Recognitions of Clement
Defends Peter From Eating Issue As Relating to Meat Sacrified to Idols
Clement, bishop of Rome, after the first day's debate by Peter with Simon Magus, is told by Peter why he will not eat with the people who were his supporters waiting after the debate to see him. Interestingly, it had to do with the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols:
But Peter, most benignantly regarding me, lest haply that separation might cause me sorrow, says to me: “It is not from pride, O Clement, that I do not eat with those who have not yet been purified; but I fear lest perhaps I should injure myself, and do no good to them.671671 [Comp. book i. 19, vii. 29; Homilies I. 22, XIII. 4.—R.] For this I would have you know for certain, that every one who has at any time worshipped idols, and has adored those whom the pagans call gods, or has eaten of the things sacrificed to them, is not without an unclean spirit; for he has become a guest of demons, and has been partaker with that demon of which he has formed the image in his mind, either through fear or love.672672 . And by these means he is not free from an unclean spirit, and therefore needs the purification of baptism, that the unclean spirit may go out of him, which has made its abode in the inmost affections of his soul, and what is worse, gives no indication that it lurks within, for fear it should be exposed and expelled.” (Recognitions LXXII.)
Vain Boastings Impair Seeing Jesus Aright
The Clementine Recognititions at 1:15 have this interesting quote of Apostle Peter making another allusion to Paul in a letter to Clement:
Bad instruction...vain boasting, and other such evils have filled the whole house of this world, like some enormous smoke...preventing those who dwell in it from seeing its Founder aright....What is fitting for those who are within, excepting with a cry brought forth from their inmost hearts to invoke His aid, who alone is not shut up in the smoke filled house, that He would ... open the door...so that the smoke may be dissipated...and the light of the sun...may be admitted.
This says we are living in a Bubble of Smoke, and we need the light to penetrate to see outside the bubble. So true! What follows this quote is Peter saying that Paul was the source of these errors, and Paul's visions deluded him. (This is discussed in Lawrence Goudge, How The Church Silenced Jesus's True Heirs (2012), Kindle, loc. 1%.)
Paul's Disruption of James' Preaching
The Recognititions of Clement are recognized by scholars as written by the early Ebionites. The passage below tells of Paul interrupting a speech where James is leading leaders among the Jews to accept Jesus. Paul interrupts and throws James down, injuring him but not killing James. Now this passage went through the hands of later editors who added Trinity messages (e.g., there is a reference to a baptism in the "three-fold blessedness," etc.) --- doctrines that arose in the 300s, but it is a likely source of historical information of the pre-Damascus Paul. We read in Recognitions:
"... the high priest of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem had often sent priests to ask us that we might discourse with one another concerning Jesus: when it seemed a fit opportunity, and it pleased all of our church, we accepted the invitation and went up to the temple. It was crowded with people who had come to listen, many Jews and many of our own brethren. First the high priest told people that they should listen patiently and quietly.... Then, he began exalting with many praises the rite of animal sacrifice for the remission of sins and found fault with the baptism given by our Jesus to replace animal sacrifice....
"To him our James began to show, by abundant proof that Jesus is the Christ, and that in Him are fulfilled all the prophecies which related to His humble advent. For, James showed that two advents of Him are foretold: one in humiliation, which He has now accomplished; the other in glory, which is yet to be accomplished....
"And when James had plainly taught the people concerning these things, he added this also, that unless a man be baptized in water, in the name of the threefold blessedness, as the True Prophet taught, he can neither receive remission of sins nor enter the kingdom of heaven: and he declared that this is the prescription of the unbegotten God.... And when James had spoken some more things about baptism, through seven successive days he persuaded all the people and even the high priest that they should hasten straightaway to receive baptism....
"And when matters were at that point that they would all come and be baptized, [Paul] [changed by historical revision to "some one of our enemies"] and his men entered the temple: and [Paul] cried out: 'Oh men of Israel, why are you so easily influenced by these miserable men?' He began to excite the people and raise a tumult... and drive all into confusion with shouting, and to undo what had been done by James. [Paul] rebuked the priests for having listened to James, and, like a madman, began to excite the priests and people to murder James and the brethren, saying 'Do not hesitate; grab them and pull them to pieces.' [Paul] then, seizing a strong brand from the altar, set the example of smiting. Then others also, seeing him, joined in the beating. Much blood was shed. Although James and the brethren were more numerous and more powerful they rather suffered themselves to be killed by an inferior force, than to kill others. [Paul] [changed into "that enemy"] attacked James and threw him headlong from the top of the steps; and supposing him to be dead left him."
See "Recognitions of Clement," Book 1, Chapters LXIX and LXX, in Alexander Roberts et al. Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to AD 325 (1886) Vol. 8 at 95-96. (Catholic editing is obvious, and even Roberts alludes to these softened references as forgeries, and titles the heading as Tumult Raised by Saul even though Saul-Paul is never mentioned by name.]
Peter's Declaration in Clementine Homolies At Odds With Paul's Views on Idol Meat
The Clementine Homolies from the 200 AD period (in manuscripts from 300s) are also regarded by scholars as the preserved views of the early Ebionites -- which means "The Poor" in Hebrew. (Ebion = Poor in Hebrew.) I explain in Jesus Words Only they actually were the early church under James. Paul collected money for the POOR at Jerusalem, meaning the church which called itself the Poor. Here is an excerpt pertaining to whether eating idol meat is ok, which in Paul's epistles we are told three times it is permissible to eat the same:
"But you are still ignorant of this law, that everyone who worships demons or their idols, or sacrifices to them, or partakes with them of their table, shall become subject to them and receive all punishment from them, as being under wicked lords. And you who, on account of ignorance of this law, have been corrupted beside their altars, and have been satiated with food offered to them, have come under their power, and do not know you have been in every way injured in respect of your bodies. But you ought to know that the demons have no power over any one, unless first he be their table-companion; since not even their chief can do anything contrary to the law imposed upon them by God wherein the demons have no power over any one who does not worship them by being their table-companions in the eating of flesh.... But you, being ignorant of the foreordained law, are under the power of the chief of demons through evil deeds, wherefore you are polluted in body and soul, and in the present life you are tyrannized over by sufferings and demons.... If therefore, ye wish to be the vesture of the Divine Spirit,.... neither believe in idols, nor partake with them of the impure table...."
See "Clementine Homolies," Homily VIII, Chapter XX, in Alexander Roberts et al. Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to AD 325 (1886) Vol. 8 at 274.
Created May 29, 2011
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