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In the Year of our LORD Jesus Christ
-- As of January 20, 2017
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Peace and Liberty. Semper Fidelis.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Literary Considerations for the Dating of First Clement

Clement was the third bishop at Rome, and it has been generally assumed that he held office as bishop there for over 40 years.  It appears that, in part, this historical tradition comes from how Irenaeus -- who visited Rome (perhaps as an aide to Polycarp) and stayed there for decades familiarizing himself with and refuting heretics – worded his description regarding Clement and the Epistle of First Clement in his third book of Against Heresies.  When the underlined of these passages below are read, the plain meaning of the text places the death of the apostles to a time considered quite recent rather than decades before.

3. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him,
in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes.

Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles.

In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome dispatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles….

 From this document, whosoever chooses to do so may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolic tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood….

 Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, has come down to us.
Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.3.3. (written circa 176 -181 A.D.)

It is debated as to the exact year of Eleutherius' office, but one can reasonably argue that 176 A.D. is an acceptable date for Book 3 of Irenaeus ‘Against Heresies”, though generally accepted as circa 181 A.D.  is more widely accepted.  

In reference to the apostolic tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood…; a dating of this epistle must place First Clement entirely out of range to the arch-heresiarchs and their disciples, and must pre-date the very existence of those like the arch-heretic Marcion who came to Rome and among sailors became famous with his heresies in circa A.D. 138 (while some place him in Rome in circa 142-143 A.D.)  In regard to Marcion, who is alleged to have died around 160 A.D., First Clement must at least pre-date Marcion’s birth which will date as between circa 78 – 85  A.D. because that is one of the proofs Irenaeus uses to cite so as to date First Clement as being older than Marcion (now dead with the writing of Against Heresies Book 3), Marcion’s former disciples still living,  and other arch-heretics propagating falsehood.     

In 1st Clement 1.1, and 2.4, we read:
1.1 Owing, dear brethren, to the sudden and successive calamitous events which have happened to ourselves, we feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the points respecting which you consulted us….

2.4   Day and night ye were anxious for the whole brotherhood that the number of (God's) elect
 [a reference to Revelation chapters 7 and 14’s 144,000 Israeli virgin men, 12,000 out of each of 12 tribes of Israel]
might be saved with mercy and a good conscience.

What kind of calamity could stop the Corinthians dead in their tracks, to suddenly mourn over every faction and schism,  if not the severe persecution that made thousands of Christians into pitched lamps burning in the gardens of Nero...and suffering other unspeakable horrors? 

Tacitus, Histories, Annals 15.44
"...The next thing was to seek means of propitiating the gods, and recourse was had to the Sibylline books, by the direction of which prayers were offered to Vulcanus, Ceres, and Proserpina. Juno, too, was entreated by the matrons, first, in the Capitol, then on the nearest part of the coast, whence water was procured to sprinkle the fane and image of the goddess. And there were sacred banquets and nightly vigils celebrated by married women. But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Chrestians by the populace.

      Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.

     Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed."

In an era when the life of a bishop might be counted by months, succession then had a different perspective than currently understood in peaceful Westernized Christian based or strongly Christian influenced in their development civilizations (with perhaps the exceptions of Christians living in predominant Muslim countries in our day).  Persecutions (as with Muslim Nations today) were sudden and violent, and often without provocation (usually owing their reactionary outbursts to either power-hungry manipulative inciters or to bored blood-thirsty individuals wishing to stir up fabricated insults and false evidence and kill with mob approval). 

The expression in First Clement 2.4 about the "number of (G-D's) elect" appears to be the earliest reference to the Book of Revelation's 144,000. Could a 62 or 64 A.D. Church in Rome that suffered the persecutions of Nero, and saw Rome engulfed in a holocaust of flame truly have read the book of Revelation penned by the Apostle John? Certainly.

Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, Book 3.17, writes:
Domitian, having shown great cruelty toward many, and having unjustly put to death no small number of well-born and notable men at Rome, and having without cause exiled and confiscated the property of a great many other illustrious men, finally became a successor of Nero in his hatred and enmity toward God. He was in fact the second that stirred up a persecution against us, although his father Vespasian had undertaken nothing prejudicial to us.

We know also that in the next chapter of Eusebius, in 3.18.5, that Domitian persecuted Romans in general, including families of the Senate, severely at the end of his reign which ceased in A.D. 96 and shipped certain of the familial relations of the Roman Senate to an island called Pontia in exile as a means to get rid of Christians without killing or enslaving them to servitude. 
5.  … For they recorded that in the fifteenth year of Domitian Flavia Domitilla, daughter of a sister of Flavius Clement, who at that time was one of the consuls of Rome, was exiled with many others to the island of Pontia in consequence of testimony borne to Christ.

We also know of the brief persecution of the grandchildren of one of Jesus' half-brothers at the beginning of Domitian's reign in circa 81 A.D., in order to weed out Messianic claims or aspirations of Davidic lineages for a Second (post 70 A.D.) Jewish Revolt, but that Domitian (according to Hegesippus’ accounts) “reasoned” with these men and then dismissed them because he thought they were fools for looking for a kingdom in the ethereal or the world of ghosts beyond and AFTER this mortal life.  Domitian did NOT reason the greatest potential leaders of Christianity or of the potential Messianic leaders of Judaism (directly related to Christ) as a threat.  So if that is the case, and it is…when did the persecutions of the Church occur?    We are given a very limited span of when the Churches were founded in Rome to near the end of the reign of Vespasian (69-79 A.D.).  Domitian was accused of persecution, but we have already cleared the greatest charges left us by the ancients.  Titus was left blameless as someone who did not persecute Christians, though his armies slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Jews in Israel.  His father Vespasian is left unaccused by the ancients of harm directed specifically toward Christians. 

As we search the annals,  only the conflagration of Rome and Nero's wasting of the Christians following its fires have any mention of noteworthiness from the time of Nero to the end of Clement's own life... in regards to persecution of Christians at Rome, and a severe ordeal directed specifically against them at Rome.  
We therefore find that the dating of First Clement as being authored well prior to Marcion’s birth, and at least the reigns of Titus and his father Vespasian before him, to be fully justified.  By necessity, First Clement must date to Nero’s reign, but AFTER the deaths of the Apostles Peter and Paul. 

 The 4th Century Ecclesiastical Historian Eusebius records the order of succession regarding the bishops of Rome.  I will list only those of relevance from circa June or later of A.D. 55 to circa 200 A.D.    These are listed  as:

These are the first 14 bishops of Rome in succession listed by the fourth century historian Eusebius, and cover the years from the succession of the apostles in the First and Second Centuries A.D.  The above named are all bishops, not popes.

         The bishop of Rome in the first centuries of Christianity was never a pope or pontifex maximus (the top “high priest”) over Christianity, and we see this indication in Scripture that Christ alone is the Head of the Church, despite middle ages and later Roman Catholic claims to the contrary.   The Book of I Clement was written indeed by Bishop Clement who was THE HEAD of the Churches at Rome in the First Century A.D., whom served for more what I estimate to have been approximately 43 to 44 years (based on what we presume to know about his tenure); and whom himself confessed more than once, that there was NO PAPACY present in his day.

Again, based on internal literary evidence, I Clement was indeed written prior to A.D. 67.  It appears that I Clement was most likely in the months following the persecutions by Nero Caesar following his burning of Rome.  There is some debate as to whether that July 18-19 burning of Rome was in A.D. 64 or in A.D. 62.  While some evidence seems to support a 64 A.D., what we glean from I Clement may actually force us to retract that late calculation and push it back to 62 or no later than 63 A.D. for the conflagration of Rome, with indicators for this assumption based on what we find in the literary histories of I Clement, Josephus, and Eusebius.

