13 votes, average: 5.00 out of 513 votes, average: 5.00 out of 513 votes, average: 5.00 out of 513 votes, average: 5.00 out of 513 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (13 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Is 1 Clement Older than Some Books of the New Testament?

This will be my final post on the book of 1 Clement.  Now that I’ve summarized what the book is about and said something about its author, I can turn to the original question I was asked, about its date.  The time of its writing is an important question, for a reason you might not suspect.

It is almost always said – I myself regularly say this, as a kind of simple “short hand,” knowing that it’s probably not literally true, that the books of the New Testament are the “earliest” Christian writings we have.  In fact, if, as is often thought, Revelation was written around 95 CE, and 2 Peter around 120, then a couple of other Christian books may have ante-dated them, including 1 Clement and the Didache, two of the apostolic fathers.  So too, the letters of Ignatius of Antioch were almost certainly written around 110 CE.

So, the big question here is: when did this anonymous author from Rome write the book of 1 Clement?   This is how I discuss the matter in my edition for the Loeb Classical Library.



We are on somewhat firmer ground when it comes to assigning a date to the letter, although here too critical scholars have raised serious questions.  What is clear is that ….

You won’t be able to read the rest of the post without joining the blog.  I can’t think why you shouldn’t!  You’ve read this far!  Why not keep going?  Joining is cheap and all the proceeds go to charity.

You need to be logged in to see this part of the content. Please Login to access.





How the Gospel of Thomas Was Discovered
Did a “Pope” Write the First-Century Book of 1 Clement?



  1. Avatar
    gbsinkers  August 13, 2018

    Your posts on this book have again raised my interest in knowing how the church fathers/hierarchy came to be. Perhaps you could start a thread on that next.

  2. talmoore
    talmoore  August 13, 2018

    “This view of the historical context is now by and large rejected. There is nothing in the epistle that suggests it was written in the context of persecution: the “misfortunes and setbacks” could just as easily have been internal struggles within the church.”

    I wonder how much of this relates to the 2nd Jewish rebellion — the so-called Kitos War — of 115 to 117? It seems the Jews were intent on bringing about a renewed endtimes war with the help of Parthia, Rome’s enemies to the east. And since Christians at the time probably still saw their fate intertwined with that of the Jews, I wouldn’t be surprised if many Christians had a role in this affair, as well. That is, when the Jewish rebellion failed, many Christians saw this as a setback of sorts for the messianic movements in general. Is there any research into this possibility, Dr. Ehrman?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 14, 2018

      Are you referring to the Alexandrian uprising? In any event — the book was written about 20 years earlier.

      • talmoore
        talmoore  August 14, 2018

        No, Dr. Ehrman, I’m referring to the 2nd Jewish Rebellion in which the Jews of Libya (Cyrene, etc) rose up again in messianic fervor in 115 CE, with the help of Parthia — though, IIRC, the rebellion did spill into Alexandria at some point. I believe the Alexandrian uprising you’re referring to was the one ca. 38 CE — the one recorded by Philo. In either case, if 1 Clement were written within the milieu of Jewish messianic fervor from the 2nd rebellion in 115 and the Bar Kokhba rebellion in 132, that ~15 year period in which you and other scholars presume the epistle was composed could be representative of that milieu – namely, the “misfortunes and setbacks” could refer to the messianic movements as a whole, from Bar Kochba’s rebellion and R. Akiva’s attempt to rebuilt the Temple, to Christians seeing the renewed fervor of the Jews as the unfolding of the Endtimes.

        • talmoore
          talmoore  August 14, 2018

          I believe scholars such as yourself appear to have a habit of separating Jewish and Christian motives and interests in that period. It’s as if once the Temple were destroyed, there was a fork in the road, and the Jews took one prong and the Christians took the other, and neither side ever crossed paths again. But this seems like an all-too-rigged model placed on top of history. The way it looks to me, the Christians were not ignorant to what the Jews were up to. Nor were they passive spectators either. Indeed, it looks to my eyes, at least, that the Christians still had their own fates tied up with that of the Jews. For if the Jews succeed, then, somehow, the Christians were also succeeding.

