t i s m (Acts 2.38 a n d often).
S i n c e the " m y s t e r y " of I C o r . 2.7 is b a p t i s m , it is n o t unlikely t h a t in I C o r . 4 . 1 - 6 ,
w h e r e P a u l speaks of himself, K e p h a s , a n d A p o l l o s as

, he

refers to their f u n c t i o n not o n l y in g e n e r a l , as agents of the g r a n d secret strategy of


G o d , b u t also in p a r t i c u l a r , as administrators o f the m y s t e r y rites of b a p t i s m a n d the
eucharist, a n d thus of the salvation e f f e c t e d b y these rites. T h e same sense c a n b e
borne b y the interpretation of this passage in E p h . 3.9 a n d of this in Ignatius,

Trail.

2.3, w h e r e the contrast b e t w e e n the " m y s t e r i e s " a n d " f o o d a n d d r i n k " is t h a t o f


I C o r . 11 b e t w e e n the eucharist a n d o r d i n a r y e a t i n g a n d d r i n k i n g ; the reference is

179

THE SECRET GOSPEL

particularly to 11.22. (Bauer's reference, Ig., ad loc., to Acts 6.2 is not justified by the
text.)
All the above argument on has run counter to the common dogma that

in the N T always has the sense of or n o and that these always


mean "secret," never "secret r i t e " ; so Bornkamm, ; Nock, Mysterien; Alio,
ICor., on 5.7; Klostermann, Taylor, and Cranfield on M k . 4 . 1 1 ; etc. But this dogma
is false.
Paul sometimes did use to mean "secret," but there are a number of
instances where he clearly did not: the "mystery of iniquity," that is, " t h e unlawful
magic," in II Thess. 2.7 is not a secret, but a processa secret process, no doubt, but
the essential thing is not the secrecy but the process, which is already " w o r k i n g " to
bring the coming of the evil one. So, too, in the magical papyri means not
only " c h a r m , " but the whole magical ceremony and its consequences (PGM 1.131;
IV.476; etc.; contrast Rigaux, Thess., on 2.7). Similarly in Col. i.26f the mystery
is not a secret but a process, iv , the indwelling and working of Christ in
the baptized; cf. PGM I.i28ff, where means not only the
whole magical ceremony by which one receives 6 (cf. Eph. 2.2) as
an indwelling deity, but also all the consequences which follow from the reception:
the continued possession and service of the deity, the status of an initiate, \\
Ups . That Paul should have used to describe the process
and consequences of Christ's indwelling in Christian initiates was probably a reflection of his use of the same term for the rite of initiation, baptism. As in PGM, the
mystery produced the association of man and god, and the term was carried over
loosely to its consequences. Nock's notion that Paul was not aware of the connection
between , , and (Mysterien n i ) seems to me incredible. T h a t
Paul was thinking of baptism in Col. i.26f is indicated by the immediately preceding
verses where he speaks of the body of Christ, the Church (25),

etc. This is the vocabulary found in I Cor. 4.1 where Paul is speaking of his work as of the mysteries; and the concept of the Church as the
body of Christ is that remarked above in connection with the references to baptism,
since by baptism this embodiment was effected. Thus, the notion that Paul always
uses to mean " s e c r e t " is false.
, ,

Further, the notion that when Paul does use to mean " s e c r e t " he cannot at the same time use it to mean "secret process" or " r i t e , " is also false. This has
been shown by the examples above. For some consequences of this false antithesis,
see above, in the comment on in the body of the letter (II.2).
Finally, the notion that and always refer to secrets and never to secret
rites is also false, in particular is not infrequently taken in rabbinic literature
as a reference to the rite of circumcision; for example, Tanhuma, Hayye Sarah 4, where
Prov. 31.24, nn17 I'lO, is glossed (by punning on ) with the words V a n It
1*? 1 mo m x j p "this is circumcision, of which it is said, ' T h e mystery (mo)
of the Lord is given to those who fear h i m ' " P s . 25.14. (A contributory element in
the exegesis may have been the fact that ]>0 was the initiation garment, the ; see
180

THE SECRET GOSPEL

above). M o r e important is the fact that both "no and appear in Hekalot Rabbati (27.1;
28.3; 29.1,2,4; etc.) as descriptions of the magical technique by w h i c h one is enabled to
ascend through the heavens and be seated in the throne of G o d . T h o u g h the present
form of this text is late, Scholem, Gnosticism, has shown that speculations on the subject
of the ascent go back to a syncretistic J u d a i s m of the early first century A.D. at the latest;
a n d his argument is now confirmed b y the appearance of their peculiar angelology
in the Q u m r a n texts, 3Q, 7.5 = Discoveries III.99. Further, I have shown (Observaions end) that the account of the ascent in the Hekalot and that in the so-called
" M i t h r a s L i t u r g y " ( P G M I V . 4 7 5 f f ) back to a c o m m o n source of tradition, if
not of writing. T h e " M i t h r a s L i t u r g y " describes itself as (476), and means
b y this " i n i t i a t i o n , " for it prescribes that one m a y have a (line 732). T h e
first reference to practice of a technique for ascent to the heavens m a y be that in
Col. 2.18: " t h e angels w h o m he saw when going i n . " Into the heavens? (Cf. Observations 156). A n d ascent to the heavens and session with Christ on the right hand of
G o d are described by Paul in the same context as the potential climax of the consequences of Christian baptism (Col. 3. i f f ) . So the supposition that T"1 and/or n o
could h a v e been used b y Paul to refer to the rite of baptism as a " m y s t e r y " is not
unsupported.
Judaism was often considered a " m y s t e r y " religion (e.g., b y Plutarch, Quaestiones
Convivales I V . 6 : Jewish doctrines and ceremones are ' a n d the
u n k n o w n Jewish god is identified as Dionysus because of parallels between the Jewish
a n d the Eleusinian mysteries). Paul's Jewish contemporary, Philo, frequently described the doctrines and ceremonies of Judaism as " m y s t e r i e s " (Goodenough,
Symbols V I . 2 0 6 - 2 1 6 ; Wolfson, Philo 1.43). A n d the rabbis took over the word
w i t h the full range of its G r e c o - R o m a n meanings.
O n the one h a n d they used it to m e a n " s p e l l " or " m a g i c " and identified " t h e
mystery of Israel," *? VtP p I B D ' S , as the secret name of Y a h w e h . It was by
pronouncing this that Moses killed the E g y p t i a n : Wayyikra' Rabbah 32.4 end, a n d
Margulies' note ad loc. As in Greek, the w o r d can m e a n not only the essential c h a r m ,
but the whole magical praxis in w h i c h it is used; thus the Shunnamite says to Elisha,
r r n m dtiVk b v p i o a a r e o "V nVnna dti^n

pitjoaa m a s

WIK " Y o u practiced the mysteries of G o d w h e n y o u gave m e a son, to begin with, so


n o w practice the mysteries of G o d a n d raise him from the d e a d . " (Shemot Rabbah 19.1.
T h i s passage is of particular interest here because it shows these mysteries were conceived as means of resurrection, as was baptism.)
Besides this magical usage, the rabbis also took over, as Philo did, the usage of
for " m y s t e r y initiation." T h e y used it in this sense to refer to the initiatory
rite of Judaism, circumcision. For this they found Biblical basis in Ps. 25.14,
Dsrnn 1 ? U V - m TNT 1 ? m r r T O , w h i c h L X X h a d translated

' , but A q u i l a translated


(Theodotion a n d Quinta, ) '
(Theodotion, ) , thus rendering as
" m y s t e r y " and equating the mystery a n d the covenant. C o m p a r e Is. 24.16, where
'V " ,l 7 " was omitted b y L X X but translated b y S y m m a c h u s a n d Theodotion
181

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

translation also reflected b y a n

a g r a p h o n attributed to Jesus in C l e m e n t , the Clementine Homilies, a n d m a n y later


authors (see the c o m m e n t a r y on 1 . 1 2 ) : .
A s observed in the c o m m e n t a r y , this a g r a p h o n is introduced in the Clementina as if
it c a m e from M k . , b u t is interpreted, b y a n a l o g y w i t h the M a t t h a e a n a n d L u c a n
interpretations of M k . 4 . 1 1 , as referring to teachings. Ps. 25.14, however, is consistently
taken in rabbinic literature as referring to circumcision. T h u s Tanhuma on G e n . 17.2
(Lek,

19) comments: -1? V V i a i VXT 1 ? ' TlO " "|31 T 3 TV-D 31

- nVn n ^ a

Va; p i a o

rvopn

n ^ j xVw n ^ a n

u -vktV

n^aty t i o

" ' A n d I shall establish m y covenant between us.' T h i s is w h a t is referred to b y the


verse, ' T h e mystery of Y a h w e h is for those w h o fear h i m a n d so is his covenant, to
give them k n o w l e d g e ' (Ps. 25.14). W h a t is this ' m y s t e r y ' w h i c h he revealed ' t o
those w h o fear h i m ' ? T h i s is the rite of circumcision. For the H o l y O n e , blessed be
H e , did not reveal the mystery rite of circumcision to a n y save A b r a h a m . " T h i s
exegesis occurs as part of a h o m i l y beginning with the verse ' ""SD1? "jVnnn
(Gen.

17.1),

perfect."

w h i c h is taken

Here

LXX

corrected to eiosa
" i n i t i a t i o n " (),

and

to m e a n ,

Philo

"Do

rendered

as I tell y o u a n d y o u shall be
D'Dn

by

which

Aquila

term cognate to the technical terms " t o i n i t i a t e " (reAe'co),


etc. is also the term used b y Jesus in u r g i n g his followers

to follow his l a w rather than the traditional c o m m a n d m e n t s ; he concludes ( M t . 5.48),


OJS ianv;

cf. M t . 19.21, where,

in the conversation w i t h the rich y o u n g m a n of M k . 10, M a t t h e w ' s Jesus contrasts


a m a n w h o merely keeps the M o s i a c l a w w i t h one w h o is .
T h e difference between L X X a n d Philo on the one h a n d a n d A q u i l a , S y m m a c h u s ,
T h e o d o t i o n , a n d M t . on the other in the translations of G e n . 17.1 a n d Ps. 25.14 a n d
Is. 24.16 (noted above) indicates that the interpretation of circumcision as a mystery
is to be dated in the first or early second century. T h e sermon in Tanhuma goes on
to declare this mystery the necessary means to happiness in the afterlife (as were, for
e x a m p l e , the Eleusinian mysteries, and baptism). T h i s exegesis was standard. It
recurs in the parallel version of the Tanhuma (ed. Buber, Lek 20-27), w h i c h places
even more emphasis on the notion that b y circumcision the initiate becomes re
(here dVe?, 20 a n d 25), takes A b r a h a m as prefiguring the Messiah (22), a n d explains that the mystery was given him in order that he m i g h t be m a d e like G o d (23
e n d ; cf. M t . 5.48, above) a n d that its performance prevents the world's returning to
chaos ( 2 4 ) a notion derived from the mysteries of ancient M e s o p o t a m i a (and a
reminder that this development need not be conceived as wholly the result of G r e e k
influence). W e h a v e already seen this same exegetic c o m p l e x referred to en passant
in Tanhuma (Sarah 4) apropos of a mention of the w h i c h was p r o b a b l y the
costume for the rite

710 IDNlttf 17,0 IT) A corrupt version was introduced into

most M S S of Bereshit Rabbah 49.2; see T h e o d o r e ' s notes there. Finally, the theme is
further developed in Shemot Rabbah 1 9 . 5 - 7 . A f t e r emphasizing again that to h a v e
been circumcised is necessary a n d sufficient (save to heretics and the very wicked)
for salvation, the text goes on to treat it as the precondition for participation in the
sacred, secret, passover meal (6). O n l y one speaker is n a m e d t h e Galilean, R . Simon
182

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

b e n H a l a f t a , of the b e g i n n i n g of the third c e n t u r y b u t h o w m u c h o f the tradition


c a n be a t t r i b u t e d to h i m is not clear. T h e text c o m m e n t e d u p o n is E x . 12.43fr,
13 VDiT N1? VlS? V m "O V s i r xV "DJ

n p n n s t . . . P a r t i c u l a r l y striking is

the c o m m e n t , " I t is like a k i n g w h o m a d e a dinner for his friends (*? = rots

. . . ev ,

I C o r . 2 . 6 - 9 ; see a b o v e , p a g e 179^

T h e k i n g s a i d , ' I f there is a n y o n e , of all those invited, o n w h o m m y seal does not a p p e a r ,


he is not to be a d m i t t e d here.' <Cf. M t . 2 2 . 1 - 1 4 . C i r c u m c i s i o n is a " s e a l " i n R o m .
4 . 1 1 ; b a p t i s m or c h r i s m p r o b a b l y i n A p o c . 7.2; 9.4. A l l these use , o n w h i c h ,
a n d on its b a c k g r o u n d in the mysteries, see B a u e r , Wb., s.v., a n d the literature there.)
S o G o d m a d e a feast (i.e.,

the p a s s o v e r ) . . . because he was delivering t h e m f r o m

evil < m s n , cf. M t . 6 . 1 3 ; G a l . 1 . 4 ) . H e said to t h e m , ' I f the seal of A b r a h a m is


not in y o u r flesh y o u shall not taste of i t ' <Lk. 14.24, also Didache I X . 5 , none b u t the
b a p t i z e d m a y eat the e u c h a r i s t ) . . . (7) ' N o alien shall eat of i t ' . . . T h e H o l y O n e ,
blessed b e H e , said to t h e m , ' L e t n o other p e o p l e p a r t i c i p a t e in it, a n d let t h e m not
know
s.v.),

the m y s t e r y

^pTlOtt,

accepting

the e m e n d a t i o n

of

Krauss,

Lehnwrter,

b u t let it b e for y o u a l o n e . ' " T h e text goes o n to describe the Passover in this

w o r l d as a n a n t i c i p a t i o n of the feast of the blessed in the w o r l d to c o m e .


I n sum, then, the r a b b i s often spoke of the initiatory c e r e m o n y of J u d a i s m as a
" m y s t e r y " w h i c h h a d b e e n " g i v e n " to t h e m . T h e y t h o u g h t this initiation prerequisite for p a r t i c i p a t i o n in the sacred m e a l of the cult in this w o r l d , a n d for the life
of the b l e s s e d a glorified f o r m of t h a t sacred m e a l i n the w o r l d to c o m e . T h u s the
clear e v i d e n c e of the r a b b i n i c m a t e r i a l confirms the p r e c e d i n g interpretation of P a u l .

in J e w i s h usage r e g u l a r l y refers to the initiatory rite o f circumcision, as in

P a u l ' s usage it refers to the initiatory rite of b a p t i s m w h i c h P a u l e q u a t e d w i t h


c i r c u m c i s i o n : C o l . 2 . 1 1 ; f j ) . . .

G i v e n the P a u l i n e a n d the r a b b i n i c usage, it is not surprising to

find

used as a technical expression for b a p t i s m in the c o m m u n i t y f r o m w h i c h M k . d r e w


his material. C h r i s t i a n b a p t i s m is " t h e m y s t e r y of the k i n g d o m o f G o d " because it enables those to w h o m it is g i v e n to enter the k i n g d o m s o J n . 3, N i c o d e m u s ' n o c t u r n a l
visit to Jesus (of w h i c h the similarity in content to the initiation in the longer text
is no less striking than the total i n d e p e n d e n c e of the t w o passages). T h e r e f o r e those
to w h o m C h r i s t i a n b a p t i s m has been g i v e n ( M k . 4 . 1 1 ) are in the k i n g d o m , as opposed
to " t h o s e o u t s i d e " (ibid.) like the Baptist (Lk. 7.28; M t . 1 1 . 1 1 ; A c t s 1 9 . 1 - 7 ) , w h o
h a v e b e e n b o r n o n l y of w o m e n , not o f w a t e r and the spirit (Jn. 3 . 3 - 5 ) .
T h e one difficulty in the w a y of a b a p t i s m a l interpretation o f " t h e m y s t e r y of the
k i n g d o m of G o d " in the longer text is the w o r d . I n the light of the e v i d e n c e
r e v i e w e d a b o v e , I think this a c o r r u p t i o n of a n original . T h e corruption w a s
p r o b a b l y m a d e b y a copyist i n f l u e n c e d b y the misinterpretation o f M k . 4 . 1 1 in M t .
13.n

a n d L k . 8.10, w h e r e " t h e m y s t e r y " b e c o m e s " t h e m y s t e r i e s " t h a t is, the

f o l l o w i n g interpretations of the parables, w h i c h " i t is g i v e n " the disciples " t o k n o w . "


T h a t misinterpretation, in turn, p r o b a b l y resulted f r o m the r a p i d g r o w t h o f C h r i s tianity, w h i c h m a d e b a p t i s m a n e x p e r i e n c e c o m m o n to all m e m b e r s o f a l a r g e g r o u p
i n c l u d i n g m a n y not c o m p l e t e l y s a v e d ; b a p t i s m therefore d e c l i n e d in prestige a n d
there w a s a c o r r e s p o n d i n g g r o w t h of secret teachings w h i c h professed to reveal
183

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

something more. This is the development reflected by the Matthaean and Lucan
emendations of canonical Mk. and by the corruption of the longer text.
Apart from this, the details of the nocturnal initiation (the six days' preparation,
the coming by night, the sheet and the nudity, and the mystery of the kingdom) all
accord with the interpretation required by the clearly baptismal character of the
preceding pericope. T h e rite was a form of baptism.
(f) This baptismal interpretation explains both the inclusion in the longer text
of the story of the baptism and its omission from the canonical text if that was intended, as Clement says it was, for reading by the unbaptized.
T h e inclusion at the place where it stands is exactly in accord with the requirements of the pericope as a reading for the baptismal service. We have h a d the prerequisitesbecome as children, believe in the one good God, obey the commandments,
forsake all, and join the Churchand the peculiarly Christian creed, the death a n d
resurrection of Jesus, the Son of M a n , which the initiates are now to share. W e have
h a d the evidence of resurrection and the antitype of baptismthe raising of Lazarus
(the Gospel for the service, here following the creedevidently because it belonged to
the secret teaching of the churchsee above on in II.a). Now we
come to the baptism itself, and here, as in the eucharist, the essential is not a prayer,
but a story of what Jesus once d i d : eWrafev . . . . . . . . . '/xctve
. . . . . . (III.79) And with this
the story ends as abruptly as the M a r k a n account of the institution of the eucharist:
KtWev ( I I I . I I i ) ; cf. Mk. 14.26, - .
T h a t this story should have been omitted in revision of the Gospel for exoteric use
is in accord with J o h n ' s omission of both Jesus' baptism and the eucharist (so Dodd,
Fourth Gospel 309-310). It is remarked in Windisch-Preisker (Briefe 157) that in I
Peter, between 1.21 and 1.22, " D e r Taufakt selbst ist aus Arkandisziplin fortgelassen."
Schille, Tauflehre 35, remarks a similar omission of advanced eschatological teaching
in Barnabas 17.2: ev ; cf. Mk. 4 1 1 Preisker,
Boismard, and Schille represent I Peter and Barnabas as baptismal texts because of
their outlines (above, page 170), and we have shown the extensive agreement of these
outlines with that of Mk. 10. Therefore the omission in Barnabas 17 may help to
explain the suppression in Mk. 10. Baptism, as the secret way of entering the kingdom
(Jn. 3.5) was acutely eschatological. T h e most important secret about the kingdom
was how to get in. Perhaps this was why, in canonical Mk., baptism was suppressed
while the eucharist was not (cf. Moule, Intention 17if). This question, however, would
lead to that of the structure and history of canonical Mk., which must indeed be restudied in the light of the longer text, but not here.
Returning to the role of the baptism story in the baptismal pericope, it should be
noted that the liturgical interpretation of the whole pericope explains the seeming
difficulty that the resurrection of the youth (the symbol of his baptism) precedes, by
six days, his baptism. O n e might either compare Apuleius, Golden Ass X I . 13-25 (where
Lucius' restoration to h u m a n form precedes his initiation, of which it is the symbol),
or quote the Pharisaic ruling on circumcision: "Separation from a foreskin is
like separation from a t o m b . " -)3pn ]H "IIDD "?5?
(Pesahim
184

THE SECRET GOSPEL

V I I I . 8 ; 'Eduyot V . 2 ) , w h i c h puts a seven-day purification period (Num. 19.16)


between circumcision a n d participation in the passover meal. But the Pharisaic
ruling is not closely parallel, since the ceremonies it affects are not related as symbol
a n d reality. A n d in Apuleius the duplication is due to the shift from allegory to autobiography : h a v i n g allegorized his uninitiated self as an ass, he h a d to restore himself
to h u m a n form (that is, undergo allegoric initiation) before he could describe his
actual initiation as a man. In the longer text of M k . , however, the resurrection story
(allegoric initiation) anticipates the story of the actual baptism because the whole
pericope is designed to correspond with a service in w h i c h the Gospel anticipates the
actual ceremony, as the Gospel for the feast of Corpus Christi anticipates the canon
of the mass. (Note that the roles of these elements in the baptismal pericope do not
determine their relations in the smaller s e c t i o n M k . 10.20-34 plus the longer text,
discussed above in pp. 165fr. Perhaps that pattern was worked into the pericope as a
basis for yet more esoteric teaching.)
(g) A t this point C l e m e n t tells T h e o d o r e ,
", in other words, the longer text as used in Clement's church
(or, as C l e m e n t chose to describe it) did not contain some m a t e r i a l i n c l u d i n g the
phrase which
T h e o d o r e h a d reported as standing hereabouts in the
C a r p o c r a t i a n text.
Since the Carpocratians h a d a reputation for sexual license (see A p p e n d i x B)
and this section of the longer text reported that a youth came to Jesus
and stayed with h i m all night, it is easy to suppose that the
Carpocratians took the opportunity to insert in the text some material w h i c h w o u l d
authorize the homosexual relationship C l e m e n t suggested by picking out
. Similar developments might be thought to lie behind the celebration of
baptism in Acta Thomae 27 as (cf. 132, text , both lacking
in the Syriac), a n d sayings like Gospel of Thomas (Leipoldt) 108, "Jesus said: ' H e
w h o will drink of m y m o u t h will become like me, and I shall be he, and the hidden
things shall be revealed to h i m . ' " Cf. the longer text,
.
H o w e v e r , C l e m e n t does not explicitly say that the additional material was sexually
offensive, and he w o u l d hardly have missed the chance to say so if it had been.
Therefore the p r o b a b l y belonged to a fuller account of the ritual.
Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition X X I . 11, after speaking of the catechumen a n d the
presbyter w h o is to baptize him, goes on to specify, " A n d let them stand in the
water n a k e d . " T h e C a r p o c r a t i a n text m a y have contained some similar provision,
more explicitly phrased.
A n o t h e r possibility is indicated by the fact that the Carpocratians interpreted
baptism as a resurrection. This appears from Irenaeus (Harvey, II.48.2 = Stieren,
I I . 3 1 . 2 ) : A f t e r arguing that the Carpocratians perform their miracles by m a g i c ,
a n d cannot perform m a j o r cures, he goes on to say, tantum autem absunt ab eo ut
mortuum excitent, quemadmodum Dominus excitavit et apostoli per orationem {et in fraternitate
saepissime propter aliquid necessarium, ea quae est in quoque loco ecclesia universa postulante per
jejunium et supplicationem multam, reversus est spiritus mortui, et donatus est homo orationibus
185

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

sanctorum) ut ne quidem credant hoc in totum posse fieri; esse autem resurrectionem a mortuis
agnitionem eius, quae ab eis dicitur, veritatis. O n this H a r v e y a p t l y quotes T e r t u l l i a n ,
De resurrectione mortuorum X I X . 2 f f . resurrectionem . . . mortuorum manifeste adnuntiatam in
imaginariam significationem distorquent, adserentes ipsam etiam mortem spiritaliter intellegendam.
Non

enim hanc esse in vero, quae sit in medio, discidium

carnis

atque

animae,

sed

ignorantiam dei, per quam homo mortuus deo non minus in errore iacuerit quam in sepulchre.
Itaque et resurrectionem earn vindicandam, qua quis adita veritate redanimatus et revivificatus
deo ignorantiae morte discussa velut de sepulchro veteris hominis eruperit. . . exinde ergo
resurrectionem fide consecutos cum domino esse, quem in baptismate induerint. Hoc denique
ingenio etiam in conloquiis saepe nostros decipere consueverunt, quasi et ipsi resurrectionem
carnis admittant: " Vae," inquiunt, " qui non in hac came resurrexerit," ne statim illos percutiant,
si resurrectionem statim abnuerint.
"Vae,

Tacite autem secundum conscientiam suam hoc sentiunt:

qui non, dum in hac came est, cognoverit arcana haeretica." Hoc est enim apud illos

resurrectio. Sed et plerique ab excessu animae resurrectionem vindicantes, de sepulchro exire de


saeculo evadere interpretantur, quia et saeculum mortuorum sit habitaculum, id est ignorantium
deum, vel etiam de ipso corpore, quia et corpus vice sepulchri conclusam animam in saecularis
vitae morte detineat.
G i v e n this i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of resurrection as initiation (and v i c e versa) it is easy
to suppose t h a t the C a r p o c r a t i a n s a d d e d to the ritual o f their b a p t i s m a l initiation
some sort of resurrection ritual like t h a t suggested b y the parallels a d d u c e d in the
c o m m e n t a r y on

a b o v e (on I I I . 13). Elisha's raising o f the w i d o w ' s

son, I I K g s . 4.34, w o u l d h a v e p r o v i d e d a n O T p r e c e d e n t ; its i m p o r t a n c e in J u d a i s m


of the R o m a n p e r i o d is s h o w n b y its p l a c e o n the front w a l l o f the D u r a s y n a g o g u e
(panel W G i , K r a e l i n g , Dura pi. L X I I I ) , a n d the c o m m e n t s b y impressed visitors
( G e i g e r , Texts nos. 49, 5 1 , 55). A t all events, the one t h i n g certain a b o u t the C a r p o c r a t i a n text is also the one t h i n g most i m p o r t a n t for o u r present p u r p o s e : it is f u l l y
c o m p a t i b l e w i t h the interpretation of the secret c e r e m o n y as a b a p t i s m .
(h) A f t e r the b a p t i s m c o m e s the sermon, the p o s t b a p t i s m a l instruction, w h i c h
still stands in c a n o n i c a l M k .

1 0 . 3 5 - 4 5 . T h e " m e s s a g e " is as follows: T h e n e w l y

b a p t i z e d s h o u l d not feel themselves a t a d i s a d v a n t a g e vis vis Christians o f l o n g e r


s t a n d i n g , for not e v e n the o r i g i n a l disciples w e r e assured the highest places in the
k i n g d o m . A l l w h o enter must d r i n k of Jesus' c u p ( c o m m u n i o n t h e c o m m e m o r a t i o n
o f the p a s s i o n w i l l follow) a n d b e b a p t i z e d (as the initiates j u s t h a v e been) w i t h
his b a p t i s m (his d e a t h a n d resurrection), b u t for the f u t u r e he w h o w o u l d b e greatest
s h o u l d f o l l o w the e x a m p l e o f the S o n of M a n w h o m a d e himself servant of all a n d
g a v e his life for us. S o practice h u m i l i t y , m a k e yourselves useful in the c h u r c h , a n d
give w h a t you can.
W i t h this c o n c e r n for c h u r c h discipline a n d finance the b a p t i s m a l p e r i c o p e comes
to its n a t u r a l conclusion. I n the d r a m a t i c situation, t h a t is, as p u t into Jesus' m o u t h ,
the references to the b a p t i s m a n d the c u p in verses 3 8 - 3 9 must be u n d e r s t o o d as
prophecies of his o w n passion a n d d e a t h a n d therefore of those of the sons of Z e b e d e e . 1 8
18. The amusing exegeses contrived to avoid this conclusion (Bernard, Study, Delling, Baptisma; etc.)
need not concern us; nor need the question whether or not the prophecy was fulfilled in the case of
John. The writer of Mk. 10.39 may have yet expected its fulfillment or may have erroneously believed
it to have been fulfilled.

186

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

B u t for t h a t c h u r c h w h i c h told the story, b a p t i s m a n d c o m m u n i o n h a d b e c o m e


ritual m e a n s of p a r t i c i p a t i o n in Jesus' d e a t h a n d resurrection ( R o m . 6 . 3 ; I C o r .
1 1 . 2 4 - 2 8 ) ; so the question to the sons of Z e b e d e e is n o w directed to all Christians,
a n d their a n s w e r is the initiates' a f f i r m a t i o n of faith in the m a g i c a l identification
w i t h the s a v i o u r , e f f e c t e d b y the rites of the m y s t e r y . T o suppose the d r a m a t i c
reference to the passion excludes the h o m i l e t i c reference or the sacraments ( W e r n e r ,
Einfluss 137fr) is ridiculous. E q u a l l y ridiculous w a s the gnostic interpretation of the
verses as referring to a second b a p t i s m ( I r e n a e u s : H a r v e y , I . 1 4 . 1 = Stieren, 1 . 2 1 . 2 ) ,
b u t it m a y h a v e been a c c e p t e d also b y C l e m e n t ' s c h u r c h in A l e x a n d r i a (point a,
a b o v e , p. 168).
T h i s c o n c l u d e s the a r g u m e n t c o n c e r n i n g the structure of M k . 1 0 . 1 3 - 4 5 a n d its
relation to the longer text. Since the a r g u m e n t has b e e n c o m p l i c a t e d , it s h o u l d be
summarized here:
(a) C l e m e n t declares t h a t the longer text w a s r e a d in

probably

the p a s c h a l service w h i c h i n c l u d e d b a p t i s m .
(b) T h e liturgical use of the text w o u l d e x p l a i n its i m p o r t a n c e to C l e m e n t , to
the western text, to L k . , a n d to M k .
(c) T h a t

w e r e or i n c l u d e d some sort of b a p t i s m is suggested

b y the b a p t i s m a l reminiscences w i t h w h i c h C l e m e n t introduces the text.


(d) T h e text stands at t h a t p l a c e in c a n o n i c a l M k . w h e r e b a p t i s m a l m a t e r i a l is
to b e e x p e c t e d .
(e) T h e details of M k . 10.-13-34 + the longer text + 1 0 . 3 5 - 4 5 show the w h o l e
p e r i c o p e to be a b a p t i s m a l lection, to w h i c h all its parts are essential:
(i) 1 0 . 1 3 - 1 6 states the general prerequisite of b a p t i s m : b e c o m e as little c h i l d r e n .
(ii-vi)

10.17-31

states

specific

requirements:

monotheism,

obedience

to

the

c o m m a n d m e n t s , r e n u n c i a t i o n of p r o p e r t y ; these correspond to the s t a n d a r d p r e l i m i n a r y instruction for baptism.


(vii) 10.32-34, the c r e d a l p r o p h e c y of the passion a n d resurrection,

provides

b o t h the assurance a n d the e x p l a n a t i o n o f the rite's e f f i c a c y .


(viii) T h e " G o s p e l " for the service, the story of the raising of L a z a r u s , w a s f r o m
the second c e n t u r y o n associated w i t h b a p t i s m b o t h as a s y m b o l of the initiates'
resurrection f r o m sin a n d as a n e x a m p l e of the e x p e c t e d resurrection f r o m d e a t h .
(ix) T h a t the n o c t u r n a l initiation w h i c h follows the resurrection was understood
to h a v e b e e n a b a p t i s m is a r g u e d b y E p h r a i m ' s tradition c o n c e r n i n g L a z a r u s a n d
b y the details r e p o r t e d : the six-day interval, the n o c t u r n a l c h a r a c t e r , the sheet
a n d the n u d i t y , a n d the c o m m u n i c a t i o n of " t h e m y s t e r y of the k i n g d o m o f G o d , "
w h i c h seems to h a v e b e e n baptism.
(f) T h i s b a p t i s m a l interpretation explains b o t h the inclusion of this m a t e r i a l at
this p l a c e in the longer text, a n d its omission f r o m the shorter, exoteric text. I t w a s
i n c l u d e d because the c h u r c h for w h i c h the longer text w a s w r i t t e n

performed

b a p t i s m , as it p e r f o r m e d the eucharist, b y telling a story of w h a t Jesus did. T h e story


of the n o c t u r n a l initiation w a s the " c a n o n " of the b a p t i s m a l service, as the story
of the n o c t u r n a l supper w a s a n d i s t h e c a n o n of the mass. H e n c e the omission f r o m
the exoteric text, c o m p a r a b l e to the omission of the " w o r d s of i n s t i t u t i o n " f r o m
J o h n . H e n c e also the d o u b l i n g of the a c c o u n t of b a p t i s m f i r s t s y m b o l i c (resurrec187

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

tion) as the " G o s p e l " for the service, then a c t u a l (initiation) as the w o r d s a c c o m p a n y i n g the

(g) T h e additions r e p o r t e d f r o m the C a r p o c r a t i a n text also a d m i t of b a p t i s m a l


interpretation, a n d this interpretation is m a d e likely b y reports of the C a r p o c r a t i a n s '
allegorizing of resurrection.
(h) M k . 1 0 . 3 5 - 4 5 is best understood as postbaptismal instruction.
T h e s e a r g u m e n t s a r e c u m u l a t i v e . I f e v e n o n e of t h e m be t h o u g h t conclusive, it
establishes the b a p t i s m a l c h a r a c t e r of the section to w h i c h it applies, a n d thus
strengthens the case for a b a p t i s m a l interpretation of the a d j a c e n t sections. A n d
e v e n if none b e t h o u g h t conclusive, the fact that so m a n y sections in sequence l e n d
themselves so r e a d i l y to the same i n t e r p r e t a t i o n will be difficult to e x p l a i n a w a y .
4.

