The following are excerpts from the Clementine Homilies as translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers series. The choice, arrangement, and titles of excerpts follows the reconstruction given by Johannes Irmscher and Georg Strecker in New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 2, pp. 531-541. The Kerygmata Petrou is known only from the Pseudo-Clementine literature and must be distinguished from the Preaching of Peter quoted by Clement of Alexandria.
The true Prophet (H III 17-21)
17.1. “God having made all things, if any one will not allow to a man, fashioned by His hands, to have possessed His great and Holy Spirit of foreknowledge, how does not he greatly err who attributes it to another born of a spurious stock! 2. And I do not think that he will obtain pardon, though he be misled by spurious scripture to think dreadful things against the Father of all.
20.2. But he would act most piously, if he should not allow to another to have it, but should say that he alone has it, who has changed his forms and his names from the beginning of the world, and so reappeared again and again in the world, until coming upon his own times, and being anointed with mercy for the works of God, he shall enjoy rest for ever.
21.1. He himself being the only true prophet, fittingly gave names to each animal, according to the merits of its nature, as having made it. For if he gave a name to any one, that was also the name of that which was made, being given by him who made it. 2. How then had he still need to partake of a tree, that he might know what is good and what is evil, if he was commanded not to eat of it? But this senseless men believe, who think that a reasonless beast was more powerful than the God who made these things.”
(H III 26)
1. “But he who amongst the sons Of men had prophecy innate to his soul as belonging to it, expressly, as being a male, indicating the hopes of the world to come, called his own son Abel, which without any ambiguity is translated Grief. 2. For he assigns to his sons to grieve over their deceived brethren. He does not deceive them when he promises them comfort in the world to come. 3. When he says that we must pray to one only God, he neither himself speaks of gods, nor does he believe another who speaks of them. He keeps the good which he has, and increases more and more. He hates sacrifices, bloodshed, and libations; he loves the chaste, the pure, the holy. He quenches the fire of altars, 4. represses wars, teaches pious preachers wisdom, purges sins, sanctions marriage, approves temperance, leads all to chastity, 5. makes men liberal, prescribes justice, seals those of them who are perfect, publishes the word of peace, 6. prophesies mention of the eternal fire of punishment, constantly announces the kingdom of God, indicates heavenly riches, promises unfading glory, shows the remission of sins by works.”
(H XI 19)
1. “Whence the Prophet of the truth, knowing that the world was much in error, and seeing it ranged on the side of evil, did not choose that there should be peace to it while it stood in error. So that till the end he sets himself against all those who are in concord with wickedness, 2. setting truth over against error, sending as it were fire upon those who are sober, namely wrath against the seducer, which is likened to a sword, and by holding forth the word he destroys ignorance by knowledge, cutting, as it were, and separating the living from the dead. 3. Therefore, while wickedness is being conquered by lawful knowledge, war has taken hold of all. For the submissive son is, for the sake of salvation, separated from the unbelieving father, or the father from the son, or the mother from the daughter, or the daughter from the mother, and relatives from relatives, and friends from associates.”
Female Prophecy (H III 22)
1. “But a companion was created along with him, a female nature, much differing from him, as quality from substance, as the moon from the sun, as fire from light. 2. She, as a female ruling the present world as her like, was entrusted to be the first prophetess, announcing prophecy with all amongst those born of woman. . . .”
(H III 23-25)
1. “Let us then understand that there are two kinds of prophecy: the one male; . . . 2. This second, therefore, being amongst those born of woman, as the female superintendent of this present world, wishes to be thought masculine. 3. Wherefore, stealing the seeds of the male, and sowing them with her own seeds of the flesh, she brings forth the fruits-that is, words-as wholly her own. 4. And she promises that she will give the present earthly riches as a dowry, wishing to change the slow for the swift, the small for the greater. 24.1. However, she, not only presuming to say and to hear that there are many gods, but also believing herself to be one, and in hope of king that which she had not a nature to be, and throwing away what she had, and as a female being in her courses at the offering of sacrifices, is stained with blood; and then she pollutes those who touch her. 2. But when she conceives and brings forth temporary kings, she stirs up wars, shedding much blood; 3. and those who desire to learn truth from her, by telling them all things contrary, and presenting many and various services, she keeps them always seeking and finding nothing, even until death. 4. For from the beginning a cause of death lies upon blind men; for she, prophesying deceit, and ambiguities, and obliquities, deceives those who believe her. 25.1. Hence the ambiguous name which she gave to her first-born son, calling him Cain, which has a capability of interpretation in two ways; for it is interpreted both Possession and Envy, as signifying that in the future he was to envy either a woman, or possessions, or the love of the parents towards her. 2. But if it be none of these, then it will befall him to be called the Possession. For she possessed him first, which also was advantageous to him. For he was a murderer and a liar, and with his sins was not willing to be at peace with respect to tile government. 3. Moreover, those who came forth by succession from him were the first adulterers. And there were psalteries, and harps, and forgers of instruments of war. 4. Wherefore also the prophecy of his descendants being full of adulterers and of psalteries, secretly by means of pleasures excites to wars.”