          This is a classical example of hindsight bias. Since scholars are able to look back over 2000 years of history, they have a vestigial sense of destiny — as if it were all supposed to happen this way. But we must keep in mind that the Christian contemporaries of Bar Kokhba and Akiva didn’t know any better that the rebellions would fail, and that the Temple would not be rebuilt. The Christians probably presumed the same as the Jews, that since there were 70 years between the 1st and 2nd Temple, that there must be 70 years between the 2nd and 3rd Temples (70 to 140), naturally. And when there was no 3rd Temple, then, yeah, that was an unanticipated setback for them. To us it feels inevitable, but to them, the future that seemed certain, wasn’t.

          • Bart
            Bart  August 15, 2018

            That’s not what I think at all. But I do think the vast majority of converts to Christianity at the end of the first century came from pagan religions, not Judaism. In any event, there is a massive scholarship on the relationship of Judasim and Christianity in the first 400 years of the Christian movement. Not sure if you’re abreast of it or not.

          • talmoore
            talmoore  August 15, 2018

            I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily “abreast” of it, but I’m familiar with some of it. (I recently read the Jewish Annotated New Testament, which gets into some of that research, along with the work of Vermes and Shaye Cohen). But I have to say that the research into the connection between post-Temple-destruction Judaism and post-Temple-destruction Christianity still feels — how shall I say? — thin? I would even go so far as to say it feels “timid” — as if scholars are too scared to confront the reality on the ground. Namely, that in the real world — apart from their conferences, and their tenure committees and whatnot — they are all concerted to avoid that one big question that could potentially upend their entire livelihoods. I’m not saying this to be mean-spirited. I’m just being honest.

            What I mean to say is, it’s pretty much obvious to anyone who dares to not look away that Christianity and Judaism cannot be both “correct”. That is, they cannot, in the real world, both be accurate representations of reality. One of them — or BOTH of them — simply must be “wrong”. And by “wrong,” we must be honest about what me mean when an entire weltanschauung is “wrong”. What we are admitting is that it is, in essence, a fraud. And, again, it’s possible for BOTH to be “wrong” — hence both are frauds. If scholars honestly, sincerely made an effort to connect those dots, the picture that they are in all likelihood bound to find is basically one giant, massive fraud. And who wants to be the scholar who admits that their entire field of expertise is based on 2000 years of bullshit? So they play ball. They do what they can get away with, and what they cannot get away with, they ignore.

          • Bart
            Bart  August 17, 2018

            I’m not understanding you. If you haven’t read the scholarship, how do you know it is thin? But as to whether they can be both be “correct,” that is a question of theologians; it’s not a historical question, and the scholarship I’m referring to focuses on the history of the relationship, no the truth claims.

          • talmoore
            talmoore  August 17, 2018

            “If you haven’t read the scholarship, how do you know it is thin?”

            Admittedly, I’ve only gotten the gist of the scholarship (I mean, there’s only so many hours in the day, Dr. Ehrman) and the gist feels…underwhelming.

          • Bart
            Bart  August 19, 2018

            As I said, there’s a massive literature, some of it veyr impressive indeed. If you want to start digging in, I’d suggest the classics of Jules Isaac and Marcel Simon, and then possibly the more recent classics of Rosemary Ruether and John Gager. But these are really just starters.

          • talmoore
            talmoore  August 19, 2018

            Funny enough, Marcel Simon’s most influential work, Verus Israel, has the subtitle “Study of the Relations Between Christians and Jews in the Roman Empire, AD 135-425”. Which is exactly my point. Jewish Christian relations didn’t begin in the year 135. Simon probably begins his study in 135 because he’s unable (or unwilling?) to study the very period I’m talking about — viz. 30 to 135 CE.

            And, although it’s not necessarily a problem, I notice that most of the work by the authors you’ve mentioned also happen to be about the how relations between Jews and Christians developed into anti-Semitism, which I think — while certainly worthwhile — is, at best, only half the story. This is what I mean when I say it feels like the study of the mutual, tandem evolution of Judaism and Christianity from 30 to 135 CE feels woefully underdeveloped.