      First of all, I Clement was most likely written between September and November following the Great Fire of Rome, and the following persecutions and torching of the Christians.  With what we know from Tacitus Annals 15.44,
the opening of  I Clement seems to fall right into this category of "sudden and successive calamitous events" which Clement describes and alludes to in his opening of I Clement .1,

      "The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth, to them that are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ:  Grace unto you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied.
     Owing, dear brethren, to the sudden and successive calamitous events which have  happened to ourselves, we feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the points respecting which you consulted us...."

as distinct to the city of Rome and those Christians there.

Papacy is a mistaken application of historical evidences as if the history of the Church only began in the early third century, and appears to be so placed based on anti-Semitism, for it is primarily in the Third Century that the Churches almost fully lost their Jewishness. When historians try to mythically and permanently place Peter in Rome, without travel, simultaneously in requiring him in Rome in the 40s A.D. ruling and reigning at a time when the Scriptures place him in Syria, or on visit to Jerusalem; the error then is upon the historians looking to political appeasement with the Vatican, rather than factual data as given us by the Scriptures that places him in Antioch of Syria, Jerusalem for the Great Conference of 47 A.D., or in Corinth with Paul. 

Sometime in the perhaps one, two, or several months prior to the letter of I Clement, there was a tumult created by some one or two affluent persons who sought to engage in sedition against the Presbyters at Corinth so as possibly to remove its elders and take over leadership for themselves.
 I Clement, .47 reads thus:
– It is disgraceful…and unworthy of your Christian profession that such a thing should be heard of as that the most steadfast and Governing Assembly/Church of the Corinthians [ἀρχαίαν Κορινθίων ἐκκλησίαν] should, on account of one or two persons, engage in sedition up alongside / against its Presbyters  [πρὸς τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους] . 
And this rumor has reached not only us, but those also who are unconnected (or differ) with us….”

Clement is telling us in I Clement .47 above that just one or two members had raised a sedition against the holy and blameless bishop over the Corinthian Churches, for no other reason perhaps, than just because they could.  As we read the word ‘Presbyter’, we should translate it not just as "aged to old age" or "elder", as but as a form of Chief Reverend or Chief Rabbi, so that we might get the modern concept or understanding of this position of one who leads and ministers to his own congregation or gathering of fellow believers in Yeshua / Jesus.  But the term takes on a greater connotation than that.  It refers to the chief 7 elders of the Ecclesiastical Government or Congress of the Church in Corinth, the 7 chief leaders of its Sanhedrin of 70 church representatives in the area in and around Corinth of Achaia within its immediate sphere of influence.

And in the context of leadership, we come to find that earlier in the Epistle, Clement confesses of not being over all churches:

"Let us cleave, therefore, to those who cultivate peace with godliness, and not those who hypocritically profess to desire it…For Christ is of those who are humble-minded, and not of those who exalt themselves over His flock."
 I Clement, Letter to the Corinthian Churches - .15, .16  

“…let us esteem those who have the rule over us; let us
Honor the aged among us; let us train up the young men in the fear of G-D….”
I Clement, Letter to the Corinthian Churches, .21

The above quoted words were written and stated when John the Apostle was yet alive.  It is also highly likely that Phillip the Apostle was also alive, but that the social and religious nature was that the Corinthians wanted a familiar authority, but less than that of an apostle to more meekly judge their conflict; especially if that someone was familiar with all the players involved in the conflict; someone like Clement.   It would have followed a more logical order on seeking independent authority outside the regional nearby major Church cities that the Church having an issue seeking doctrinal clarity normally would have contacted Jerusalem, now headed by Simeon,  son of Cleopas.  However, Eusebius tells us that the Churches of Christ removed themselves to Pella (a city east of the Jordan River)
-- cf. Eusebius, History of the Church, 3.5 --  after heeding prophetical utterance of Jerusalem’s coming destruction utterances by the same man who is mentioned in Josephus, whose ministry began over 7 years before the taking of Jerusalem, or AD. 63. (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.5.3   at the feast of Tabernacles, A.D. 62, Jesus ben Ananus began his prophesying night and day without ceasing words to the effect of  "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!" until killed by a Roman catapulted boulder, lasting 7 years and 5 months without growing hoarse, even to the moment he died.