The Law and False Pericopes (H III 47)
1. . . . “The law of God was given by Moses, without writing, to seventy wise men, to be handed down, that the government might be carried on by succession. But after that Moses was taken up, it was written by some one, but not by Moses. 2. For in the law itself it is written, `And Moses died; and they buried him near the house of Phogor, and no one knows his sepulchre till this day.’ 3. But how could Moses write that Moses died? And whereas in the time after Moses, about 500 years or thereabouts, it is found lying in the temple which was built, and after about 500 years more it is carried away, and being burnt in the time of Nebuchadnezzar it is destroyed; 4. and thus being written after Moses, and often lost, even this shows the foreknowledge of Moses, because he, foreseeing its disappearance, did not write it; but those who wrote it, being convicted of ignorance through their not foreseeing its disappearance, were not prophets.”
(H II 38)
1. . . . “The prophet Moses having by the order of God delivered the law, with the explanations, to certain chosen men, some seventy in number, in order that they also might instruct such of the people as chose, after a little the written law had added to it certain falsehoods contrary to the law of God, who made the heaven and the earth, and all things in them; the wicked one having dared to work this for some righteous purpose. 2. And this took place in reason and judgment, that those might be convicted who should dare to listen to the things written against God, and those who, through love towards Him, should not only disbelieve the things spoken against Him, but should not even endure to hear them at all, even if they should happen to be true, judging it much safer to incur danger with respect to religious faith, than to live with an evil conscience on account of blasphemous words.”
(H III 48-52)
48.2. . . . “A certain verse has been recorded without controversy in the written law, according to the providence of God, so as to show clearly which of the things written are true and which are false.” . . . 49.1. “It is written in the first book of the law, towards the end: `A ruler shall not fail from Judah, nor a leader from his thighs, until He come whose it is; and He is the expectation of the nations.’ 2. If, therefore, any one can apprehend Him who came after the failure of ruler and leader from Judah, and who was to be expected by the nations, he will be able by this verse to recognise Him as truly having come; and believing His teaching, he will know what of the Scriptures are true and what are false.” . . .
50.1. Then Peter: “As to the mixture of truth with falsehood,39 I remember that on one occasion He, finding fault with the Sadducees, said, `Wherefore ye do err, not knowing the true things of the Scriptures; and on this account ye are ignorant of the power of God.’ But if He cast up to their that they knew not the true things of the Scriptures, it is manifest that there are false things in them. 2. And also, inasmuch as He said, `Be ye prudent money-changers, ’41 it is because there are genuine and spurious words. And whereas He said, `Wherefore do ye not perceive that which is reasonable in the Scriptures?’ He makes the understanding of him stronger who voluntarily judges soundly. 51.1. And His sending to the scribes and teachers of the existing Scriptures, as to those who knew the true things of the law that then was, is well known. 2. And also that He said, `I am not come to destroy the law,’ and yet that He appeared to be destroying it, is the part of one intimating that the things which He destroyed did not belong to the law. 3. And His saying, `The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but one jot or one tittle shall not pass froth the law,’ intimated that the things which pass away before the heaven and the earth do not belong to the law in reality. 52.1. Since, then, while the heaven and the earth still stand, sacrifices have passed away, and kingdoms, and prophecies among those who are born of woman, and such like, as not being ordinances of God.” . . .
(H II 43-44)
1. “Wherefore, far he it from us to believe that the Lord of all, who made the heaven and the earth, and all things that are in them, shares His government with others, or that He lies. For if He lies, then who speaks truth? Or that He makes experiments as in ignorance; for then who foreknows? 2. And if He deliberates, and changes His purpose, who is perfect in understanding and permanent in design? If He envies, who is above rivalry? If He hardens hearts, who makes wise? 3. If He makes blind and deaf, who has given sight and hearing? If He commits pilfering, who administers justice? If He mocks, who is sincere? If He is weak, who is omnipotent? If He is unjust, who is just? If He makes evil things, who shall make good things? If He does evil, who shall do good? 44.1. But if He desires the fruitful hill, whose then are all things? If He is false, who then is true? If He dwells in a tabernacle, who is without bounds? 2. If He is fond of fat, and sacrifices, and offerings, and drink-offerings, who then is without need, and who is holy, and pure, and perfect? If He is pleased with candles and candlesticks, who then placed the luminaries in heaven? 3. If He dwells in shadow, and darkness, and storm, and smoke, who is the light that lightens the universe? If He comes with trumpets, and shoutings, and darts, and arrows, who is the looked-for tranquillity of all? 4. If He loves war, who then wishes peace? If He makes evil things, who makes good things? If He is without affection, who is a lover of men? If He is not faithful to His promises, who shall be trusted? 5. If He loves the wicked, and adulterers, and murderers, who shall be a just judge?”