          • Bart
            Bart  August 20, 2018

            I don’t know that he says that they began then. Maybe he does — can’t remember. But he certainly doesn’t think they *ended* in 425, so I kinda doubt it. There are other reasons for thinking that 135 is as good a place as any to start. Most modern experts, in fact, are reluctant to talk about “Christianity” in the early decades of the church, since there wasn’t some kind of religion distinct from Judaism. Also, just because these authors are interested in anti-Jewish sentiment, it would be a very large mistake to think they imagine that is the whole story. So far as I know, no one does.

        • Bart
          Bart  August 15, 2018

          My dating puts 1 Clement 20 years before that, and in a different part of the world.

          • talmoore
            talmoore  August 15, 2018

            If 1 Clement were truly written in Rome, then it might as well have been written anywhere, because living in Rome during the days of the empire was like living in every part of the empire itself. All news from around the empire eventually found its way to Rome, propter omnes viae Romam ducunt. So who knows what events throughout the empire led to the writing of that and many other epistles?

          • Bart
            Bart  August 17, 2018

            By Rome I mean the city of Rome, not the Roman empire.

          • talmoore
            talmoore  August 18, 2018

            “By Rome I mean the city of Rome, not the Roman empire.”

            What’s the difference?

          • Bart
            Bart  August 19, 2018

            Uh, Alexandria was in the Roman Empire, but it was not the city of Rome or in the city of Rome. What are you asking?

          • talmoore
            talmoore  August 19, 2018

            “Uh, Alexandria was in the Roman Empire, but it was not the city of Rome or in the city of Rome. What are you asking?”

            Okay, let me put it a different way. Let’s say that it’s the year 1100 CE. And you’re a Christian scholar living in Paris. And you’ve written something for other Christian scholars to read. Let’s say an open letter. Let’s ask, would there have been any recent event somewhere out in the world — say, a year earlier — that would have been of such historical significance and would have had such an important impact on the Christian world, that it would have been highly unusual if you didn’t address it in your letter?

            Now let’s say you’re a Christian scholar living in Rome sometime between 70 and 140 CE, and you have written a letter for other Christians to read.

          • Bart
            Bart  August 20, 2018

            That’s precisely not what 1 Clement is. It is not an open letter. It is a letter from the Christians in Rome to the Christians in Corinth dealing with one specific problem that has arisen.

  3. Liam Foley
    Liam Foley  August 13, 2018

    In 2 Clement 5:2-4, the author quotes a saying of Jesus which is partially found in the New Testament, but the version quoted in 2 Clement is substantially longer than the version found in the New Testament. Do Scholars believe that sayings attributed to Jesus in 2 Clement could plausibly be from the mouth of the Historical Jesus?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 14, 2018

      It’s always possible, but since 2 Clement is about a century after the Gospels, it seems more likely that he’s paraphrasing or just giving the text differently from anything actually found in his manuscripts.

  4. Avatar
    forthfading  August 13, 2018

    Dr. Ehrman,

    If it is reasonable to date the letter at the end of the first century, then why is there not a more firm tradition of authorship? Or have I misunderstood the conclusion?


    • Bart
      Bart  August 14, 2018

      I’m not sure what you’re asking. Is it why early Christian readers didn’t ascribe it to someone? I believe they assigned it to Clement.

  5. Avatar
    prestonp  August 13, 2018

    “The stories of Jesus’ miracles in the Gospels are not disinterested accounts of what happened in Galilee, told for antiquarian interests by those who wanted to provide an objective overview of events in an outpost of imperial Rome. The stories were being told – always were being told – in order to convince people that Jesus was the Son of God.” Bart

    Some topics are left unresolved from my point of view, so if I continue discussing them, that’s often why. In response to the statement above I must ask the simple question, “Bart, how do you know?” Specifically, how do you come to that conclusion?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 14, 2018

      I really think that you should read some of my books maybe? The full answer would take a chapter, if not a whole book. But for starters, they are called “Gospels.” That word refers to books that proclaim good news. They are not called “Histories.”

      • Avatar
        prestonp  August 15, 2018

        I commented before that most of my free time is absorbed by these topics through reading, listening to debates, etc.

