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Excursus I: The Background of 2 Clem. I:4-8

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Chapter Summary

The human situation before Jesus Christ is described in this hymnic confession by terminology which for the most part has no parallel in the New Testament or the Apostolic Fathers. For 2 Clement, one sees, it is not the reasoning faculty which confers sight, but Jesus Christ. 2 Clement's usage is obviously different since it describes the situation of the author's congregation before the Christ event. The dualism which is pre-supposed in these texts comes to vivid expression in 2 Clement. 6:3. That 2 Clement is influenced by these New Testament passages is doubtful since there it is always God's Son who is sent. The confession in 2 Clement 1:4-8 is that it stems from a Christian tradition which is heavily influenced by Hellenistic Judaism and a religious atmosphere which has points of contact with a developing Gnosticism.

Keywords: 2 Clement; Apostolic Fathers; Gnosticism; God's Son; Hellenistic Judaism; hymnic confession; Jesus Christ

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