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It is unclear whether the Corinthian conflict was caused by any strictly doctrinal rather than disciplinary factors; but Clement’s words against doubts about the resurrection of the body chs. 23 26 and against boasting about ascetism 38,2; cf. a similar text in Ignatius, Pol. 5,2 might lead us to think so. To date it has not been duly recognized that the positions criticized in the letter are exactly the same as those elaborated and introduced into the Corinthian community about fifty years earlier by Apollos of Alexandria. In his correspondence with the Corinthians, St. Paul had criticized Apollos’s Encratite enthusiasm, which linked an absolute asceticism to an already-realized eschaton marriage is abolished because the resurrection has already taken place for more detail, see my analysis in ANRW II.26.2, 1232-1275. Clement’s explicit mention of the earlier conflict at Corinth, which opposed the party of the apostles Paul and Cephas against the party of Apollos, seems to confirm the enduring vitality of Apollos’s party at Corinth even in the late 1st c., made worse by the fact that now the antagonists, unlike at Apollos’s time, no longer had direct contact with the apostolic generation ch. 47. In this renewed clash of theological positions, Clement analogically assumes the role played by Peter and Paul against Apollos in the earlier conflict. One can say that Clement’s strategy is entirely similar to that adopted by his contemporary Luke. For the latter also, Apollos is merely an underling, approved by Paul and his collaborators Acts 18:24-28, which nonetheless doesn’t keep Luke from harshly attacking the heretics who in his time continued to propagate Apollos’s teachings Acts 20:29-35. Indeed, the ideological and literary affinity between Clement and Luke may explain why the letter to the Hebrews was here or there attributed to one or the other see Clem. Alex., Hypot. in Eusebius, HE VI, 14,2; Origen, Hom. Hebr. in Eusebius, HE VI, 25,14; Eusebius, HE III, 38,1-2. Clement’s letter thus finds its natural home along with other contemporary writings such as the Pastoral Epistles, the Epistle of Barnabas and the letters of Ignatius of Antioch in the general proto-Catholic movement of polemic and intervention against the fringe of ascetic enthusiasts, rebels against presbyterial-episcopal power. At the same time, nothing of a political nature can be detected in the document. If on one hand the concluding prayer for the authority ch. 60,4 61 demonstrates the work’s basic loyalty to Rome, on the other hand it establishes that obedience to authority must never lead to a contradiction with the higher will of God. A recognition of the divine origin of political authority, expressed with these reservations, cannot be compared with the command of unconditional obedience contained in an interpolated text such as Rom 13:1-7.

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