        “The stories of Jesus’ miracles in the Gospels are not disinterested accounts of what happened in Galilee” Agreed. Of course not.
        “The stories were being told – always were being told – in order to convince people that Jesus was the Son of God.” Definitely

        “…they are called “Gospels.” That word refers to books that proclaim good news. They are not called “Histories.” Bart

        That fact, that they are called Gospels, has nothing to do with their historical accuracy or inaccuracy. However, if indeed those responsible for what is written in them cared to present a convincing message, the true Gospel, they’d better have their facts straight, don’t you think?

        Referring to the Gospels you write, “…these books, however, were written by highly educated and well trained, Greek-speaking, elite Christians” Bart

        As such, they had every reason in the world and in the one to come, to be absolutely certain the information they shared was dead on. What might happen if they were proven wrong? As consecrated, trained, “elite” Christians, they were compelled from without and from within to be truthful, accurate, and honest.

    • Avatar
      flcombs  August 15, 2018

      Prestonp: “Bart, how do you know?”

      ‘Cause the Bible tells us so! Like many of us, Bart has certainly read verses like John 20:31. Have you?

      John 20:31 “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

  6. Avatar
    Matthew Herrada  August 14, 2018

    To what extent do textual critics have to rely on internal evidence as opposed to external evidence (manuscripts, archeological discoveries, etc.) when it comes to dating?

    • Avatar
      Matthew Herrada  August 14, 2018

      Also, shouldn’t the date be later considering:
      1. The distinction for “this generation” is merely a differentiation between the Old Testament fathers of antiquity and the more, but not so much, contemporary times?
      2. The presbyters installed by the apostles have died (44:2) and a second ecclesiastical generation has passed (44:3)
      3. The church at Rome is called “ancient” (47:6)
      4. The emissaries from Rome are said to have lived “blamelessly” as Christians “from youth to old age” (63:3).

      • Bart
        Bart  August 14, 2018

        Depends what you mean by “late.” These are among the factors that I mention in establishing the date.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 14, 2018

      I’m not sure what you’re asking. Do you mean dating variant readings, or something else?

  7. Avatar
    prestonp  August 14, 2018

    Received wisdom is that the historian can say nothing about miracles. This statement can take one of several different forms. For example, Bart Ehrman says of the Resurrection that “Historians can only establish what probably happened in the past, and by definition a miracle is the least probable occurrence. And so, by the very nature of the canons of historical research, we can’t claim historically that a miracle probably happened.”

    It’s simply not true that a miracle claim can never be said to have probably happened – whether by a historian, a philosopher, or anyone else. Interestingly, the key to the argument from Bayesian probability is the power of multiple eyewitness testimony. Hume, writing before the advent of the probability calculus, also understood the importance of multiple eyewitnesses. However, without the benefit of the calculus, he underestimated it.

    One of the remarkable features of the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus – the central miracle claim of Christianity – is the evidence for multiple eyewitness testimony. Thus the kind of evidence which the probability calculus would show centuries later was crucial to establishing a miracle claim is the kind of evidence which is found at the heart of the Christian message. This also puts Christianity on a much different footing than any other religion or worldview. Christians should not be shy about saying so.

    In the end, the view that historians can never affirm a miraculous event is simply a presumption of naturalism. It’s philosophy under the guise of history, and eliminates certain kinds of explanations (namely supernatural ones) at the outset. That this way of thinking has been accepted for so long in the academy is more a reflection of the political and cultural forces that have dominated the West since the Enlightenment than it is of truth. It is time for those assumptions to be challenged head-on.


    answering seekers, equipping Christians, and demonstrating the truth of the Christian worldview

    December 4, 2012 by John Fraser

    • Avatar
      GregAnderson  August 15, 2018

      I have to speak up for Bayes here, in case some of your readers might be bamboozled by the important-sounding mention of a “probability calculus.”

      Bayes’ famous equation, in its entirety is:

      P(A|B) = P(B|A) * P(A) / P(B)

      All of those P(something) terms are probabilities; simple numbers between 0 and 1. ‘A’ and ‘B’ are two events. Let’s pretend one of those events is a miracle. What’s the prior probability of a miracle? That is, what are the odds that we should expect that a miracle will occur?

