Is I Clement a church order? In response to Daniel Vaucher

In response to my posting a conspectus of church orders, in an attempt to define the field, Daniel Vaucher has responded in a comment, to which I am responding in a series of posts.

As part of that post I attempted to define the field, offering a definition of a church order as “a literary document which seeks to direct the conduct of Christians and of the church on the basis of an appeal to tradition derived from or mediated through the apostles.”

Vaucher suggests that there is a danger of too broad a definition, and that I am in danger of having to include the post-Pauline letters. He also suggests various other documents which might be included under my definition.

The only grey area for me is I Clement. I do not think that Epistula apostolorum is directive in the way that the orders are and was central to the definition, and to include that in the focus is unhelpful. I do think that we might well include I Timothy and Titus in the conspectus; we may recall Bartsch’s important study here (Die Anfänge urchristlicher Rechtsbildungen. Studien zu den Pastoralbriefen, (Hamburg-Bergstedt : Reich, 1965) and reflect that Johannes Mühlsteiger, Kirchenordnungen: Anfänge kirchlicher Rechtsbildung (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2006) includes the Pastoral Epistles. I Clement is a grey area in that it certainly seeks to direct the conduct of a church, though not the church in general, and appeals to apostolic authority, even if that authority is not central to its persuasive force. On balance I think I would exclude it on the grounds that it is addressed to one church rather than to churches in the abstract, and on the grounds that apostolic authority, whilst present, is not central. Nonetheless I can see the case for its inclusion.

This is all for today! I must add, for any reader unfamiliar with academic discourse, that my critical comments are the result of gratitude to Vaucher for his attention and contribution. He, of course, knows that.



Filed under Church orders in genera(l)

2 responses to “Is I Clement a church order? In response to Daniel Vaucher

  1. Daniel Vaucher

    It is nice to see how a little imput can stimulate the “academic discourse”. How nice would it be, if more people participated!
    I might at some point come back to that post and reflect on the inclusion/exclusion of deutero-Pauline letters as well as the the letters of the Apostolic Fathers. It remains a matter of definition of “Church Order” which I’m not completely happy with.
    I would certainly agree that the Pastorals should be considered seriously. You named the important literature.

    1 Clement, I would just point a few articles that considered the letter as Church Order or at least related to it, see
    Alexandre FAIVRE, Le „système normatif“ dans la lettre de Clément de Rome aux Corinthiens, in: RSR 54 (1980) 129-152.
    and of course Alexandre FAIVRE, La documentation canonico-liturgique de l’église ancienne, in: RSR 54 (1980) 204-219, 273-297 where he considers other letters from that corpus.
    and MUELLER, The Ancient Church Order Literature: Genre or Tradition?, in: JECS 15 (2007) 337-380, which should be known in this forum anyway .

    It is interesting to see that many introductions to early Canonic Law list the Church Orders together with the letters of the Apostolic fathers, kind of in Bartschs sense of “Anfänge urchristlicher Rechtsbildungen”, see e.g.
    SYNEK / POTZ, Orthodoxes Kirchenrecht. Eine Einführung 2007, 209-211 (Pastorals and Ignatius), MUNSONIUS, Evangelisches Kirchenrecht 2015, 23-24 (1. Clement and Ignatius)


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