EVIDENCE

FOR A B B R E V I A T I O N

AT

MK.

10.46

F o r the second q u o t a t i o n f r o m the longer text I see n o such structural a r g u m e n t .


B u t it reports a n i n c i d e n t l o c a t e d in J e r i c h o , o n Jesus' last trip to J e r u s a l e m . L k .
19. - also reports a n i n c i d e n t t h e Z a c c h a e u s s t o r y a n d all the synoptics tell
the story of b l i n d B a r t i m a e u s (doubled b y M t . ) as s o m e t h i n g w h i c h h a p p e n e d n e a r
J e r i c h o . S o there w e r e stories c o n n e c t e d w i t h the p l a c e , a n d B u l t m a n n is i n c l i n e d
to consider these local connections as " o l d t r a d i t i o n " or e v e n " h c h s t p r i m i t i v "
('Geschichte 68f, 258, 364).
M o r e o v e r , the Z a c c h a e u s story, like the p r e c e d i n g story in the longer text, is o f
a rich m a n w h o w i s h e d to see (cf. " b e w i t h " ) Jesus a n d therefore received h i m in
his house a n d w a s saved. O t h e r connections w i t h the b a p t i s m a l p e r i c o p e in M k .
a r e his gift of (half o f ) his possessions to the p o o r (cf. M k . 10.21) a n d the c o n c l u d i n g
sentence, ;

cf. the M a r k a n

conclusion (10.45, w h i c h L k . o m i t t e d ) , 6
.

O n e is t e m p t e d

to suppose t h a t in telling the Z a c c h a e u s story L u k e h a d in m i n d the p r e c e d i n g


M a r k a n p e r i c o p e , including the passages f r o m the longer text. T h i s j i b e s w i t h the
e v i d e n c e seen a b o v e t h a t M a t t h e w also k n e w the longer text (see the c o m m e n t a r y
o n ,

I I . 2 4 ;

I I I . I i ; a n d the a r g u m e n t a b o v e

on p a g e 172), a n d the first of these bits of M a t t h a e a n e v i d e n c e implies k n o w l e d g e


of the second a d d i t i o n , t h a t f o l l o w i n g M k . 10.46a.
T h e r e f o r e , it is interesting t h a t there seems to be a g a p in the text of M k . 10.46,
j u s t at the p l a c e w h e r e C l e m e n t locates his q u o t a t i o n f r o m the longer text. 10.46a
reads et? .

10.46b reads

(and

the text goes o n to tell the B a r t i m a e u s story). N o t i c e the c h a n g e of n u m b e r b e t w e e n

a n d

, a n d the repetition

. . .

w h i c h w o u l d be better u n d e r s t a n d a b l e if s o m e t h i n g h a d i n t e r v e n e d .

Apparently

the story of w h a t h a p p e n e d in J e r i c h o has b e e n o m i t t e d . T h i s a p p e a r a n c e is strengthe n e d b y the w a y M a t t h e w a n d L u k e h a n d l e d the M a r k a n t e x t : M a t t h e w o m i t t e d


4 6 a entirely, thus suppressing all reference to a n y t h i n g h a p p e n i n g in J e r i c h o ; L u k e
c h a n g e d 46a to

,
188

o m i t t e d 46b) a n d told

THE SECRET GOSPEL

the Bartimaeus story as something w h i c h happened before Jesus reached the city.
H e then w e n t on, , etc. (19. i f ) and proceeded
to tell his version of w h a t happened in J e r i c h o t h e Zacchaeus story which, as w e
h a v e just seen, has reminiscences of the baptismal pericope, including the longer
text. So it seems that w h a t happened in Jericho was something to w h i c h M a t t h e w
chose not to refer, a n d for w h i c h L u k e had another, remotely cognate tradition
w h i c h he preferred to M k .
T h i s appearance is strengthened b y examination of the other passages where
M a r k begins a pericope w i t h / els. A s noted above (commentary
on II.23), ^ i s is one of M a r k ' s favorite formulas a n d characteristic of his style as
opposed to the other synoptists'. H e used it in 3.20; 5.38; 6 . 1 ; 8.22; 10.1 ( e x p a n d e d ) ;
10.46; 1 1 . 1 5 ; 1 1 . 2 7 ; I 4-3 2 > a n d he used the same construction w i t h other verbs
or tenses in 1 . 2 1 ; 3 . 1 ; 5 . 1 ; 9.33. I n all of these the formula is introductory, and in
all except 3.20 and 10.46 it is followed b y an account of some event w h i c h occurred
in the place entered. T h e text in 3.20 was omitted b y M a t t h e w a n d L u k e a n d looks
as if it were the introduction to another deleted section of the longer text. Perhaps
9.33 is another example of the same t h i n g : , ivTjj
. W h a t happened to " t h e m " in C a p e r n a u m before " h e " went to " t h e "
(unexplained) house? A c c o r d i n g to M a t t h e w , w h a t happened was an encounter
between Peter a n d a tax collector (the coin in the fish's mouth). Is this the only
story in the Gospels to imply that Christians need not obey the civil law ? I f so, the
fact that it was kept secret is understandable.
M a r k is k n o w n for the loose endsreferences to unexplained houses or boats
or p e o p l e h i s text contains (e.g., 3.20; 4 . 1 ; 6.32; 15.21) and for passages w h i c h
look like abbreviations or references to omitted material, e.g., 1 . 1 2 - 1 3 ; 3.6; 4-33f;
6.30,34; 7.31 (see Richardson's c o m m e n t above, p. 161 n 7 ) ; 1 0 . 1 ; 1 1 . 1 9 ; 16.7f).
It is obvious that the text of canonical M k . was abbreviated considerably b y later
revisers ( M a t t h e w and L u k e ) , and other examples of abbreviation of Gospel material
can readily be found (see above, p a g e 94). Therefore it is not surprising that
scholars of quite diverse views have supposed canonical M k . produced by abbreviation: so Hilgenfeld, Markus-, Parker, Gospel, V a g a n a y , Probleme. But such theories
are necessarily speculative. In the present instance w e have a specific case where
expansion is reported b y early tradition, but where the present text looks as if it has
been produced b y abbreviation and, as remarked above, traces of the abbreviated
material seem to appear in M t . a n d L k .
T h e case for abbreviation is further strengthened b y the fact that the omitted
material mentions Salome. Salome appears in the N T only in M k . 15.40 a n d 16.1
i n both as a witness of an event of great importance to Christian claims (the
crucifixion, the discovery of the empty t o m b ; see the commentary on I I I . 16). For
these events she seems to h a v e been one of the chief original witnesses, all of w h o m
were w o m e n (so M k . ; contrast the later Gospels). 1 9 Y e t L u k e (23.55; 24.1) omitted
19. T h e w a y these w o m e n witnesses are introduced in M k . 15.41 suggests that they were not previously mentioned in the Gospel as the author of 15.41 left it. But the introduction also shows that the author
of 15.41 knew other stories about them. W e r e they stories he h a d cut out of the Gospel?

189

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

both M a r k a n lists of these w o m e n witnesses. [ H . J . C . w o u l d prefer " r e a r r a n g e d , "


rather than " o m i t t e d " ; cf. L k . 8.3; 23.49,55; 24.10. But, though L u k e did mention
the other w o m e n elsewhere, he eliminated Salome's name.] M a t t h e w deleted the
n a m e of Salome from the first list (27.56) and removed her figure entirely from the
second (27.61; 28.1) and J o h n also omitted her name (19.25). T h e Johannine text
m a y come from a different tradition, but the omissions by M a t t h e w and L u k e
were presumably deliberate. T h e presumption is that Salome was eliminated because
persons of w h o m the canonical evangelists disapproved were appealing to her as
a n authority. For the late first century this is only a presumption. [ H . J . C . compares
Lk.'s variants in the lists of the twelve.] But for the second century there is no
doubt that Salome was popular in heretical circles; w e have Celsus' report that
the Carpocratians appealed to her authority (Origen, Contra Celsum V . 6 2 ) . Salome
appears as one of the interlocutors of Jesus in the Gospel according to the Egyptians
(Hennecke-Schneemelcher, i o g f ) , used by the encratites, Julius Cassianus, Theodotus
the V a l e n t i n i a n , the Naassenes, a n d the Sabellians, as well as by II Clement and
C l e m e n t of A l e x a n d r i a . She also appears in the Gospel of Thomas (Leipoldt) 61 b
w h e r e she asks Jesus the curious question, " W h o <are y o u , ) m a n , as from the o n e ?
( s i c ) Y o u get onto m y b e d . " ( T h e text has, understandably, been corrupted.)
A g a i n in the Chenoboskion gnostic documents she is found in the First Apocalypse
of James (Bhlig-Labib, KG A, p. 50). The Book of the Resurrection of Christ (James,
ANT
183) lists a m o n g the w o m e n w h o went to Jesus' t o m b " M a r y M a g d a l e n e ,
M a r y the mother of James w h o m Jesus delivered out of the hand of Satan, Salome
w h o tempted him, M a r y w h o ministered to him and M a r t h a her sister." Salome is
one of the interlocutors in the gnostic Pistis Sophia (54, 58, 132, 145) and explains
the mysteries. By contrast, the orthodox Ethiopic Didascalia (III.6) makes the apostles
report that " t h e r e abode with us M a r y M a g d a l e n e , and the sisters of Lazarus,
M a r y a n d M a r t h a , and Salome, and others also with t h e m ; (and) since H e (Jesus)
c o m m a n d e d not them (sic, H a r d e n ) to teach along with us, neither is it right for
other w o m e n to t e a c h . " (This occurs again in a Greek fragment of the Didascalia
Apostolorum I I I . 6 , Connolly, p. x x v i , thinks Salome intrusive.) O f special interest
is the double tradition found in the stories of the birth of Jesus. In the orthodox
Protevangelium Iacobi X I X . 3 - X X . 4 Salome was not the Virgin's midwife, but a
w o m a n w h o heard of the virgin birth only after it had taken place and w o u l d not
believe it. She attempted to test M a r y ' s virginity and was punished b y the withering
of her hand. In the less respectable Liber de Infantia there were two midwives, Z e l o m i
a n d Salome (as A m a n n notes, Protevangile 325, these are two forms of the same name).
Zelomi first m a d e a m a n u a l test, proclaimed M a r y ' s virginity, and gave glory to
G o d ; Salome refused to believe Zelomi's report, m a d e a second m a n u a l test, a n d
had her hand blasted. Finally, in a Coptic fragment quoted by Robinson (Gospels
i g 6 f ) a n d in the C o p t i c Discourse by Demetrius on the Birth of our Lord (Budge, Texts
673fr), Salome was the only midwife; she immediately believed and became the
first to proclaim the Gospel; a n d she followed the holy family and, later, Jesus
everywhere, a n d a s Demetrius specifiesshe saw everything. (A trace of this
legend appears also in the History of Joseph the Carpenter V I 1 1 . 3 : Salome a c c o m p a n i e d
190

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

the holy family to Egypt.) Obviously, Salome was a controversial figure. And it
can be seen that the orthodox material has been edited to diminish her importance
as a witness, for the oldest text of the Protevangelium Iacobi (which denies that she
was the midwife) reports her cure with the words ev rfj )
(Testuz, p. 108, lines 9 - 1 0 , ca. A.D. 200). This shows reworking of an older form in
which she was the midwife (a fact overlooked by Strycker, to say nothing of Testuz).
The hostile orthodox tradition is further represented by Origen on Mt., Commentariorum Series 141 and 144, which admits that Salome watched the crucifixion
from a distance, but denies that she was in at the resurrectiononly Mary Magdalene
and Mary the mother of James were admitted to that, "quasi maiores in caritate."
Against this, the semignostic tradition favorable to Salome is represented by numerous
Coptic texts on the assumption of the Virgin (Robinson, Gospels 5 1 , 59, 60, 77) in
which she appears as one of the Virgin's companions. (Some of these contain details
reminiscent of the raising of Lazarus in the longer text.) Finally, in the Psalms of
Thomas (note his connections) in the Manichaean Psalm Book .222, Salome appears
as the equivalent of the O T " W i s d o m " who builds her house, the Church.
[K.S. pointed out to me the similarity of Salome's disbelief and manual test of
the virgin birth and Thomas' disbelief and manual test of the resurrection in J n .
20.24-29. He also remarked (above, p. 166 ni4) that J n . 20.24-29 plus Thomas'
reception of the secret revelation (in the Gospel of Thomas) make up a rejectionresurrection-revelation complex similar to those in Mk. 8.2gff; io.2off; 14.27fr
discussed above, pp. 165fr.] Of this complex John chose to retain only the first
element and to use that as polemic against the followers of Thomas. Thomas had
indeed seen, but was less blessed that the evangelist who, presumably, had not
seen. (The explicit counterclaim in I J n . 1.1 is less convincing than the implicit
admission in J n . 20.29.) Here, as in the development of the Salome stories, the
original figures of Jesus' circle are pushed aside by the authorities of the developing
churches. The importance of this will appear in the following chapter.
The above survey covers almost all the early Christian reports concerning Salome.
Omitted are only a set of notices in which Salome's name appears in lists of women
who served the Lord or were related to the holy family or were involved in the
resurrection stories. Such comparatively colorless material is directly derivable from
the Markan references. Not so the tradition surveyed above. That tradition is
almost entirely Egyptian (Strycker, 423, thinks Egypt the source of the Protevangelium
Iacobi) and is sharply divided between (a) orthodox polemic and (b) glorification
by "heretical" material and by Coptic material which, although sometimes nominally
orthodox, perpetuates quite unorthodox elements of Egyptian background. Since
the Carpocratians who appealed to Salome's authority (Origen, Contra Celsum V.62)
also maintained that Jesus was a natural man, the son of Joseph (Irenaeus: Harvey,
I.20 = Stieren, I.25), and since Salome in orthodox material was cursed for her
denial of the virgin birth, it would seem that she had figured as an authority for
esoteric traditions allied with a naturalistic account of Jesus' birth, and that the
importance of the esoteric traditions for the Egyptian churches had been sufficient
to save her from the polemic which the naturalism engendered and to transform
191

THE SECRET GOSPEL

her into the first disinterested witness of the virgin birth. But whatever m a y be
thought of the later history of the tradition, it is quite clear that the early material
is so widespread and rich in content that it cannot be explained as derived from the
two references in canonical M k . T h e r e must have been other early traditions a b o u t
Salome to explain the later developments. T h e later developments, in turn, suggest
reasons for the suppression of the early material. T h a t suppression is already visible
in M t . and L k . , and m a y therefore have operated in the editing of M k .

E.

Conclusions

L e t us now review the points w h i c h have been made.


A . T h e resurrection story in the longer text is an example of the miracle-inresponse-to-intercession story: its similarities in content to canonical examples of
that type (e.g., the story of the Gerasene demoniac) are no more numerous than the
similarities of the canonical examples to each other.
B. However, it is especially related to the story of L a z a r u s : the story in J n . is a
Johannine expansion of a later version of the story in the longer text. T h a t the
author of the longer text did not know the Johannine story is as nearly certain as
anything based on source-analysis can be. T h a t J o h n did not know the longer text is
probable.
C . W h e n the longer text is a d d e d to M k . , the geographical outlines of M k . 6 . 3 2 16.8 and J n . 6.1-20.2a are so similar and the order of m a j o r events and the places
of these events in relation to the geographical outlines are so similar as to indicate
that M a r k and J o h n independently expanded and reworked w h a t were probably
independent translations of some ultimately c o m m o n source. C l e m e n t locates his
first quotation from the longer text exactly where it should be in M k . h a d it been
part of this source. Also, the piece of geographical framework with w h i c h it concludes
is paralleled in J n . , but differs so far from the Johannine parallel that it cannot
be explained as derived from J n . Presumably both it and its Johannine parallel came
from the source. T h a t the source was A r a m a i c is not unlikely in view of the numerous
A r a m a i c traits in the style of both M k . and J n . , w h i c h have led a n u m b e r of scholars
to suppose them dependent, more or less directly, on A r a m a i c material (Burney,
Origin; Black, Aramaic; Schlatter, Sprache; T o r r e y , Four Gospels a n d Translated Gospels,
etc.).
D . T h e new material has particularly close structural ties with canonical M k . :
1. I t fits the " h i s t o r i c a l " outline traditionally found in M k .
2. M k . 10.20-34 plus the longer text shows an order of events paralleled in
M k . 8.29-9.8 and M k . 14.27-16.5. These parallels do not seem to come from a
c o m m o n source, but from c o m m o n editorial arrangement of diverse material.
It m a y be that the same editor was responsible for all three instances of the
pattern.
a
3. M k . 10.13-34 + the longer text + 10.35-45
pericope of w h i c h the
contents follow closely the order and contents of a baptismal service. Another

192

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

form of the first section, related to the longer text, stood in a Gospel according to the
Hebrews ( K l i j n , Question). T h e M a r k a n ( + longer text) pericope was designed as
a basis for baptismal teaching and for reading in the service. In this design the
resurrection and initiation stories of the longer text are essential elements and
occur exactly where they should. Moreover, the interpretation of the initiation
as a baptism is confirmed by and explains the details given, and these explain M k .
14.51.
4. T h e second quotation from the longer text has been so bowdlerized

by

C l e m e n t or his predecessors that few conclusions can be d r a w n from it. H o w e v e r ,


M t . seems to have k n o w n it where C l e m e n t located it in M k . L u k e also locates
in Jericho a story w h i c h has important similarities to the longer text (it looks like
a late version of the same tradition with moralizing substituted for miracles).
T h e present text of M k . seems to have suffered a deletion precisely where C l e m e n t
locates the additional material. A n d the reference to Salome suggests a reason for
the deletion.
O f the above points, B, C , and D concur to indicate that the longer text was the
original text of M k . , and that canonical M k . has been produced by abbreviation.
Against this conclusion must be set the conclusion reached from the stylistic
study in the previous section (pp. 144-145, above).
T h e evident conflict of these bodies of evidence leads one to examine w h a t can
be said against either side.
Against the stylistic evidence it can be objected that the excess of parallelism might
be accounted for by the convergence of m a n y different elementsthe similarity
in content of resurrection stories as such; the self-repetition of M a r k ; the use of
liturgical and narrative formulas; the influence exerted by an important text;
deliberate interpolation and manuscript corruption; and mere chance. A n d most
important of all is the fact that the sample is too short to afford conclusive stylistic
evidence.
Against the evidence from content it c a n be said that interpolation is often concerned to produce texts useful for teaching, and interpolators often take a d v a n t a g e
of small irregularities in texts interpolated. So the lacuna in M k . 10.46 might have
attracted an interpolator, and the concern to use earlier sections of the chapter for
baptismal teaching, or for teaching of the vicarious atonement, might have led to
their being filled out with appropriate material. Similarly, the fact that the resurrection story of the longer text shows a form older than the source o f j n . ' s Lazarus story
does not prove that the longer text was originally part of M k . e a r l y material
could h a v e been written down at a later date and interpolated in the canonical
text. T h u s the strongest piece of evidence for supposing the canonical text an abbreviation is the indication that the resurrection story stood in the c o m m o n source of
M a r k a n d J o h n . This argument could be eliminated b y supposing J o h n used the
longer text of M k . ; but that supposition w o u l d have to be defended against the
extremely strong case for John's independence of M k . , presented b y D o d d in Historical
Tradition.

!93

T H E SECRET GOSPEL

I f w e suppose that J o h n did not use M k . , but that both used different translations
of a c o m m o n source, it w o u l d still be possible to suppose that this c o m m o n source
was not used all at once. If the source was an esoteric document and if the first form
of M k . was written for beginners in Christianityas C l e m e n t s a y s t h e n the first
form of M k . might have been filled out at a later date by further selections from the
esoteric source, a n d the editor w h o added these might have t r i e d p a r t i c u l a r l y if
he were translating from the A r a m a i c t o imitate as closely as possible the w o r d i n g
of the earlier M a r k a n text. A n A r a m a i c origin m a y be indicated b y the attribution
of another floating scrap of this material to a Gospel according to the Hebrews ( K l i j n ,
Question).
T h i s theory seems to fit the evidence from style as well as that from content,
but it still leaves unexplained the evidence that something was deleted from M k .
10.46. H o w e v e r , there is no need to suppose that the editorial work on M k . was
limited to interpolation, or that all selections of the longer t e x t o r all sections of
canonical M k . h a d the same origin a n d history. T h e editor m a y h a v e deleted as
well as a d d e d ; insertions m a y h a v e been m a d e b y one editor and deletions b y a
second; other possibilities can easily be imagined.
Accordingly, if w e were to shape our theory as closely as possible to the evidence,
w e should suppose that the latter part of J n . a n d M k . had as their remote source
an A r a m a i c document w h i c h they knew in different translations and perhaps differently mutilated or interpolated or both. T h e earliest form of M k . , though using
this source, did not include the resurrection and initiation stories now k n o w n from
the longer t e x t a l t h o u g h at least the former was in the source, and p r o b a b l y both
were. However, a later editor cast these stories in a style constantly reminiscent of
the M a r k a n material he already knew, and a d d e d them to the M a r k a n text. I n
doing this he was a d d i n g in written form material w h i c h had hitherto been kept
secret a n d supplied orally in the teaching concerning baptism. T h e expanded text
he produced was probably that used by M a t t h e w . W h e t h e r it was later cut d o w n
again to form the present canonical text, or whether the canonical text was an older
form w h i c h preserved its integrity alongside the interpolated text, there is no telling.
But in 10.46, at least, the present canonical text seems to be an a b r i d g m e n t ; and the
longer text, as quoted b y Clement, preserves the introductory phrases of the material
cut out.
Postscript: R e r e a d i n g this text in 1970, more than seven years after it was written
a n d four years after its revision, I find the a r g u m e n t from style m u c h weaker
than that from content. Also I notice that I h a v e not considered the likelihood that
Clement, w h o had no reason to love the secret Gospel, might have been inclined
to prefer an account representing it as a secondary expansion of the shorter text
w h i c h in his d a y was well on its w a y to b e c o m i n g " c a n o n i c a l . " Perhaps, therefore,
I have overestimated the reliability of his report. But the theory proposed above
still seems to m e the one w h i c h w o u l d best fit the evidence reviewed.

194

FOUR

The Background
A draft of this chapter was read by Professors Cyril Richardson and Gershom Scholem, to both of
whom I am indebted for helpful discussion.
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.

The question as to the historical value of the new Gospel text, 196
Secrecy in ancient Judaism, 197
Reports about the secret teaching of Jesus, 199
Questions about the content of Jesus' secret teaching, aoi
The kingdom of God, 202
The problem of Jesus' role in relation to the present kingdom, 204
The role of the Baptist, 205
Evidence from the Gospels that Jesus baptized, 209
Baptism according to Paul, 213
Elements derived from Jesus in Pauline baptism, 216
A.
B.
C.

D.

XI.

The rite was a means of uniting with Jesus, 217


The union was effected by the spirit, 219
The rite was magical, 220
1.

T h e term and the facts, 220

2.
3.
4.

T h e question of spells, 222


Minor magical traits of the miracle stories, 223
T h e predominantly magical character of the Gospel stories, 224

5.
6.

T h e relation of " m a g i c i a n " to 9eios and " S o n of G o d , " 227


Jewish and pagan opinions of Jesus, 229

7. M a g i c in the practice of Jesus' followers, 231


8. Recapitulation and conclusions, 235
The rite was a means of ascent to the heavens, 237
1.

Background, 238

2.
3.

Indirect evidence of Jesus' practice, 240


Records of Jesus' practice, 243

a. The transfiguration, 243


b. Phil. 2.5-11; I Tim. 3.16; Jn. 3, 244
E.
The rite liberated its recipients from the Mosaic Law, 248
Consequences of Jesus' baptismal practice, 251
A.
B.

The coming of the spirit, 252


The adoption and development of baptism by the early churches, 253

C.

The libertine tradition in early Christianity, 254

195

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

XII.
XIII.

I.

T h e persecution of the early churches, 2 5 4

2.

T h e parties in the early churches, 2 5 6

3.

Direct evidence of libertinism, 25g

4.

Source and dispersion of the libertine tradition, 262

D. The "loss" of all writings of Jesus' immediate followers,


263
E. Second-century silence about Paul's doctrine of baptism, 264
Conclusion: The historical value of the new text, 265
Carpocrates, 266
A. Names, 266
B. Date, 267
C. Testimonia, 268
D. Studies, 276

T H E QUESTION AS TO THE HISTORICAL VALUE OF THE


NEW GOSPEL TEXT

Solution of the literary problem as to the relation between the new Gospel text
and canonical Mk. does not solve the historical problem as to the reliability of the
material contained in the new text. Since all first-century Christian authors drew
on the traditions of their churches, as well as on their own imaginations, an early
text may contain mere invention or a late one report old tradition. Therefore,
although some of the material in the longer text probably came from a Gospel
earlier than canonical Mk., and although some of it was probably cast in its present
form a decade or so later than most of the stories in the canonical Gospel, neither
of these probabilities is of much value as evidence of historical reliability. False
statements may be primitive, and true statements may be secondary accretions to
original errors.
Given this state of affairs, and given the evidence collected by Bultmann, Geschichte,
passim, it would be naive to ask whether or not the events reported in the longer
text "really happened." In dealing with the Gospels we have no prima facie criterion
of truth save verisimilitude, and verisimilitude is not reliable. But we can ask how
the new text is related to the historical problems which have been raised by the study
of the canonical Gospels.
One of the most important of these problems is that of the source and significance
of the secrecy motifs in the Gospels. With this we may conveniently begin, especially
because Clement's letter, which quotes the new text, has revealed that Clement's
church in Alexandria kept this Gospel secret and read it only to those being initiated
into the "great mysteries." Moreover, the new text itself reports that Jesus administered to one of his followers a nocturnal initiation in which "Jesus taught him the
mystery of the kingdom of God." How is this report related to the canonical Gospels'
reports of Jesus' secret teaching?
196

THE BACKGROUND

II.

S E C R E C Y IN ANCIENT JUDAISM

First, the background: Throughout the ancient world secrecy was practiced
everywherein government and politics, in the trades and professions, in the
philosophic schools, and, above all, in religion and magic. Secret rituals had been
particularly common in ancient near eastern religions (Hooke, Religion 53), and the
religion of Israel had been no exception in this respect: its official center was a
temple of which the area around the altar might be entered only by members of
the various grades of the priestly caste. None save the high priest himself was permitted to enter the adyton (Lev. 16; Num. 1.47-54; 4 _ 5 > 8 . 1 4 - 1 9 ; 1 7 . 1 - 5 ;
1 8 . i - 7 ; etc.).
J u d a i s m not only perpetuated but developed these esoteric traits. T h e main court
of the temple was now closed to gentiles (Bickerman, Warning 390-394, remarks
on the similarity to pagan mysteries), and increased emphasis on purity law did
much to cut off Jews from their gentile neighbors. T h e degree of separation has
been greatly exaggerated in such works as Moore's Judaism, but the fact of it is
undeniable. Consequent, the gentiles saw the religion of the J e w s as a mystery religion
and the J e w s themselves represented it as such (see above, pp. i 8 o f f ) .
Besides the assimilation of J u d a i s m in general to the mystery religions, the several
sects which grew up within J u d a i s m kept their doctrines and rites secret from each
other and from ordinary Jews. These sects probably originated in differences of
legal theory and practice, particularly differences concerning the purity laws (see
my Sect). Consequently, their meals, their houses, their schools, and their synagogues
were apt to be closed to all " o u t s i d e r s " {rots
M k . 4.11), gentile and Jewish
alike. (Accordingly, Strack-Billerbeck on M k . 4.11 is mistaken. T h e commentary
there contains only one really relevant passageMegillah I V . 8 a n d that one it
misinterprets. T h e DTiXTI are not "ketzerisch gerichtete M e n s c h e n " ; on the
contrary, they are sharply contrasted with the heretics, who are the adherents of
3; the D'HSTl are the ordinary J e w s who are not members of the Pharisaic
sect or of any other, while the heretics are members of competing sectssee the notes
of Bertinoro and Y o m . But the precision here is determined by the contrast.
W h e n there is no such contrast, D'JIXTI means nothing more or less than " those
o u t s i d e " ; what they are outside of must be determined from the context.)
Groups cut off from the outside world by such legal barriers usually developed
further peculiarities of doctrine and observance, and among these was apt to be a
deliberate affectation of secrecy concerning their teachings and practices. How far
this was rooted in childish delight at having secrets, how far it was based on practical
considerations of discipline and prudence, how far it was influenced by the examples
of philosophic schools and mystery cults are questions which doubtless had different
answers for each sect. Anyhow, it is clear from the disciplinary material in the
Q u m r a n finds that the pattern was well established in Palestine before the time of
Jesus. See, for instance, Manual of Discipline I X . 16f: I t is a legal obligation to conceal
the sense of the Law from wicked men. Again, V I . 1 3 - 2 3 : An initial examination and
covenant is required before the outsider can even be instructed in the rules of the
r

97

CLEMENT OF A L E X A N D R I A

sect, two years' probation before full admission. This material roughly agrees with
the descriptions of the Essenes' practice of secrecy as found in Josephus, BJ I l . n g f f
and Hippolytus, Philosophumena I X end (on which my Description), also Josephus,
AJ X V I I I . iff. (That Jewish laws were to be kept secret, a fortiori, from the gentiles,
is a notion probably older than the Essenes and more widely accepted than their
practices; it appears already in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Judah X V I . 4 . )
These agreements help secure credence for the account of the secret practices of
a similar group in Egypt given by Philo in On the Contemplative Life. A society of
would-be revolutionists whom Josephus describes as another "philosophical" sect
{BJ I I . 1 1 8 ; AJ X V I I I . 2 3 ; etc.) must certainly have practiced a good deal of
secrecy for prudential reasons; so must later revolutionary groups, of which the
most famous were to be the " Z e a l o t s " (with whom Jesus' zealous disciple Simon
(Lk. 6.15; Acts 1.13) had probably no connection). The tradition of doctrine and
practice from which came the Merkabah literature (especially the Hekalot tracts)
and the "Mithras L i t u r g y " (discussed above, p. 181) was certainly secret and must
have existed in Palestine during Jesus' lifetime. The priests, particularly the upper
priesthood, must have had a large body of secret traditions and practices; so must
the Samaritans (among whom, in turn, were a number of secret sects). We hear of
the Samaritans keeping secret, for instance, the principles by which they regulated
their calendar (as did the Dead Sea Sect: Bowman, Calendar 27fr). But of all these
groups we are badly informed. The one sect best known, the Pharisees, practiced
secrecy in many fields. Jeremias (Jerusalem II.B.io6ff) has shown they had secret
doctrines about God, his name and his throne, the heavens, creation, the structure
of the world, eschatology, the "reasons for the L a w , " sexual questions, magical
formulas, discreditable traditions, and laws or legal provisions likely to be abused.
He remarks that this "Arkandiziplin " played an even larger role in early Christianity,
where it also involved Christology, the secrets of the divine nature, and the sacraments
{ibid., 109).
The material Jeremias collected could easily be increased (see, e.g., Jervell,
Imago 2of, 72f, etc.). Moreover, these secrets are secrets which were kept even from
ordinary members within the Pharisaic sect. Therefore, besides all this, it must be
emphasized that vis--vis Judaism at large the Pharisaic sect itself was, in the first
century A.D., an esoteric group. Melamed, Lesheelat 1 1 8 , shows that public teaching
was prohibited (except as a demonstration in times of persecution) by the older
interpretation of the Law (which Rabbi tried to maintain as late as the end of the
second century). This secrecy produced in rabbinic material a form of "pronouncement story" which is also important in Mk.: An outsider asks a question of a rabbi,
the rabbi gives him an inadequate or even false answer, later the rabbi's students
ask him in private about the matter, and he gives them the true explanation; e.g.,
Bereshit Rabbah 8.9 and parallels. See, for example, the stories about Yohanan ben
Zakkai, a younger contemporary of Paul and Jesus, in Bemidbar Rabbah 19.4; Tanhuma'
(ed. Buber) Hukat 26; J . Sanhedrin 1.2 (19b). (In the first group of these passages
his secret teaching is that a dead body does not render the man who touches it impure,
nor does the immersion legally prescribed for purification after contact with dead
198

THE BACKGROUND

bodies p u r i f y ; b u t the l a w s are to b e observed as a r b i t r a r y d i v i n e rulings. C f . Jesus'


s a y i n g , M k . 7 . 1 5 , oi)8eV ianv

, els

. T h i s in M k . is f o l l o w e d b y a p r i v a t e e x p l a n a t i o n to the disciples.

O n the story of Y o h a n a n see D a u b e , NTRJ

III.