The action of Divine Revelation that removes the Christian Churches and presence from Jerusalem to Pella, appears to be confirmed by that found in Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.5.3., in which a certain prophet testified for 7 years and 5 months, beginning from circa October 62 A.D. until being crushed by a flying Roman boulder as the Romans began the siege of Jerusalem as he made his rounds about the city, stating his last words while walking upon the wall: "Woe, woe to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!" And just as he added at the last, "Woe, woe to myself also!" there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately [Splat!]; and as he was uttering the very same presages he gave up the ghost."     Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.5.3.

And the next quote verifies that as of the writing of I Clement, Jerusalem was still actively sacrificing daily and unmolested; hence, clearly dating not only pre-70, but pre-67 A.D. as well.

“Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to G-D in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of ministry prescribed to him.  Not in every place, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered, or the peace offerings, or the sin-offerings and the trespass offerings, but in Jerusalem only”
I Clement, Letter to the Corinthian Churches, .41

    Interestingly, Clement had a thoroughly Greek affinity in his ministry.  He helped to develop the Churches of Corinth of Achaia under Peter and Paul, and later on,  Philippians 4:3 tells us that when the call came from Paul to come to Rome, Clement was in Philippi.  The identification was also made by Origen in his commentary on John 1:29.    Of note: Origen says Clement even spoke of those people who are on the other side of the impassable ocean, which were called “antichthones” by the Greeks (Origen de principiis, 3.3.6), but as kosmos (peoples / world) in I Clement, .20.   Instead of Paul preaching to Britain, as some few contend…according to Origen, it was Clement the fellow-laborer and disciple  of Paul who possibly co-founded Christianity with others in a missionary visit to Britain perhaps during the 2 years Paul was still at Rome.  Thus returning successfully to Rome and being appointed as bishop there to replace Anencletus, perhaps being ordained by both Peter and Paul as Anencletus' successor, which would require an ordination that preceded May 29, 57 A.D. , the execution of the Apostle Peter and Paul being June 29, 57 A.D., and a 30 day detention (Scillitan Martyrs) being the option for confession of the gods of Rome in Roman executions, apparently since Tiberius after the death of Christ and his failure (upon having received word of Pilate's report) to successfully petition the Senate of Rome to deify Christ to the status of a Roman deity with his own Roman Empire paid for hallowed grounds, temples, and priests (Tertullian, Apology, .5). 

In Paul's letter to the Corinthians some 11 years previously, Paul criticized those whose congregations were claiming pre-eminence over others in the city.  At the time, those factions divided themselves as followers of the Apostle Paul, followers of the Apostle Peter, and followers of the Evangelist Apollos.  According to Hippolytus, Silas was the appointed bishop of Corinth of Achaia (Hippolytus, on the 70 disciples, .16 lists Silas as that bishop who succeeded Peter and Paul); and as we can see in this retrospect, it was probably the Presbyters of the factions of "Apollos” and of “Peter" from 53 A.D., who were (probably) the ones who then had successfully removed Silas (who was a disciple of Paul’s approach to the Faith) in early 64 A.D. without any just cause or excuse.

       In 1 Corinthians 1:12, there were three factions in Corinth: those who claimed Paul, those who claimed Peter, and those who claimed Apollos.  Each called their apostle “greater” in order  to net some kind of apparent material gain or ability to place themselves as first in line(and such nonsense), and were all rebuked by the Apostle Paul for such childish behavior.  It must be remembered that this action of revolt in Corinth's Churches as mentioned by Clement did not occur until (what we shall later see as) 7 years after that Apostle Paul's death.

