The Magisterial Reformers and 1 Clement

Discussion in 'Church History' started by SebastianClinciuJJ, Nov 18, 2018.

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  1. SebastianClinciuJJ

    SebastianClinciuJJ Puritan Board Freshman

    Grace and peace!

    Did the Magisterial Reformers (Calvin, Luther, Bucer, ...) know of 1 Clement? Are there any quotiations or references of this Church Father in their writings?

    I suspect that they knew of Clement from Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica or from Jerome’s De Viris Illustribus, but I don’t have any evidence that they read his letter.

    He would have been a great witness for them in their polemics with the Church of Rome.
  2. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    No, the Reformers of the 16th c., though they knew of it (as you suggest) did not have it. A version was in the Bible that the "Calvinist" Cyril Lucaris gave to Charles I in 1628, but it was not otherwise more widely, and fully, available until the later 19th c., along with so many other ancient church MSS that were discovered.

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  3. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    And Cyril Lucarius (Κύριλλος Λούκαρις, 1572-1638) was a prelate in the Eastern Orthodox Church, whom many believe attempted to introduce the doctrines of grace (Calvinism) to the eastern church. He is a subject of debate among the Eastern Orthodox, their scholars as well as others.
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    And had the Reformers brought this text against Rome, I doubt it would have phased Rome too much. It's not simply "The Church Fathers." It's "The Fathers as interpreted by Rome."

    And even if they did allow the Clementine reading, it wouldn't have the same effect as pulling a text from Athanasius. There is kind of a hierarchy of Fathers.
  5. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

  6. SebastianClinciuJJ

    SebastianClinciuJJ Puritan Board Freshman

    And if they can’t find a way to interpret them in their favor: “Well, it’s just his personal opinion, not the catholic faith” or “It’s not the consensus of the Fathers”.

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  7. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    But their problem is that their own clergy and theologians, at least those with an honest knowledge of church history, know that no such consensus exists, as the following examples demonstrate.

    Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J.: When one hears today the call for a return to a patristic interpretation of Scripture, there is often latent in it a recollection of Church documents that spoke at times of the ‘unanimous consent of the Fathers’ as the guide for biblical interpretation. But just what this would entail is far from clear. For, as already mentioned, there were Church Fathers who did use a form of the historical-critical method, suited to their own day, and advocated a literal interpretation of Scripture, not the allegorical. But not all did so. Yet there was no uniform or monolithic patristic interpretation, either in the Greek Church of the East, Alexandrian or Antiochene, or in the Latin Church of the West. No one can ever tell us where such a “unanimous consent of the fathers” is to be found, and Pius XII finally thought it pertinent to call attention to the fact that there are but few texts whose sense has been defined by the authority of the Church, “nor are those more numerous about which the teaching of the Holy Fathers is unanimous.” Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Scripture, The Soul of Theology (New York: Paulist Press, 1994), p. 70.

    Cardinal Yves Congar: Application of the principle is difficult, at least at a certain level. In regard to individual texts of Scripture total patristic consensus is unnecessary: quite often, that which is appealed to as sufficient for dogmatic points does not go beyond what is encountered in the interpretation of many texts. But it does sometimes happen that some Fathers understood a passage in a way which does not agree with later Church teaching. One example: the interpretation of Peter’s confession in Matthew 16.16-19. Except at Rome, this passage was not applied by the Fathers to the papal primacy; they worked out exegesis at the level of their own ecclesiological thought, more anthropological and spiritual than judicial. . . . Historical documentation is at the factual level; it must leave room for a judgment made not in the light of the documentary evidence alone, but of the Church's faith. Yves M.-J. Congar, Tradition and Traditions: An Historical and a Theological Essay (London: Burns & Oats, 1966), pp. 398-399.

    And Cardinal Congar even goes on to insist “It is the Church, not the Fathers, the consensus of the Church in submission to its Saviour which is the sufficient rule of our Christianity.” Yves M.-J. Congar, Tradition and Traditions: An Historical and a Theological Essay (London: Burns & Oats, 1966), p. 399.

    For all of Rome's claims to the contrary, Rome's view, at the end of the day, is sola ecclesia.
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