REPORTS ABOUT

THE

141 ff; N e u s n e r , Life 6 i f . )

SECRET T E A C H I N G

OF JESUS

Stories of this same f o r m p r o n o u n c e m e n t , question in p r i v a t e , secret t e a c h i n g


to d i s c i p l e s a r e told o f j e s u s in M k . 4 . i o f f ; 7 . 1 7 f r ; g.28f; i o . i o f f ; 13.3fr. T h e p r i v a t e
questions a n d answers in these passages h a v e often b e e n a t t r i b u t e d to the r e d a c t o r
of M k . : e.g., B u l t m a n n , Geschichte 3 5 6 ; Seitz, Criteria. T h e latter (p. 220) affords
a n a m u s i n g e x a m p l e of " h i s t o r i c a l " criticism: it proves the s e c o n d a r y c h a r a c t e r
of M k . 7 . 1 8 f r b y the f a c t (!) that a special r e v e l a t i o n f r o m h e a v e n was r e q u i r e d to
p e r s u a d e Peter to g o w i t h a gentile. A d m i t t i n g o n literary g r o u n d s t h a t the M a r k a n
secret e x p l a n a t i o n s are r e d a c t i o n a l , one has to ask w h y the r e d a c t o r chose to represent
Jesus in this w a y . I t is not e n o u g h to a r g u e (as Seitz does) t h a t the c o n t e n t of the
secret e x p l a n a t i o n s represents the wishes of the gentile c h u r c h . E v e n if o n e w e r e to
a c c e p t the d u b i o u s distinction b e t w e e n the " p r i m i t i v e P a l e s t i n i a n " a n d " g e n t i l e "
churches, one w o u l d h a v e to e x p l a i n w h y the s e c o n d a r y m a t e r i a l w a s i n t r o d u c e d
as secret t e a c h i n g . W h y c o u l d the question not h a v e b e e n asked f r o m the c r o w d a n d
the answer g i v e n o p e n l y ? T o this the c u s t o m a r y reply, since R e i m a r u s , has been
t h a t doctrines falsely a t t r i b u t e d to Jesus h a d to b e presented as secret t e a c h i n g because
his p u b l i c t e a c h i n g was k n o w n a n d the i n t e n d e d dupes w o u l d r e m e m b e r t h a t he
h a d not p u b l i c l y t a u g h t such things. B u t , first, it is unlikely that the p u b l i c t e a c h i n g
o f j e s u s w a s so c o m p l e t e l y k n o w n to readers of the Gospels t h a t t h e y c o u l d confidently
d e n y it h a d c o n t a i n e d one or a n o t h e r element. A n d , second, if it be supposed t h a t
Jesus' t e a c h i n g was c l e a r l y a n d fully r e m e m b e r e d b y the churches, they w o u l d h a v e
r e m e m b e r e d also w h e t h e r or not he t a u g h t in secret. S o the fact t h a t the editors of
the Gospels chose to present some additions as secret t e a c h i n g suggests their churches
h a d a t r a d i t i o n t h a t Jesus did t e a c h in secret, a n d this tradition w a s older t h a n the
Gospels w h i c h relied on it to lend credit to their a c c o u n t s of w h a t he thus t a u g h t .
T h i s leads to the question, are there other traits in M k . or in other early Christian
d o c u m e n t s w h i c h c o n f i r m these reports of secret t e a c h i n g ?
I t is w e l l k n o w n t h a t there are such traits in M k . W r e d e has left a classic description
of those w h i c h , as he says (Messiasgeheimnis

146fr), w e r e noticed b y m a n y c r i t i c s

S c h l e i e r m a c h e r , Strauss, K e i m , H i l g e n f e l d , a n d o t h e r s b e f o r e his t i m e : the t a k i n g


aside of the sick, the m a n i p u l a t i o n a n d use of t a n g i b l e m e a n s in the miracles, the
m a g i c a l overtones, the c o n c e p t i o n of miracles as mysteries, the c o n c e p t i o n or the
disciples as initiates to w h o m the m y s t e r y has b e e n g i v e n , the c o n c e p t i o n o f j e s u s
as a g o d disguised in flesh, his mysterious, secret j o u r n e y s , his t r a v e l i n g incognito,
his g o i n g a p a r t a l o n e or w i t h a f e w d i s c i p l e s " s c e n e s f r o m the life of a m a g i c i a n . "
M o r e o v e r , W r e d e declares, the earlier critics w e r e right. A l l these are characteristics

199

CLEMENT OF A L E X A N D R I A

of M k . as opposed to the other Gospels. T h e earlier critics saw t h e m because t h e y


looked at M k . as it w a s ; the later critics overlooked t h e m because they c a m e to
M k . w i t h the p r e c o n c e i v e d notion that it was the earliest a n d most historical Gospel,
the repository of Peter's memories, a n d therefore looked at it only to find m a t e r i a l
w h i c h w o u l d pass as historical a n d possibly Petrine. " S c h l e i e r m a c h e r has a l r e a d y
r e m a r k e d that this Gospel a p p r o x i m a t e s the characteristics of the a p o c r y p h a l ones.
H o w he m e a n t this, is not here in question. B u t one t h i n g seems to m e c e r t a i n :
If this Gospel came to light today, for the first time, in some grave, Schleiermacher's judgement
would be approved by more than a few." (Ibid., m y italics.) C f . Schille, Formgeschichte 18:
" W h y does M a r k choose, in developing Jesus' speeches of revelation, a form w h i c h
p r e s u m a b l y was customary in the catechetic initiation of neophytes in the t e a c h i n g
of the C h u r c h , as if Jesus like a hierophant led the twelve a n d ' those a r o u n d h i m ' step
by step into the mysteries of the 'Church'?"

(His italics.) E v e n W r e d e ' s e n u m e r a t i o n does

not exhaust the esoteric t r a i t s t h e r e are, further, the t e a c h i n g in parables, the disciples' failures to understand, the c o m m a n d s of secrecy, the actions p e r f o r m e d before
a few chosen witnesses, the contrast of the i m m e d i a t e circle w i t h those outside, a n d
so on. T h e early Christians recognized these traits a n d consistently pictured Jesus
as t e a c h i n g mysteries in secret, C r a m e r 3 1 1 , 335, 353, etc.
Since W r e d e ' s time this material in M k . has c o m m o n l y been discussed u n d e r the
h e a d i n g " t h e messianic secret." T h i s is a pity because, as W r e d e ' s list shows, the
traits are too various to be e x p l a i n e d b y the sole secret that Jesus w a s the Messiah.
W h a t has that to do w i t h f o r i n s t a n c e t h e use of m a g i c a l techniques in the miracles ?
A further misfortune resultant from W r e d e ' s brilliant study has been the t e n d e n c y to
treat these p h e n o m e n a as peculiar to M k . (See the review of theories in B o o b y e r , Secrecy
225f.) T h i s was not W r e d e ' s fault. H e h a d e x a m i n e d the other Gospels, too, a n d
h a d found in M t . a different theory of a secret teaching, exemplified in such passages
as 9.27fr; 11.25

an

I 2 . i 8 f f (Messiasgeheimnis 1 5 1 - 1 6 2 ) a n d in L k . - A c t s a theory

closer to M k . ' s (165fr). H e r e he noted especially the report of Jesus' postresurrection


t e a c h i n g (Lk. 24.25^ A c t s 1.3,

) b u t did not see that

this w a s intended to authenticate some b o d y of secret doctrine k n o w n to L u k e . H e


also observed (188ff) traces of the M a r k a n theory in J n .
Jesus' claim in his trial, iv

oSe'v (Jn. 18.20), p r o b a b l y reflects a

c h a r g e of secret teaching. N e g l e c t i n g this claim, J n . represents N i c o d e m u s as c o m i n g


to Jesus for secret instruction b y night (ch. 3 t h e parallelism to the longer text of
M k . is clear), reports that Jesus h a d secret disciples ( 1 9 . 3 8 ^ , a n d makes the last
supper a long secret lecture. Also, the disciples in J n . , like those in M k . , r e p e a t e d l y
failed to u n d e r s t a n d : 2.22; 1 2 . 1 6 ; 13.7,28; 14.20; 1 6 . 1 2 , 2 5 ; 20.9. O n l y after Jesus'
d e a t h c a m e the spirit w h i c h was to recall to t h e m all things Jesus h a d said ( i 4 . i 6 f )
a n d lead t h e m into all truth ( 1 6 . 1 3 ) ; that is, into a revelation m o r e r e v e a l i n g t h a n
J o h n ' s Gospel, of w h i c h the last speech w a s still ev

(16.25). 1 T h i s a g a i n

. T h i s closely resembles the relation which Clement said existed between the longer text of M k .
and the secret teachings: the longer text contained those stories and sayings the spiritual interpretation of which would lead the initiates to the hidden truth (Letter 1.21-26, and commentary, also
p. 166 above).

200

THE BACKGROUND

m u s t b e a c l a i m to secret t e a c h i n g or to p r i v a t e r e v e l a t i o n w h i c h w o u l d i m m e d i a t e l y
pass o v e r i n t o secret t e a c h i n g (cf. K r a g e r u d , Lieblingsjnger 84fr; K s e m a n n ,

Ketzer

302).
T h e i d e n t i c a l c l a i m is f o u n d in P a u l , I C o r . 2 . 1 1 , a n d there is n o d o u b t t h a t P a u l
has secret teachings w h i c h he w i l l not reveal e v e n to b a p t i z e d Christians w h o are
still " c a r n a l " {ibid., 3 . i f f ) . M a c h e n , Origin, has m a d e a strong case for the supposition
t h a t the m a i n elements of P a u l ' s religion c a m e f r o m Jesus. W e s a w a b o v e (pp. 178fr)
t h a t P a u l a n d M k . w e r e at one in their use of

to refer to b a p t i s m . T h e y

a r e also at o n e in their belief t h a t the teachings of C h r i s t i a n i t y i n c l u d e secrets to


b e r e v e a l e d o n l y to the f e w elect. A further p o i n t of a g r e e m e n t is their belief t h a t
Jesus w a s a s u p e r n a t u r a l p o w e r in disguise: M a r k t h o u g h t d e m o n s c o u l d r e c o g n i z e
h i m b u t m e n c o u l d n o t ( 1 . 2 4 , 3 4 ; 3 . 1 1 ; e t c . ) ; P a u l t h o u g h t even d e m o n s w e r e fooled
(I C o r . 2.8, o n w h i c h M a c g r e g o r , Principalities, cf. Phil. 2 . 7 ; C o l . 2 . 1 5 ; J n .
P a u l ' s o p i n i o n w a s shared b y the

first-century

19.11);

(?) a u t h o r of the Ascension of Isaiah

1011. ( A similar belief w a s p r o b a b l y h e l d a b o u t S i m o n M a g u s b y his f o l l o w e r s :


A c t s 8 . 1 0 ; C e r f a u x , Gnose, 1.504^ See the r e m a r k s of Weiss, Christianity 758f.)
I n s u m , the Gospels all represent Jesus as t e a c h i n g in secret; P a u l certainly h a d
secret doctrines a n d L k . a n d J n . presuppose t h e m . W h e n C h r i s t i a n i t y first a p p e a r s
in the writings of p a g a n authors it is described as a secret society (Pliny,
ad Traianum 9 6 . 7 : hetaeria; G r a n t , Pliny,

PW

sub voc.) or a n initiation

Epistulae
(Lucian,

Peregrinus 1 1 : ). T h e s e descriptions are c o m p l e t e l y in a c c o r d w i t h its b a c k g r o u n d


in sectarian J u d a i s m . A c c o r d i n g l y , w e n e e d not question the r e p o r t in the n e w text
t h a t Jesus t a u g h t in secret, b u t w e m a y r e a s o n a b l y i n q u i r e w h a t he secretly t a u g h t .

IV.

QUESTIONS A B O U T

THE

CONTENT

OF JESUS'

SECRET

TEACHING

B u t c a n w e h o p e , a t this r e m o v e , to discover w h a t Jesus t a u g h t secretly ? T h e r e


is n o scholarly a g r e e m e n t e v e n as to w h a t he t a u g h t in p u b l i c . H e has b e e n represented as a r a b b i , a philosopher, a pacifist, a r e v o l u t i o n a r y , a m o r a l reformer, a
p r o p h e t of the c o m i n g e n d of the w o r l d , a n itinerant exorcist, a n d the son of G o d ,
c o m e d o w n to earth to reveal his o w n nature. T h i s g e n e r a l d i s a g r e e m e n t as to his
teachings suggests t h a t some of t h e m , a t least, w e r e secret. S o does the cause of
the g e n e r a l d i s a g r e e m e n t t h e f a c t t h a t the c a n o n i c a l Gospels c o n t a i n considerable
elements w h i c h g i v e a p p a r e n t l y c o n t r a d i c t o r y pictures of their hero. T h e s e c o n t r a dictions must be dealt w i t h either b y supposing o n e b o d y o f m a t e r i a l

"primary"

a n d the rest " s e c o n d a r y " (the m e t h o d w h i c h has p r o d u c e d the v a r i o u s " h i s t o r i c a l "


pictures of Jesus listed a b o v e ) , or b y supposing t h e m all " s e c o n d a r y " (an a c t of
faith, n o t to say c r e d u l i t y ) , or b y supposing t h a t t h e y reflect different facets of a
c o m p l i c a t e d c h a r a c t e r in w h i c h they w e r e r e c o n c i l e d (more or less) b y considerations
n o t m a d e p u b l i c . O f these three m e t h o d s the first a n d last are not m u t u a l l y exclusive,
b u t their possible c o m b i n a t i o n s d o n o t here c o n c e r n us. H e r e the facts to b e n o t e d
201

C L E M E N T OF A L E X A N D R I A

are that a n y a t t e m p t to explore the area of secrecy in the Gospel tradition is necessarily speculative, b u t a n y a t t e m p t to deny it is necessarily w r o n g . E v e n texts like
M t . 10.27, " W h a t I tell y o u in darkness, declare in the light, a n d w h a t y o u hear
in the ear, p r o c l a i m o n the housetops," w h i l e intended to suggest that (all?) the
content of the secret t e a c h i n g has n o w been m a d e p u b l i c , a d m i t implicitly that a
secret t e a c h i n g existed. A c c o r d i n g l y w e must recognize b o t h that w e deal here
w i t h an extremely speculative area o f study, a n d also that the preserved e v i d e n c e
necessitates speculation.
T o the question " w h a t d i d Jesus tell his disciples in d a r k n e s s ? " the answer has
usually been " t h e messianic secret." T h i s secret is d i v i d e d b y a recent study (Burkill,
Revelation) into t w o parts: the secret f a c t t h a t Jesus w a s the M e s s i a h a n d

the

secret interpretation o f the messiahship as a career of service, suffering, a n d death.


A s for the secret f a c t i t seems likely that Jesus did think he was the Messiah, a n d
h a d obvious, prudential reasons to conceal his opinion. A s for the secret interpretation,
h o w e v e r t h e r e is no clear reason w h y that should be kept secret, a n d M k . insists
t h a t Jesus t a u g h t it p u b l i c l y ( 8 . 3 i f ) . M o r e o v e r , it seems unlikely that he ever t a u g h t
it a t a l l : the prophecies of the passion look like prophecies ex eventuthe
of the opposite opinion has been demonstrated b y T a y l o r ' s defense of it

weakness
(Origin).

A n d the report that Jesus set guards at G e t h s e m a n e ( M k . 14.32,34; cf. L k . 22.40)


indicates that he h a d no intention of g i v i n g his life as a ransom for a n y . T h e question
of S h e m t o v ben S h a p r u t , reported b y K r a u s s (Leben 269) is w o r t h r e p e a t i n g : I f
Jesus g a v e himself freely to his sacrificial death, w h y did he say that J u d a s Iscariot
betrayed him ?
O n the other h a n d , there is no reason to suppose Jesus h a d only one s e c r e t t h e
fact that he w a s the Messiah. T h e existence of other secrets m a y be i n d i c a t e d b y
obscurities in the tradition. O n e such obscurity is that c o v e r i n g the relation of the
M e s s i a h to the k i n g d o m of G o d . A n d since M k . 4 . 1 1 declares that " t h e mystery o f
the k i n g d o m of G o d " has been g i v e n to the disciples (as opposed to " t h o s e o u t s i d e " ) ,
a n d the n e w text represents Jesus as t e a c h i n g this mystery to the y o u t h w h o c a m e
to h i m for nocturnal initiation, w e seem to h a v e here another element of Jesus'
secret teaching. W e h a v e a l r e a d y seen e v i d e n c e i n d i c a t i n g that the mystery w a s a
b a p t i s m (above, p p . 178fr). W e must n o w try to find out w h a t this baptism w a s
supposed to effect, w h y it w a s administered b y Jesus, a n d w h y it w a s secret. B u t
these questions presuppose a n o t h e r : I f b a p t i s m w a s " t h e mystery of the k i n g d o m
o f G o d , " w h a t w a s " t h e k i n g d o m of G o d " ?

V.

T H E KINGDOM OF

GOD

T h e discussion of the k i n g d o m t o u c h e d o f f b y D o d d ' s Parables has practically


e n d e d w i t h the recognition that " k i n g d o m " m e a n t p r i m a r i l y , " r u l e "

(as JVdVq

a n a b s t r a c t w o u l d ) b u t m i g h t , b y extension, refer to the persons or o r g a n i z a t i o n


or a r e a r u l e d ; cf. L u n d s t r m , Kingdom a n d Perrin, Kingdom. O f recent articles, L a d d ,
202

THE BACKGROUND

Reign, is right as to the essential meaning but does not allow sufficiently for the
extensions. Grant, Idea 442, gives a better account by comparing G o d ' s rule of all
creation to the rule of the G r e a t K i n g : it had originally been complete, but since
the time of A d a m certain provinces (the demonic, h u m a n , and animal worlds) had
been in revolt, and in Jesus' time apocalyptic writers had recently been foretelling
that the revolt was soon to be suppressed and the rule restored. It was, later, the
peculiarity of Jesus' followers to believe that the suppression h a d already b e g u n ;
the G r e a t K i n g ' s rule had come back into the revolted provinces in the person of
his representative, Jesus, it had been manifested in Jesus' acts of power, and it
was continued in their o w n obedience, as they looked forward eagerly to his coming
again " w i t h power and great g l o r y " to complete the restoration. This explains
w h y the N T documents generally speak of the " k i n g d o m " both as present and as
f u t u r e i t was both at once: It was present in Jesus, in the C h u r c h , and in G o d ' s
eternal rule of the heavens; it was yet to come in the full resubjugation of the lower
world (so K m m e l , Eschatologie).
T h a t the C h u r c h is a manifestation of the " k i n g d o m of G o d " confirms our previous
interpretation of " t h e mystery of the k i n g d o m " as b a p t i s m t h e ritual of initiation
into the C h u r c h . Stanley (Kingdom) has shown that in M t . a n d L k . the kingdom is
sometimes the C h u r c h (so especially in M t . 13.33,52), and the same sense appears
in Paul (Col. 1 . 1 3 ; 4 . 1 1 ) , the Apocalypse (1.6,9, etc.), and the M a r k a n parable of
the mustard seed ( M k . 4.30; cf. D a n . 2.35,44 and Jeremias, Gleichnisse 93).
A further point m a d e clear by Grant's analogy is that God's rule of the heavens
continued unchanged in spite of the rebellion of the lower provinces. God's throne
either is in or is the heavens (Apoc. 4.2; M t . 5.34; 23.22) a n d G o d himself is in the
heavens (Mt. 6.1,9, etc.); the heavens are therefore his kingdom, ' . T h i s
had been the opinion of the Psalmist (103.19, where 1 is to be translated " e v e n
t h o u g h " c f . 115.16). In W i s d o m , too, " t h e kingdom of G o d " is in the heavens,
where it was shown to J a c o b in his dream (10.10) and whence the divine w o r d
descended to destroy the wicked (18.15). So, too, in the pseudepigraphic apocalypses,
G o d is customarily enthroned in the heavens a n d his kingdom is, by implication,
there; the implication is m a d e explicit in III Baruch (the Greek apocalypse) 1 1 . i f ,
where the keys " o f the kingdom of h e a v e n " are identified as those to the gate of the
fifth heaven. C o m p a r e D a n . 4.34, where G o d is " t h e K i n g of the heavens." This
explains the fact noted b y A a l e n , that in the N T " t h e kingdom of G o d " often has
a local sense and evidently refers to " a confined a r e a " (Reign 229). This " c o n f i n e d
There " i n
a r e a " is in the heavens, the realm of G o d , as Riesenfeld noted ().
the kingdom of G o d " is A b r a h a m ( M t . 8.11, L k . 13.28), to whose bosom Lazarus
was carried b y angels immediately after death (Lk. 16.22; cf. D o d d , Parables 44).
T h e r e (in the third heaven) is the Paradise to w h i c h Paul was taken u p on his
conversion (II Cor. 1 2 . 1 - 4 ; cf. G a l . 2.1), to w h i c h four second-century rabbis
reportedly ascended (J. Hagigah I I . 1 [77b]), and to w h i c h Jesus promised to take,
on the very d a y of their deaths, the thief w h o believed that he w o u l d yet come into
his kingdom (Lk. 23.42^. It is in the heavens that the reward of the righteous is
laid u p t h e kingdom prepared for them from the beginning of creation (Lk. 12.32203

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

3 4 ; M t . 5 . 1 2 ; 6.20; 25.34). It is in the h e a v e n s t h a t G o d ' s k i n g d o m has c o m e , t h a t


is, his w i l l is done, a l r e a d y , as the C h u r c h p r a y s it m a y c o m e on earth ( M t . 6.10).
S o t o o the S y n a g o g u e prays, in a p r o b a b l y c o n t e m p o r a r y p r a y e r : " M a y he w h o
maintains

peace

in

his heavens

(vaniaa)

maintain

peace

for us a n d

for

all

I s r a e l " (Baer, Seder 104). T h e keys of the k i n g d o m of the heavens, w h i c h are to


b e g i v e n to Peter, w i l l render his legal decisions b i n d i n g in the h e a v e n s ; c o m p a r e
the r a b b i n i c c l a i m t h a t G o d ' s c o u r t in the heavens confirms the actions of r a b b i n i c
courts o n earth ( . Makkot

23b a n d parallels, etc.). Before A b r a h a m c a m e , says

Sifre Devarim 3 1 3 (on D t . 32.10), G o d was, as it w e r e , K i n g o n l y over the h e a v e n s ;


w h e n A b r a h a m c a m e G o d b e g a n to rule also on earth. B y t a k i n g a w a y the key o f
k n o w l e d g e the experts o n the l a w locked the k i n g d o m o f the heavens in m e n ' s faces;
t h e y neither w e n t in themselves n o r p e r m i t t e d others to enter ( M t . 2 3 . 1 4 ;

Lk.

1 1 . 5 2 ; P. Oxy. 6 5 5 ; K r a f t , Oxyrhynchus; Gospel of Thomas ( L i e p o l d t 3 9 ) ; Clementine


Homilies X V I I I . 1 5 - 1 6 ) . A n d finally the a u t h o r of I I T i m . 4 . 1 8 prays t h a t the L o r d
w i l l deliver h i m f r o m every evil t h i n g els

T h i s d e m o n s t r a t i o n t h a t " t h e k i n g d o m o f G o d " m a y refer to a locality in the


heavens has b e e n p r o t r a c t e d because the fact is usually i g n o r e d . H a v i n g established
t h e f a c t f o r w h i c h w e shall later o n b r i n g further e v i d e n c e w e c a n n o w r e t u r n
to the previous p r o b l e m : w h a t w a s Jesus' secret t e a c h i n g a b o u t b a p t i s m , " t h e m y s t e r y
o f the k i n g d o m " ? H e r e w e shall try to d e t e r m i n e Jesus' position b y c o m p a r i s o n
w i t h the Baptist's o n the one h a n d a n d P a u l ' s o n the other.
T h e interval b e t w e e n the w o r k of the Baptist a n d the preserved letters of P a u l is
a m e r e 25 years (ca. A.D. 2 5 - 5 0 ) . T h e r e f o r e the w o r k of Jesus c a n be defined f u n c tionally as t h a t w h i c h , b e g i n n i n g f r o m the Baptist, led to P a u l . A c c o r d i n g l y , after
some p r e l i m i n a r y remarks o n the difficulty of distinguishing Jesus' role f r o m the
Baptist's, w e shall define as sharply as possible the w o r k of the Baptist, then r e v i e w
the N T evidence t h a t Jesus b a p t i z e d , a n d t h e n consider P a u l ' s statements a b o u t
b a p t i s m a n d try to discover in t h e m the elements w h i c h d e r i v e f r o m Jesus.

VI.

THE

PROBLEM OF JESUS' ROLE IN RELATION TO THE


PRESENT KINGDOM

A c c o r d i n g to the Gospels, the i m p o r t a n t d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n Jesus a n d the Baptist


w a s t h a t Jesus w a s the M e s s i a h , the Baptist, m e r e l y a f o r e r u n n e r of the M e s s i a h .
T h e Gospels a r e clear as to the role of Jesus in the f u t u r e , w h e n the k i n g d o m w i l l
c o m e " w i t h p o w e r " : t h e n he, as Messiah, w i l l be the c h i e f e x e c u t i v e ( M t . 2 5 . 3 1 f r ;
M k . i 3 . 2 6 f f ; etc.). B u t in the present k i n g d o m , the k i n g d o m o n earth in his d a y ,
he is generally represented as a n a d v a n c e a g e n t : his f u n c t i o n is to p r o c l a i m the
c o m i n g of the k i n g d o m a n d to e x e m p l i f y its presence, to manifest its p o w e r in his
miracles a n d its requirements in his p r e a c h i n g (so, for e x a m p l e , D i b e l i u s - K m m e l ,
Jesus).

B u t all this c o u l d h a v e b e e n d o n e b y a n y p r o p h e t a n d therefore, a fortiori,


204

THE BACKGROUND

b y the Baptist, w h o w a s a d m i t t e d l y m o r e t h a n a p r o p h e t ( M t . i i . g f f ; L k . 7 . 2 6 f r .
J n . 10.41 is p r e s u m a b l y p a r t l y p o l e m i c ) . T h e r e f o r e w e m u s t ask w h e t h e r Jesus t h o u g h t
his present role different f r o m the Baptist's, a n d , if so, h o w .
I t w i l l d o n o g o o d to say t h a t w i t h the Baptist the k i n g d o m w a s y e t to c o m e
b u t in Jesus' w o r k it w a s present. F o r w e h a v e seen a b o v e that the k i n g d o m is simply
the rule of G o d , therefore it is present whenever G o d manifests his p o w e r or m e n
o b e y h i m . S o if the presence of the k i n g d o m m e a n s only its presence in p r e a c h i n g
a n d p r e d i c t i o n a n d acts of p o w e r , it was present a l r e a d y in the w o r k of the Baptist.
A n d e v e n if w e w e r e to suppose J n . 10.41 correct in r e p o r t i n g that the Baptist d i d
n o miracles (an unlikely supposition), a n d if w e should follow M t .

n . 2 f f || L k .

7 . 1 8 f r a n d L k . 11.20 in supposing t h a t Jesus saw in his o w n miracles the p r o o f t h a t


the k i n g d o m w a s c o m i n g in a n e w w a y , w e should h a v e still to ask w h a t consequences
he d r e w f r o m this belief. D i d he think his present role was m e r e l y to p r e a c h , p r o p h e s y ,
a n d p e r f o r m miracles ? A n d d i d he e x p e c t no response b u t belief, r e p e n t a n c e , a n d
e x p e c t a t i o n o f the great c h a n g e ? (These w e r e the responses e x p e c t e d b y the Baptist,
M t . 3 . 1 - 1 2 a n d parallels.) O r d i d Jesus think of himself as h a v i n g some f u r t h e r
f u n c t i o n ; d i d he think there w a s s o m e t h i n g w h i c h he a n d his hearers c o u l d do,
b u t w h i c h the Baptist a n d the Baptist's hearers c o u l d n o t ?
L i k e the Baptist, Jesus w a s to be e x e c u t e d b y the civil authorities a n d to rise f r o m
the d e a d ( M k . 6 . 1 6 ; 8.28), b u t he p r o b a b l y d i d not foresee these details of the d i v i n e
p l a n until the last m i n u t e ; therefore the Gospels c o n t a i n little m a t e r i a l e x p l a i n i n g
h o w the c r u c i f i x i o n w a s useful for or r e l e v a n t to the k i n g d o m , a n d w h a t little t h e y do
c o n t a i n p r o b a b l y dates f r o m the p e r i o d after Jesus' d e a t h . A n o t h e r p e c u l i a r i t y of
Jesus' w o r k was the c e r e m o n y of the last supper, b u t this w a s r e p o r t e d l y p e r f o r m e d
o n l y once, o n the last e v e n i n g of his life, a n d therefore does not represent the sort
of thing w e a r e l o o k i n g f o r s o m e t h i n g w h i c h the M e s s i a h (as distinct f r o m a prophet)
c o u l d do for his followers, some action w h i c h his followers c o u l d take because He
(and not m e r e l y a n o t h e r p r o p h e t ) h a d c o m e . I t is not impossible that, as S c h w e i t z e r
believed

(Leben-Jesu-Forschung 4 2 i f ) , the stories of the f e e d i n g of the

multitude

reflect some sort of s y m b o l i c a n t i c i p a t i o n of the b a n q u e t of the righteous in the


w o r l d to c o m e ; b u t the e v i d e n c e for this interpretation is not c o n v i n c i n g . S o the
p r o b l e m as to Jesus' messianic f u n c t i o n , in relation to the present k i n g d o m , r e m a i n s
open.

VII.

T H E ROLE OF THE BAPTIST

T h e p r o b l e m of Jesus' f u n c t i o n is the m o r e a c u t e because the Baptist certainly


d i d h a v e a n o t i o n of his o w n special f u n c t i o n , b y w h i c h he w a s to p r e p a r e his hearers
for the c o m i n g o f the k i n g d o m , a n d of a special response ( b e y o n d belief, r e p e n t a n c e ,
a n d reformation) b y w h i c h his hearers c o u l d b e p r e p a r e d . H i s f u n c t i o n w a s to
administer a n e w rite, a " b a p t i s m of r e p e n t a n c e for the remission of s i n s "
1.4 a n d parallels).
205

(Mk.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

F r o m the N T it can at once be seen that the Baptist's work marked an epoch for
early Christianity. Not only do M k . , ) , and J n . represent it as " t h e beginning of
the G o s p e l " ( M k . i . i f f and parallels; L k . 1 6 . 1 6 b ; cf. J n . 1.6), but it seems to mark
in fact the beginning of the Christian tradition, w h i c h contains no reliable report
of anything earlier. Moreover, it is repeatedly referred to, in the traditional material,
as the point from w h i c h the movement b e g a n : " T h e law and the prophets were
until J o h n . " " F r o m then o n " is the Christian period (Lk. 16.16 || M t . n . i 2 f ) .
W h e n a successor is chosen for Judas he must be one w h o was a m e m b e r of the
group throughout all Jesus' career " b e g i n n i n g from the baptism of J o h n " (Acts
1.22). W h e n Peter begins to explain the Gospel to Cornelius and c o m p a n y he assumes,
" Y o u know w h a t has been happening throughout all the Jewish districts, beginning
from Galilee, after the baptism w h i c h J o h n p r o c l a i m e d " (Acts 10.37). 2 W h e n Paul
presents the Gospel to the Jews of Pisidian Antioch he dates Jesus' work " a f t e r J o h n
h a d preached . . . the baptism of repentance to all the people of I s r a e l " (Acts 13.24).
Moreover, from w h a t the Gospels tell it can be seen that the Baptist's importance
was not limited to the Christians. A l l J u d e a and Jerusalem ( M k . 1.5) and Transjordan
( Q , M t . 3.5 II L k . 3.3) went out to him, in crowds (Mt. 11.7 || L k . 7.24; L k . 3.7,10;
etc.). His teaching was accepted b y masses of the c o m m o n people (Lk. 7.2g). E v e n
the authorities of the T e m p l e are said to have been afraid to speak against the
Baptist, even after his death, because of his popular following ( M k . 11.32 and parallels). His disciples carried his sect as far as A l e x a n d r i a and Ephesus (Acts 18.25;
19.3). In this matter the testimony of the N T is confirmed by Josephus, w h o had
heard of John as a figure both influential (Herod Antipas had him executed for
fear he might initiate a revolt) and popular (many Jews interpreted a subsequent
defeat of Herod's a r m y as a divine punishment for this execution, AJ X V I I I . 1 i 6 f f ) .
T h e importance of the Baptist makes it not unlikely that he is the object of the
polemic in the Q u m r a n Manual of Discipline 111.4fr against the notion that baptism
can remit sins. T h e opponent is not named, but the passage seems to have one and
to insist, against him, that men can be cleansed of their iniquities only by the holy
spirit and by submission to the rules of the sect ( I I I . 7 - 8 ) , and only after this spiritual
cleansing can their flesh be cleansed of impurity by the regular O T method of sprinkling with water containing the ashes of a red heifer properly killed and burned
( N u m . 19.9,13, etc.). 3 T h a t the object of the polemic was the Baptist is m a d e very
likely by the fact that Josephus, in the passage cited above, saw fit to defend him
against such charges and to insist that he required repentance as a prerequisite for
his physical cleansing. Evidently his teaching left some danger of ex opere operate
2. F o r the translation of & see Burkitt, Vestigia 485^
3. T h i s passage has been repeatedly misunderstood b y neglect of its polemic character, a l t h o u g h that
was recognized (but misinterpreted) b y Gottstein, Traits. A g a i n s t Flusser, Sect, and Betz, Proselytentaufe,
it must be said that nothing in the Q u m r a n documents implies the use b y the sect of a n y type of immersion other than such as are prescribed in the O T for purification. I n particular, the regulations for
entrance to the sect, w h i c h are twice described in the Manual of Discipline (I and V I ) a n d once in the
Damascus Document ( V I . 14fr) say nothing of a n y special immersions, nor does Josephus mention a n y
such rite of admission to the sect. See further R o w l e y , Baptism; Benoit, Qumran 280.