      Zero. If there’s a non-supernatural explanation for an event, it’s no miracle. My odds of winning the lottery may be vanishingly small, but someone will win, and it might be me. On the other hand, if I don’t buy a ticket, then my odds are Zero, and if I still win, that’s truly a miracle. Hence miracle = probability 0.

      Hence, either term P(A) is 0, in which case Bayes tells you nothing, or term P(B) is 0, in which case Bayes is completely undefined. It’s really very simple math, right?

      • Avatar
        SidDhartha1953  August 16, 2018

        How does one read “P(A|B) = P(B|A) * P(A) / P(B)” in plain English? I don’t know what A|B connotes.

        • Avatar
          turbopro  August 20, 2018

          perhaps a good explanation here –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqmJhPQYRc8

        • talmoore
          talmoore  August 20, 2018

          “How does one read “P(A|B) = P(B|A) * P(A) / P(B)” in plain English?”

          P(A|B) –> The probability of event A occurring given that event B has occurred (from the value zero to 1, with zero being never going to happen and 1 being always going to happen, and all percentages in between)
          P(B|A) –> The probability of event B occurring given that event A has occurred
          P(A) –> Probability of event A occurring
          P(B) –> Probability of event B occurring

          The easiest way to remember this formula is to remember this simple fact:
          The probability of event A occurring multiplied by the probability of event B occurring given that event A has occurred is equal to the probability of event B occurring multiplied by the probability of event A occurring given that event B has occurred. (Assuming that the sum of the probabilities of A and B is equal to 1)

          Or using the symbols:
          P(A) * P(B|A) = P(B) * P(A|B)

          For example, let’s say that 85% of all criminals in America are male. And let’s say that 70% of all criminals in America are below the age of 45.
          So we can say that the probability P(A) that a randomly selected criminal in America is male is 0.85. And the probability P(B) that a randomly selected criminal is below the age of 45 is 0.7. Now let’s say that we have determined that the probability P(A|B) that a randomly selected criminal in America is male, given that he’s also below the age of 45, is 0.91. So what is the probability P(B|A) that a randomly selected criminal is below the age of 45, given that he is male?

          Well, we simply plug the values into the formula and solve for the unknown .
          0.85 * P(B|A) = 0.7 * 0.91
          We do some simple algebra and voila!
          P(B|A) = 0.75
          Or the probability that a criminal in America is below that age of 45 given that he is also male is approximately 75%.
          That’s Bayesian probability in a nutshell.

          • Bart
            Bart  August 21, 2018


          • Avatar
            SidDhartha1953  August 23, 2018

            But the sum of A and B in your example is 1.55! Why should one assume A+B=1?

    • Avatar
      DavidNeale  August 15, 2018

      This is utter bilge, for the following reasons.

      1. We don’t have eyewitness testimony for the resurrection. It is impossible to conclude on a balance of probabilities that any of the Gospels (canonical or non-canonical) was written by an eyewitness. Paul clearly had some kind of vision of Jesus, but that’s a far cry from eyewitness evidence of the resurrection. He also claims that Jesus appeared to various people including five hundred at once, but we have no direct evidence from any of those people.

      2. Even if we did have eyewitness evidence of the resurrection, it would be impossible to conclude that it actually happened. Eyewitness evidence is not particularly reliable. (For evidence of this from my own field, see Hilary Evans Cameron’s “Refugee Status Determinations and the Limits of Memory”.) People experience memory distortions all the time. Hallucinations, including mass hallucinations, also happen all the time. Peter, Paul and maybe others probably did have visions of Jesus, but that doesn’t mean he was really there.

      3. Do you accept every “miracle” which is attested by eyewitnesses? Named eyewitnesses claimed to have seen Joseph Snith’s golden plates – do you believe them? I don’t.

    • Avatar
      ddorner  August 15, 2018

      I dont understand why both apologists and mythicists point to Bayes theorem. If you could use a math equation to prove probabilities in this way then court rooms would be full, not of lawyers, but mathematicians. And history books would be a vast collection of equations. Not to mention, even if the probability of an event is nearly zero, if the event indeed occurred, then by default the probability is 100 percent (or if it didnt, then zero). Which is why it doesn’t seem to work to reverse calculate the odds of an event occuring in history with Bayes theorem.

