Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Question about First Clement Text

A reader of the blog sent these questions. I've edited the comments for the sake of time and length:

Hi Edgar.

I have a grammar question, (or a sense in translation, on a text in 1st Clement Chapter 7:4 in the Codex Alexandrinus and Rufinus of Aquileia's Latin version of Clement of Rome's 1st Epistle.

Here's one version of MPG critical text:

GREEK TEXT: “...[Ἀτενίσ]ωμεν εἰς τὸ αἷμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ, [καὶ ἷδ]ῶμεν, ὡς ἔστιν τίμιον τῷ Θεῷ [αἷμα] αὐτοῦ...” - (Chapter 7:4, [MPG] Jacques Paul Migne's “Patrologia Graeca,” or “Patrologiae Cursus Completus,” Series Graeca, Imprimerie Catholique, 1857–1866 .)

Here's another different version of MPG that I found:

GREEK TEXT: “...Ἀτενίσωμεν εἰς τὸ αἷμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ γνῶμεν, ὡς ἔστιν τίμιον τῷ Πατρὶ αὐτοῦ...” - (Chapter 7:4, ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟΝ Ζ’. Epistula i ad Corinthios Τοῦ ἁγίου Κλήμεντος τοῦ Ῥώμης ἐπισκόπου ἐπιστολὴ πρὸς Κορινθίους Α ’. Ἐκ προσώπου τῆς Ῥωμαίων Ἐκκλησίας γραφεῖσα, [MPG] Jacques Paul Migne's Patrologia Graeca (Patrologiae Cursus Completus. Series Graeca) Imprimerie Catholique, 1857–1866.)

Rufinus has this reading:

LATIN TEXT: “...Fixis oculis respiciamus in sanguinem Christi, cernamusque quam pretiosus Deo sit ejus sanguis...” - (Chapter 7:4, AD CORINTHIOS EPISTOLA PRIMA. SANCTI CLEMENTIS EPISCOPI ROMANI, ( EX VERSIONE RUFINI ) Tomus Primus [Book I], Patres Apostolici, COLLECTIO SELECTA SS. ECCLESIAE PATRUM, Complectens Exquisitissima Opera. By D. M. N. S. Guuillon. M. DCCC. XXIX.)

Now I need help interpreting:

1.) Grammatically who Ltn., ( sanguis ) applies to
2.) Sense

Of the two texts.

Who do you think Rufinus and the MPG version is trying to say it applies to:

1.) God?
2.) Jesus?

Are they trying to make it look like it is: “...God's blood...” in the Tri{3}nitarian sense here?

Like what has been attempted in some of the MSS with Chapter 2:1 of Ist Clement, (See link below for more info), and in the Bible at Acts 20:28.

MY RESPONSE: I don't think there's any doubt that sanguis ought to be construed with eius and understood as a reference to "Christi." Sanguis (nominative case) is the subject. Moreover, the accusatival use of "sanguinem" earlier in the construction helps us to know the referent of "sanguis."

The sense appears to be (similar to 1 Peter 1:18ff) that Christ's blood is highly valued by God. Notice the dative form "Deo" which suggests who is viewing the blood as precious.

Finally, the "blood" terminology seems applicable to Christ in Rufinus and MPG. Both texts have the subject term for "blood." While someone might try to use this passage for Trinitarian purposes, it's a stretch to use it that way.

Hope this helps,



Edgar Foster said...

E.W. Fisher, "'Let Us Look upon the Blood of Christ' (1 Clement 7:4)," Vigiliae Christianae 34 (1980) 218-36.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Thank you Edgar.

As always, much appreciated.

Thank you for your fine and prompt response.