206

T H E BACKGROUND

not to say libertineinterpretation (with the polemic in the Manual of Discipline


III.4f, cf. Connolly, Didascalia VI.22, p. 254).
Admittedly, there is no being sure that the Q u m r a n polemic was directed against
the Baptistrites of immersion were popular at the time, as Thomas, Mouvement,
has shown. Nevertheless, his importance makes the hypothesis plausible; and so
does the fact that his baptism was remembered as a distinct rite, " t h e baptism of
J o h n " (Mk. 11.30 a n d parallels; Lk. 7.29; Acts 1.22; 10.37; 3 2 4 ; 18.255
which was sharply differentiated from Christian baptism (Acts 18.25; J 9-3f) a n d
also from ordinary Jewish immersions for purification (Mk. 7.4, Heb. 9.10the
of Heb. 6.2 was presumably instruction as to the different sorts
of baptisms then in competition; cf. Spicq, ad loc.).
T h e characteristics of the Baptist's rite have often been noticed: It was not something one could do for oneself; it had to be administered by the Baptist or one of
his disciples, was perhaps public, was administered to Jews (whether or not to gentiles),
may not have been repeatable, used water and probably required immersion, either
required or effected repentance, was accompanied by confession of sins, effected
remission of sins, demanded the performance of good works in the future, was
performed as a preparation for the coming j u d g m e n t or kingdom of God, a n d either
was not connected with any teaching about the holy spirit, or supposed the spirit
would be given (as a further " b a p t i s m " ) only at the last judgment (Acts 19.2 vs.
Mk. 1.8 and parallels; see Best, Spirit). T h a t it made the recipient a member of a
new community is often said by the critics but never by the sourcesthere is no
evidence that all those whom J o h n baptized became his disciples; the reports of
crowds coming to be baptized suggest that the rite entailed no membership in any
society, and Josephus' is inadequate as an excuse for supposing
the contrary (vs. Flemington, Doctrine 15). W h a t was demanded of the few who
did become disciples, we do not know.
It has already been remarked that no baptism of this kind appears in the Q u m r a n
documents. Attempts to derive it from Jewish proselyte baptism are equally mistaken.
(See the distinctions made by Werblowsky, Rite 10if; Doeve, Doop; Michaelis,
Hintergrund; Beasley-Murray, Baptism 40-42; and the chronological arguments of
Taylor, Beginning.) It should be added that the rule " a proselyte is as a new born
c h i l d " is a legal fiction meaning that the proselyte is freed from most legal liabilities
including the liability for transgressionscontracted in his earlier life, and also
loses his prior legal claimsfor example, he has no property. It does not m e a n
pace Werblowsky, Rite 102that he is reborn as a child of Israel; Daube's examples,
Reflections 51, show loss of prior legal ties, including family connections, but not
acquisition of new ones. R a b b i ruled in Bikkurim 1.4 that proselytes must continue
to speak of the Patriarchs as " t h e i r fathers," not " o u r fathers." Though the contrary
opinion of R. J u d a h (J. Bikkurim 1.4 (64a), called to my attention by R . William
G. Braude) subsequently prevailed, the fact that neither the Mishnah nor the Tosephta
mentions it makes almost certainso R . Saul Lieberman advises methat the preference of it is a subsequent alteration of the law. In any event, R. J u d a h based his
opinion on Gen. 17.5, " F o r I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of peoples,"
207

C L E M E N T OF A L E X A N D R I A

so he presumably considered the proselytes a different people than Israel and justified
their reference to " o u r " fathers b y the fact that they were descendants of A b r a h a m ,
not of J a c o b t h i s w o u l d have involved no change of ancestry. M o r e o v e r it seems
likely that his opinion was a reply to Christian p r o p a g a n d a , see the use of the same
verse by Paul, R o m a n s 4.17fr, and the development of this by the fathers, for instance
Aphraates, Demonstratio X I . 1 off, w h o is evidently answering Jewish arguments.
Since, then, the Baptist's rite can be derived neither from Pharisaic baptism of
proselytes nor from Q u m r a n , w e must look elsewhere for its origin. T h e true source
is that indicated b y M k . 11.30: it was from " H e a v e n , " that is, from G o d . This was
w h a t all the people believed (ibid.), and their belief presumably came from the
Baptist's o w n c l a i m t h a t he was a prophet (Mt. 11.9 a n d parallels) charged b y
G o d to institute a new rite, an immersion w h i c h w o u l d remit sins (cf. K r a f t , Anfnge
40if).
T o understand the importance of this one must realize that in Jewish law sin
and impurity are different things. O n e m a y become highly impure b y any number
of accidents w h i c h involve no sin w h a t e v e r f o r example, b y being present in a house
w h e n a death occurs there. M a n y sins, on the other h a n d t h e f t , for i n s t a n c e d o
not render the sinner impure. A d m i t t e d l y , by the Baptist's time the distinction h a d
often been blurred. T h e prophets and psalmists had spoken of sins as impurities
from w h i c h men could be cleansed (e.g., Ps. 5 1 . 4 ) ; the verb " t o s i n " had an intensive
form w h i c h should have meant " t o d e - s i n " but actually meant " t o p u r i f y , " a n d
the water used for certain types of purification was k n o w n as " s i n - w a t e r . " But
neither poetry nor etymology is valid in law. I n law, impurity was removed by
immersions (the " b a p t i s m s " of M k . 7.4), and certain unintentional sins could be
expiated b y the sacrifices prescribed in the O T ; but for the rest one could only
trust to the general expiatory rites of the d a y of atonement, to the powers of repentance,
restitution, reformation, and prayer, to the atonement effected by one's death, and
to the mercy of G o d (Torna' V I I I . 8 f ) . Moreover, the possibilities for sacrifice to
Y a h w e h in Palestine had been cut down sharply under the M a c c a b e e s ; the destructions of the temples at Gerizim, A r a q el Emir, and Lachish indicate w h a t happened
to lesser shrines. B y John's time the only place in the country where Jews could
legally offer sacrifices was Jerusalem, and its services were expensive. T o introduce
into this situation a new, inexpensive, generally available, divinely authorized rite,
effective for the remission of all sins, was John's great innovation. 4 His warning of
the coming j u d g m e n t was nothing n e w ; prophets had been predicting that for the
past eight centuries. T h e new thing was the assurance that there was something
the average m a n could easily do to prepare himself for the catastrophic coming of
the kingdom. Therefore J o h n was remembered not merely as a prophet, but as
" m o r e than a p r o p h e t " a s " t h e Baptist."

4. T h e Q u m r a n sect h a d p r o b a b l y developed the doctrine that their life of obedience to the L a w h a d


the a t o n i n g p o w e r of the sacrifices (see Flusser, Sect. 2 2 9 - 2 3 6 ) ; b u t the devotion of a n entire life to the
observance of an ascetic l a w is a very different thing f r o m the p e r f o r m a n c e of one, quick, easy ceremony.

208

THE BACKGROUND

VIII.

EVIDENCE

FROM T H E

GOSPELS T H A T JESUS

BAPTIZED

Since the Baptist's role in relation to the c o m i n g k i n g d o m is so clearly d e f i n a b l e ,


it is surprising that there should be such obscurity a b o u t the role of J e s u s w h o is
said to h a v e b e e n t h o u g h t , in his o w n lifetime, the Baptist r e d i v i v u s ( M k . 6 . 1 4 ;
8.28 a n d p a r a l l e l s ; cf., h o w e v e r , K r a e l i n g , Necromancy).
P a r t i c u l a r l y surprising is the p a r t i c u l a r obscurity c o n c e r n i n g Jesus' use of b a p t i s m .
H e himself w a s b a p t i z e d ; b u t the synoptics say n o t h i n g of his h a v i n g b a p t i z e d his
followers, w h i l e the F o u r t h G o s p e l contradicts itself o n this p o i n t (as o n so m a n y
others): it says in 3.22 t h a t he d i d b a p t i z e ; it refers to reports of his b a p t i z i n g in
3.26 a n d 4 . 1 ; b u t in 4.2 it adds ye

' oi

. H e r e the a c c e p t e d alternatives are either to e l i m i n a t e 4.2 as a gloss ( B u l t m a n n ,


Johannes 128 n 4 ; D o d d , Fourth Gospel 3 1 1 a n d Historical Tradition 237) or to a c c e p t it
as a c o r r e c t i o n : Jesus d i d not himself b a p t i z e , b u t d u r i n g a n e a r l y ministry in J u d e a
( u n k n o w n to the synoptics e x c e p t for L k . 4.44, o n w h i c h cf. A c t s

10.37above,

p. 206) he p e r m i t t e d his disciples to g o o n a d m i n i s t e r i n g (the Baptist's?) b a p t i s m ,


a practice w h i c h he subsequently stopped ( w h y ?) b u t w h i c h the disciples nevertheless
r e s u m e d as soon as he w a s o u t of the w a y , A c t s 2.38. B u t here the f u n c t i o n of the
Baptist's r i t e , is
7

c o m b i n e d w i t h the C h r i s t i a n f o r m u l a

H o w the disciples c o u l d b a p t i z e in Jesus' n a m e if

Jesus h a d stopped the p r a c t i c e is not easily e x p l i c a b l e (see the w r i g g l i n g s of BeasleyM u r r a y , Baptism 7of; F l e m i n g t o n , Doctrine 3of, chose to ignore the p r o b l e m ) .
T h e s e difficulties m a y perhaps j u s t i f y a hypothesis of mistranslation. I n S y r i a c
4.2 reads,

Kern l U a x i o ^.euc>

>

-as.

I t is o n l y the m e d i a l period w h i c h

prevents this f r o m m e a n i n g , " Y e t Jesus himself b a p t i z e d none save his disciples."


( A Nj before

would

be desirable, b u t not necessary.

Cf. the

similarly

possible mistranslation in J n . 1 2 . 1 7 , a b o v e , p. 157.) V a r i a n t forms of the tradition


t h a t Jesus b a p t i z e d o n l y his disciples are f o u n d in C l e m e n t
later writers

(Echle, Baptism

367^,

and

(III. 196.2iff) and

this is the m e a n i n g i n d i c a t e d

by

the

c o n t e x t in J n . 4.2. J n . has b e e n at its usual business of contrasting Jesus a n d the


Baptist to the latter's d i s a d v a n t a g e . I t has just r e p o r t e d h o w the Pharisees h e a r d

'.

H e r e the S y r i a c reads

. ^ b ^ p .4\, . kiu^jo :< I n a n y case the G r e e k should not b e r e a d as


e v i d e n c e t h a t all w h o m the Baptist b a p t i z e d b e c a m e his disciples. T h e evangelist
w a s t a l k i n g a b o u t Jesus. H e realized the a m b i g u i t y of his statement ( w h i c h w a s to
mislead B u l t m a n n , Johannes 128 n7) a n d therefore w e n t on to e x p l a i n it b y d e c l a r i n g ,
" Y e t Jesus b a p t i z e d only his d i s c i p l e s ! " w h i l e the Baptist (it is to be understood)
b a p t i z e d e v e r y b o d y w h o c a m e to h i m a n d e v e n so Jesus' disciples w e r e
n u m e r o u s t h a n the Baptist's h e r e - t o d a y - a n d - g o n e - t o m o r r o w

penitents. T h i s

more
pre-

s u m a b l e e x a g g e r a t i o n c o n c l u d e s the t h e m e b e g u n in 3.26 a n d f o r m a l l y stated in


3.30. (See also D o d d ' s a r g u m e n t s in Historical

Tradition

285^ 292, a n d , further,

f r o m the themes of w a t e r a n d spirit in Fourth Gospel 3 0 8 - 3 1 1 . ) [Discussion w i t h C . R .


leaves m e d u b i o u s a b o u t the a b o v e interpretation. I t is possible that the a u t h o r
209

CLEMENT OF A L E X A N D R I A

(or glossator) meant, "Tet Jesus baptized only his disciples, and consequently the
Pharisees were misinformed and their (suggested) plots unnecessary."]
T h u s w e have the statements of J n . on one side, the silence of the synoptics on
the other. T o Jn.'s statements should be a d d e d the account of the footwashing in
1 3 . 1 - 1 5 . T h e footwashing is to baptism as the feeding of the multitude is to the
eucharist; for both sacraments J n . has a chapter of theological exegesis (3 on baptism,
6 on the eucharist) and a story of a similar event w h i c h could be used by a teacher
as a type of the rite. Aphraates, Demonstratio X I I . 10 understood the footwashing as
a miraculous baptism, by anticipation, of the twelve, into Jesus' passion. As such
he contrasted it with the Baptist's rite, w h i c h only produced remission of sins b y
repentance, and he thus explained w h y the Baptist's penitents were rebaptized,
w i t h the baptism of Jesus, b y the apostles. But J n . , as usual, remains enigmatic.
Synoptic evidence that Jesus baptized m i g h t be found in M k . 1.8 and parallels
(including J n . 1.33), w h e r e the Baptist is m a d e to declare that he c a n baptize only
w i t h water, but his greater successor will baptize with the holy spirit ( " a n d w i t h
fire," Q J ; and also in M k . 9.49 (correcting to ,
with
B a a r d a ) . But Acts ( 1 . 5 ; 11.16) interprets the promise of baptism w i t h spirit a n d
fire as referring to Pentecost (Acts 2.3^17), a n d J n . 7.39 indicates that the spirit
w a s not given until after Jesus' resurrection; so it could be that the whole of the
Baptist's prophecy is an anachronistic invention of the Christian polemic against
his followers. ( T h e greater successorwhose shoelaces he was not w o r t h y to u n t i e
c a n hardly have been Y a h w e h , w h o has no b o d y , parts, or shoelaces. Contrast
K r a f t , Anfnge 400.) M k . 9.49, as a prophecy b y Jesus, is, rather, evidence against
his practice of a n y such rite. T h a t M S S c a n d e at L k . 23.5 a d d to the J e w s ' charges
against Jesus, et filios nostros et uxores avertit a nobis, non enim baptizantur sicut nos, is
dubious evidence at best, and the first phrase is attributed to M a r c i o n by Epiphanius
(Panarion X L I I . i 1.6-8 scholion 70, ed. Holl, p. 1 1 6 ) b u t the attributed phrase is
in a slightly different form a n d place, so m i g h t be taken as collateral evidence for
the tradition.
I n sum, w e come back again to the self-contradictory statements ofJ n . a n d the silence
of the synoptics. Jn.'s statements might be explained as polemic, to set Jesus above
the Baptist, but self-contradiction is not a c o m m o n polemic device, a n d one's general
impression of J n . is that it misrepresents more by exaggeration than b y baseless
invention. O n the other hand, the strength of arguments from the silence of the
synoptics has been weakened considerably b y the evidence w e have seen for thinking
M k . an exoteric work. A c c o r d i n g l y , since neither is conclusive, the contradictory
evidence of Jn.'s statements a n d the synoptics' silence must be j u d g e d b y relation
to the larger problems of the history. These indicate that Jesus baptized.
Foremost a m o n g them is the obscurity, w h i c h w e have been trying to penetrate,
of Jesus' function in relation to the kingdom. W e have seen his expected role in the
final establishment, and his present role as advance agent. But we h a v e also seen
that these are inadequate, because they indicate nothing unusual for his hearers
to do about his a n n o u n c e m e n t s a n d this i n a d e q u a c y is particularly glaring b y
contrast w i t h the clear a n d practical function of the Baptist.
210

THE BACKGROUND

M o r e o v e r , against the supposition that Jesus gave up the practical rite of the
Baptist a n d w e n t back to the mere preaching of repentance traditional to the prophets
stands the fact that the Gospels do not consistently represent h i m as a preacher
of repentance. T h e y contain no accounts of mass penitence produced b y his preaching,
a n d few of individuals' repentance (and those few are suspecte.g., L k . 1 9 . 1 - 1 0 ) .
T h e message w h i c h M k . 1.15 and parallels put into Jesus' m o u t h is not his, but
that of the later Christian preachers: eV } (that
is, the gospel about Jesus; against T a y l o r see L o h m e y e r , and Bultmann, Geschichte,
124). Accordingly, it is plausible to suppose the same origin for the reference to
repentance in M k . 6.12 (a late addition u n k n o w n to both M t . and L k . ?). These
two are the only references in M k . to Christian preaching of repentance. J n . never
refers to or to voeiv. Q_ has the verb in its exegesis of the sign of J o n a h
(Lk. 11.32 II M t . 1 2 . 4 1 e v i d e n t l y posterior to the resurrection) and in the woes
on the Galilean cities (Lk. 10.13 || M t . 1 1 . 2 1 ) , w h i c h are thus the best evidence that
Jesus occasionally did use the theme. It w o u l d be hard to believe that he did not,
but it w o u l d be even harder to believe, in the face of this evidence, that he was
principally a preacher of repentance.
T h e difficulty becomes even clearer w h e n one remembers that against this exiguous
evidence must be set not only the rarity of stories of repentance, a n d the rarity of
a n y other examples of Jesus' preaching it (found only in Lk.), but also the presence
of a great deal of material w h i c h represents Jesus and his followers as anything but
penitents. T h e Baptist, w h o certainly did preach repentance, conducted himself
as a penitent; Jesus, b y contrast, " c a m e eating and d r i n k i n g " (Lk. 7.34 || M t .
11.19). T h e followers of the Baptist and those of the Pharisees fasted; Jesus' followers
did not, and Jesus justified this b y comparing them to the members of a bridal
party ( M k . 2 . i 8 f f a n d parallels). H e justified their laxity in observance of the L a w
b y comparing them to the companions of D a v i d ( M k . 2.25 and parallels). H e forgave
sins freely, without d e m a n d i n g repentance ( M k . 2.5 and parallels). H e blessed not
the penitent a n d the fasting, but the poor and the hungry (Lk. 6.2ofF || M t . 5.3fr).
A n d so o n t h e theme is familiar a n d need not be developed at length: T h e Gospels
simply do not represent Jesus as principally a preacher of repentance; in this respect
he differed fundamentally from the Baptist, and the difference was noticed and
criticized in his own time. It now has to be accounted for.
Ever since D o d d ' s Parables this difference has customarily been accounted for
b y saying that for the Baptist the kingdom is still in the future, for Jesus the k i n g d o m
is here. T h i s position is now familiar and does not need exposition, but development.
I f the kingdom is simply the realm of obedience to G o d , then it should come whenever
G o d is obeyed. A n y prophet preaching repentance will restore it insofar as his
preaching is successful, and repentance will be the p r i m a r y step in its restoration.
Therefore the emphasis placed by the Gospels on the fact that Jesus was not merely
a prophet ( M k . 8.28f and parallels; L k . 7.26ff || M t . 11.9fr; J n . 4 . 1 9 - 2 6 ; 7.40fr;
etc.), and the inconspicuous role of repentance in his teaching and his followers'
practice, indicate some different notion of the w a y in w h i c h the kingdom is present
a n d the consequence of its presence. T h i s notion presumably concerns some special
211

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

function of Jesus in relation to the present kingdom, and also, in the light of the
Baptist's career, some special, practical, probably ritual, response which could be
made by Jesus' followers to his announcement of the kingdom's presence. N o w a few
elements in the synoptics represent the kingdom as a l r e a d y i n some r e s p e c t
attainable, and the disciples as already in it:
Mk. 2.19

T h e members of the wedding party cannot be made to fast.

2.26

D a v i d gave those who were with him the holy bread.


T h e disciples already need not observe the sabbath.
T h e twelve are empowered, already, to exorcise (again 6.7).
Those who do the will of G o d are already Jesus' kin.
T h e mystery of the kingdom has been given to the disciples.
T h e kingdom is already growing like a mustard seed.

3.15
3.35
4.11
4.30fr
7.2ff
g.2ff
9.18fr,28
io.2gf
14.22fr

T h e disciples already need not observe the purity laws.


T h e transfiguration.
T h e disciples practiced exorcism (9.38, so did others, in Jesus'
name).
T h e disciples will be rewarded n o w b u t with persecutions.
T h e eucharist.

(The references are to L k . ; generally I follow Manson, Sayings.)


7.28
T h e least in the kingdom is greater than Jn.
9.60
T h e disciple should let the dead bury the dead (he is already
alive).
10.9
T h e disciples are, already, to heal the sick and announce the
kingdom; M t . adds, raise the dead!
10.16
H e that heareth you heareth me, etc.
10.21
10.22
11.10
11.52
12.3
12.31
13.21
16.16
19.26
Mt. 11.28
n.29f
13.44

T h e Father has revealed these things to babes (and hidden them


from the wise).
T h e Father is now revealed by the Son.
Whoever asks receives now, etc.
Those who were entering (the kingdom, M t . 23.14) were hindered
by the lawyers.
T h e things told the disciples now in secret are someday to be
proclaimed openly.
Seek first the kingdom, and the good things of this world will be
added.
T h e kingdom is already spreading like leaven.
T h e law and the prophets were until John, thenceforth (i.e.,
now), everyone forces his way into the kingdom.
T o him that hath shall be given.
Come unto me and I will give you rest now.
T a k e my yoke (sc. of the kingdom) now.
T h e field with the treasure can be purchased now.
212

THE

BACKGROUND

13.46

T h e pearl can be purchased now.

13.52

A scribe c a n a l r e a d y b e a disciple o f the k i n g d o m .

16.19

T h e keys of the k i n g d o m shall b e g i v e n to Peter n o w (so that

18.20

W h e r e t w o or three are g a t h e r e d in m y n a m e , I a m a m o n g t h e m

w h a t he binds on earth shall b e also at once b o u n d in h e a v e n ) .


now.
Lk. 10.17

T h e demons are a l r e a d y subject to the disciples, whose names are


a l r e a d y written in h e a v e n .

15.11fr

T h e repentant son is a d m i t t e d a t once to the feast.

17.21

T h e k i n g d o m is in y o u r p o w e r (Griffiths,

Within).

S o m e of these elements are m u c h clearer a n d m o r e conclusive than others, b u t


the clear ones indicate h o w the others should b e interpreted. M a n y different sorts
a n d strata of material are represented, b u t this shows that the notion is not a peculiarity o f a n y one strand o f the tradition. Its w i d e distribution argues a n early, c o m m o n
source, a n d the a r g u m e n t is strengthened b y the present u n i o n of the disciples w i t h
Jesus in J n . (15.1fr, etc.), a n d the location of the believers in the k i n g d o m b y P a u l
( C o l . 1.13) a n d b y the A p o c a l y p s e (1.6, etc.). A l l in all, it w o u l d seem that Jesus
s o m e h o w e n a b l e d at least some of his followers to enter the k i n g d o m forthwith, a n d
to enter it in some special fashion other t h a n that o f m e r e r e p e n t a n c e a n d o b e d i e n c e
to G o d s o m e fashion w h i c h w o u l d m a k e t h e m greater t h a n the Baptist ( w h o w a s
p r e s u m a b l y penitent a n d obedient), w o u l d e x e m p t t h e m f r o m the L a w , g i v e t h e m
p o w e r over demons a n d diseases, a n d a d m i t t h e m at once to the feast. T h i s admission
w a s the special function of Jesus, the M e s s i a h t h e function w h i c h the Baptist,
t h o u g h m o r e t h a n a p r o p h e t , c o u l d not perform.
N o w the r e c o g n i z e d means of p r e p a r a t i o n for admission to the k i n g d o m r e c o g n i z e d b y Jesus himself, since he h a d used i t w a s b a p t i s m , a n d in the earliest C h r i s t i a n
m a t e r i a l w e find b a p t i s m the means o f admission to the C h u r c h , w h i c h is the k i n g d o m
present on earth. I t is therefore reasonable to assume that Jesus effected the admission
o f his chosen followers to the k i n g d o m b y some sort of baptism. O n the other h a n d ,
the Baptist's baptism evidently d i d not a d m i t the recipient to the k i n g d o m , so
Jesus' b a p t i s m must h a v e differed f r o m it. First a n d foremost it differed in b e i n g
not only private, b u t secret. T h e r e f o r e , attempts to determine its other differences
are necessarily speculative.

IX.

BAPTISM ACCORDING TO

PAUL

A s a check o n speculation, it is helpful to c o m p a r e the Baptist's baptism, w h i c h


dates from a b o u t A.D. 25, w i t h the Christian baptism as w e find it in the earliest
C h r i s t i a n d o c u m e n t s P a u l ' s letters o f a b o u t A.D. 50. T h e r e is a d m i t t e d l y some
d o u b t as to w h e n P a u l is t a l k i n g a b o u t b a p t i s m ; here w e shall follow the e x a m p l e o f
213

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

B r a u m a n n , Taufverkndigung, and confine ourselves to passages where the reference


is indubitable. O f these the most important are the following:
Rom.

e.^ff:

T h o s e o f us w h o w e r e b a p t i z e d i n t o M e s s i a h J e s u s w e r e b a p t i z e d i n t o h i s

d e a t h . T h a t is to s a y , w e w e r e b u r i e d w i t h h i m , t h r o u g h t h e b a p t i s m i n t o d e a t h , i n o r d e r
t h a t , j u s t as M e s s i a h w a s r a i s e d f r o m the d e a d t h r o u g h t h e g l o r y o f the F a t h e r , t h u s w e t o o
s h o u l d l i v e a n e w life. F o r if w e h a v e b e e n u n i t e d w i t h h i m in a d e a t h like his, let us b e
so, t o o , i n a r e s u r r e c t i o n like his. F o r w e k n o w t h a t t h e m a n w e o n c e w e r e w a s c r u c i f i e d
w i t h h i m , in o r d e r t h a t t h e b o d y w h i c h b e l o n g e d to sin m i g h t b e m a d e i n e f f e c t i v e , so t h a t
w e s h o u l d n o l o n g e r b e slaves to sin. F o r w h e n a m a n dies h e is n o l o n g e r a n s w e r a b l e f o r
his sins. A n d if w e d i e d w i t h M e s s i a h , w e b e l i e v e t h a t w e shall also c o n t i n u e to live w i t h
h i m , k n o w i n g t h a t M e s s i a h , h a v i n g b e e n r a i s e d f r o m the d e a d , w i l l n e v e r a g a i n d i e .
I Cor. is.isf:

F o r j u s t as t h e b o d y is o n e , b u t h a s m a n y m e m b e r s . . . so also is t h e M e s s i a h .

A n d t h u s w e a l l w e r e b a p t i z e d w i t h o n e spirit to c o n s t i t u t e o n e b o d y w h e t h e r J e w s o r
G r e e k s , w h e t h e r slaves or f r e e m e n a n d w e w e r e a l l g i v e n o n e spirit to d r i n k .
Gal. 3.s6ff:

F o r a l l o f y o u < f o r m e r l y g e n t i l e s ) a r e sons o f G o d t h r o u g h f a i t h i n M e s s i a h

J e s u s . F o r as m a n y o f y o u as w e r e b a p t i z e d i n t o M e s s i a h h a v e b e e n c l o t h e d w i t h M e s s i a h .
I n h i m t h e r e is n e i t h e r J e w n o r G r e e k , t h e r e is n e i t h e r slave n o r f r e e m a n , t h e r e is n o m a l e
a n d f e m a l e , for y o u a l l a r e o n e in M e s s i a h J e s u s . A n d if y o u a r e M e s s i a h ' s , t h e n y o u a r e
t h e seed o f A b r a h a m a n d heirs o f t h e p r o m i s e < m a d e to A b r a h a m b y G o d ) .
Col.

s.gjf:

< I n t h e M e s s i a h ) all t h e fullness o f t h e d i v i n e d w e l l s b o d i l y . A n d y o u a r e

f u l f i l l e d in h i m , since h e is t h e h e a d o f e v e r y c o s m i c p o w e r a n d a u t h o r i t y . I n h i m y o u h a v e
also b e e n c i r c u m c i z e d , n o t w i t h t h e p h y s i c a l i m a g e o f c i r c u m c i s i o n , b u t w i t h t h e s t r i p p i n g
o f f o f t h e b o d y o f flesh, w i t h t h e c i r c u m c i s i o n o f t h e M e s s i a h , h a v i n g b e e n b u r i e d w i t h
h i m in b a p t i s m , in w h i c h y o u h a v e also b e e n r e s u r r e c t e d t o g e t h e r w i t h h i m t h r o u g h f a i t h
i n t h e w o r k i n g o f G o d w h o r a i s e d h i m f r o m t h e d e a d . T h u s , w h e n y o u w e r e d e a d in y o u r
sins a n d in t h e f o r e s k i n o f y o u r flesh, G o d b r o u g h t y o u to life t o g e t h e r w i t h h i m . H a v i n g
f o r g i v e n us all o u r sins, h e <the M e s s i a h ) h a s c a n c e l l e d t h e b o n d w i t h t h e l e g a l d e m a n d s
w h i c h w a s a g a i n s t us a n d h a s set it aside, h a v i n g n a i l e d it to t h e cross. H a v i n g s t r i p p e d
o f f the cosmic powers a n d authorities he has m a d e a public spectacle of t h e m a n d led them,
b y m e a n s o f t h e cross, as c a p t i v e s i n his t r i u m p h a l procession. T h e r e f o r e let n o m a n sit
i n j u d g m e n t o n y o u a b o u t f o o d a n d d r i n k , o r in a m a t t e r o f festival o r n e w m o o n o r s a b b a t h ,
w h i c h a r e a s h a d o w o f the t h i n g s t o c o m e , w h e r e a s t h e s u b s t a n c e is o f t h e M e s s i a h .

Do

n o t let y o u r s e l v e s b e c o n d e m n e d b y a n y o n e set o n s e l f - a b a s e m e n t a n d w o r s h i p o f a n g e l s ,
t h i n g s h e s a w g o i n g in <to t h e h e a v e n s ) , 5 s o m e o n e p u f f e d u p to n o p u r p o s e b y

carnal

i m a g i n a t i o n s , a n d n o t h o l d i n g to t h e h e a d f r o m w h i c h a l l t h e b o d y , n o u r i s h e d a n d k n i t
t o g e t h e r t h r o u g h o u t a l l its j o i n t s a n d l i g a m e n t s , g r o w s t h e g r o w t h o f G o d . If, d y i n g w i t h
M e s s i a h , y o u left b e h i n d t h e e l e m e n t a l spirits o f t h e w o r l d , w h y d o y o u l i v e as if still i n
t h e w o r l d ? . . . I f y o u h a v e b e e n r a i s e d f r o m t h e d e a d w i t h t h e M e s s i a h , seek t h e t h i n g s
a b o v e , w h e r e t h e M e s s i a h is, s i t t i n g to t h e r i g h t o f G o d . F i x y o u r m i n d o n t h e t h i n g s a b o v e ,
n o t those o n e a r t h . F o r y o u h a v e d i e d , a n d y o u r life h a s b e e n h i d d e n w i t h t h e M e s s i a h i n
G o d . W h e n t h e M e s s i a h , o u r life, s h a l l b e r e v e a l e d , t h e n y o u t o o w i l l b e r e v e a l e d w i t h h i m
in glory.

Finally, w e must a d d I. Cor. 10.1-4,

although it does not speak directly of Christian

baptism:
5. See m y Observations, 1 5 6 - 1 5 7 .

214

THE BACKGROUND
I w o u l d not h a v e y o u ignorant, brethren, of the fact that our fathers were all u n d e r the
c l o u d a n d all w e n t t h r o u g h t h e sea a n d w e r e all b a p t i z e d i n t o M o s e s i n the c l o u d a n d i n
t h e sea, a n d all a t e t h e s a m e s p i r i t u a l f o o d a n d all d r a n k t h e s a m e s p i r i t u a l d r i n k , f o r t h e y
d r a n k f r o m t h e s p i r i t u a l r o c k w h i c h f o l l o w e d t h e m , a n d the r o c k w a s the M e s s i a h . 6

T h e a b o v e passages show at a glance the immense difference between the baptism


of the Baptist a n d that of Paul. T h e former was analogous to earlier biblical immersions except that it was specially instituted b y G o d through a new prophet a n d it
r e m o v e d sin, whereas they h a d r e m o v e d impurity. T h e baptism of Paul, on the
contrary, is essentially a means of uniting with the Messiah. Since the Messiah a n d
the spirit are so closely related as to be practically i d e n t i c a l P a u l once explicitly
identifies them (II C o r . 3.17, " T h e L o r d is the spirit," cf. I C o r . 1 5 . 4 5 ) t h e union
is conceived as possession b y a spirit. T h e spirit dwells in the baptized ( eV,
R o m . 8.9, 11 bis; I C o r . 3 . 1 6 ; cf. I C o r . 6.19 a n d Philo, De somniis I . i 4 8 f , cited
a b o v e , p. 1 7 1 ) , a n d acts through t h e m (I Cor. 12 a n d passim, notice especially the
spirit's " s p e a k i n g " through the possessedRom. 8.26,

cf. I

C o r . 2.13 a n d all of ch. 1 2 a phenomenon often observed in schizophrenia; cf. M k .