      • Bart
        Bart  August 17, 2018

        Yes, I’d love to hear someone explain how both Swinburne and CArrier can claim to use it for their polar opposite positions.

        • Avatar
          GregAnderson  August 26, 2018

          Richard Dawkins describes this ploy as, “The argument by blinding with science.” As an engineer, it enrages me. And it’s not just Bayes that gets trotted out (usually by people who have little idea of what it means), I also hear the “2nd Law of Thermodynamics” abused frequently. My response to that is, “Do you know the other 3 laws?”

          The important thing to realize about Bayes is, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Since using the equation requires you to estimate probabilities, you can use it to “prove” any ol’ thing you’d like just by plugging in your favorite numbers.

          • Bart
            Bart  August 26, 2018

            My question is really about *how* they are wrong. I’m assuming they both are, but I’ve never tried to do the math.

        • Avatar
          Nexus  December 2, 2018

          Bart, do you have internet sources for the two? I could have a look.

          • Bart
            Bart  December 2, 2018

            I’m sure there are lots;, but I have none in particular to recommend. I would just google their name and “Bayes Theorem” to see.

  8. Avatar
    Leovigild  August 14, 2018

    If one accepts Pervo’s arguments regarding the dating of Acts, then 1 Clement may be contemporaneous or even a bit earlier!

  9. Avatar
    Radar  August 14, 2018

    What do you make of Picirilli’s and Kruger’s claims that 1 Clement alludes to 2 Peter?

  10. Avatar
    fishician  August 14, 2018

    Jesus did not define a church structure; he thought he and the 12 would be the leaders. Paul does not define church structure; unnecessary since Jesus is coming back any day. But by the pseudonymous Pastoral Epistles and 1 Clement there seems to be an accepted leadership structure in the church. I gather this developed rather soon after the 1st generation of disciples? Any perceived connection between 1 Clement and the Pastoral Epistles? And does 1 Clement make any comment on the role of women in the church, like the Pastorals?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 14, 2018

      1. Yup! 2. I suppose mrst importantly, the importance of presbyters for running the church; 3. Nope.

  11. Avatar
    darren  August 14, 2018

    You mention church leaders appointed by the Apostles chosen by Jesus. Are you talking about Peter and John? And James, too? Do we have any indication why the other Apostles aren’t mentioned in a significant way? Do we have any idea if they left after Jesus died, or were martyred?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 14, 2018

      Do yo umean historically, or according to church tradition. I’m not sure that we have any solid historical evidence that any of Jesus’ apostles (that is, Peter, James, etc.) actually appointed leaders of the churches, all though later church leaders *claimed* that that was the case.

  12. Lev
    Lev  August 14, 2018

    Thanks for this Bart – very interesting analysis.

    “But the letter calls the Corinthian church “ancient” (ch.47), which seems somewhat inappropriate if it were only twenty-five or thirty years old”

    Isn’t it worse than that though? If Paul founded the Corinthian church in the early 50s, and if we are to consider a pre-70 date of composition, then the Corinthian church could have only been 17 years old at the time. If we are to accept a c95 date, then it gives us around 45 years, but then does that give us enough distance for the term ancient “αρχαιαν” to apply?

    I understand the term “ancient” meant something different to the ancients. For example, “αρχαιαν” is used to reference an old friendship Eleazar has with his persecutors in 2 Macc, and a similar term, “αρχαιον”, is used in a proverb by Jesus of Sirach (“do not abandon old friends,” Sir 9:10.)

    I also understand Clement used the term within the epistle to describe the truly ancient – the patriarchs and so forth – so my question is, how do you figure out or understand what Clement meant when he used the term “αρχαιαν”? Is there an agreed scholarly method?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 15, 2018

      Yes, I think someone at the end of the first century could easily have called one of the very first churches established in the empire “ancient” — in comparison with other churches.

  13. Avatar
    ddorner  August 15, 2018

    I have an off topic question. Reading Revelation, John describes the “Lamb” who rides on the white horse and is called the “Lord of Lords.” Does the author mean this to be Jesus? That seems to be the common interpretation of the text, but I don’t see where it explicitly says that it is.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 15, 2018

      Yes, for the author of Revelation Christ is the lamb who was slain, and also the one who comes in triumph at the final battle.

