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Lightfoot’s Text of 2 Clement: A Response to W.L. Petersen

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image of Vigiliae Christianae

This study provides a response to the 2006 Vigiliae Christianae article of William Petersen discussing aspects of the text of 2 Clement in the highly influential edition of J.B. Lightfoot. Petersen discussed four readings in Lightfoot’s edition that he suggested should be changed. He also discussed what he regarded as serious fundamental flaws in Lightfoot’s work which have serious repercussions today in textual study of both the texts of Church Fathers and also of the New Testament. This article examines the four specific readings in 2 Clement discussed by Petersen. It also examines the more general methodological issues raised in his article. It is argued here that Lightfoot’s overall methodology was perhaps not as suspect as Petersen argued and that, while all text editions are open to debate at individual points, the general approach adopted by Lightfoot and others does not perhaps merit the strong criticisms levelled by Petersen.

Affiliations: 1: Pembroke College Oxford OX1 1DW, UK, Email:


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