1.24; 5 . 7 ; 1 3 . 1 1 ; Philostratus, Vita Apollonii III.38). T h u s the b o d y of the possessed
Christian is in effect a part of the b o d y of the Messiah, the spirit w h i c h lives in each
Christian a n d acts through him. A l l Christians together constitute the whole b o d y of
the Messiah, of w h i c h each individual b o d y is a m e m b e r (that is, a n o r g a n a h a n d ,
or a foot, or w h a t e v e r ) A s I C o r . 12.13 says, " w e were baptized w i t h one spirit to
constitute (els ) one b o d y . " (Cf. Plutarch, De Iside 73 (380c): T h e soul of T y p h o n
is divided a m o n g the various T y p h o n i c animals.)
T h i s central concept P a u l develops in different w a y s to meet the needs of different
situations. I n Romans 6, where he is protesting against a libertine interpretation of
his teachings, he argues that union w i t h the Messiah involves participation in his
death a n d resurrection; since the death was a death to sin, the new life is a life to
G o d , from w h i c h sin is necessarily excluded. ( R o m . 6.11 f. T h e future in verse 5
is h o r t a t o r y ; that the resurrected life has already b e g u n is clear from the context.
T h e future is used in verse 8 because the present resurrected life will c o n t i n u e ; cf.
M o u l e , Idiom-Book 23; S a n d a y - H e a d l a m , Romans 1 5 4 - 1 5 5 and n. on 6.8.) W e shall
see later that Paul's notion of baptism as death a n d resurrection m a y have resulted
6. Here it is a mistake to speak as Lietzmann (Korinther, ad loc.), does, of topology. T h e concluding
explanation ( " f o r . . . M e s s i a h " ) must have been needed to explain w h y the food and drink were " t h e
s a m e . " " T h e s a m e " is repeated for emphasis. T h e same as w h a t ? T h e same as w h a t we Christians now
eat and drink, " f o r . . . the rock was the Messiah." This is the point of the whole passage: Baptism and
communion will not make you wholly immune to the consequence of eating things offered to idols, for
they did not produce such immunity in the generation of the exodus. This argument requires that
baptism into Moses should be " t h e s a m e " thing as baptism into C h r i s t n o t a mere type of i t a n d so
it would be for any Christian who had formerly been a reader of Philo and knew that Moses had been,
like Jesus, an incarnation of the Logos. Therefore Paul does not have to explain this as he does his
notion about the rock, which depends more on Palestinian Jewish traditions (Alio, I Cor., ad loc.). T h i s
shows he expected most members of his Corinthian church to be familiar with exegesis of the Philonic
type on the story of the exodus. This is evidence in favor of Goodenough's hypothesis (1.23-29) that
such exegesis was once widespread in G r e c o - R o m a n J e w r y .

215

CLEMENT OF A L E X A N D R I A

f r o m other causes as w e l l as f r o m the notion of u n i o n w i t h Jesus. H e r e let it b e noted


o n l y as a d e v e l o p m e n t b o t h so i m p o r t a n t a n d so unlikely as to deserve attention.
I n I Cor. 12, w h e r e P a u l is protesting against the a r r o g a n c e of those w h o c l a i m e d
special spiritual gifts, he argues t h a t u n i o n w i t h the Messiah implies t h a t all Christians
h a v e the same spirit a n d are therefore parts of the same b o d y a n d m u t u a l l y d e p e n d e n t .
I n Galatians 3 , w h e r e he is protesting against the pretensions o f those w h o c l a i m e d
to k e e p the J e w i s h l a w , he argues t h a t u n i o n w i t h the M e s s i a h implies t h a t all Christians are essentially identical, for all are the M e s s i a h , the true seed of A b r a h a m , the
true heir of the promise. ( H e r e his use of the m e t a p h o r " y o u h a v e c l o t h e d yourselves
in M e s s i a h " is p r o b a b l y a n allegorization of the c l o t h i n g w h i c h f o l l o w e d b a p t i s m ,
a n d suggests t h a t the b a p t i s m w a s n a k e d . See a b o v e , p p . 1 7 5 ^ a n d , further, I C o r .
15.53, w h e r e the b a p t i s m a l reference w a s a l r e a d y r e c o g n i z e d b y Odes of Solomon
1 5 . 8 ; also I C o r . 1 5 . 4 4 - 4 9 , cf. R o b i n s o n , Hymn 62 a n d 72fr, esp. 7 7 - 7 8 ; also I I C o r .
3 . 1 7 f ; 5.2.) F i n a l l y , in Colossians 2-3, w h e r e he is protesting against the i n t r o d u c t i o n
of some c u l t of the cosmic p o w e r s ( w h i c h c o n c e i v e d of t h e m as s u p e r n a t u r a l beings
to be h o n o r e d or p l a c a t e d b y o b s e r v a n c e of rules of the M o s a i c L a w ) , he argues t h a t
u n i o n w i t h the M e s s i a h involves p a r t i c i p a t i o n in his n a t u r e , his d e a t h , a n d his
resurrection. B y n a t u r e he w a s superior to all the cosmic powers, b y d e a t h he stripped
t h e m o f f a n d subjected t h e m , a n d b y resurrection he a s c e n d e d a b o v e t h e m , a n d
w a s h i d in G o d , w h e r e the Christians are h i d d e n w i t h h i m until the end. T h e r e f o r e
t h e y should not subject themselves to the laws of inferior beings. N o t i c e the recurrence
of the stripping-then-clothing m o t i f in 2 . 1 1 , 1 5 a n d 3.9. H e r e it is c o n n e c t e d w i t h
the l e g e n d of the descent of a s u p e r n a t u r a l b e i n g to the l o w e r w o r l d , his assumption
f r o m it of a physical b o d y or some other sort o f disguise, a n d his return to the heavens,
stripping o f f the disguise a n d resuming his true f o r m (cf. Bousset,

Himmelsreisse

1 3 9 - 1 4 1 , 233 a n d n2). T h i s l e g e n d w a s a n c i e n t a n d w i d e s p r e a d in O r p h i c

and

I r a n i a n m y t h o l o g y (Bidez, Ecoles 5 7 f ; P u e c h , Ou 3 0 i f f ; C u m o n t , Religions 282f n 6 g ) ,


w a s p o p u l a r i z e d b y Plato, a n d a b o u t P a u l ' s t i m e f o u n d expressions as different as
CH I . 1 2 - 2 6 , the Naassene h y m n in H i p p o l y t u s , Philosophumena V . i o , a n d The Hymn
of the Soul (cf. Preuschen, Hymnen 6 i f ) . C o m p a r e also the Prayer of Joseph

(James,

Lost Apocrypha 2 i f f ; N o c k , r e v i e w o f Schoeps 5 8 4 N o c k ' s discussion of the descent


l e g e n d , 584-590, is v i t i a t e d b y a scholarly c o n c e r n for details w h i c h p r e v e n t e d h i m
f r o m r e c o g n i z i n g the c o m m o n p a t t e r n v a r i o u s l y a d a p t e d in the various stories).
T h e l e g e n d was a l r e a d y used b y Christians as a n interpretation of Jesus' w o r k in
the p r e - P a u l i n e h y m n q u o t e d b y P a u l in Phil. 2.6ff. W e h a v e also r e m a r k e d its
use b y P a u l , S i m o n M a g u s , M a r k (?), a n d the Ascension of Isaiah (see a b o v e , p. 201).
I t is also basic to the t h o u g h t of J n . ( 1 . 9 - 1 1 ; 16.28; 1 9 . 1 1 ) a n d H e b r e w s

(i.2f),

a n d is e p i d e m i c in gnosticism a n d neoplatonism (Bousset, Hauptprobleme 3 6 1 f r ) .

X.

E L E M E N T S DERIVED

FROM JESUS IN

PAULINE

BAPTISM

S o m e o f these P a u l i n e interpretations a n d applications of b a p t i s m a r e r e c o g n i z a b l y


s e c o n d a r y . T h e notion that identification w i t h Jesus involves p a r t i c i p a t i o n in Jesus'
216

T H E BACKGROUND

d e a t h a n d resurrection is obviously later t h a n those events. (Contrast the Ebionite


tradition t h a t the essential for salvation is not the sacrifice of Jesus, b u t b a p t i s m :
Schoeps, Judenchristentum 69, 84.. This at least could have been the teaching of Jesus.)
Paul's deduction of m u t u a l dependence f r o m the analogy of the body looks like moralization p r o d u c e d to meet the needs of a developing community. Similarly, the
a r g u m e n t that all members of the Messiah must be parts of the seed of A b r a h a m
can have been pressed only in a c o m m u n i t y where Jewish snobbery a n d gentile
emulation were a problem. Finally, the identification of baptism into Jesus with
baptism into Moses is a consequence of the Philonic type of logos theory, which
does not seem to have been c o m m o n in Jesus' circle. All these, therefore, are
p r o b a b l y posterior developments.
T h e case is different for the essential Pauline notion that baptism results in the
possession of the baptized by the spirit of Jesus. This reflects demonological beliefs
which a p p e a r in the exorcisms in M k . I t m a y have its b a c k g r o u n d in the same
Palestinian milieu. C o m p a r e the way the Palestinian apocalyptic writers " e x p l a i n
inspiration ultimately in terms of possession," Russell, Apocalyptic 175. ( I n n u m e r a b l e
attempts have been m a d e to find the origin of the Pauline notion in paganism,
especially in the mysteries; these are reviewed a n d rejected by W a g n e r , Problem. T h e
rejection was evidently predetermined, b u t nevertheless seems to m e justified. Cf.
W a r n a c h , Tauflehre.)
Moreover, there are n u m b e r of reasons for thinking that Pauline baptism came
not only generally from Palestine, b u t specifically from J e s u s : A. I t was essentially
a means of uniting with Jesus. B. This union was effected by the spirit, which Jesus
h a d . C. T h e closest analogies to the rite are found in magical material, a n d there
is considerable evidence t h a t Jesus practiced magic. D . Paul's rite was soon a n d
widely connected with ascent to the heavens, with which Jesus was also credited.
E . I t freed the recipient from the obligations of the law, f r o m which Jesus' disciples
were freed. Let us examine these points in order.

A.

The rite was a means of uniting with Jesus

Because it was a means of uniting with Jesus, Pauline baptism was radically
unlike any rite known from Palestinian Jewish tradition except the eucharist. If
G o o d e n o u g h be correct in supposing (1.6, etc.) that some rite was devised or interpreted to symbolize or effect union with the Logos, this provides an analogy. But
the evidence is inconclusive a n d the analogyif anyremote. T h e demonological
character of Paul's concept indicates t h a t his rite did not come from the philosophers
of Alexandria, b u t f r o m the magicians of Palestine. Its magical character was long
ago r e m a r k e d by Dieterich, Mithrasliturgie 178. O n the prevalence of magic in
Palestinian J e w r y see Schrer, Geschichte 111.407fr a n d L i e b e r m a n , Greek 91-114.
T h e evidence is rich, from Jewish a n d p a g a n sources alike. Spells in which the magician
identifies himself with a spirit are plentiful in the magical papyri. A good Jewish
217

CLEMENT OF A L E X A N D R I A

example comes from The Sacred Hidden Book of Moses called Eighth or Holy (PGM
XIII.343ff), lines 783fr:
" A n d Thou, lord of life, ruler of the heavens and the earth and all those dwelling
in them, whose righteousness is not turned aside, whose glorious name the Muses
hymn, whom the eight guards escort, , , , , , , , ,
who hast the unerring truth: thy name and thy spirit rest upon the good; enter my
mind and my thoughts for the whole time of my life and perform for me all the desires
of my soul, for Thou art I and I am Thou. Whatever I say must happen, for I have
thy name as sole amulet in my heart, and no disturbance of the flesh shall overpower
me, no spirit shall oppose me, no demon nor visitation nor any of the evil beings
of Hades, through thy name, which I have in my soul" (cf. Rom. 8.38f; Apoc. 3.12;
14.1; 22.4).
There is another ritual means of uniting with Jesusthe eucharistwhich is
even less compatible with the material commonly taken to represent " n o r m a t i v e "
Judaism (eat my body! drink my blood!), but which pretty certainly was introduced
by Jesus and exemplifies the same sort of magical thought and practice. Cf. DMP
XV.1-19:
One mingles various ingredients in a cup of wine and says over it an invocation:
" I am he of Abydos . . , as to which the blood of Osiris bore witness . . . when it
(the blood) was poured into this cup, this wine. Give it, blood of Osiris (that?) he (?)
gave to Isis to make her feel love in her heart for him . . . give it, the blood of N.
born of N. . . . to N. born of N. in this cup, this bowl of wine, today, to cause her
to feel a love for him in her heart, the love that Isis felt for Osiris."
This type of magical procedure is standard; cf. PGM no. V I I , lines 643fr, which
comes even closer to "this is my b o d y " ; the wine is made into the flesh ()
of Osiris and Iao ( = Yahweh). O n the relation of the eucharist to the mysteries see
Nock, EGC and Mysteries. As in the case of baptism, the eucharist's obvious incompatibility with supposedly " n o r m a t i v e " Judaism has led to repeated efforts to
derive it from the mysteries. It is a fact that Dionysiac rites celebrating the god's
gift of wine were practiced around Galilee in Jesus' time; see my article " O n the
Wine God in Palestine," in the forthcoming Festschrift for S. Baron. These rites
probably derived from a native Syro-Palestinian cult of a wine god; the Greek
myth associated with them referred to the wine as " b l o o d " ; the god was said to
enter those who drank the wine; Jn. 2.1-11 was modelled on this myth; there are
other traces of its influence in Jn. and the influence of the cult of the wine god can
be traced in many elements of Palestinian Judaism from Genesis on. But the influence
of the mysteries and the influence of magic are not mutually exclusiveindeed,
magicians were commonly said to have established mysteries (Burkert, 3gf;
Lucian, Alexander 38; etc.), and certainly drew material from them (notably for
the figures of Orpheus, Hecate, and Selene: Nilsson, Zauberpapyri 67, 7 i f f ) . Moreover,
the Dionysiac myth is not enough to explain Jesus' institution of the eucharist: the
myth tells of what a god once did, but provides no excuse for a man's doing it.
That a man should undertake to identify his own blood with wine and give it to his
followers to drink in order to unite them with himselfthis goes far beyond the
218

THE BACKGROUND

mysteries; its only close parallels are in magic. A n d there is plenty of evidence that
magic was common in Palestine; e.g., B.Berakot 53a (end); Sifre Devarim 26; Sotah
I X . 13; J.Kiddushin I V . 11 (66c); Gressmann, Aufgaben 1 1 - 1 5 .
T h u s early Christianity has two rites for uniting the believer with Jesus. Both
derive from the same type of magical practice, both show a similar break with
traditional Judaism, and both must have been introduced within half a dozen years,
if w e are to accept Acts' stories of baptisms in the first days of the Jerusalem community
and of the baptism of Paul. O f these two rites, one was certainly introduced by
Jesus; the presumption that the other one also came from him is strong. If it be
accepted, it enables us to understand in a new sense a number of sayings in which
the unity of the disciples with Jesus is implied, e.g., Lk. i o . i 6 f and parallel: H e that
heareth you heareth me.

B.

The union was effected by the spirit

In Pauline baptism the union with Jesus was effected by the spirit. O T immersions
have nothing to do with the spirit; neither does proselyte baptism. The Manual of
Discipline I I I . 4 f f required cleansing by the spirit as a prerequisite for valid immersion
for purity; so the immersion probably was not thought to give the spirit. T h e Baptist's
baptism, too, is contrasted with Christian on the ground that it was only with
water, not with the spirit. (So M k . 1.8 and parallels; Acts 19.2fr. O n 18.24-28 see
Flemington, Doctrine 40.)
Whence, then, did the spirit come into connection with baptism ? It first appears
at the baptism of Jesus. T h e variety of the traditions which agree on this point
suggests that some historical fact m a y lie behind it. Compare M k . 1.11 and parallels
(presumably Q j ; Jn. 1.33; Ebionite Gospel; Gospel according to the Hebrews; Col. 1.19
(?see Mnderlein, Erwhlung). Jn. 1.33 is particularly interesting for our purpose.
T h o u g h suppressing Jesus' baptism (because that subordinated him to the Baptist)
it implies a connection between the descent of the spirit on Jesus and his power to
give it to others. A n d both friends and enemies agreed that Jesus had a spiritthe
only question was, which ? T h e spirit possessed him and drove him into the wilderness
to be tempted of the devilanother spirit (Mk. 1.10 and parallels). He made his
reputation by casting out spirits (Mk. 1.23fr,27; 3 . 1 1 ; 5 - 2 f f ; 7 . 2 5 ; 9.17fr). H e was
accused of doing so by Beelzebub or some unclean spirit, but claimed that he did
so by the holy spirit (Mk. 3 . 2 2 f r ) ; he gave his disciples power over spirits (Mk. 6.7)
and assured them that the holy spirit would speak through them (as the spirits in
the demoniacs spoke through t h e m M k . 1.24; 5.7; 13.11). This M a r k a n material
is further developed in the other synoptics (e.g., M t . 1 0 . 2 5 ; ^k. 1 0 . 1 7 f r ) and supported by apparently independent traditions in Jn. (e.g., 8.48; io.2offor the
magical background of this see Dieterich, Mithrasliturgie 117) and the Gospel according
to the Hebrews. (See, further, Samain, Magie 4 5 6 f r . ) Since spirits played such an
important role in the life of Jesus, and since baptism had been the occasion when
heunlike most of those w h o m John b a p t i z e d w a s seized by a spirit, it is not
219

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

implausible to suppose that he was the one w h o transformed baptism into a regular
means of his followers' getting a spirit. (The tradition in J n . and Acts that the spirit
was not given until after Jesus' death will be discussed below.)

C.

The rite was magical

T h e magical character of Pauline baptism also points back to Jesus. W e h a v e


already seen (above, in A ) that it jibes w i t h the magical character of the eucharist,
w h i c h Jesus instituted. However, the use of the term " m a g i c a l " is sure to occasion
misunderstanding and requires justification.
I.

THE TERM AND THE FACTS

I n the R o m a n Empire the practice of m a g i c was a criminal offense (Paulus,


Sententiae V . 2 3 . 1 4 - 1 8 ) , and " m a g i c i a n " was therefore a term of abuse. It still is,
but the connotation has c h a n g e d : now it is primarily f r a u d ; then it was social subversion ( M a c M u l l e n , Enemies 124fr). T h e efficacy of m a g i c was almost universally
believed, and the magician was conceived as a m a n w h o , b y acquiring supernatural
powers, had become a potential danger to the established authorities and the order
they sought to maintain. Consequently magic was widely practiced, but rarely
admitted. For Judaism, a further limiting factor was the d o g m a that there was no
g o d save Y a h w e h . But this did not lead to the denial of the efficacy of p a g a n m a g i c ;
that was a matter of c o m m o n knowledge, not to be denied. Nor did it prevent
Jews from using the same magical practices as pagans; on the contrary, they were
famous as magicians (Josephus, AJ V I I I . 4 6 ) . T h e Sepher ha-Razim, newly discovered
b y Margalioth, shows how, as late as the fourth or fifth century, a J e w steeped in
the O T and thoroughly at home in the poetry of the synagogue could still compose a
magicians' handbook, listing p a g a n deities and Christ a m o n g the angels of the
lower heavens, prescribing the prayers and sacrifices to be offered them in magical
ceremonies (among the prayers, an invocation of Helios in transliterated Greek),
a n d concluding, on reaching the seventh heaven, with a celebration of Y a h w e h as
the sole (that is, supreme) god. T h e more scrupulous Jews distinguished their marvels
a s performed b y the power of the supreme god or of pure spiritsfrom those of
the pagans, whose gods were demons and whose spirits, impure. T h u s R a b b i A k i b a ,
complaining of his o w n ill success in magic, said: " W h e n a m a n fasts in order that
an unclean spirit should rest upon him, the unclean spirit does so. A fortiori, therefore,
w h e n a m a n fasts in order that a pure spirit should rest upon him, it should do so.
But w h a t can I do, since our iniquities are the cause of our difficulties, as it is s a i d , ' For
your iniquities were dividing y o u from your G o d , ' " B. Sanhedrin 65b end. ( T h e
context leaves no doubt of the magical reference; it goes on to report that R a b b a
created a h o m u n c u l u s t h e implication being that the holy spirit rested upon h i m
and communicated to him its creative power.) O f course neither A k i b a nor R a b b a
is represented in the T a l m u d s as a magician. " M a g i c i a n , " as w e said, was a term of
abuse.
220

THE BACKGROUND

G i v e n this state of affairs, it goes without saying that J e s u s is not represented


b y the Gospels as a magician. F o r the Gospels he is the Son of G o d in disguise.
B u t were his practices those of contemporary magic ? T h a t he should be represented
as a supernatural being is the first suspicious item, for this was a common claim of
magicians and result of magical operations. T h u s in the " M i t h r a s L i t u r g y " the
magician begins with a prayer that the supreme being will " b r e a t h e into m e the
holy spirit," and then goes on to declare, " I a m the S o n . " ( P G M I V . 4 8 7 - 5 3 5 ; cf.
M k . 1 . 1 if.) A g a i n , the letter of " N e p h o t e s to P s a m m e t i c h u s " {ibid.,
154-221),
begins with directions for uniting oneself with the sun, as follows:
At any dawn you wish, when it is the third day of the moon, going to the roof of a high
building, spread on the earthen roof a clean sheet (see
above, pp. 176f>. Do this
with a mystagogue. Then you yourself, wearing a wreath of black ivy, after eleven o'clock,
when the sun is in the midst of the heaven, lie down naked < i b i d . ) on the sheet,
looking upward, and order that your eyes be covered with a black band. Then, wrapping
yourself up like a mummy, closing your eyes and keeping your face toward the sun, begin
the following prayer: "Powerful Typhon, sovereign and ruler of the realm above, God
of gods, King ( formula), thou who scatterest the darkness, bringer of thunder,
stormy one, who dazzlest the night, who breathest warmth into the soul, shaker of rocks,
earthquake-destroyer of walls, God of foaming waves and mover of the deep
!, I am he who searched through the whole world with thee and found the great Osiris,
whom I brought to thee a prisoner. I am he who fought as thine ally with the gods (other
texts: against the gods). I am he who locked the double doors of heaven <Mt. 16.19) and
put to sleep the invisible dragon, who stayed the sea, the tides, the streams of the rivers
until thou mightest subdue this realm. I, thy soldier <11 Cor. 10.4), have been defeated
by the <astral> gods <1 Cor. 2.8); I have been cast down because of vain wrath. Raise up,
I beseech thee, thy friend, I entreat thee, and do not cast me on the earth, King of gods
!
Fill me with power, I beseech thee, and grant me this grace,
that, when I shall order one of those gods to come, he shall at my spells come and appear
to me quickly
-"
'
' ' '
' '
' " . . . ~ cu/."
When you say these things thrice the following sign of your union (with the god/ will occur,
but you, armed by your magic soul, should not be terrified. For a sea hawk, flying down,
will strike you with his wings on your body <Mk. 1.1 and parallels), by this very sign indicating that you should arise. You, therefore, arise, clothe yourself in white garments, and burn
uncut frankincense in drops on an earthenware incense altar, saying as follows: " I have been
united with thy sacred form <11 Cor. 3.18; Phil. 2.6). I have been empowered by thy sacred
name <Acts 3.16). I have received the effluence of thy goodness, Lord, God of gods, King,
Daimon, " ." When you have done this, descend, having
attained that nature, equal to the God's < cf. Phil. 2.6; J n . 5.18), which is
effected by this ritual union. 7

It has seemed worthwhile to translate this section as a whole, not only because
of the ritual parallels to the story in the longer text, but also to show that magic
7. The next five words in the Greek text are to be taken with /rij, which follows them.
221

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
does not necessarily c o m p e l the gods, 8 b u t is c a p a b l e o f p r a y e r , o f i n d i v i d u a l devotion
to the deity, a n d of considerable religious feeling. Also, besides the parallels p o i n t e d
o u t in the text, the m a i n notion o f the p a s s a g e t h a t b y u n i o n w i t h the ruler of the
g o d s the initiate c a n attain superiority to the astral d e i t i e s i s precisely that of P a u l
in C o l . 2.8-3.4, discussed a b o v e .
A f t e r these asides w e r e t u r n to the p o i n t t h a t Jesus was, for the authors of the
Gospels, a s u p e r n a t u r a l b e i n g in h u m a n f o r m does n o t p r o v e their t h o u g h t a b o u t
h i m w a s n o t m a g i c a l . O n the c o n t r a r y , it suggests t h a t it w a s m a g i c a l . M a n y m a g i c a l
operations w e r e designed to p r o d u c e such i n c a r n a t e deities; if Jesus c o u l d b e m a d e
the S o n o f G o d b y h a v i n g the spirit descend u p o n h i m after a ritual p u r i f i c a t i o n ,
so c o u l d other m a g i c i a n s . T h a t Jesus did b e l i e v e he o w e d his p o w e r s to the possession
o f s u c h a spirit is strongly suggested b y the story o f his d y i n g c r y , " M y g o d , m y g o d ,
w h y hast t h o u forsaken m e ? " ( M k . 15.34
reads " m y

dynamis,"

an

e q u i v a l e n t to " m y

d p a r a l l e l s ; cf. Gospel of Peter 19, w h i c h

daimon.")

From Mk.

14.50 a n d

15.40

it seems unlikely t h a t a n y o f Jesus' disciples w a s o n h a n d to h e a r w h a t i f a n y t h i n g


h e a c t u a l l y said. T h e r e p o r t e d cry, therefore (Ps. 22.2) is their n o t i o n of w h a t he
should h a v e s a i d a n expression at once of messianic h o p e a n d m a g i c a l C h r i s t o l o g y .
I t is plausible to suppose t h a t the beliefs of disciples reflect those of their master.
2.

THE QUESTION OF SPELLS


S i n c e the Gospels represent Jesus as the S o n of G o d , t h e y credit h i m w i t h the

p o w e r to p e r f o r m his miracles i m m e d i a t e l y . T h u s he does not use c h a r m s , m a g i c a l


formulas, or special rituals, a n d this m i g h t be t h o u g h t to distinguish h i m sharply
f r o m the m a g i c i a n , w h o is supposed to h a v e used o n e v e r y occasion the e l a b o r a t e
ceremonies of the m a g i c a l p a p y r i . T h i s m a y h a v e b e e n the belief of the evangelists;
A r n o b i u s , Adversus Nationes 1.43^ a n d Philostratus, Vita Apollonii V I I . 3 8 e n d , uses
this a r g u m e n t to p r o v e their heroes w e r e not m a g i c i a n s . B u t m a n y of the ceremonies
in the m a g i c a l p a p y r i are initiations-means of g e t t i n g a spirit. O n c e one has a
spirit, n o such rites are necessary. T h u s PGM

1 . 9 7 - 1 9 4 , after d e s c r i b i n g at l e n g t h

the ceremonies b y w h i c h one c a n get " t h e L o r d of the a i r " ( E p h . 2.2) as a f a m i l i a r ,


concludes (lines 1 7 6 f r ) : " W h e n y o u die he w i l l p r e p a r e y o u r b o d y for b u r i a l , as
befits a g o d , b u t , t a k i n g u p y o u r spirit, he w i l l l e a d it into the air, w i t h himself
<1 Thess. 4 . 1 7 ) , for a n aerial spirit u n i t e d w i t h a m i g h t y f a m i l i a r w i l l not go into
H a d e s <Acts 2 . 2 7 f r ) , for to such a one all things are subordinate <1 C o r .

15.27).

N o w w h e n y o u w a n t h i m to d o something, say into the air o n l y his n a m e a n d ' C o m e , '


a n d y o u w i l l see h i m , a n d s t a n d i n g n e a r y o u . T h e n say to h i m , ' D o thus-and-so,'
8. The assertion that the magician attempts to compel the gods, the religious man to entreat them,
is so common a commonplace that it seems worthwhile to quote the explicit denial of this by
I a m b l i c h u s , De mysteriis I I I . 1 8 end (ed. des Places, Paris, 1966): oiv

St*

'

. ... It must be added, however, that this philosophic protest proves the other opinion was
widespread.

222

THE BACKGROUND

a n d he will do it at once and, w h e n it is done, will say to you, ' W h a t else do y o u


want, for I haste to the heaven ? ' A n d if y o u do not have anything to c o m m a n d
at once, say to him, ' G o , sir,' and he will go <Mt. 8.9). Accordingly, this g o d will
be seen only b y you, nor will any hear his voice save y o u only (Acts 2 2 . 9 ) . " Similar
notions will be found in PGM I V . 208 i f f a n d elsewhere.
O f course there is no more historical probability that " t h e L o r d of the a i r " ever
came down to answer a magician than there is that " t h e holy s p i r i t " ever descended
upon Jesus; but that a magician w h o believed he had " t h e L o r d of the a i r " could
perform miracles expeditiously is no less likely than that Jesus could do so, as the
result of his similar belief. H e n c e it is clear that the absence of elaborate magical
formulas from the reports of Jesus' miracles is no evidence as to whether or not he
was a magician.

3.

MINOR M A G I C A L T R A I T S OF T H E M I R A C L E

STORIES

T o m a k e u p for the absence of elaborate spells and rituals, the miracle stories in
the Gospels show a great m a n y of the minor traits of magical procedures. These were
studied by Bonner, Technique 1 7 i f f , w h o cited magical parallels for curing by touch,
manipulation, looking u p w a r d , sighing or groaning (especially ), the use
of A r a m a i c phrases in a Greek context, the use of (175fr) and of
(177). Eitrem, Demonology, a d d e d evidence for the traits noted b y Bonner and
himself noted further traits: the anointing with a salve c o m p o u n d e d with spittle
(47), the emphasis on the use of the hand in touching, etc. (35; cf. the longer text
I I I . 3 - 4 ) , and especially the touching of the tongue (48), the use of " t h e finger of
G o d " (34), the use of h in exorcisms, and the prohibition of the demons'
return (20f), the use of (30Q, the anger at the demons ( 4 i f ) , the commands
that the patients or bystanders keep the matter secret (47), the requirement that
the petitioner have faith (47), and the instruction to the disciples to pray a n d fast
before exorcisms (38). These, as Eitrem remarked, " d o not seem to fit well into the
picture of a wonderworking Messianic S o t e r " (49). N o r do they exhaust the material.
T h e requirement of three- or seven-day preparatory periods is frequent in
PGM
e.g., I V . 1 1 0 0 (three days); I V . 2 6 , 5 3 , 7 3 4 - 7 3 5 ; X I I I . 6 7 1 (all seven days); cf. M k .
9.2; the longer text I I I . 6 - 7 ; M k . 16.1. T h e use of a , usually over the naked
b o d y , in magical initiationsand particularly as a costume for boys w h o are to
serve as m e d i u m s i s a frequent and striking parallel to M k . 14.51 and the longer
text I I I . 8 (cf. Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica V . 9 . 6 ; PGM III.305,706fr; IV.88f,
170fr,3095; DMP I I I . i 2 f ; X X V I I I . 6 ; X X I X . 2 3 ) . R e q u i r i n g the demon to tell
his n a m e is a familiar piece of magical technique ( M k . 5.9; PGM 1.160; I V . 3 0 3 8 ;
L u c i a n , Philopseudes 1 6 ) a n d so o n ; the list could easily be lengthened.
A d m i t t e d l y , there are traces of a tendency in the Gospels to increase the magical
traits in the stories: Eitrem, Demonolog)/ 29, notes especially the w a y M k . 1.29fr has
been m a d e an exorcism by L k . 4.39; and he thinks the notion of binding, especially
b y Satan, in L k . 13.16 (p. 37) and the introduction of anointing with oil into the
charges to the apostles (38) are later developments. O n e might a d d that the Johannine
223

CLEMENT OF A L E X A N D R I A

editor of the Lazarus story has built it up with magical traits: Jesus' prefatory
declaration in 11.25
like many prefaces in the magical papyri (e.g., PGM V . 1 4 5 f r ,
el , cf. Jn. 1 4 . 6 ) , and his prayer before the raising ( n . 4 i f ) has a
parallel in PGM IV.Io6of, , . . .
. So not even the magical traits in the Gospels can be taken as certainly
primitive.
However, some of them must be: they are too many to be got rid of entirely. A n d
besides, their presence is stronger evidence than the absence of more elaborate
magical material. Quite apart from the prudential and theological motivation pointed
out above, the Gospels were exoteric works and we should not expect them to describe
Jesus' magical practices. Moreover, the tendency in the tradition to increase magical
traits is more than matched by the tendency to diminish t h e m n o t e the omission
of both saliva miracles (Mk. 7.32fr; 8.22ff) by both M t . and Lk. This latter tendency
probably reflects an apologetic concern which later is well documented (Fridrichsen,
Probleme 5 9 f r ) J e s u s must not appear as a magician.
4.