  14. Avatar
    SidDhartha1953  August 16, 2018

    How would you arrange the 27 books of the NT in chronological order? I suspect most, if not all, would fall into overlapping ranges.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 17, 2018

      The first (Paul’s letters) and last (2 Peter) are not overwhelmingly difficult. But some books are virtually impossible to date: James, e.g., or 1 Peter, or Hebrews. So it would be easy to make a chronological list, but it would be largely guesswork.

  15. Lev
    Lev  August 18, 2018

    “assumes that some churches are headed by leaders twice removed from Jesus’ apostles (appointees of those ordained by the apostles, ch. 46)”

    Do you mean ch. 44?

    “they [the apostles] appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men… cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry… Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world];” 1Clem44

    The apostolic appointees (ministers) are referred to in Clement’s time, that is, they are still in post. He also refers to some of this first generation of ministers who have died and reminds the Corinthians of the Apostolic instructions over their replacement.

    If Clement was writing in c95, then aside from some exceptional examples in Turkey who had the fortune of being appointed by the aged John, it would be unlikely that any of the first generation would be alive and in post. They would be the exception, rather than the norm.

    Instead, Clement gives the sense that the churches are still in their infancy, with some of the original appointees still in post and some of the churches who are transitioning to the second generation of leaders. If Clement was writing in c95, wouldn’t we expect to read any discussion on succession to be deeper than the second generation?

  16. Avatar
    maryn  August 19, 2018

    On another topic: I recently watched your excellent lecture entitled “Jesus, the Law, and the New Covenant,” but you never mentioned the “New Covenant.” (At least I missed it.) Is the connection of the three something like the idea that love or grace replaces the law? Or what? Please fill me in.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 20, 2018

      Oh dear – I obviously didn’t make myself clear! The old covenant was tied to the law of Moses; for Christians that had been superseded, surpassed, done away with, supplemented, complemented — different Christians had different understandings (that was one of my main points) — by the new covenant based on teh death and resurrection of Jesus.

      • tompicard
        tompicard  August 21, 2018

        yes but this “new covenant” you describe in that lecture is completely different and you fail to mention as far as I remember the “new covenant” described by Jeremiah. (31:31)

        The “new covenant” described by Jeremiah has absolutely NOTHING to do with
        Jesus’ death
        Jesus resurrection
        immortal life on earth
        the ending of all natural disasters
        ending of all sicknesses
        miraculous son of man beings standing on clouds

        Have you ever considered that the new covenant that Jesus brought was more in line with Jeremiah’s understanding of it than a bunch of hocus pocus (created by his followers later)?

        • Bart
          Bart  August 21, 2018

          That’s right — Jeremiah was not looking ahead to Jesus! But I wasn’t talking about Jeremiah’s original intention of the new covenant but the Christian understanding / reinterpretation of it.

  17. galah
    galah  August 28, 2018

    Dr. Ehrman, at what point in history do authors begin referring to their recipients as “Christians?” Is this ever taken into account when dating certain documents. I know the word is sometimes used in translations of 1 Clement but I don’t believe it actually occurs in any of the original Greek manuscripts. Can you elaborate?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 29, 2018

      The term occurs twice in the NT for followers of Jesus, once inthe book of Acts and once in 1 Peter. In both cases it is almost certainly in the original text.

      • galah
        galah  August 31, 2018

        Dr. Ehrman, I was referring to the Greek texts of 1 Clement.

        • Bart
          Bart  August 31, 2018

          Sorry — I think I’m lost. If you’re asking whether the term was around and available to the author of 1 Clement, the answer is probably yes. Or are you asking if the author of 1 Clement uses the term?

          • galah
            galah  September 1, 2018

            Yes, I was wondering if 1 Clement uses the term. After all, it wasn’t highly popular and seldom used by the New Testament authors of the first century. When they did use it, it wasn’t as though they were addressing their recipients by the name.

          • Bart
            Bart  September 2, 2018

            Ah, OK. No he doesn’t use the term. It does show up in other Apostolic Fathers from somewhat later years, including, e.g., Ignatius of Antioch.

You must be logged in to post a comment.