Clement writes:
“Let each of you/us brothers, in his proper order give thanks to G-D, maintaining a good conscience, not overstepping the designated rule of his ministry, but acting with reverence.  (2) Not just anywhere, brothers, are the continual daily sacrifices offered, or the freewill offerings, or the offerings for sin and trespasses, BUT ONLY IN JERUSALEM.
    And even there the offering is not made in every place, but IN FRONT OF THE SANCTUARY at the altar, the offering having been first inspected for blemishes by the High Priest and the previously mentioned ministers.”
      I Clement 41.1-2    (Bishop J.B. Lightfoot translation, emphasis mine)

In the Greek it reads:
 1. Ἕκαστος ἡμῶν, ἀδελφοί ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ τάγματι εὐαριστείτω τῷ θεῷ ἐν ἀγαθῇ συνειδήσει ὑπάρχων, μὴ παρεκβαίνων τὸν ὡρισμένον τῆς λειτουργίας αὐτοῦ κανόνα, ἐν σεμνότητι.
2. οὐπανταχοῦ, ἀδελφοί, προσφέρονται θυσίαι ἐνδελεχισμοῦ ἢ εὐχῶν ἢ περὶ ἁμαρτίας καὶ πλημμελεία. ἀλλ’ ἢ ἐν Ἱερουσαλὴμ μόνῃ• κἀκεῖ δὲ οὐκ ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ προσφέρεται, ἀλλ’
ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ ναοῦ πρὸς τὸ θυσιαστήριον, μωμοσκοπηθὲν τὸ προσφερόνενον διὰ τοῦ ἀρχιερέως καὶ τῶν προειρημένων λειτουργῶν

Clement speaks in the present tenses of the Greek regarding the Temple.  It stands…it exists…it is not in danger…the sacrifices are occurring…the inspections of sacrifices are on-going.  There is no hint of even a siege, or a shutting up of the city so as to choke the process that he lays out in I Clement 41.2 (cited immediately above). 

This immediately drops the letter of I Clement to a required dating of pre-66 A.D.  But because Clement speaks of the ministries as having reverence to Jerusalem,  the window of the letter in its historical dating must be to an approximate time after the death of the Apostles of at least 5 years and prior to the winter of 62 -63 A.D. when the accounts of the prophet mentioned in  Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.5.3. was already uttering his warning of judgment against Jerusalem and its inhabitants for months.

The notion of a Roman Papacy is based, not on actual religious HISTORY, but on an adherence of unquestioning obedience by its clergy and masses to be in a Cult denial of truth mentality that is based on papal bull. And “bull” is the right word for it by just a brief review of the ff. 6 points on that tangent..

  In 1296, Boniface the 8th issued the papal bull "Clericis Laicos" of 1296 in which he proclaimed the right of the Roman Catholic Church to "rule the world."   
     In 1302, the Roman pontiff's version of the Sanhedrin issued "Unam Sanctam", and told the world that without Rome, there is no salvation, period.  Rome and its papacy tossed aside the Cross and Christ's free and easy salvation by simple faith and confession (Romans 10:9-10,13)  in order to blackmail people to hand over money and material wealth for a spiritual assurance that was to be free, "without money, without price" (Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-9). 
      In 1568, the Roman Pontiff (or "pope") Pius the 5th ruled that it was "an eternal law" for heresy to be defined as anyone who is found DISOBEDIENT to the papacy or her representatives within the Roman Catholic Church.
      In 1627, Urban the 8th declared to the effect that anyone who follows the words of Jesus and the Holy Scriptures firstly, as the Scriptures tell us to do, will have extended to themselves the indignity of losing all rights to property, and even living and breathing. 
      Leo the 13th's Immortale Dei was released to the public on November 1, 1885, in which he affirmed the Roman Catholic claim that there are no believers outside Roman Catholicism, and that all others are expressing "pernicious and deplorable revolutionary tendencies".
       And lastly, the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican II, and in "the Code of Canon Law", 333.3, states in words to the effect of “There shall neither be an appeal nor a recourse against a decision or a decree of the Roman Pontiff [i.e., the Pope]."   