THE PREDOMINANTLY MAGICAL CHARACTER

OF T H E GOSPEL

STORIES

Unfortunately for the would-be apologists, not only the minor traits of the Gospel
stories, but also the essential content of most of them come from the world of magic.
Jesus appears in M k . as one possessed by a holy spirit and thereby made the son of
a god; we have already seen the same sort of figure in the magical papyri ( P G M
IV.510, 5 3 5 ) . Other stories say he was born of a god (Mt. i.i8ff); so was Apollonius
of T y a n a , whom the Christians, and ancient opinion generally, considered a magician
t h o u g h his followers, like Jesus', denied the charge (Philostratus, Vita Apollonii
1.4,6; IV.18; VII.38; cf. Dio Cassius L X X V I I . 1 8 . 4 ; Origen, Contra Celsum
VI.41, with Chadwick's n3). A t the beginning of his career Jesus, like Apollonius,
was driven by the spirit (Mk. 1.12 and parallels; V.Ap. 1.18) into the wilderness,
where he was approached by an evil spirit but repulsed it (Mk. 1.13; Lk. 4 2 ;
V.Ap. II.4). This accords with the general pattern of shamanic initiation. So does
the mixture of traditions which represent Jesus now as possessing spirits, again as
himself possessed (Eliade, Shamanism 3 3 f r , esp. 2 3 6 ; M k . i.i2f; 3 . 2 1 - 3 0 ; M t . 9 . 3 4 ;
1 0 . 2 5 ; Jn. 7 - 2 0 ; 8 . 4 8 ^ 5 2 ; 1 0 . 2 0 ) . O n returning to settled areas Jesus, like Apollonius,
became a wandering preacher with an attendant circle of disciples (Mk. 1.21,36;
3 . 7 - 1 9 ; Lk. 6 . 2 o f f ; V.Ap. I V . i f f , 3 7 ; V.43 and passim), and the admirers of both
later appealed to their religious teaching and its success as evidence that they were
not magicians (V.Ap. I V . 1 9 , etc.; Origen, Contra Celsum 1.38,68, where he overlooks
Apollonius). Both, however, were distinguished from ordinary preachers by their
miraculous powers; many of the same miracles appear in the stories about both of
them; and most of the miracles reported of Jesus are those which are commonly
reported of magicians and for which recipes are given in the magical papyri.
T h u s we find (and the following references give merely a few examples of each):
T h e power to make anyone he wanted follow him: M k . i.i6ff; 2 . 1 4 (cf. V.Ap.
IV.20); PGM I V . 1 7 1 6 f r ; VII.300ff,620fr (from The Diadem of Moses); XIII.238
(from The Eighth Book of Moses); X X X I I a ; etc.
224

T H E BACKGROUND

Exorcism: Mk. 1.23,34; 3 1 1 >225 1 ^ e t c . ; V.Ap. IV. 10,20,25, e t c ; Lucian,


Philopsendes 16; Origen, Contra Celsum 1.68; PGM 1.115; IV.2170; V.g6ff;
VII.43iff, etc.; Tamborino, Daemonismo i8f.
Exorcism at a distance, remote control of spirits, and the power to order them
about: Mk. 7.25fr; Lk. 7 . 1 - 1 0 ; V.Ap. III.38; Lucian, Philopseudes 13; PGM
I.i8off; V.i65fr.
Miraculous cures: Mk. 1.29fr (fever),34,4off; 2.iff; 3.iff (withered hand); 3.10;
5.25fr (issue of blood), etc.; Lk. 7.18fr (lame, blind, etc.); V.Ap. VII.39 (lame,
blind, a man with a withered h a n d ) ; Lucian, Philopseudes 11 (|| Mk. 2.12, he
took up his pallet and walked); Origen, Contra Celsum 1.68; PGM X V I I I b ;
X X X I I I (fever); X X I I . i f f (issue of blood); VII.191-214,580 ( ,
er. Mt. 4.23), 677, etc.; Heim, Incantamenta; DMP verso, passim.
Stilling storms: Mk. 4.35fr; V.Ap. I V . 1 3 ; PGM I.120; V.137 (|| Mk. 4.41); X X I X .
Raising the dead: Mk. 5.21-43, etc.; V.Ap. IV.45 (II L k 7 1 l f f ) P G M X I I I . 278fr.
Giving his disciples power over demons: Mk. 6.7; PGM 1.42fr,193fr; IV.475ff,
732-747>850, etc.
Miraculous provision of food: Mk. 6.35fr; 8.iff; V.Ap. IV.25; Origen, Contra
Celsum 1.68; Lucian, Philopseudes 35; PGM I . 1 0 3 - 1 1 5 ; XIII.998; J. Sanhedrin
VI.g(23c) and parallels.
Walking on water: Mk. 6.48; Lucian, Philopseudes 13; PGM I.i2off; X X X I V .
Miraculous escapes (his body could not be seized): Lk. 4.30; J n . 7.30,44; 8.20,59
(C, koine, etc.); 10.39; V.Ap. VII.38; V I I I . 3 0 ; PGM I . 1 9 5 - 2 2 2 ; X X I I a . u f ;
XXXVI.320fr; Vienna National Library, Pap. gr. 323; Tamborino, Daemonismo
18.
Making himself invisible: J n . 8.59; 12.36(F); Lk. 24.31; V.Ap. V I I I . 5 ; PGM
I.i02,222ff,247ff; VII.619fr; XIII. 2 68r.
Possession of the keys of the kingdom: Mt. 16.19; PGM I I I . 5 4 1 ; IV.i89f.
Foreknowledge:
Of his own fate: Mk. 8.31fr, etc.; V.Ap. XIII.38,41; PGM . 173f; XIII.7ooff.
Of disasters coming on cities: Lk. io.i3f; 13.34^ 23.28fr; Mk. 13.2; V.Ap.
IV.4; V.13; Sibylline Oracles, passim.
General: Mk. 5.39; J n . i i . u f f ; Mk. 14.13fr; V.Ap. IV.24; V.24; VI.32; PGM
I.i88ff (|| Mk. 5.39); IV.231,250; V.288ff, etc.
Knowledge of others' thoughts: Mk. 2.8; 12.15; V.Ap. IV.25; "VI.3; PGM 1.176;
.330,459; V.228; etc.
Metamorphosis: Mk. 9.3; PGM I.i 17^177; XIII.270fr. The tradition that Apollonius was the son or ProteusV.Ap. I.4suggests that he was credited with
this accomplishment, for which Proteus was notoriousOdyssey IV.455ff. However, in these metamorphoses the new forms assumed are disguises, by which
the magician attempts to prevent recognition of his true and familiar form;
in the transfiguration the new form reveals Jesus' true, supernatural powers,
of which his familiar form was a disguise; cf. Odyssey XIII.22iff,287fr. This
motif of the deity in disguise was common in Greek mythology: for example,
the Homeric Hymn to Demeter 91-280, whence it influenced both the legends
225

CLEMENT OF A L E X A N D R I A

of hellenistic c u l t s c f . P l u t a r c h , De Iside 1 4 - 1 6 ( 3 5 7 ) a n d the claims a n d


practices of m a g i c i a n s , L u c i a n , Alexander 40; PGM

I V . 1859. A f o r m p a r t i c u l a r l y

i m p o r t a n t for N T t h o u g h t w a s the descent-in-disguise legend, on w h i c h see


a b o v e , p. 201. T h i s is the m o r e r e m o t e b a c k g r o u n d of the transfiguration story,
b u t its i m m e d i a t e b a c k g r o u n d is in m a g i c a l p r a c t i c e a n d a p o c a l y p t i c theory.
F r o m these c a m e the n o t i o n t h a t the m a g i c i a n c o u l d ascend into the h e a v e n
(or the m o u n t a i n ) o f the gods a n d assume their g l o r y : Is. 1 4 . 1 3 ^ E z e k i e l 2 8 . i 3 f f ;
II Enoch A 22.8ff; Ascension of Isaiah 7 . 2 5 ; 9.30; etc. I n PGM

IV.475-750 and

in the Hekalot w e h a v e instructions for such a n ascent, either alone or w i t h a


disciple (732fr). A disciple in w h o m suggestion p r o d u c e d the h a l l u c i n a t i o n o f
such a n ascent w o u l d h a v e seen his master c l o t h e d in the g a r m e n t of g l o r y a n d
t a l k i n g w i t h the i n h a b i t a n t s o f the heavens.
R e v e a l i n g s u p e r n a t u r a l beings to his disciples: M k . 9 . 4 ; PGM
8 9 7 - 9 2 2 ; V . 1 - 4 0 ; V I I . 5 4 9 ; DMP

I V . 8 8 f f , 172,732fr,

I I . i f f ; V I I . 1 0 ; X I V . 2 4 f ; etc.

P r e s c r i b i n g reforms of t e m p l e p r a c t i c e s : M k .

11.15fr;

V.Ap. 1 . 1 6 ;

IV.1,23,24;

etc.
I n t r o d u c i n g a n e w rite, a m e a l b y w h i c h his followers are u n i t e d w i t h h i m b y
p a r t a k i n g of f o o d m a g i c a l l y identified w i t h his flesh a n d b l o o d : M k .

14.22fr;

J n . 6 . 5 6 ; I C o r . 1 0 . 1 6 ; n . 2 4 f ; cf. V.Ap. I I I . 2 5 , 3 2 , 5 1 ; see a b o v e , section A .


T h e role o f m a g i c i a n s in i n t r o d u c i n g n e w religious rites is e m p h a s i z e d
Burkert,

by

39f, a n d e x e m p l i f i e d b y L u c i a n , Alexander 38. C f . D i o d o r u s

V . 6 4 . 4 ; I r e n a e u s H a r v e y , 1 . 7 . 1 f r = Stieren, 1 . 1 3 . 1 f r .
C l a i m i n g to be u n i t e d w i t h his disciples, so t h a t he is in t h e m a n d t h e y in h i m :
J n . 6.56; 14.20;

15.3fr,9 (union in l o v e ) ; e t c . ; PGM

XXXIIa:

"Adona(i),

A b r a s a x , P i n ( o ) u t i a n d S a b a o t h , e n f l a m e the soul a n d h e a r t o f . . . A m o n i u s . . .
for S e r a p i a c u s . . . n o w , n o w , q u i c k l y , q u i c k l y . . . F o r t h w i t h m i n g l e together
the souls of b o t h a n d m a k e . . . A m o n i u s . . . one w i t h S e r a p i a c u s . . . e v e r y
h o u r a n d e v e r y d a y a n d e v e r y night. T h e r e f o r e A d o n a i , highest of gods, . . . set
to it, A d o n a i ! "
C l a i m i n g to b e a g o d or a son of a g o d , or u n i t e d w i t h some g o d or s u p e r n a t u r a l
entity ( n o t a b l y in statements b e g i n n i n g " I a m " ) : M k . 14.62; cf. 1 3 . 6 ; ( M t .
2 6 . 6 3 , vios

C*WZl<f> 0 9 0 al. ff2; D M P

son of the g o d w h o l i v e t h " ) ; V.Ap.


vlos. J n -

IV.535)

(cf. D M P

6 "

PGM

1 4 . 6 ,

rj . . . .

IX.. 1 4 ) . J n . 8 . 1 2 ,

Jn.

XX.33,

"I

am

I I I . 1 8 ; J n . 10.36, .

17.21

P G M

V.

1 4 8 ,

P G M 11.2^2,

( t o t h e F a t h e r ) , .. .

the
P G M

V I I I . J O (to H e r m e s ) , . . . .

T h i s list b y no m e a n s exhausts the m a t e r i a l . T h e r e are m a n y other traits in the


Gospels' picture of J e s u s p a r t i c u l a r l y , b u t b y n o m e a n s exclusively, in the J o h a n n i n e
p i c t u r e w h i c h are c o m m o n in m a g i c a l m a t e r i a l : the m a g i c i a n is the o n l y one w h o
k n o w s his g o d ( L k . 10.22; J n . 7 . 2 9 ; 1 7 . 2 5 ; PGM

I . i 8 6 f f || J n . 5 . 3 7 ; X I I I . 5 8 0 f r ,

841-888) a n d is k n o w n b y his g o d (Lk. 10.22; J n . 1 0 . 1 5 ; P G M V I I I . 4 9 ) ; those


w h o see h i m see the invisible g o d , of w h o m he is the visible i m a g e (Jn. 1 . 1 8 ;
226

PGM

THE BACKGROUND

X I I . 2 2 9 , 2 3 5 ) ; a n d so on. But these similarities in sayings (and, a fortiori, mere


similarities of terminology, like the uses of a n d remarked by Robinson,
Text 252 are less i m p o r t a n t for our purpose t h a n the fact t h a t the stories of the
Gospels are mostly stories a b o u t things a magician would do. T h e y are not mostly
stories a b o u t things the Messiah would do. (Who ever h e a r d of the Messiah's being
a n exorcistlet alone being eaten?) T h e closest parallels in the O T material are
to be found in the stories of the prophets, b u t here, too, the exorcistic a n d the sacramental elements are completely lacking. T h e sacramental side, too, is wholly lacking
f r o m the reports a b o u t the rabbis. Jesus doubtless was, as was Apollonius, involved
in arguments a b o u t the proper observance of religious laws, he did behave like a
prophet a n d was t h o u g h t to be one, a n d he p r o b a b l y came to think himself the
Messiah (certainly other people t h o u g h t him so a n d their opinion cost him his life);
b u t neither his messianic nor his legal opinions, nor even his imitations of the prophets,
account for the most i m p o r t a n t of the stories a b o u t him, which are stories of a m a n
who did the things magicians claimed to do. This fact was recognized in antiquity
even by the Christian apologists: J u s t i n , First Apology 30; Tertullian, Apology X X I . 17;
Origen, Contra Celsum 11.49fr.
Moreover, after Jesus' d e a t h his followers continued to credit him with typically
magical activities. H e a p p e a r e d to his followers after his d e a t h ( J n . 20, etc.; V.Ap.
V I I I . 3 1 !| Acts 9.3fr). H e could, at will, make himself unrecognized or invisible
(Lk. 2 4 . 1 6 , 3 1 ; see above). H e came t h r o u g h locked doors (Jn. 20.19,26; PGM X I I .
279; X I I I . 1064fr; X X X V I . 3 1 2 f r ) . H e gave his followers power to handle serpents
a n d drink poison without being h a r m e d (Mk. 1 6 . 1 8 ; PGMl.i 15; I V . 2 1 7 5 ; X I I I . 2 5 3 ) .
H e gave t h e m the holy spirit by breathing it into t h e m ( J n . 20.22; T a m b o r i n o ,
Daemonismo 8 1 , 102; Origen, Contra Celsum 1.68; PGM IV.3007-3085). A n d finally,
he ascended into the heavens (Lk. 2 4 . 5 1 ; Acts i.gf; V.Ap. I I I . 5 1 ; VI.11 e n d ; V I I I . 3 0
e n d ; PGM 1.178; IV.475ff) a n d was worshiped as a god (V.Ap. V I I . 2 1 ; VIII.5,7.vii,
31 e n d ; PGM 1.191 f) a n d as a m a g i c i a n : M a n y sects in the gnostic wing of Christianity
not only practiced magic, b u t r e m e m b e r e d a n d revered Jesus as the great magician
(Anz, Frage 5 - 9 ; Irenaeus, Harvey, 1.19.21.20 = Stieren, 1.24-25; etc.). T h e apocryphal gospels a n d acts, it is well known, a d d m a n y magical traits to the picture of
J e s u s : e.g., Gospel of Peter 19; Gospel of Thomas (Leipoldt), heading, 13, 19, etc.; Acta
Ioannis 8 7 - 1 0 5 ; Pistis Sophia, passim; etc. W h e t h e r these traits came from tradition
(as is possible) or from invention (as is commonly taken for granted) or from b o t h
(as is likely) they at all events show t h a t m a n y , perhaps most, Christians t h o u g h t of
Jesus as doing the things a magician would do in the ways a magician would do
them. Even in the comparatively " o r t h o d o x " catacombs a n d mosaics he is customarily
represented with the magician's rod (Goodenough I X . i 6 o f , with recognition of the
Mosaic parallel b u t not of the reason for it).
5.

THE RELATION OF "MAGICIAN" TO

AND "SON OF GOD"

I t is not to be thought t h a t the destined occupants of the catacombs, or even most


of the gnostics, would have described Jesus as a " m a g i c i a n . " For his believers, he
227

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

was " t h e Son of G o d " ; sceptical but reverent pagans would probably have called
him " a divine m a n , " . Both terms were applied to a good many wonderworking religious teachers, some of them men who lived in the R o m a n empire,
others ancient worthies like Pythagoras and Moses, whose stories were retold with
the embellishments then fashionable. (For " S o n of G o d , " Wetter, Sohn, is still most
valuable; the apologetic quibbles of Bieneck, Sohn, need not be read; Kramer,
Christos, non vidi. For the see Bieler, with the remarks of Nilsson, II.527fr;
Levy (Legende) demonstrated the influence of the type on Jewish thought, but pushed
his arguments too far; a recent recognition of its influence on the Gospels' picture
of Jesus will be found in Robinson's Problem . . . Reconsidered i36f.) In spite of the
original diversity of these heroes and the diversity of theological explanations and
consequent titles imposed on them, their stories, as now retold, follow a relatively
uniform pattern (compare the " b i o g r a p h i e s " summarized in Heroes and Gods), but
are not directly or evenin many casesindirectly derived from each other. Therefore the uniformity may in part be explained by the fact that the authors were describing a single social type, and Wetter's chapter " T h e Son of God as Antitype of the
M a g i c i a n " (Sohn 73fr) leaves no doubt as to what that type was. T h e magician
claims the powers which the "divine m a n " or " S o n of G o d " is thought to possess.
T h e difference between these figures is one of social status and success. A wandering
quack to whom servant girls go for potions or poisons has little chance to pass himself
off (even to himself) as a deity in disguise. But let him begin to succeed and Lucian,
Alexander, will tell you how he can become the founder of a new cult and the spiritual
director of R o m a n senators. He can then represent himself not only as the prophet,
but also as the son, of a god (Alexander 11, 39). H e can also come to believe his own
representations (especially if his success has not been achieved by such conscious,
mechanical devices as Alexander used, but has resulted from abnormal elements
in his own personality which he himself would understand as evidence of supernatural
powers). His enemies, however, will continue to call him a magician (, Lucian,
Alexander 1, cf. Burkert, ; , Alexander 6, cf. Nock, Magus) the different
connotations of the words do not here concern us. For alternation of the terms
(by friends) and (by enemies) see Nock, Alexander 162.)
" M a g i c i a n " thus covers a larger range t h a n or "son of a g o d " ; it
includes the market quack (Origen, Contra Celsum 1.68) and even the individual who
practices in private (Lucian, Lucius 4), whereas the or "son of a g o d "
must be a m a n of considerable public reputation and theosophic pretensions. With
the difference of pretensions goes a supposed difference of technique which we have
already noticed: the hole-in-the-corner magicians peddle spells and ceremonies and
materia magica, therefore they have a different set for each different purpose (and
customer). T h e has his own spirit who has only to be ordered and will
at once obey. T h e son of a god is himself a spirit who can command others. T o guess
what these differences meant in terms of actual experience is a risky, albeit tempting,
game. O n e may begin with the notion that " m i r a c l e s " (including magical cures
a n d the like), when they do happen, are usually the results of suggestion (often
hypnotic) a n d therefore depend both on the practitioner's " p o w e r of suggestion"
228

T H E BACKGROUND

a n d the patient's " s u g g e s t i b i l i t y " (for w h i c h the ancient t e r m s o f equally obscure


m e a n i n g w e r e " s p i r i t " and " f a i t h " ) . Both of these can be augmented b y various
factors a m o n g w h i c h are rituals, practice, previous success, and consequent reputation.
As the two latter increase, the dependence on rituals diminishes and the practitioner
also rises in social position, self-esteem, a n d consequent claims. T h e change is a
gradual one and the magical papyri therefore contain a medley of material, from
simple charms for particular purposes through the more complex rites necessary
to gain control over one or another spirit, to the elaborate initiations w h i c h will
enable the magician himself to enter the heavens, become a god or the son of a god,
and c o m m a n d all the spirits inferior to himself. T h e difference reflects that between
the do-it-yourself world of the peasants and the slave service available to the rich.
Theologically (or, demonologically ?), however, as the magical texts show, this
difference is one of form, not of essential content. A n d this fact is reflected b y the
terminology. O n c e the requirements of social status and decorum are met, the same
m a n will customarily be called a , or son of a god, b y his admirers, a
magician b y his enemies. W i t h i n this area all three terms refer to a single social type,
a n d that type is the one characterized by the actions listed above, w h i c h make u p
b y far the greatest part of the Gospels' reports about Jesus.

6.

JEWISH A N D

P A G A N OPINIONS

OF JESUS

F r o m w h a t has been said it follows that Jesus w o u l d be described, by those w h o


did not accept his claims, as a magician. T h i s description in fact appears repeatedly
in both the p a g a n a n d the Jewish traditions about him, w h i c h have generally been
disregarded b y Christian scholarship on the grounds that they were p a g a n or Jewish.
Y e t surely the historical study of any m a n should take account of, not only the
reports of his adherents, but also those of his opponents, and especially those of
comparatively indifferent observers.
T h e j u d g m e n t of Jesus' opponents is reported already b y the Gospels: M k . 3.22
a n d parallels. T h e scribes w h o came d o w n from Jerusalem said, " H e has {control
o v e r ) B e e l z e b u b , " a n d " h e drives out demons by the ruler of the d e m o n s . " A
different version of the same tradition appears in M t . 9.32. F r o m M t . 10.25 it seems
that Jesus was actually nicknamed " B e e l z e b u b . " O t h e r traces of the same tradition
appear in the arguments to refute it, w h i c h M t . 12.27 a n ( i L k . 1 1 . 1 9 derived from
Q,. O t h e r , independent, traditions to the same effect, but ignorant of Beelzebub,
are stated or reflected in M k . 3-28f; L k . 12.10 and parallel (probably Q j ; possibly
M k . 6.14 (see K r a e l i n g , Necromancy); and certainly J n . 7.20; 8.48,52; 10.20 (on
the typical alternation between possession and being possessed see above, section 4,
a n d also Samain, Magie 475). It is significant that neither Jesus nor his followers
denied the charge that he " h a d " a spirit; on the contrary, they admitted it, but
claimed that the spirit was a holy one (Jn. 1.32fr; M k . 1.10 and parallels; 3-28f and
parallels; etc.; and The Gospel according to the Hebrews). This charge w o u l d explain
Jesus' " r e c u r r e n t warnings against being ' s c a n d a l i z e d ' at him, or being ashamed
of him, or denying him before m e n " w h i c h appear in both J n . and the synoptics
229

CLEMENT OF

ALEXANDRIA

a n d were t h o u g h t perhaps historical by D o d d (Historical Tradition 2 2 1 ) , though he


was u n a b l e to suggest an a d e q u a t e reason for them. After Jesus' d e a t h the charge
that he h a d been a magician continued c o m m o n in both Jewish a n d p a g a n circles
(e.g., Justin, First Apology 30; Dialogue 69.7; Origen, Contra Celsum 1.6; Tertullian,
Apology X X I . 1 7 ; Arnobius, Adversus Nationes 1.43; B. Sanhedrin 43a as quoted by
Strack, Jesus 1; the T a l m u d i c references to Jesus as Balaam (Bileam), e.g., Strack,
Jesus 5 ; J. Shabbat X I I . 4 ( i 3 d ) b e n S t a d a is p r o b a b l y Jesuscf. Origen, Contra
Celsum 1.28; Krauss, Leben 4off; the Clementine Recognitiones 1.58). B. Sanhedrin
107b a n d B. Sotah 47a represent Jesus as a pupil of R a b b i J o s h u a ben P e r a h y a h w h o
appears in Babylonian magic as a great magician who h a d ascended into heaven
a n d mastered all the demons, M o n t g o m e r y , Incantation Texts 225fr a n d texts 8, 9,
17, 32, 33. Birds of a feather . . .
These accusations were of course denied b u t were not f u n d a m e n t a l l y countered by
Jesus' followers, of w h o m some (as remarked above, section 4 end) not only admitted,
b u t celebrated his achievements as a magician, while all p e r p e t u a t e d a n d m a n y
a d d e d to the magical traits of the stories a n d pictures in which he was represented.
O n c e again, the question was not his control of spirits, b u t only the means by which
he h a d achieved it.
This evidence is f u r t h e r strengthened by t h a t of comparatively indifferent observers
b o t h J e w s a n d p a g a n s w h o did not become followers of Jesus, b u t a d m i t t e d his
magical powers a n d a t t e m p t e d to make use of t h e m in their own operations. Even
in his own lifetime, if we are to believe M k . 9.38^ m e n who were not his followers
were using his n a m e to cast out demons. Similar usage continued in Palestine as
late as the second century, w h e n T. Hullin I I . 2 2 a n d parallels show us one J a c o b ,
of the village of S a m a in Galilee, offering to cure snakebite " w i t h the n a m e of
J e s u s . " This does not prove J a c o b a Christian! Jesus' reported magical powers led
p a g a n magicians also to use his n a m e in their c h a r m s : PGM X I I . 192 a n d 39if.
(For discussion a n d additional examples see Eitrem, Demonolog)/ 4-9.) Bickerman
called to m y attention Augustine, De consensu evangelistarum 1.1 iff, esp. I4f: there are
pagans who think Jesus a m a n who attained the highest wisdom; they a t t r i b u t e
to h i m letters to Peter a n d to Paul (!) p r e t e n d i n g to teach the magic (exsecrabiles)
arts by which he did his miracles. Particularly i m p o r t a n t is the story in Acts 19.13fr,
t h a t Jewish exorcists in Ephesus were using the n a m e of Jesus in their exorcisms by
A.D. 55 a n d that some of t h e m used the formula " I conjure you by the Jesus w h o m
Paul proclaims." T o this the d e m o n is represented as replying, "Jesus I know a n d
Paul I a m a c q u a i n t e d with, but who are y o u ? " This is intended as testimony t h a t
Jesus a n d Paul are supernatural powers p r o m i n e n t in the demonic w o r l d : Jesus
because he has the holy spirit, a n d Paul because he has Jesus. T h a t the demoniac
t h e r e u p o n j u m p e d on the would-be exorcists a n d drove t h e m away in disgrace is
said to have p r o d u c e d great reverence for the n a m e of Jesus a m o n g " a l l the J e w s
a n d Greeks dwelling in Ephesus . . . A n d m a n y of the believers {the Christians)
began to confess a n d declare their magical practices. A n d a large n u m b e r of those
w h o h a d been practicing the occult arts b r o u g h t together their books a n d b u r n e d
t h e m publicly, a n d w h e n their prices were reckoned u p they came to 50,000 pieces
230

THE BACKGROUND

of silver." Here the writer's intention is not only edification but also admonition.
W h a t had happened in Ephesus was to be an example to the churches which the
writer had in mindpresumably those of Asia Minor. H e suspected or knew that
they were thick with magicians, a n d a s Paul in Colossianshe reminded them
that Jesus is more efficacious in magic than are the demonic powers. There is also
a strong element of party propaganda: the only safe use of Jesus' name is that by
proper representatives of the Pauline party.
7.

MAGIC IN T H E P R A C T I C E OF JESUS'

FOLLOWERS

It must again be insisted that the practices and teachings of a man's followers
are at least some indication of what he practiced and taught. If so, the accounts
of Jesus' followers indicate strongly that he practiced and taught magic. His followers
are said to have begun exorcising demons and performing cures already during his
lifetime, and of course by the use of his name (Mk. 6 . 7 , 1 3 , 1 4 and parallels; Lk.
10.17). After his death they reportedly continued and developed these practices
(Acts 3 . 6 ; 5 . 5 , 9 , 1 5 f ; etc.). Paul is credited with them, too, and alsoas were Jesus
and Peterwith miraculously effective curses, another hallmark of the magician
(Acts 3 . 6 ; 5.5,9,15^ 13.9fr; 14.8fr; i 6 . i 6 f f ; M k . i 1.13fr,2off and parallels; Lk. 9.54;
PGM XIII.248,261fr; etc.) Paul wrote to the Corinthians that he had been present
in Corinth in the spirit a n d so had judged and " handed over to Satan, for destruction
of the flesh"that is, for affliction with some illness, a common magical procedure
(see Audollent, passim)a libertine member of the Corinthian church (I Cor. 5.3fr).
Consequently, Alexander and Hymenaeus were " g i v e n over to S a t a n " by pseudoPaul in I T i m . 1.20. Here, probably, is to be found the explanation of Paul's claim
to have some strange power over his congregations (I Cor. 4.1 gf; 5.3fr; I I Cor. 6.7;
10.3fr; 1 2 . 1 9 - 1 3 . 7 ) , as well as his fear that the initiates in Jerusalem might invalidate
his work (Gal. 2 . 2 and my comments in Problems 1 i 6 f ) . T h e keys given to Peter could
lock as well as open (Mt. 1 6 . 1 9 ) . Also, like Jesus, both Peter and Paul were believed
to have such supernatural powers resident in their bodies that even the shadow of
Peter (Acts 5.15) or clothes which had touched the body of Paul (Acts 19.12) might
work wonders. T h e great importance of exorcism in Jewish Christianity is noted
by Schoeps, A F 65^ T h e widespread practice of magic in the gnostic wing of
Christianity is notorious from the accusations made by other Christians (Irenaeus,
I passim, Hippolytus, Philosophumena, passim) and Bauer, Rechtglubigkeit, has given
strong reasons for his opinion that in the late first and early second centuries the
gnostic wing was larger than that which subsequently became " o r t h o d o x . "
Far more important, however, than such occasional phenomena as exorcisms,
blessings, curses, and cures, more important, also, than the extraordinary gnostic
ceremonies of which the self-styled " c a t h o l i c s " complained, was the essentially
magical nature of the fundamental rites of initiation (baptism) and communion
(eucharist) by which practically all Christian communities were constituted and
held together. T o the Christians, of course, these rites were the sacred mysteries
instituted by the Son of their G o d , but this is no argument against their magical
231

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

c h a r a c t e r . T h e p a r a l l e l rites are also represented b y the m a g i c a l p a p y r i as sacred


mysteries, d i v i n e l y revealed. T h e m a g i c a l c h a r a c t e r of b a p t i s m is m a d e p a r t i c u l a r l y
clear b y P a u l ' s reference in I C o r . 15.29 to " t h o s e w h o are b a p t i z e d o n b e h a l f of
the d e a d " a

piece of substitutionary m a g i c P a u l e v i d e n t l y a p p r o v e d , since he

used its u n q u e s t i o n e d e f f i c a c y as a n a r g u m e n t to p r o v e t h a t the d e a d must be raised.


T h i s sort of t h o u g h t a b o u t C h r i s t i a n ceremonies c o n t i n u e d d o w n to the t i m e of
C l e m e n t , w h o objects to w o m e n w e a r i n g w i g s because, w h e n the presbyter lays his
h a n d s o n a w i g a n d gives his blessing, the blessing w i l l not g o to the w e a r e r of the
w i g b u t to the h e a d w h i c h p r o v i d e d the hair ( 1 . 2 7 1 . 2 0 t h i s w a s p o i n t e d o u t to m e
by H.C.).
T h e f u n d a m e n t a l position o f b a p t i s m a n d the eucharist testifies t h a t this sort of
t h o u g h t was not s e c o n d a r y in C h r i s t i a n i t y , b u t primitive. S u c h , too, is the testimony
g i v e n b y the essential c h a r a c t e r o f the stories in the Gospels, r e v i e w e d a b o v e . T h e
same conclusion follows f r o m P a u l ' s a c c o u n t o f C h r i s t i a n i t y as, essentially, salvation
b y possession; this, too, has b e e n p o i n t e d out a b o v e , b u t w e m a y a d d here the e v i d e n c e
a f f o r d e d b y the p r a c t i c e of " s p e a k i n g w i t h t o n g u e s " in the P a u l i n e churches. A s
I C o r . 12 m a k e s clear, this w a s the u t t e r a n c e of i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e sounds, t h o u g h t b y
the believers to be the speech of the spirit w h i c h possessed the speakers. A s a l r e a d y
r e m a r k e d in section I X this is a c o m m o n s y m p t o m of schizophrenia. I n the c h u r c h
at C o r i n t h it h a d b e c o m e so c o m m o n that it w a s disrupting the w o r s h i p , a n d those
especially gifted w i t h it w e r e g i v i n g themselves insufferable airs. T h e r e f o r e P a u l
has to insist that it is n o t the greatest of the gifts of the spirit. T h e spirit gives also
w i s d o m , k n o w l e d g e , faith, a n d the ability to p e r f o r m cures, do miracles, p r o p h e s y ,
distinguish g o o d f r o m evil spirits, a n d interpret things spoken in " t o n g u e s . " A n d
p r a c t i c a l l y all of these P a u l t r e a t s o n this o c c a s i o n a s superior to the gift o f
" t o n g u e s . " T h i s o b v i o u s l y does not r e d u c e the i m p o r t a n c e o f m a g i c in P a u l ' s v i e w
of the w o r l d . O n the c o n t r a r y , it extends it to the w h o l e of n o r m a l , as w e l l as a b n o r m a l
p s y c h o l o g y . E v e r y t h i n g g o o d is the w o r k of " t h e s p i r i t . " A n o t h e r t h i n g to b e noticed
is t h a t even in this letter P a u l thanks G o d t h a t he speaks w i t h tongues " m o r e t h a n
all of y o u " (14.18), a n d elsewhere, w h e n this p r o b l e m of c h u r c h discipline is not
u p p e r m o s t in his t h o u g h t , he treats " s p e a k i n g w i t h t o n g u e s " as the s u p r e m e p r a y e r
o f the

ChurchRom.

8.26f.

