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Second Clement and Gnosticism: The status quaestionis
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology.
2017 (English)In: Early Christianity, ISSN 1868-7032, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 124-149Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Several generations of scholars have consistently held that the author of Second Clement criticizes some form of Gnosticism. The two most recent commentaries on this writing arrive at strongly contrasting conclusions on the matter. Wilhelm Pratscher (2007) defends the standard viewpoint, while Christopher Tuckett (2012) challenges it. Conclusions about the stance of an author’s opponents can naturally have profound consequences for an analysis of that author’s views and aims. An assessment of whether Second Clement censures gnostic beliefs or practices is therefore in order. This article argues that the writing’s copious warnings and direct criticisms bespeak an author who would have possessed the boldness to criticize directly any gnostic false teachers had he wished to do so. Therefore, it is unfounded to infer that the author only indirectly, or implicitly, criticizes non-distinctively gnostic aspects of his supposedly gnostic opponents’ theology. Many of Tuckett’s objections to the earlier consensus that the opponents were Gnostics are persuasive. This article concludes with suggestions for how future scholarship can make more nuanced comparisons of Second Clement with the varied literature found at Nag Hammadi.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017. Vol. 8, no 1, p. 124-149
Keywords [en]
Clement, Second Epistle of; Gnosticism; Gnostics; orthodoxy and heresy; Christian origins; Wilhelm Pratscher (1947–); Christopher M. Tuckett (1948–)
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
New Testament Exegesis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-336713OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-336713DiVA, id: diva2:1166739
Available from: 2017-12-15 Created: 2017-12-15 Last updated: 2017-12-15

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