In I Clement 21.6 (Lightfoot), Clement speaks of “our leaders” / “those who have the rule over us”.  http://www.textexcavation.com/greekclement17-32.html

 The word of interest there, for our understanding the proper context of the translation, is Proegoumenous.    Proegeomai appears just once in the New Testament in Romans 12:10.    There, Paul uses the same word (Proegoumenoi) to speak of a way of not only out-doing the righteousness of the Pharisee; but of trying to emulate and outdo the kindness and godly actions of  those  (within the Church or Faith) “officials who take the lead by example, as better,  presiding over us; having gone on before us.”.

Proegeomai therefore  is an idea that is lost in translation from Greek into English; it is of  duplicating works and reverencing those in authority over us by outdoing them,  as if  they had become a past twin reflection of us…a mirror image, if you will…and we are simply carrying on by their illustrious examples.  How you treat 'that  one' will not only enhance or worsen the one you project 'love' or 'enmity' to... but that  projection of 'love' or 'enmity' will also 'mold and shape' you  (personally, for good or evil) as well.  I submit that these who were the Proegoumenous were actually those who were the 7 elders of the Christian Sanhedrin to which Clement was addressing.  In this case, those who led the 70 elders based out of the city of Corinth of Achaia. 

As we will see momentarily, Clement was in fact referring that  he had officials of the Church  higher than he, and one of them was his own presbyter ambassador (when empowered by the Christian neo-Sanhedrin of Jerusalem).

 Lost in translation is the fact that the Gospels themselves (as it were) label the traditional Jewish Sanhedrin of 70 as not just “elders”, but “presbyters”. Some of these are clearly found in the Greek texts of Matthew 16:21, 26:3; Mark 8:31, 11:27; Luke 9:22, 20:1.

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch in Syria, in his  Epistle to the Church at Tralles, .3
viewed “Presbyters as [those who made up the membership of] the Sanhedrin of GOD.”    That declaration of what was then the reality, and now is to us history, was almost certainly penned or dictated by Ignatius while in Smyrna in the presence of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, disciple of John and tutor of Irenaeus.  Hence, we have an “organized” structure of the Christians, based in and out of Jerusalem until the death of James (the LORD's maternal half-brother) on Passover 55 A.D.  And afterwards, there would form multiple Sanhedrins, or congresses of 70. 

The Congress or Sanhedrin would each have one President and High Priest and 7 Elders overseeing them.  The Sanhedrin Katan (the lesser or necessary Sanhedrin for quorum in any death penalty related cases), like its traditional and now apostate Jewish counter-part, was comprised of 23 members.  The Sanhedrin Gadol (the great Sanhedrin), like its traditional and now apostate Jewish counterpart, was an assembly of all 70 members and its presiding President and High Priest.  As a sacrificing High Priest, as a Kohen by birth - training - and a near relation to Annas the High Priest (who himself was father-in-law to Caiaphas who condemned the LORD as co-High Priest in A.D. 30)  we may make the association that the Apostle John organized and presided over his own Asiatic based Sanhedrin at Ephesus, and wore the Petalon (cf. Eusebius, History of the Church, 5.24).  I am uncertain as to whether the near relation John had to Annas was as a nephew, brother-in-law or cousin, as the age of the high priest could not exceed age 60, it appears that grandfather (though possible but not likely) should probably be ruled out. 

 It seems that the Christian Churches of the first several centuries almost certainly followed this practice in each place that they formed a Sanhedrin until at least the Council of Nicea in the Fourth Century A.D.  These would apparently first evolve out of Antioch of Syria, Ephesus of Asia, and Corinth of Achaia…three additional separate and distinct Sanhedrins from that Christian Sanhedrin first based in Jerusalem...each having a 3 day travel radii to participant Christian synagogues or assemblies, and 70 church leaders to represent their districts and region. 