"unutterable"they

were

utteredbut

Set ,

6 as oiBev

is not

" i n a r t i c u l a t e " ; vs. LS J see B a u e r ,

Wb.

ad loc. T h i s fact, a n d the p h e n o m e n o n of glossolalia, w e r e t a c t f u l l y o v e r l o o k e d b y


D i e t z e l , Beten, w h o s e denial of the relation b e t w e e n C h r i s t i a n a n d m a g i c a l p r a y e r
overlooks the m a i n p r o b l e m t o explain, not w h y the spirit spoke to the churches,
b u t w h y it spoke to t h e m in j a b b e r w o c k y .

w a s noted a b o v e (section 3)

as a characteristic f o r m of m a g i c a l utterance. S u c h

are preserved

i n great quantities in the m a g i c a l p a p y r i , of w h i c h they are p e r h a p s the most noticea b l e peculiarity. T h e s e are the " m a g i c a l w o r d s , " o f w h i c h a f e w are fixed formulas
w i t h secret significance, b u t most are a p p a r e n t l y meaningless c o m b i n a t i o n s of letters
b y w h i c h the m a g i c i a n calls the spirit in the spirit's o w n l a n g u a g e , or, b y s p e a k i n g
232

THE BACKGROUND

in the spirit's l a n g u a g e , shows that the spirit is a l r e a d y in h i m a n d a c t i n g t h r o u g h


h i m . T h e s e c o m b i n a t i o n s perhaps w e r e not intended merely for repetition,

but

w e r e indications of the " t u n e " t h e sort of phonetic combinations a n d interspersed


n a m e s a p p r o p r i a t e to the spirit i n v o k e d . 9 A n u m b e r of examples of this h a v e been
g i v e n in the passage a l r e a d y q u o t e d from PGM in section ; m o r e are to b e f o u n d on
almost every p a g e of that collection. T h e same sort of thing appears in Pistis Sophia
i n the c o n c l u d i n g prayers of Jesus, p r e s u m a b l y representative o f the secret prayers
o f the c h u r c h that preserved this m a t e r i a l : " T h e n ( a f t e r the resurrection) Jesus
stood w i t h his disciples . . . a n d called on ( t h e F a t h e r w i t h ) this p r a y e r . . . ' H e a r
m e , m y F a t h e r , T h o u F a t h e r of all paternity, T h o u endless light,
"

-10

'

0'

'

'11

"

'12

"

ieov'13

'
.'"14

>

'
(ch.

136,

Uly

translation f r o m S c h m i d t - T i l l ; m o r e in ch. 142.) H a r n a c k , Pistis-Sophia 89, recognized these passages as representations of speaking w i t h tongues; A n z , Frage 8, as
incantations, combinations of " m a g i c a l w o r d s " typical of the spells in the m a g i c a l
p a p y r i . B o t h w e r e right. T h e spirit w h i c h spoke t h r o u g h the Christians a n d the
spirits w h i c h spoke t h r o u g h the p a g a n magicians spoke the same characteristic
language.
N o t only is this fact r e c o g n i z a b l e n o w ; it w a s a l r e a d y r e c o g n i z e d in a n t i q u i t y
a n d its recognition resulted in m a n y of the persecutions w h i c h Christianity every9. Similar variation of formulas appears in the defixiones and on the magical gems. In the case of the
latter, this has been noticed by A . Delatte and P. Derchain, Les Intailles magiques greco-egyptiennes, Paris
(Bibliotheque Nationale), 1964, p. 234: " T h e r e is little chance, naturally, that one should ever find
an object <magical gem> exactly in agreement with the ancient description <in the magical p a p y r i ) ,
for magic was still living at the time of the redaction of the papyri and at the time when the gems were
engraved. Consequently, on comparing them with each other, one finds that the formulas show innumerable variations about which the magicians hardly bothered at a l l . "
10. Such variations on the seven vowels are c o m m o n in PGM,

in which all tjiese individual com-

binations o c c u r e . g . , no. I I . lines 1 4 - 1 6 ; III.230,436; I V . 4 8 7 , 9 1 7 , etc.; X I I . 7 2 , 1 0 2 , 1 1 9 ; X I I I . 2 0 9 ,


895,936; and often elsewhere. (the commonest Greek name of )
the indices to PGM,

particularly frequent. In

which the late Prof. Preisendanz kindly put at m y disposal ,there are three col-

umns full of references to far

more than to any other deity. (The runners u p are 8

and

with about two columns each.)


11. PGM I I I . l 8 6 a - b [] ^; IV.828f ; V I I . 3 1 6 ep.
12. PGM

V . 4 7 9 ; X X X V I . 3 0 8 ; 348-353; K r o p p , A K no. X I I I line 7, cf. vol. I I I . 127 n 5 . A l l

these give the combination or vice versa (with various misspellings). Both words also
occur alone; e.g., PGM X X X V I . 10,64 iayovPV> VII.597,606 .
13
PGM X I I I . 9 5 9 - 9 6 3

Audollent no. 267.9ff [](

(and variants)

. . . . . .
. . .

alone: PGM

\]

I I . 1 1 9 ( follows in 120); I I I . 1 5 3 ( in

154); Audollent no. 242.31.


veifii- combinations do not appear elsewhere; this is probably a corruption.
(and variants) alone: PGM V I I . 9 7 7 ; X I X a . 4 2 ; Audollent no. 242.18; etc.
ieov alone: PGM
14. PGM

I I . 1 3 7 ; V I I . 4 7 6 ; X I I . 1 8 9 ; X I I I . 8 1 0 ; etc.

V I I . 6 0 5 ; I X . 7 ; X I I . 2 0 7 and passim (almost a full column of references in Preisendanz'

index).

233

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

where called forth. These persecutions require explanation both because of their
frequency and because of the general tolerance throughout the R o m a n empire for
cults of oriental gods a n d deified men. Occasional exceptions to this tolerance might
be explained by peculiar local circumstances; but the consistent opposition to Christianity evidently resulted from something characteristic of the new religion. W h a t
was it? T h e common answer is, the Christians' refusal to worship other gods. But
other worshipers of Yahwehthe Jews and the Samaritansalso refused to worship
other gods, and they were not generally persecuted. Consequently, the Christians
had to explain the persecutions as inspired either by the demons or by the Jews
who, they said, denounced them to the authorities (Acts 13.50; 14.2; 17.6,13;
18.12; etc.; I Thess. 2 . 1 5 ; Apoc. 2.9; Martyrdom of Polycarp X I I . 2 ; X V I I . 2 ; Justin,
Dialogue 17). But for what could the Jews denounce t h e m ? Certainly not for refusing
to worship other godsthat was the hallmark of Jewish faith generally. Perhaps
for political conspiracy ? But there is no evidence that the Christians were, generally,
subversive in politicsnot, at least, after the year 70 (cf. Brandon, Fall)and they
were not generally accused of plotting political revolution. W h a t they were accused
of was the practice of magic a n d other crimes associated with magic: h u m a n sacrifice,
cannibalism, and incest (Vita Apollonii V I I I . 5 ; Bidez-Cumont, Mages 78ff). T h e
accusation of magic probably appears already in Suetonius, Nero 16.3: Afflicti
suppliciis Christiani, genus hominum superstitionis novae ac maleficae, since a maleficus is
par excellence a magician. Suetonius indicates how Tacitus, Annals XV.44, should
be interpreted: quos per flagitia invisos vulgus Christianos appellabat. . . exitiabilis superstitio . . . atrocia aut pudenda . . . primum correpti qui fatebantur. W h a t did theyunder
tortureconfess? Probably firing the city, probably being Christians, but probably
also magic. Magic figures conspicuously in charges against Christians from the
second century on (Origen, Contra Celsum 1.6; VI.4of; Passio Perpetuae 16; Acta
Acacii V.2f; Tertullian, Ad uxorem II.5.2; Eus., HE III.26.4; I V . 7 . i o f ) . Moreover,
as the passages from Eusebius showand they could be paralleled by m a n y more
from Irenaeus, Hippolytus, a n d Epiphaniusthe Christians made considerable use
of this charge against each other. Presumably they knew what they were talking
about. Magic has been commonly neglected in discussions of the persecutions
(recently Speyer, Vorwrfen-, Gregoire, Persecutions, Sherwin-White, Letters, 691fr,
772ff; but cf. Freudenberger, Verhalten, 165fr) because these have commonly been
based on the apologists a n d the acts of the martyrs a n d have neglected the heresiologists. But the apologists chose to defend Christianity from charges of which most
Christians were not guilty; magic would have been an embarrassing topic, therefore
they do not mention it and in refuting the charge of cannibalism they are careful to
avoid the question of what actually happens in the eucharist. And the acts of the
martyrs are propaganda pieces, mostly intended to represent the Christians as
innocent victims martyred solely because of monotheism; therefore they usually
say nothing of any of the flagitia cohaerentia nomini (Pliny, Epistulae X.96.2). Commonly
the only questions are, are you a Christian, and, will you sacrifice to the gods or
the emperor. References to magic are rare, but references to incest and cannibalism
are even rarer. History should not use such material uncritically.
234

THE BACKGROUND

8.

RECAPITULATION

AND

CONCLUSIONS

It has now been a r g u e d : () T h e fact that Jesus is not represented as a magician


b y the Gospels is insignificant; " m a g i c i a n " was a dirty word. T h e significant fact
is that he is represented as the possessor of the holy spirit and as " t h e Son of G o d , "
a supernatural being recognized b y demons as able to c o m m a n d t h e m ; he is represented as a successful magician w o u l d have represented himself. (2) T h a t Jesus is
not represented by the Gospels as using long spells or magic rites is insignificant.
O n c e a magician " h a d " his spirit, he need only c o m m a n d a n d it would instantly
obey. Here too, the Gospels represent Jesus as a successful magician w o u l d have
represented himself. (3) T h e miracle stories are shot through with minor traits of
magical practice. (4) T h e Gospels' stories generally are stories of things magicians
claimed to do, and they a d d up to an account of a magicians' life: Jesus' career
began w h e n he was possessed by a spirit w h i c h drove him into the wilderness ( M k .
i . 9 - 1 2 ; Eliade, Shamanism 3f, 64, etc.). After surviving the ordeals to w h i c h the
spirits there subjected him ( M k . 1.13F; L k . 4 . 1 - 1 3 and parallel) he returned to
Galilee, where he m a d e his reputation as an exorcist ( M k . 1 . 2 1 - 2 7 ) and miracle
worker (Jn. 2.11) and developed it by cures of w h i c h the magical traits have been
mentioned. H e then empowered his disciples to exorcise and perform similar cures
( M k . 6 . 7 - 1 3 ) . His fame thus became so great that magicians outside the circle of
his followers began to use his n a m e in their exorcisms ( M k . 9.38^. H e introduced
a reAerrja secret meal in w h i c h his followers were united with him by being given
bread a n d wine w h i c h were declared to be his flesh and blood ( M k . 1 4 . 1 7 - 2 5 ) .
I n all these respects his work can be paralleled from the claims and careers of other
magicians. ( T h e career most fully reported is that of Apollonius of T y a n a , but if
the facts were known a closer parallel w o u l d perhaps be found in that of Jesus'
contemporary Simon, the Samaritan magician, w h o also did miracles, claimed to
be a power come down from heaven, and was credited with the introduction of mystery
rites; Acts 8.gff; Irenaeus, H a r v e y , 1 . 1 6 . i f f = Stieren, 1 . 2 3 . i f f ; see m y Account).
Finally, Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and, somehow, to be able to a d m i t his
followers to the kingdom of G o d , and this claim resulted in his execution by the
R o m a n s . I n these respects, too, his career has magical parallels. Josephus reports
that in Palestine at this period there was a plague of messianic magicians w h o
similarly raised men's hopes for the coming of the kingdom, and w h o c a m e to
similarly b a d ends at the hands of the R o m a n s : BJ I I . 258fr; AJ X X . 9 7 , 188; Eisler,
Messiah 328,360. (5) and (6) As in the case of Simon and Apollonius and other
magicians, Jesus' followers believed him a supernatural b e i n g e i t h e r a " d i v i n e
m a n " or the son of a g o d b u t by his enemies he was repeatedly accused of magic,
and these accusations were continued in later reports. Magicians also believed him
a magician. (7) Similar accusations were often m a d e against his followers and were
an important contributory element in a long series of legal actions against them.
Considerable groups of his followers admittedly did practice m a g i c a n d claimed that
he was the source of their practice.
I n addition to all this evidence, the hypothesis that Jesus practiced m a g i c helps

235

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

to e x p l a i n some of the m a j o r p r o b l e m s raised b y the Gospels' a c c o u n t o f his career.


F r o m t h a t a c c o u n t it appears, as w e h a v e said, that Jesus c l a i m e d to b e the Messiah
a n d b r i n g e r of the k i n g d o m of G o d . B u t there is n o clear i n d i c a t i o n o f his f u n c t i o n a l
relation to the k i n g d o m as a l r e a d y present. T h i s is the m o r e surprising because
even in the sketchy stories g i v e n b y Josephus (in the passages j u s t cited) a b o u t the
other messianic m a g i c i a n s , their functions in relation to the k i n g d o m are c l e a r
t h e y w i l l use their m a g i c a l p o w e r s to protect their followers a n d o v e r t h r o w the
R o m a n s . So, too, the f u n c t i o n a l relation of the Baptist to the k i n g d o m he foretold
w a s clear (above, p p . 2 0 5 f r ) . So, the silence of the Gospels on Jesus' f u n c t i o n a l
relation to the k i n g d o m is a m a z i n g . I t requires a n e x p l a n a t i o n .
A considerable n u m b e r of Jesus' sayings i m p l y t h a t not o n l y he, b u t also some o f
his disciples are a l r e a d y in the k i n g d o m (above, pages 2 1 i f f ) . A

f e w of these

sayings i n d i c a t e t h a t there is a definite, p r a c t i c a l w a y to get in. T h a t the m y s t e r y


o f the k i n g d o m has been given to the disciples ( M k . 4 . 1 1 )

suggests there w a s some

initiatory rite. S o m e e v i d e n c e indicates that this rite was a b a p t i s m (above, p p . 178fr),


w h i c h Jesus administered secretly to a chosen few of his followers (above, pages
2 0 9 f r ) . N o t i c e h o w the Q_ statement, L k . 7 . 2 8 a n d parallel, fits together w i t h J n .
3.3fr. Q says, none b o r n of w o m e n is greater t h a n the Baptist, b u t the least in the
k i n g d o m is greater t h a n he. W e n a t u r a l l y ask: W h a t , then, was the least in the
k i n g d o m b o r n o f ? J o h n answers, of w a t e r a n d the spirit, for only those b o r n o f
w a t e r a n d the spirit (as opposed to those b o r n of the flesh) c a n enter the k i n g d o m .
" O f w a t e r a n d the s p i r i t " is e v i d e n t l y a reference to Jesus' b a p t i s m , w h i c h g a v e the
spirit, as opposed to the Baptist's b a p t i s m , w h i c h d i d not ( a b o v e , p p . 2 0 7 ,

219).

B u t the gift of the spirit is not p r i m a facie identical w i t h admission to the k i n g d o m ,


so w e ask: H o w d i d Jesus' b a p t i s m a d m i t his followers to the k i n g d o m ? I f t h e y
" e n t e r e d " the k i n g d o m , the k i n g d o m w a s p r e s u m a b l y a n a r e a in space. T h i s agrees
w i t h w h a t w e h a v e seen, that the k i n g d o m w a s p a r excellence in the h e a v e n s (above,
p p . 2 0 2 f r ) . A n d w e h a v e also seen some reason to believe that there w a s in Palestine
in Jesus' time a m a g i c a l t e c h n i q u e for a s c e n d i n g a n d c a u s i n g others to ascend i n t o
the heavens

(p. 1 8 1 ) .

I f w e suppose Jesus p r a c t i c e d such a t e c h n i q u e , then w e

c a n e x p l a i n the f a m o u s Q_ statement that, " t h e L a w a n d the prophets w e r e <in


f o r c e ) until J o h n ( t h e B a p t i s t ) ; since then the g o o d news a b o u t the k i n g d o m o f
G o d has b e e n p r o c l a i m e d a n d a n y o n e c a n force his w a y into i t " ( L k . 16.16; M t .
1 1 . 1 2 ; notice the c o n n e c t i o n in M t . w i t h the statement t h a t the least in the k i n g d o m
is greater t h a n J o h n ) . H e r e D o d d ' s despairing c o m m e n t o n M t . 1 1 . 1 2 ( " t h e k i n g d o m
o f h e a v e n suffers v i o l e n c e " ) , " w h a t e v e r that m a y m e a n , " (Parables 4 0 ) a n d such
fantastic explanations as D a n k e r ' s {Lk. 16.16)

are alike unnecessary. I n the m a g i c a l

techniques of ascent to the heavens the m a g i c i a n must o v e r c o m e the resistance o f


the d e m o n i c or a n g e l i c g u a r d s w h o b a r the w a y (e.g., Hekalot, passim). T h e s e p o w e r s
Jesus has o v e r c o m e ( C o l . 2 . 9 f r ) . T h e r e f o r e the k i n g d o m of G o d , the k i n g d o m in the
h e a v e n s , suffers violence, because its g u a r d s are n o w o v e r c o m e b y those w h o h a v e
b e e n m a g i c a l l y u n i t e d w i t h the spirit of Jesus in the b a p t i s m of J e s u s " t h e m y s t e r y
of the k i n g d o m o f G o d , " the m y s t e r y w h i c h enables t h e m to force their w a y into
the k i n g d o m of G o d in the heavens.

236

T H E BACKGROUND

I t was while performing such a baptism that Jesus was arrested. T h e rite was
secret. H e chose a lonely garden, through which a stream still flows, and went there
late at night, after the ceremony of the eucharist had assured the magical union
of his circle of initiates. Since he did not wish to be interrupted (this is essential in
magic) he set guards (Mk. 14.32-34). H e had no intention of being arrested if he
could help it. T h e agony, therefore, has no likelihood, and it was witnessed by no
one. (On its homiletic motivation see my Comments 22f.) W h e n the guards fell asleep
a n d the police arrived unexpectedly they surprised both Jesus a n d the initiate,
veaviaKos . . . (Mk. 4-5 1 )the proper magical
costume in the proper magical setting. If this was not an initiation, what was the
young m a n doing with Jesus at such an hour, in such a place, and in such a costume ?
T h e author of Acta Ioannis 94fr understood what was going on and supplied an account
of the initiation, unfortunately imaginative.

D.

The rite was a means of ascent to the heavens15

By this time the reader will have forgotten that the long argument about magic
was only the third point of a yet longer argument to show that important elements
in the Pauline concept of baptism were derived from Jesus. T h a t argument went as
follows: Paul interpreted baptism as a means of uniting with Jesusthe one baptized
was possessed by Jesus' spirit. This notion looks as if it came from Palestinian demonology. And there are five traits which point to Jesus as its source. Of these five we
have now considered three: (A) as a means of uniting with Jesus baptism is essentially
like communion, which he introduced; (B) it is effected by the spirit, a n d the
spirit is distinctive of Jesus' ministry, as opposed to that of the Baptist; (G) it is a
magical ceremony, and Jesus practiced magic. These points established, we can now
go on to the fourth: (D): Pauline baptism was conceived as a means of ascent to the
heavens (above, pp. 214fr) a n d in Christianity this notion of ascent seems also to
go back to Jesus.
Here I shall try to show: (1) the notion of ascent to the heavens was an important
element in Jesus' Palestinian background a n d h a d led to the development of a technique for ascent which Jesus might have practiced. (2) There is a good deal of
indirect evidence indicating that Jesus did practice such a technique. (3) A number
of passages in the Gospels are best understood as records of his practice and consequent
teaching.
15. T h e following section was written before Scholem brought to my attention Danielou's

Traditions,

which has demonstrated the existence in Christianity, from Paul's time on, of a secret tradition
concerning ascent through the celestial spheres. Danielou supposes the tradition came into Christianity
through Paul, from his Jewish background (p. 2 1 3 ) . But it is too widely distributed to have come through
Paul alone. Most important is the extensive agreement of the conclusions of two studies made independently and from standpoints so diverse as Danielou's and my own. For this reason I have not here
repeated Danielou's arguments and evidence, but leave it to the reader to look at his article and see
for himself at once the independence of the methods and the agreement of the results.

237

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

I.

BACKGROUND

T h e notion of ascent to the heavens is ancient (Kees, Himmelsreise; ANET


ioif;
118; 446f; Oppenheim, Interpretation 2 5 9 , 2 6 7 , 2 8 2 , 2 8 7 ) and widespread (Eliade,
Shamanism 115-144, 1 8 1 - 2 8 8 , 3 9 2 f r , 4 7 7 f r , 4 8 7 f r , etc.). Since 1 8 9 7 , when its fundamental importance in gnosticism was pointed out by Anz, Frage, it has been repeatedly
discussed; see the remarks of L e w y , Oracles 4 1 3 f r . T h e studies cited above (section
I X , end), and those referred to below are only the ones I have found most useful for
the present argument. I have been careful not to refer to some others, particularly
the pan-Iranian anachronisms of Reitzenstein and the inaccurate work of Widengren.
M a n y of the previous discussions have dealt with origins and transmission. Here w e
need concern ourselves only with those forms in which the notion of ascent to the
heavens may have been current in the Greco-Roman, Hebrew, and A r a m a i c material
circulating in Palestine during the first centuries B.C. and A.D.
In the eastern Mediterranean world the notion had early appeared in two forms
not always separate, but roughly distinguishable. O n e was that of the soul's ascent
into the heavens after death, the other that of ascent by living individuals either
carried aloft bodily or in dream or ecstasy leaving their bodies below and returning
to them later (cf. Bousset, Himmelsreise 136). It would be a mistake to try to differentiate the stories too sharply. Paul, who claimed to have had such an experience,
said he did not know whether, at the time, he was in the body or not (II Cor. 12.2).
T h e notion of the soul's ascent at some time after death was given classical expression by Plato and was popularized by Posidonius and by the influence of astrology
(Cumont, Lux ch. 3 ) . During the first centuries B.C. and A.D. it was widely held all
over the Greco-Roman world, including Palestine where the expectation that the
righteous dead will shine as the stars appears in D a n . 12.3 and their ascent to heaven
is anticipated in many other apocalypses (e.g., Enoch 3 9 . 4 f ; 1 0 4 . 2 ; Assumption of Moses
io.8ff; II Enoch 8 - 9 ; II Baruch 5 1 . 1 0 f r ; III Baruch 1 0 . 5 ; IV Ezra 7 . 9 0 - 1 0 0 ) . Josephus
attributes the same anticipation to the Essenes ( J 11.154fr). It thus provided a
widespread background for the other notionmore important for our present
purposeof ascent to the heavens by living men.
Claims of ascent by living men seem to be attacked already in Is. 14.13f and
Ezek. 28, esp. verses 1,6,9,13-17. With " t h e mountain of G o d " cf. M t . Sinai in
the story of Moses' enthronement as (Ezekiel tragicus in Eusebius,
Praeparatio Evangelica IX.29.4f) and the mountains of the temptation and the transfiguration (Mt. 4.8; M k . 9 . 2 - 1 3 ; and parallels) and notice how many early Christian
revelations were located on mountainsApocryphon of John, Pistis Sophia, Gospel of
Eve, Great Questions of Mary (Epiphanius, Panarion X X V I . 3 . 1 ; 8 . i f f ) etc. T h e O T
attacks show that those who ascended were thought to become like the gods in form
(cf. Phil. 2.6) and to be enthroned in the heavens (cf. Col. 3 . 1 ; Heb. 1.3; this is
the goal of the Hekalot mystics). A similar claim is made on behalf of (probably)
Simon Maccabaeus in Ps. 110.1: " T h e Lord said unto my Lord, ' S i t thou at m y
right h a n d . ' " (This is perhaps related to the stories of the enthronement of Moses,
cited above, and the ascension of Levi, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Levi I I . 6 V.3.) Such notions were so important to the religious and political thought of the
238

T H E BACKGROUND

times that they were m a d e the basis for the imperial cult. Indeed, from the beginning
of the second century A.D. the R o m a n government regularly used magical techniques
to effect the bodily apotheosis of the dead emperor (Bickerman, Kaiserapotheose esp.
5 f f ) . Stories like those of the bodily assumptions in supernatural chariots of the
wonder-worker Elijah (II K g s . 2.11) and the magician M e d e a (Roscher, Lexikon
s.v., 11.2.2484fr) had been allegorized already by Parmenides as types of the ascent
in philosophic contemplation (Diels, 28 B i ) . This allegory was powerfully developed
b y Plato in the Phaedrus 244-257, a n d the type became a commonplace (Pippidi,
Recherches 170 n2). For the great importance of the Elijah story as an archetype of
the Christian experience, see Schrade, Ikonographie 81-89, where the connections
with magic are made clear. Besides these myths specifying the means of transportation,
there were simpler stories deriving directly from ecstatic or cataleptic experience;
and these, too, Plato m a d e part of the literary tradition k n o w n to all educated m e n
b y his use of the story of E r in the Republic (614fr) as the vehicle for his great m y t h of
the travels of the soul (cf. Dieterich, Mithrasliturgie 199). Similar pictures of the heavens
a n d the afterlife, as seen b y living travelers, abound both in subsequent Greek and
L a t i n literature (for example, from the first century B.C., Cicero's Somnium Scipionis),
and appear in Judaism both in the work of Philo (e.g., De opificio 23 end) a n d in
the originally H e b r e w or A r a m a i c Palestinian apocalypses from the late third or
early second century B.C. a n d thereafter (Vita Adae 25; Enoch 14.8; 39.3; 7 1 . 1 , 5 ;
II Enoch 3 . 1 ; 6 7 . 1 ; Testament of Abraham 10; Apocalypse of Abraham 1 5 ; Testaments of the
Twelve Patriarchs, Levi I I . 6 f f ; III aruch 2ff; etc.). For the connection of these with
Christian and rabbinic traditions see Scholem, Gnosticism ch. I I I .
These Palestinian stories of heavenly travels probably reflect not only the influence
of Greek literature and near eastern legend, but also, as has long been recognized,
some sort of experience deliberately cultivated in pietistic circles (Eppel, Pie'tisme
66f; Scholem, Gnosticism ch. I I I ) . Just w h e n this deliberate cultivation first took the
form of a definite technique there is no telling. In the Q u m r a n Hodayot and Manual
of Discipline the entrance of the members of the sect into the c o m p a n y of the angels
is often celebrated as something already accomplished. T h e members are " t o g e t h e r
w i t h the angels of the presence, and there is no need of an interpreter between
t h e m " (Hodayot V I . 1 3 ; cf. I I I . 2 o f f ; X l . i o f f ; X I I I . 2 7 f r ; frag. 2 . i o f f ; frag. 5; Manual
of Discipline X I . 5 - 1 0 ) . 1 6 It is not unlikely that this state of affairs was thought to
be brought about by some special ceremony, probably that () referred
to by Josephus, AJ X V I I I . 18: ? ,
. Bousset, Himmelsreise 143; remarks that this probably refers
to demonic opposition, encountered b y those w h o w o u l d enter the heavens, and
explains the Essenes' desire to know the names of the angels, w h i c h commonly serve
as passwords for the j o u r n e y (Hekalot, passim; Josephus, J I I . 142; contrast the
forced translations a n d implausible conjectures discussed by Feldman, Josephus, at
AJ X V I I I . 1 8 ) . here has the same background as E p h . 6.1 iff, " P u t
16. Q, 2, cols. I l l and I V , shows the same notions projected into the future. Not only do the
members of the sect have access to the assemblies of heaven, but the angels come down to those of earth:
War Scroll X . g f f ; XII.7fr.

239

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

on the whole armour of God . . . for our battle is . . . against the cosmic rulers of
this darkness, the spiritual powers of evil in the heavens." , accordingly,
means " m a k e immortal" by some rite which provided the soul with the necessary
purification and information (angelic names and spells)the armour required for
the in which, if unarmed, it would be destroyed. For a magical
introducing the initiate into the company of the gods, see the " Mithras
Liturgy," PGM .&^,^,^,, also X X I I b . 2 4 , ; etc.
T h a t such a magical technique for ascent into the heavens had developed in some
Jewish circles during the first century B.C. is also shown by the fact that this date is
the latest possible one for the common ancestor of the Hekalot literature and the
" M i t h r a s L i t u r g y " cited above. Scholem in Gnosticism 41 f argued that the common
ancestor of these traditions must be dated not later than the early second century
A.D. and Nock (review of Scholem's Gnosticism) accepted this argument. In my
Observations 155fr, I brought evidence for the practice of the technique in the mid-first
century A.D. (Col. 2.18) and for its relation to the Essenes; but I did not see clearly
its role in early Christianity. 17 Now Strugnell (Angelic Liturgy) has published a text
full of the terminology and constructions of the Hekalot hymns. T h e second of his
fragments in particular is rich in such parallels and, to judge from them, describes
the wonders of the heavens which the initiate, in his ascent, was expected to see.
This text proves the tradition represented by the Hekalot and the " M i t h r a s L i t u r g y "
was in development at Qumran during the first century B.C., from which Strugnell
would date two of the four M S S he used. Consequently there is nothing unlikely
in the supposition that Jesus may have practiced such a technique for ascent to the
heavens. Moreover, a number of considerations indicate that he did so.
2.

INDIRECT EVIDENCE OF JESUS' PRACTICE

First of all, such an ascent was the goal anticipated by much early Christian
teaching. We saw above (pp. 203f) that for the Gospels the kingdom of God, the
17. I had not noticed the evidence for Jesus' ascent, and was led by (II Cor. 12.2) to
think Paul's ascent an involuntary ecstatic experience, peculiar to him. (I neglected the indication that
his opponents claimed similar experiences.) Also, I drew a sharp distinction between ascent and
instances when the initiate remained on earth but saw heavenly beings or saw the heavens opened (as
did ben Zakkai and his disciples, B. Hagigah 14b and parallels, on which Neusner, Life 97ff; cf. Mk. 1.10).
But the connection between vision and ascent was very close (e.g., Apoc. 4. iff), and I doubt that such
hallucinations can be sharply distinguished. As for , I wonder if it may not be an indication
of what Paul experienced in his involuntary conversion. (The account in Acts is exoteric and may be
fictitious.) Baptism as administered by Jesus was presumably a vivid, hypnotic experience of ascent.
The stages by which it passed from this to a sacramental fiction are unknown and probably differed in
each different chain of tradition, as different disciples had more or less of Jesus' hypnotic power. T o
Paul's churches the gift of the spirit (in baptism ?) seems still to have been a matter of vivid experience;
but from the way Paul had to remind the members of their death, resurrection, and ascension with
Jesus, it would seem that these had already become things which baptism " w a s supposed to do,"
rather than experiences actually produced. Within half a century after Paul even the gift of the spirit
had probably dwindled to a legal fiction for most of the "orthodox." The gnostics still strove for actual
experience, and some may have succeeded in maintaining it well into the second centuryhence came
some of the charges that they practiced magic.

