jeudi 15 décembre 2011

Apostolic father: Clement

I had such a good time in reading some ancient manuscripts in my search to educate myself for the purpose of the book i was writing few month ago. I read in particular one of the apostolic fathers - Clement. Clement wrote quite an interesting letter or should I say a booklet in the first century (its too long to be a letter if you asked me) . It is also know as the First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. It was written probably after the Christian persecution by Nero and before the year 100 A.D.

I just loved the wisdom and you might think at time you are reading the apostle Paul or someone else from the New Testament canon.

And he also made interesting observation such as this, (talking about Rahab the prostitute):

"Moreover, they gave her a sign to this effect, that she should hang forth from her house a scarlet thread. And thus they made it manifest that redemption should flow through the blood of the Lord to all them that believe and hope in God. Ye see, beloved, that there was not only faith, but prophecy, in this woman." (1 Clement Xii).

Though in many ways it resemble the New Testament text, there is also very strange accounts i think it would have created so much trouble to us if it was incorporated in the canon of the new testament. one of the very - let's call it as it is - very strange account of the phoenix. The phoenix is the legendary bird that is purported to have always been able to come back to life from its ashes. Very nice for the 'Chevalier du Zodiac' but for the bible? Those modern skeptics and atheists would have crucified us with such stories in the NT.

This fable respecting the phœnix is mentioned by Herodotus (ii. 73) and by Pliny (Nat. Hist., x. 2.) and is used as below by Tertullian (De Resurr., §13) and by others of the Fathers. It is found in the 25th chapter of the first epistle of Clement. I have reproduced it below for your enjoyment.

Chapter XXV.—The phœnix an emblem of our resurrection.

"Let us consider that wonderful sign [of the resurrection] which takes place in Eastern lands, that is, in Arabia and the countries round about. There is a certain bird which is called a phœnix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near that it must die, it builds itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices, into which, when the time is fulfilled, it enters and dies. But as the flesh decays a certain kind of worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the dead bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has acquired strength, it takes up that nest in which are the bones of its parent, and bearing these it passes from the land of Arabia into Egypt, to the city called Heliopolis. And, in open day, flying in the sight of all men, it places them on the altar of the sun, and having done this, hastens back to its former abode. The priests then inspect the registers of the dates, and find that it has returned exactly as the five hundredth year was completed."

Have a nice Christmas season and blessed weekend in Jesus' name.

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