The pre-70 A.D. New Testament references most clearly used in First Clement, besides the Gospels of Luke and Mark, are: Romans, I Corinthians, Hebrews, Ephesians, I Peter and Revelation.

Therefore, with regard to Luke and Mark, the understanding of whether or not we are to define a presbyter / elder as a member of the Sanhedrin in the earliest apostolic Churches, is clearly relevant to the need of having a better comprehension of First Clement.  We know that the Christians started their denomination of Judaism as Jewish-Israeli, and took the position that Judaism’s leaders were leading Jews and Israel away from the Almighty; and hence, from the Faith of the Forefathers of them.  It also appears that the Jerusalem Conference of Acts 15 was, in effect, a neo-Sanhedrin of Christianity‘s own 70, with their own scribes and priests, etc..

 Eventually, by the third century A.D.,  it appears that there evolved multiple systems, where there were multiple Sanhedrins  in Christianity based out  of chief churches such as Corinth, Alexandria, and Rome…having suburbicary  distances of influence of 3 days or less journey (generally 100 miles in any one direction beyond city limits).   But in the 40s, 50s, and 60 to ca. the fall of 62 A.D.  of the First Century A.D. (which some call the Common Era or C.E.)  it appears that there was only one central neo-Sanhedrin of Christianity, and that was in Jerusalem (thereafter from 63 -71 A.D. its authoritative centralization was removed from Jerusalem). 

Again - Eusebius tells us that most certainly prior to 67 A.D., and by definition likely fulfilled before the winter of 62-63 A.D. -
 The whole body, however, of the Church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a Divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the War, removed from the city, and dwelt in a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella.  Here, those that believed in Christ, having removed from Jerusalem as if holy men, had entirely abandoned the Royal City itself, and the whole land of Judea….”
  (Eusebius, History of the Church, 3.5).

  This quote also isolates the writing of I Clement to a time frame of not just before 70 A.D., but certainly before 67 A.D.  But because Jews regularly come to Rome to bring word that all is normal with the sacrifices at the Temple, even if the Church removes, word is known of the Temple by those of the 3,000,000 plus of Israel who still regularly attend its major festivals of required male attendance as stated in Leviticus Chapter 23.

     Indirectly, then, Proegoumenous as one of the 7 elders of the Sanhedrin, may be understood that the “presbyter” of Corinth  (I Clement 21.6)  was de facto a neo-Sanhedrin office, and it was to one of the 7 elders that the office of ambassador to Jerusalem, in behalf of the Churches at Corinth was to be bestowed upon and entrusted with the transportation of tithes in the form of monetary letters that would grant them gold at Damascus (as was the case of the wise men in the days of Herod who visited the LORD after His birth)  or other locations where their letters of Jewish banking were honored, so they might take that sum more safely up to Jerusalem. 

Modern Church historians will should adapt their minds to grasp that pre-63 A.D. Christianity still observed Temple Sacrifice and operated and functioned as Jews with their own Sanhedrins, as if a parallel Judaism within Judaism.  The idea, then, of an earthly “papacy” in Rome or anywhere else in Christianity, was simply an alien Gentile concept reserved for much later generations.  But like the redating of the New Testament, it appears that even a contemporary work like First Clement is also a lock...datable from within a few months following the fires to Rome in 62 or 64 A.D. 

From this background of understanding, we can clearly defend the position of dating Clement to a period when the Temple in Jerusalem yet stood and sacrificed as yet without threat of even the danger of seizure, let alone annihilation; and on point of clarity, this was also that period after the deaths of the Apostles Peter and Paul in Rome.   Effectually, the dating of Clement immediately follows the July 18-19 fires of Rome and the ensuing Christian persecutions, and therefore dates to a most likely date of September to November of that same year, be it 62 or 64 A.D. 

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