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 Post subject: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:02 pm 
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Wikipedia's entry on II Clement says:
The earliest external reference to 2 Clement is found in Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History...:
"But it must be observed also that there is said to be a second epistle of Clement. But we do not know that this is recognized like the former, for we do not find that the ancients have made any use of it."
So while it's ascribed to Clement of Rome, it's not known for sure who the real author was.
II Clement can be found online here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1011.htm

Christopher Tuckett writes:
The text of 2 Clement... was... evidently highly respected and even canonical for some, it was rejected as not used by the ancients by others.... The existence of the text and its implied association with 1 Clement may be attested earlier [than by Eusebius in the 4th c.] by Irenaeus [in the 2nd c.]
(2 Clement: Introduction, Text, and Commentary, by Christopher Tuckett)

II Clement is used in the Alexandrian Codex of the Bible and is mentioned in the book of Apostolic rules to be used for general reading.

(Question 1) Do you agree that "fasting is better than prayer, but almsgiving is better than both"?
Robert M. Grant writes about II Clement:
The theology is not altogether clear, and the author soon turns to the state that he has "given no trivial counsel about self-control," leading into his practical appeal for repentence and going so far as to say that "fasting is better than prayer, but almsgiving is better than both" (16:4).
(The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 1, p. 1061)

Chapter 16 in Roberts' Translation says:

So, then, brethren, having received no small occasion to repent, while we have opportunity, let us turn to God who called us, while yet we have One to receive us. For if we renounce these indulgences and conquer the soul by not fulfilling its wicked desires, we shall be partakers of the mercy of Jesus. Know ye that the day of judgment draweth nigh like a burning oven, and certain of the heavens and all the earth will melt, like lead melting in fire; and then will appear the hidden and manifest deeds of men. Good, then, is alms as repentance from sin; better is fasting than prayer, and alms than both; "charity covereth a multitude of sins,"(1 Peter 4:4) and prayer out of a good conscience delivereth from death. Blessed is every one that shall be found complete in these; for alms lightens the burden of sin.
I think that the sense is that the day of judgment is coming on and so prayer is good, but fasting is even better as preparation (maybe it has a penitential, ascetic aspect). So I think that this means that almsgiving and fasting are better than prayer for asceticism, penance, and/or preparation for the day of judgment.
Lightfoot's translation goes:
Almsgiving therefore is a good thing, even as repentance from sin
Fasting is better than prayer, but almsgiving better than both. And
love covereth a multitude of sins, but prayer out of a good
conscience delivereth from death. Blessed is every man that is found
full of these. For almsgiving lifteth off the burden of sin.

(Question 2) If we are still conscious after death, why couldn't we repent or continue our repentance after death?
2 Clement says that after we leave this world, we can't confess or repent, and consequently we should repent now.
Chapter 8 says:
The Necessity of Repentance While We are on Earth

As long, therefore, as we are upon earth, let us practise repentance, for we are as clay in the hand of the artificer. For as the potter, if he make a vessel, and it be distorted or broken in his hands, fashions it over again; but if he have before this cast it into the furnace of fire, can no longer find any help for it: so let us also, while we are in this world, repent with our whole heart of the evil deeds we have done in the flesh, that we may be saved by the Lord, while we have yet an opportunity of repentance. For after we have gone out of the world, no further power of confessing or repenting will there belong to us.
As I understand it, in Catholicism, the stay of the faithful sinners in Purgatory is limited in duration. While there, they are conscious, and so I think that they could be in a state of repentance or penitence.
In Eastern Orthodoxy, the righteous don't suffer Purgatory, but to my knowledge there is a debate or uncertainty over whether the wicked who are confined to hell could at some point be redeemed from it. That is, it's true that Hell involves eternal punishment, but since God is all-powerful and all-loving, then somehow their souls could redeemed from Hell. It's not the position of the Orthodox Church, but some Orthodox theologians (like Alexei I. Osipov) seriously consider the possibility of something like this.

Maybe then, the teaching that one must repent while on Earth because it can't happen afterwards is true in a general way because this time is given to us to do righteousness, but it's not necessarily true in an absolute sense.

 Post subject: Re: II CLEMENT (95-140 AD) Questions
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:25 pm 
Jedi Master
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It's true in an absolute sense. http://www.papalencyclicals.net/ben12/b12bdeus.htm

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