240

THE BACKGROUND

sphere of divine rule, is ' in the heavens. Accordingly, it is to the heavens


that Jesus is represented as ascending, at or after his resurrection (Col. 3 . 1 ; J n .
20.17; Acts 1.9; L k . 24.51 A B C ; etc.; P a u l p r o b a b l y equated the resurrection with
the ascensionWeiss, Christianity 8 4 J n . and L k . distinguished them). A n d it is
to the heavens that m a n y Christians hope to ascend, either at the E n d (I Thess.
4 . 1 7 ; L k . 12.8f a n d parallel; J n . I4.2f, cf. 6.38; 16.28) or immediately after death
(Lk. 6.23; 12.33 a n d parallels; 16.22; 23.43 c f- H Cor. 1 2 . 4 M k . 10.21 a n d
parallels; I I Cor. 5 . 1 - 1 0 ; Phil. 3.20; Col. 1.5; I I T i m . 4 . 1 8 ; I Pet. 1.4; A p o c . 3.21,
7 . 9 - 1 7 ; e t c . ) o r even, somehow, in this life (Heb. i2.22f). Jesus, ascending thither,
went as the leader of his followers a n d showed them the w a y (Heb. 2.10; J n . 1 4 . 1 - 5 ) .
T h i s orientation of the sect might derive from its founder.
I n the second place, it appears that claims to have ascended into the heavens were
frequently m a d e by Jesus' followers and played an important role in their competition
for prestige a n d authority. O n e example of such a claim has come down to u s t h a t
of P a u l in I I Cor. 1 2 . 1 - 5 . But from the context there it appears that Paul's claim
was not unique (Schmithals, Gnosis 174fr). It was m a d e as vindication of his apostolic
status in answer to the claims of his competitors, w h o presumably were alleging
their ascents as proofs of their superiority to Paul (cf. n . 2 i f f ; 12.1 i f f ; I C o r . 9 . i f f ) .
T h e s e opponents were " H e b r e w s , Israelites, seed of A b r a h a m , " and
; therefore it is not implausible that their claims w e n t back to Palestinian
Christian circles. Such claims, put in the m o u t h of Simon M a g u s , are repeatedly
attacked b y the Clementina {Horn. X V I I . 1 4 , 1 9 , etc.). Paul's opponent in Colossians
also claimed to have ascended into the heavens, a n d linked his claims with observance
of the O T holy days (Col. 2.18, on w h i c h m y Observations 156). T h e r e m a y be a touch
of polemic against similar teachings in R o m . 10.6. T h e author of the A p o c a l y p s e
(4.1fr) claimed to have been taken u p into heaven, a n d to report w h a t he had heard
a n d seen there. I I Peter 1.11 recommends that its recipients practice various virtues
because ? . . . ? eis .
H e r e has its normal meaning, " a b u n d a n t l y , plentifully," with reference
to repeated entries (contrast Windisch-Preisker, Briefe, ad loc.; they were forced to
m a k e of it " e i n glnzender E i n z u g , " although the proof passage they cite from
Philo, De vita contemplativa 35, shows the normal reference to plurality). Aphraates,
Demonstratio I V . 5 , says that J a c o b saw in his vision (Gen. 28.1 i f f ) the gate of heaven,
w h i c h gate is Christ, a n d the ladder to heaven, w h i c h is " t h e mystery of <(instituted
b y ? ) our saviour, by w h i c h righteous m e n ascend from the lower ( w o r l d ) to the
( w o r l d ) a b o v e . " Another interpretation, preferred by Aphraates (ibid. 6), took the
ladder as the cross. T h e notion that " t h e mystery of our s a v i o u r " means a rite or
technique instituted b y h i m is m a d e more likely by the fact that in the contemporary
Hekalot material the technique for ascent to the heavens is also described as a ladder.
I n the third place, the supposition that these claims by Jesus' followers reflect
some similar claim by Jesus himself is thoroughly in accord with the magical character
of Jesus' career, as set forth in the preceding section. T h e Christian story of Simon
M a g u s charges Simon w i t h magical ascent to the heavens; the Jewish story of Jesus
makes the same charge against Jesus (Actus Petri cum Simone 32; Krauss, Leben 4 3 ;
241

CLEMENT OF A L E X A N D R I A

etc.). Eliade, Shamanism, has shown (passim) that the claim to have ascended to the
heavens and thereby attained supernatural powers is characteristic of a type of
magician found all over Asia and the Americas. T h i s type of magician w e n o w begin
to find along the Palestine-Syria coast, a n d soon elsewhere in the R o m a n empire.
T h e Vita Apollonii represents ascent to the heavens as the greatest achievement of
the I n d i a n magicians and the ultimate triumph of Apollonius ( V I . n e n d ; V I I I . 3 0
end). In L u c i a n , Philopseudes 13, it is the conclusive proof b y w h i c h the (pseudo)
sceptic claims that a H y p e r b o r e a n magician (from the territory of the shamans)
overcame his doubts. T h e magical papyri represent it as the means to achieve
magical powers, the reward of their achievement, and the ultimate goal of the magician's career (PGMYV.^jff,
I . n 8 f f ; X X X I V . j f , 1.1788").
I n the fourth place, the supposition that Jesus practiced some such technique for
ascent enables us to explain both the secret character of his baptism and the w a y
he got his disciples into the k i n g d o m of G o d . Both the Hekalot a n d the " M i t h r a s
L i t u r g y " give directions for performing the ascent with a companion or assistant,
a n d provision for a boy as assistant is very frequent in the magical papyri (e.g.,
PGM I V , passim, DMP, passim). Most often the boy is the m e d i u m ; the magician
causes him to see the gods. T h i s technique lent itself for development into an initiation,
a " m y s t e r y of the kingdom of G o d , " by w h i c h chosen disciples could be m a d e to
believe they had literally " e n t e r e d the k i n g d o m . " Hence the claim to h a v e experienced such an ascent appears as accreditation of the apostolate a n d as authority
for teaching, both in Paul a n d in his J u d a i z i n g and Jewish opponents. A n d how else
is this fact to be explained ? W h a t authority other than Jesus was both early enough
a n d important enough to give both Paul and his opponents not only the odd notion
that they could ascend to the heavens, but the a m a z i n g one that such an ascent
was necessary to m a k e them apostles of Jesus ?
I n the fifth place, Paul's interpretation of baptism as a means of ascent to the
heavens (Col. 2.98"; above, pp. 2 1 4 8 ) has to be explained. Acts 9.18 reports that
Paul found baptism an established practice in the church in Damascus about fourteen
years before his correspondence with the Corinthians (II Cor. 1 2 . 2 ) t h a t is, within
half a dozen years of Jesus' death. Presumably his teaching concerning baptism
reflected at least the essentials of the teaching given him w h e n he was baptized.
T h e burden of proof m a y be left to those w h o w o u l d deny this. T h e y will have to
show whence, if not from Jesus, came the Pauline interpretation of baptism as a
means of union with Jesus and of ascent to the heavens.
Finally, we h a v e here another contact with shamanism. Eliade (Shamanism 33,
64, 288, etc.) has shown that the traditional scheme of a shamanic initiation involves
hallucinations of passion, death, a n d resurrection prior to the ascent to the heavens.
O n e of the most striking developments of Paul's, as opposed to the Baptist's, baptism
was the notion that it was an initiation ceremony in w h i c h the candidate died, was
buried, and rose again (above, pp. 2 1 4 8 ) . C a n it be accidental that the followers
of a magician credited with shamanic ascent to the heavens came to see in their
initiation ceremony the essentials of a shamanic initiation ? I t can. T h i s particular
magician had been caught and put to death, his followers h a d seen visions of h i m
242

T H E BACKGROUND

after his death, and these historical accidents m a y have led to a reinterpretation of
the baptism he administered: originally a rite of union with h i m and participation
in his ascent to the heavens, it later came to include also participation in his death,
burial, and resurrection. This, at least, has been m y assumption thus far; so I have
treated all N T references to Jesus' death and resurrection as later reflections of
those alleged events. But the theme of deliverance from death, couched in terms
suggesting a resurrection, was familiar in the Psalms (e.g., 30.4; 49.16; 86.13) and
in the Q u m r a n Hodayot (II.32; I I I . 1 0 , 1 9 ; V . 6 ; I X . 4 f f ; X - 3 3 f ; X V I I . 1 3 ? ) as an
expression of deliverance from illness or danger, and, in the Hodayot, from the corruption natural to man. It is possible, therefore, that such elements m a y have figured
in Jesus' magical teaching a n d practice. I f so, they w o u l d have prepared for the
disciples' resurrection experiences. In a n y event, Paul's interpretation of baptism
as death, resurrection, and ascension, and his claim (and the claims of his Christian
competitors) to have ascended into the heavens, fit together as pieces of a recognizable
pattern. Therefore it seems likely that their c o m m o n sourcethe teaching and practice of J e s u s c o n t a i n e d at least the most important element of the pattern, the
ascent to the heavens. ( T h e possibility of a connection with Shamanism has not
been disproved by G o l d a m m e r ' s defense of it in Shamanismus.)
3.

RECORDS OF JESUS'

PRACTICE

T h e above indirect evidence is supported b y some direct evidence from N T


passages, chief of w h i c h is the story of the transfiguration. This direct evidence is
not conclusive, but conclusive evidence about a secret magical practice is hardly to
be expected. W h a t w e have are several puzzling passages w h i c h can all be explained
b y this one hypothesis more satisfactorily than they have hitherto been b y diverse
hypotheses.
a.

The transfiguration

T h e transfiguration is one of the most puzzling stories in the synoptics. Scholars


h a v e often noticed its resemblance to four other stories: the baptism (Feuillet,
Perspectives), the scene in Gethsemane ( K e n n y , Transfiguration, Burkill, Revelation
241), the resurrection, a n d the ascension (see above, pp. 149, 165). T o these can
now be a d d e d the initiation story from the longer text of M k . T h i s complex set of
relations has often led to attempts at source analysis (recently M l l e r , Verklrung),
none of them convincing. In this group of related stories, the Gethsemane scene
differs sharply from the rest because of its central section, the agony, and its historical
conclusion, the arrest. T h e first of these differences confirms the supposition that the
a g o n y is a homiletic insert filling the g a p produced b y the disciplina arcani, w h i c h
prohibited a report of the initiation Jesus was performing that night (see above,
pp. 177 and 237). T h e historical conclusion, on the other h a n d , indicates that this
type of story had some basis in some type of event recurrent in Jesus' life: it is not
pure myth. T h e nature of the event is indicated b y the agreements of the stories:
a preparatory period or ceremony (John's baptism ofJesus, the last supper, the burial),
a small group of participants (in the first baptism, only the Baptist and Jesus?),

243

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

a revelation (except in the Gethsemane story, where the police arrive instead). I n
the two fullest a c c o u n t s t h e transfiguration and the ascensionthe revelation
involves an ascent, a vision of the glorified Messiah, an entering into a cloud. T h e
first of the stories is the account of Jesus' baptism, and the story in the longer text of
M k . states that the thing revealed was " t h e mystery of the kingdom of G o d , " that
is (as we have seen), a baptism, leading to entrance of the heavens. Paul supposed
entering into a cloud to be a form of baptism (I Cor. 10.2); neither A l i o , I Cor.,
nor L i e t z m a n n , Korinther, could gues w h y .
O n e could m a k e sense of this data b y supposing that Jesus, w h e n baptized b y
J o h n , had some sort of ecstatic experience in w h i c h he saw the heavens opened and
the spirit took possession of h i m ( M k . 1.10), and that using the magical discipline
of his d a y he developed his spiritual gift into a technique b y w h i c h he was able to
ascend to the heavens and also to give others the same experience and similar spiritual
powers. Evidence for this might be found in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. " M y
mother, the holy spirit, seized m e by a hair of m y head and carried me off to the
great mountain, T a b o r . " L k . 10.17fr: " T h e demons are subject to us . . . I saw S a t a n
falling from the heaven like lightning. Behold. I have given you a u t h o r i t y . . . over
every power of the enemy . . . But do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject
to y o u ; rather rejoice that your names are written in the heavens." J n . 1 . 5 1 : " Y o u
shall see the heaven opened and the angels of G o d ascending and descending on the
Son of M a n . " It was seen b y Burney, Origin 1 1 5 f r that the Son of M a n is here the
ladder of Gen. 28.12, b y w h i c h ascent to the heavens is m a d e possible. So in Bereshit
Rabbah 68.12 the angels ascend and descend on J a c o b , the mediator (cf. Aphraates,
Demonstratio I V . 5 , quoted in the preceding section). As the first step in this technique
Jesus continued to use the water baptism of the Baptist, since it removed sin a n d presumably also impurity (which was automatically removed by immersion in sufficient
running water) and thus m a d e the initiate fit to enter the heavens. W h a t Jesus a d d e d
w e can guess from Paul, the Hekalot, and the " M i t h r a s L i t u r g y . " W h a t the initiates
experienced can be guessed also from the partial, remote, and deliberately secretive
reflections in our group of stories. These experiences w h i c h Jesus' disciples had
during his lifetime probably produced a n d shaped their visions of him after his
death. T h u s the resurrection and ascension stories are reflections of the transfiguration
experiences w h i c h were produced in " t h e mystery of the kingdom of G o d . " ( T h e
ancient world saw the development of m a n y such magical rites and mysteries w h i c h
purported to m a k e the initiate ascend into the heavens; see the material collected
b y L e w y , Oracles 177fr. Schrade, Ikonographie 87, saw that recollection of initiatory
experience might lie behind the story of the transfiguration.)
b.

Phil. 2.5-11;
I Tim. 3.16; Jn. 3
T h e s e three N T passages i m p l y that Jesus had ascended into the heavens before
his death. A l l three of them m a y be plausibly connected with baptism. L e t us consider first the h y m n quoted b y Paul in Phil. 2 . 6 - 1 1 (and therefore earlier than Paul's
letter): ^Messiah Jesus) ev ,
, ev ,
244

THE BACKGROUND

ovo ,

T h e credal character of this is obvious and its connection with baptism not unlikely.
It has commonly been understood (e.g., by Ksemann, Analyse, Jervell, Imago 2i2f,
227fr) by reference to Col. 1, Jn. 1, Heb. 1, etc., as beginning with an account of
the incarnation. But this neglects the fact that it is an account of what was done
by Jesus, not by " t h e S o n " (Col. and Heb.) or " t h e L o g o s " (Jn.). Nor can it be
said that " J e s u s " here is a mere slip of the pen by Paul, who carelessly attributed to
Jesus a hymn celebrating some pre-existent entity. O n the contrary, as is obvious
from the conclusion (and as Ksemann has shown at great length) the hymn is a
celebration of Jesus. Moreover, Paul expresses similar ideas about Jesus in II Cor.
8.g: ' . O f course Paul believed in a pre-existent Messiah,
but that is not in question here. In both these passages Paul is proposing an example
which his disciples can and should followthe example of their fellow man, Jesus.
Therefore, we must ask: when was Jesus in the form () of God and either
" a s G o d " ( ) or able " t o grasp at equality with G o d , " and when could he
have voluntarily relinquished this glory and taken the form of a minister ( =
35;) of Godspecifically, of a man? 1 8 T h e answer is: after his ascent to the
heavens. After the Helios initiation, quoted above in section C, the initiate is described
as , and he gives thanks with the words
,

(PGM

I V . 2 1 6 - 2 2 1 ; for parallels f r o m

rabbinic literature and the relation to Phil. 2.6ff see my discussion in Image 478ff).
Having seen Christian baptism as a magical union of the initiate with Jesus and
therefore a magical participation in Jesus' ascent, we can now see the force of Phil.
2.5 as an argument for humility and good behavior (which it is in its context, cf.
2.2fT; 2.12fr). Paul here, as so often, is arguing against a libertine interpretation
o f t h e G o s p e l . W h e n h e says

h e c o n c e d e s

that the Philippians have, as a result of baptism, been, like Jesus, .


But they should not attempt, as would the libertines, . O n the contrary
they should nowlike Jesuscome down to earth and make themselves serviceable
and obedient to their fellow Christians (among others, to Paul).
Moreover, in this instance we can specify the apocalyptic tradition by which the
magical practice was interpreted: it is that of Enoch. Enoch began his apocalyptic
career as a holy man who was taken up to heaven to see the rewards and punishments
reserved for the righteous and wicked, then sent back to earth for a one-year ministry
18. T h e specification was necessary because the angels are also , A p o c . 19.10. O n
the other h a n d , no significance w h a t e v e r c a n be attached to the distinctions of m e a n i n g to be f o u n d
b e t w e e n , , a n d . T h i s is devotional poetry, not philosophic prose. ( A n d even for
philosophic prose, see the observations of Wolfson on the laxity of Philo's usage, Philo 1.102.) In the
h y m n paraphrased b y P a u l in Philippians the choice of words w a s p r o b a b l y determined more b y
metrical considerations than b y those of content, a n d

p r o b a b l y represent

Aramaic

terms w h i c h w e r e once equated, since the verse in w h i c h they stand still shows its original parallelismus
membrorum.

245

CLEMENT OF A L E X A N D R I A

to w a r n men of the j u d g m e n t ( = rule, kingdom) to c o m e : I Enoch 81.5). I n 7 1 . 1 1


it is mentioned that he was transfigured w h e n taken on high. This theme is developed
in II Enoch, where his transfiguration makes him look exactly like a n angel ( 2 2 . 1 0
this could be or iv -rj deov, since angels are often called " g o d s " in Jewish
tradition; e.g., Image 4 7 7 ; K s e m a n n ' s statement that ' 0 could not come from
J u d a i s m is mistaken). T h i s time, w h e n E n o c h was sent down on his saving mission
to m e n (ch. 36), he h a d to be changed back to a form m e n could bear to see (ch. 37).
II Enoch probably dates from sometime in the late first century (Scholem, Gnosticism
17) and is therefore approximately contemporary with the Ascension of Isaiah where,
as in Phil. 2, w e have the E n o c h story adapted to Christianity. In the Ascension of
Isaiah, the prophet is transfigured on the w a y up and becomes like an angel (7.25;
9.30). T h e n the descent of the L o r d is foretold: it involves a whole series of transformations, first to the likeness of the angels of the lower heaven and eventually
into h u m a n form (ch. 10). Finally Isaiah is ordered to return into his garment of
flesh ( = ) and go back to earth (11.35). H e is to be a martyr for
G o d a n d for the salvation of m e n ( ). Last of all comes III
Enoch (closely connected w i t h the Hekalot literature and its doctrine of magical
ascent). Here E n o c h is transformed into the angel M e t a t r o n and is given the n a m e
" Y a h w e h " (ch. 12, cf. 15), as is Jesus in Phil. 2 . 9 - 1 1 ( " Y a h w e h " = ); and
all the powers of heaven fall prostrate before him (ch. 14), as they do before Jesus
in Philippians. These parallels suffice to show from w h a t tradition the h y m n in
Philippians has come. T h e parallels from the Hermetica to w h i c h Jervell, Imago
228fr, appeals are less similar in content and more remote from Palestinian tradition.
H e r e again the closest and earliest parallels to Paul's ideas about Jesus are to be
found in Palestinian material. Such parallels establish a strong presumption that
Paul got these ideas from Jesus' Palestinian followers, w h o got them from Jesus
himself.
T h e s e parallels also m a k e it probable that the similar h y m n in I T i m . 3.16, o?
iv , eV , , iv ,
iv , iv -, reflects the same tradition: the gift of the spirit is
immediately followed by the first ascension, then comes the ministry on earth, and
finally the second ascension in glory. This h y m n shows the "adoptionist C h r i s t o l o g y "
(deriving from the historical tradition that Jesus' messianic delusion began with his
baptism) combined with the "pre-existent C h r i s t o l o g y " w h i c h eventually w o n out.
T h e two theories can be reconciled in a n y n u m b e r of w a y s ; their combination m a y
go back to Jesus himself: he would not have been the only m a n in antiquity to
think himself the son or incarnation of a supernatural power (Wetter, Sohn ch. 1).
T h i s interpretation of Phil. 2 . 6 - 1 1 and I T i m . 3.16 is strengthened b y the fact
that the same outline of Jesus' career appears more explicitly in J n . 3 where
the connection with baptism is indubitable. A f t e r h a v i n g declared that to enter the
k i n g d o m of G o d one must be reborn of water and of the spirit (verses 3frfor the
rebirth imagery see CH X I I I and Festugiere's notes ad loc.), Jesus goes on to describe
the magical powers of one w h o possesses the spirit: L i k e the spirit itself he can go
a b o u t invisible; his motions cannot be traced. (So PGM I.222ff; 247fr; etc.; the
246

THE BACKGROUND

superstition goes b a c k to Plato's r i n g of G y g e s , Republic 359f. J o h n p r o b a b l y m e a n t


this b o t h s y m b o l i c a l l y a n d literally; his Jesus c o u l d w a l k o n w a t e r , 6 . 1 9 , a n d t h r o u g h
c r o w d s of m e n w h o w i s h e d to seize h i m , 7.44, 8.59, 10.39; a n d t h r o u g h locked doors,
20.19.) N i c o d e m u s ' request for a n e x p l a n a t i o n suggests disbelief (verse 9). Jesus
replies (1 o f f ) that all this is well k n o w n in J e w i s h tradition ( w h e r e m a g i c a l practices
w e r e long established) a n d t h a t he is speaking f r o m personal e x p e r i e n c e (
).

H e then goes on, el em'yeia ' ,

evee;
,

erjKev els el 4

6 vlos . T h e n comes a reference to the Son's future crucifixion

a n d a n a c c o u n t of his role as a m e a n s of salvation. T h i s lecture o n b a p t i s m is foll o w e d b y the report t h a t Jesus w e n t forth a n d b a p t i z e d (verse 22), w h i c h leads to the
Baptist's " t e s t i m o n y " to Jesus ( 2 7 f r ) : Jesus is the b r i d e g r o o m w h o has the b r i d e (;.
the spirit, W e t t e r , Sohn 5 4 ) ; he comes f r o m " a b o v e , " t h a t is, f r o m G o d ( = " t h e
h e a v e n " ) , a n d is therefore a b o v e all a n d ewpaKev ,
32).
H e r e B a r r e t t (on verse 13) takes ,

...,

(verse

as a c o m m e n t m a d e

b y the C h u r c h , w h i l e B u l t m a n n (Johannes 108) sees it in a p r o p h e c y of the resurrection


a n d a s c e n s i o n o n e of the " h e a v e n l y t h i n g s " N i c o d e m u s c o u l d not believe. B u t the
p l a i n sense of the passage is: " Y o u do n o t believe w h a t I tell y o u of e a r t h l y things
(like the m i r a c u l o u s p o w e r s o f the b a p t i z e d ) , h o w will y o u believe if I tell y o u o f
h e a v e n l y things <the ascent into the k i n g d o m ) ? Y e t <1 a m the o n l y one q u a l i f i e d
to declare such things, f o r ) n o one has ascended into the h e a v e n e x c e p t he w h o { f i r s t )
c a m e d o w n f r o m h e a v e n , the Son of M a n ( t h a t is, I ) . " So, a g a i n , verse 32. H e r e
w e h a v e , as in I T i m . 3.16, the c o m b i n a t i o n of " a d o p t i o n i s t " a n d " p r e - e x i s t e n t "
Christologies. F o r J o h n , Jesus is the i n c a r n a t i o n of the pre-existent logos. B u t this
does not p r e v e n t J o h n f r o m preserving a n d r e w o r k i n g m a t e r i a l w h i c h has c o m e to
h i m f r o m a n earlier a n d m o r e historical tradition, a n d to such m a t e r i a l w e o w e
this recollection that Jesus in his lifetime c l a i m e d to h a v e g o n e u p to h e a v e n a n d
to speak of it from

firsthand

k n o w l e d g e . ( C o n t r a s t S i d e b o t t o m ' s contorted a t t e m p t

to e x p l a i n a w a y the reference of the ascent.) Parallels to J n . 3.3 in the Clementine


Homilies X I . 2 6 . 2 a n d M a c a r i u s (Neue Homilien X V I . 3 , p. 83) show such agreements
against J n . that Q u i s p e l (Syrian Thomas 23of) argues that this m a t e r i a l was h a n d e d
d o w n i n d e p e n d e n t l y b y a J e w i s h - C h r i s t i a n Gospel tradition a k i n to that of the
Gospel of Thomas. O n e of the most i m p o r t a n t characteristics of this tradition, in Q u i s pel's opinion, was the belief " t h a t eschatology has been r e a l i z e d here a n d n o w
a n d that this has implications for m a r r i a g e a n d possessions" (p. 235). T h e possible
r e l e v a n c e of this w i l l b e c o m e a p p a r e n t later, w h e n w e speak of the libertine side of
early Christianity.
O t h e r references to the tradition of Jesus' ascent are p r o b a b l y to be f o u n d in J n .
6.38,42,58,62, since it is this t r a d i t i o n t h a t Jesus h a d b e e n taken u p into h e a v e n ,
transformed into a s u p e r n a t u r a l being, a n d sent b a c k into the w o r l d as the messenger
of the F a t h e r w h i c h explains w h y the J e w s b o t h do a n d do not k n o w w h e n c e he
c o m e s : they k n o w his earthly origin b u t not his h e a v e n l y mission. T h e same tradition,
a g a i n , lies b e h i n d 10.36, w h e r e Jesus speaks of himself as o n e " w h o m the F a t h e r
247

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

hallowed and sent into the w o r l d . " This description fits a figure like Enoch, w h o was
first a m a n , then was taken up into heaven, hallowed, and sent back to earth. I t
does not fit the Logos, w h i c h from the beginning " w a s G o d " ( i . i ) and therefore
could never have been hallowed. T h e commentators, from St. Cyril of A l e x a n d r i a
down to Bultmann and Barrett, w h o try to avoid the difficulty b y equating sanctification with commission, probably understand the verse as the author intended it to
be understood. But the Johannine context imposes on the words a meaning w h i c h
they ordinarily w o u l d not carry.
Finally, in Hebrews the secret doctrine to w h i c h the believers should go on (leaving
behind the elementary, exoteric t e a c h i n g 6 . i f f ) is that of Jesus' ascent to the
heavens (9.1 i f f ) , w h i c h enables the baptized to follow him thither ( i o . i g f f ) . Here,
as in Paul, the doctrine has been reinterpreted in the light of the passionJesus has
been m a d e the high priest bearing the sacrifice of his o w n blood into the heavenly
a d y t o n ; but this reinterpretation m a y disguise a teaching rooted in Jesus' magical
practice.

E.

The rite liberated its recipients from the Mosaic law

W e turn now to the fifth of the traits of Pauline baptism w h i c h were listed as
p r o b a b l y derived from Jesus. This is the fact that it results in liberty from the Mosaic
L a w . Paul expresses this as a consequence of the death of Jesus: B y his death Jesus
satisfied the demands of the L a w , so that it had no further claim on h i m ; the baptized,
being united with him, are also beyond its claims (e.g., R o m . 7.4). T h e r e has been
m u c h speculation as to how P a u l r e p o r t e d l y a P h a r i s e e c a m e to hold such a
theory, so alien to his training and his moralizing temperament a n d therefore
probably not his o w n invention. Perhaps the most brilliant presentation of the problem remains that b y M a c h e n , Origin, w h o argues that Paul got the main ideas b y
tradition from Jesus. Here w e shall begin by distinguishing between Paul's explanation of why baptism results in liberty from the L a w , and the mere teaching that
it does so. Paul's explanation presupposes Jesus' death and therefore can hardly
go back to Jesus himself. But the mere teaching makes no presupposition. Therefore
it might be supposed to have come from Jesus if there were good evidence of his
belief that he and his disciples had been freed from the requirements of the L a w .
W e should then suppose that his freedom began with his identification with " t h e
S o n " as a result of his possession by the spirit at his baptism, and that the freedom
of his disciples resulted from their identification with him through their possession
b y his spirit, in the baptism w h i c h he administered (cf. I I K g s . 2.9fr, where Elisha
gets a double portion of Elijah's spirit as a result of seeing him taken u p to heaven
in a chariot of fire and/or a whirlwind). It w o u l d be plausible also to connect both
Jesus' a n d his disciples' possession b y the spirit and consequent freedom from the
L a w with their entrance of the kingdom, conceived as a passage from this world
or age (subject to the L a w ) to the coming world or age (of liberty). A century later
R a b b i Elisha ben A b u y a h was believed to have learned how to enter the paradise
248

THE BACKGROUND

in the heavens, and this was thought the cause of his throwing over the L a w and
b e c o m i n g a libertine (. Hagigah i4.bff a n d parallels. Like Jesus, even after he h a d
become a libertine he continued to be consulted as a n authority on legal questions,
ibid.., i5a-b).
T h e evidence on Jesus' attitude toward law is complex. Here all that can be done
is to indicate the major elements. (See further Jesus' Attitude.)
First, the law of the state: Jesus was condemned and executed for criminal sedition;
he was arrested at a nocturnal meeting (to w h i c h at least one of his followers h a d
come armed, M k . 14.47 a n d parallels, cf. L k . 22.38). Sometime before his arrest he
had created a disturbance in the T e m p l e markets ( M k . 1 1 . 1 5 f a n d parallels), a n d
he was accused of plotting to destroy the T e m p l e ( M k . 14.58 and parallel; J n . 2.19).
A s to his teaching about taxes, w e have contrary reports: M k . 12.17 and parallels
(render unto C a e s a r ) ; M t . i7-26f (his followers are free but m a y p a y if they wish,
from policy). T h e charge that he forbade p a y m e n t of taxes appears in one report
of his trial, L k . 23.2.
Second, the Mosaic L a w : T h e evidence is again contradictory. First there are a
series of sayings i m p l y i n g that the Mosaic L a w is still in force. These are notoriously
conspicuous in M t . (5.17,20; 23.2; etc.) but they occur also in Q_ and M k . M t .
5.18 II L k . 1 6 . 1 7 i t is easier for heaven a n d earth to pass a w a y than for one iota to fall
from the L a w . M t . 23.23 || L k . 1 1 . 4 2 : one should do justice and love mercy and also
tithe. M k . 10.19: obedience to the ten commandments is the w a y of life; cf. M k .
12.34.
T h e same i m p l i c a t i o n t h a t the Mosaic L a w is still in f o r c e i s to be seen in a
series of stories and sayings in w h i c h Jesus interprets one or another c o m m a n d m e n t
either m o r e or less strictly than do his contemporaries; for example, the stories of
preparing food a n d healing on the S a b b a t h , M k . 2.23fr; 3 . i f f ; L k . 13.iofF; 14.1fr;
J n . 5 . i f f ; 9 . i f f . I n most of these Jesus defends his action b y arguments from the O T
or from precedents in Jewish tradition. These arguments presuppose the validity
of the Mosaic L a w w h i c h they interpret; thus M k . 2.25fr; M t . 1 2 . 5 , 1 1 ; L k . i 3 . i o f f ;
J n . 7.22. T h e same validity is presupposed b y most of the material in M t . 5 a n d 23
a n d parallels. This large and clear body of evidence determines the interpretation
of w h a t otherwise might be dubious cases, where Jesus' exegesis is so drastic as to
practically annul a provision of the Mosaic L a w ; e.g., M k . 1 0 . i f f ; M t . 5.38; " J n . "
8. ff. These are to be understood as corrections of detail (tikkunim) w h i c h do not
call into question the validity of the general system. (All this is familiar a n d is
documented in Strack-Billerbeck a n d Bonsirven, Textes.)
O n the other hand, there is an important series of sayings in w h i c h the coming
of the kingdom in Jesus and his disciples is represented as the beginning of a new
age, sharply distinguished from the old age of the L a w . " T h e L a w a n d the prophets
were until J o h n , from then on the kingdom of G o d is p r o c l a i m e d " and is available
to those w h o will use violence (Mt. n . i 2 f || L k . 16.16). Consequently, the least
in the k i n g d o m is greater than J n . (Mt. 11.11 || L k . 7.28). T h e new kingdom is
the new garment w h i c h is not to be cut to p a t c h up the antiquated fabric of J u d a i s m
(Lk. 5.36); it is the new wine not to be put in the old bottles ( M k . 2.22). Therefore

249

CLEMENT OF A L E X A N D R I A

the Son of M a n is lord of the S a b b a t h ( M k . 2.28) and has authority on earth to


forgive sins ( M k . 2. i f f and parallels; L k . 7.47fr); and his companions, as he celebrates
his marriage w i t h the spirit, m a y not fast ( M k . 2.19). As opposed to the Baptist,
w h o represented the L a w a n d therefore came " i n the w a y of r i g h t e o u s n e s s " t h a t
is, asceticism ( M t . 1 1 . 1 8 ; 21.32), he comes eating and drinking and is called a
gluttonous m a n and a winebibber, a friend of publicans a n d sinners ( M t . 1 1 . 1 9 || L k .
7.34), in whose homes he is a frequent guest ( M k . 2.15 a n d parallels; L k . 15. i f ;
1 9 . i f f ) . His yoke, by contrast to that of the law, is light ( M t . n . 2 8 f f ; Acts 15.10).
A s J o h n said, the L a w came b y Moses, grace b y Jesus ( 1 . 1 7 ) . W i t h the coming of
grace came a new c o m m a n d m e n t , to love one another (Jn. 13.34; 1 5 . 1 2 ; M t . 5.44fr).
Accordingly, worship at G e r i z i m and Jerusalem was to be replaced by worship
in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4.2 i f f ) . For the Son had now revealed to his chosen the
hitherto u n k n o w n Father ( M t . 11.27 || L k . 10.22 || J n . 1.18), and it was at last possible
to assure the initiate, " Y o u shall know the truth, and the truth will m a k e y o u f r e e "
(Jn. 8.32). " F r e e " from w h a t ? T h e saying is directed " t o the J e w s " (8.31), so the
implication is, " f r e e from the L a w . "
Between these opposing bodies of material there is a large no-man's-land of sayings
w h i c h can be interpreted one w a y or the othereither as expressions of a liberal
legal position, or as manifestations of the freedom of the n e w age. T h e neglect of
washing before meals is a recurrent example ( M k . 7.5 and parallel; L k . 11.38). But
in spite of this (and of other complicating factors) the difference of the two m a i n
bodies of tradition is clear. It is also clear that both are so widely represented in the
preserved documents that neither can safely be dismissed as secondary. N o d o u b t
it was true (as I argued in Elements) that the rapprochement between the Jerusalem
church and Pharisaism in the forties and thereafter contributed not a little to the
reformation of Jesus. A n d the legal arguments to justify the sabbath healings are
separable and perhaps secondary. But the bulk of the legalistic material, and the
consistency with w h i c h it appears in all the sources, rule out a n y attempt to eliminate
it from the primary evidence. O n the other h a n d , the sayings on the presence of
the kingdom are now generally recognized as reflections of the most peculiar a n d
original element in Jesus' teaching.
W h a t is needed, therefore, is some explanation of the coexistence of these two
bodies of material. A n d from w h a t w e have seen above, the explanation can be
supplied. T h e legalistic material represents Jesus' exoteric teaching. For " t h o s e
w i t h o u t " ( M k . 4 . 1 1 ) the law was still binding, and for them Jesus interpreted it as
did the lawyers of his time, holding with more lenient opinions in some instances,
with stricter ones in others. (Such variation appears in the opinions of every ancient
r a b b i . ) 1 9 His secret teaching was only for those to w h o m the mystery of the kingdom
19. H o w it came about that Jesus was consulted as a legal authority (e.g., Mk. 10.2; Lk. 12.13) we
do not know. It is not impossible that he had some legal training. As the Hekalot tracts, the stories of
Yohanan ben Zakkai (on which Neusner, Life g7, etc.), and the magical material newly discovered by
Margalioth demonstrate, the halakic tradition, even in rabbinic Judaism, has close connections with
the study of magic, including the practice of ascents to the heavens. T h a t these could be combined with
libertinism, too, and that the successful magician and notorious libertine could remain a great legal
authority, is shown in the case of Rabbi Elisha ben Abuyah. O n the other hand, anyone in first-century

25

THE BACKGROUND

had been given {ibid..). He had no intention of giving that which was holy to the
dogs, or of casting his pearls before swine (Mt. 7.6). T h e contradictions of the present
Gospels may result from seepage of secret material into originally exoteric texts.
O f this we should now have a further example in the additions of the longer text to
Mk. More evidence might be seen in the fact that material suggesting the presence
of the kingdom, as a radically new regime exempt from the laws of the former age,
is more prominent in ) and L than in M k . i t was added to Mk. by Matthew and
Luke. Later additions may be found in Jn. 8.iff and in the western text (D) at the
end of Lk. 6.4: " O n the same day, seeing a man working on the sabbath, he said
to him, ' Man, if you know what you are doing, you are blessed, but if you do not
know, you are accursed and a transgressor of the L a w . ' "
More of the esoteric teaching is found in the epistles of Paul, the oldest Christian
documents and those most surely written for reading within the closed circles of the
churches. Within those circles there were still distinctions in degree of initiation
(I Cor. 3.iff)esoterism is rarely content with a simple inside-outside contrast, but
loves to elaborate secrets within secrets to the thirty-third degree. Nevertheless,
Paul enables us to glimpse the true beliefs of the congregations to which