Polemic against Paul (H II 16-17)
16.1. “As in the beginning God, who is one, like a right hand and a left, made the heavens first and then the earth, so also He constituted all the combinations in order; but upon men He no more does this, but varies all the combinations. 2. For whereas from Him the greater things come first, and the inferior second, we find the opposite in men-the first worse, and the second superior. 3. Therefore from Adam, who was made after the image of God, there sprang first the unrighteous Cain, and then the righteous Abel. 4. Again, from him who amongst you is called Deucalion, two forms of spirits were sent forth, the impure namely, and the pure, first the black raven, and then the white dove. 5. From Abraham also, the patriarchs of our nation, two firsts sprang-Ishmael first, then Isaac, who was blessed of God. 6. And from Isaac himself, in like manner, there were again two-Esau the profane, and Jacob the pious. 7. So, first in birth, as the first born in the world, was the high priest Aaron, then the lawgiver Moses.
17.1 In like manner, the combination with respect to Elias, which behoved to have come, has been willingly put off to another time, . . . 2. he who was among those born of woman came first; then he who was among the sons of men came second. 3. It were possible, following this order, to perceive to what series Simon belongs, who came before me to the Gentiles, and to which I belong who have come after him, and have come in upon him as light upon darkness, as knowledge upon ignorance, as healing upon disease.”
(H XVII 13-19)
1. Simon, on hearing this, interrupted him, and said: “I know against whom you are making these remarks; but in order that I may not spend any time in discussing subjects which I do not wish to discuss, repeating the same statements to refute you, reply to that which is concisely stated by us. You professed that you had well understood the doctrines and deeds of your teacher because you saw them before you with your own eyes, and heard them with your own ears, and that it is not possible for any other to have anything similar by vision or apparition. 2. But I shall show that this is false. He who hears any one with his own ears, is not altogether fully assured of the truth of what is said; for his mind has to consider whether he is wrong or not, inasmuch as he is a man as far as appearance goes. But apparition not merely presents an object to view, but inspires him who sees it with confidence, for it comes from God. Now reply first to this.”
16. 1. And Peter said: “. . . 2. We know that there are many . . . who worship idols, commit adultery, and sin in every way, and yet they see true visions and dreams, and some of them have also apparitions of demons. For I maintain that the eyes of mortals cannot see the incorporeal form of the Father or Son, because it is illumined by exceeding great light. 3. Wherefore it is not because God envies, but because He pities, that He cannot be seen by man who has been turned into flesh. For he who sees God cannot live. 6. . . . For no one can see the incorporeal power not only of the Son, but not even of an angel. But if one sees an apparition, he should know that this is the apparition of an evil demon.
17. 5. . . . For in the case of the pious man, the truth gushes up natural and pure in his mind, not worked tip through dreams, but granted to the good through intelligence. 18. 1. Thus to me also was the Son revealed by the Father. Wherefore I know what is the meaning of revelation, having learned it in my own case. For at the very time when the Lord said, `Who do they say that I am? ‘ and when I heard one saying one thing of Him, and another another, it came into my heart to say (and I know not, therefore, how I said it), `Thou art the Son of the living God.’ . . . 6. You see how the statements of wrath are made through visions and dreams, but the statements to a friend are made face to face, in outward appearance, and not through riddles and visions and dreams, as to an enemy.
19.1. “If, then, our Jesus appeared to you in a vision, made Himself known to you, and spoke to you, it was as one who is enraged with an adversary; and this is the reason why it was through visions and dreams, or through revelations that were from without, that He spoke to you. But can any one be rendered fit for instruction through apparitions? 2. And if you will say, `It is possible,’ then I ask, `Why did our teacher abide and discourse a whole year to those who were awake?’ 3. And how are we to believe your word, when you tell us that He appeared to you? And how did He appear to you, when you entertain opinions contrary to His teaching? 4. But if you were seen and taught by Him, and became His apostle for a single hour, proclaim His utterances, interpret His sayings, love His apostles, contend not with me who companied with Him. For in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church, you now stand. 5. If you were not opposed to me, you would not accuse me, and revile the truth proclaimed by me, in order that I may not be believed when I state what I myself have heard with my own ears from the Lord, as if I were evidently a person that was condemned and in bad repute. 6. But if you say that I am condemned, you bring an accusation against God, who revealed the Christ to me, and you inveigh against Him who pronounced me blessed on account of the revelation. 7. But if, indeed, you really wish to work in the cause of truth, learn first of all from us what we have learned from Him, and, becoming a disciple of the truth, become a fellow-worker with us.”
The Doctrine of Baptism (H XI 25-33)
25. “Wherefore come readily, as a son to a father, that God may assign ignorance as the cause of your sins. But if after being called you will not, or delay, you shall he destroyed by the just judgment of God, not being willed, through your not willing. And do not think, though you were more pious than all the pious that ever were, but if you be unbaptized, that you shall ever obtain hope. For all the more, on this account, you shall endure the greater punishment, because you have done excellent works not excellently. For well-doing is excellent when it is done as God has commanded. But if you will not be baptized according to His pleasure, you serve your own will and oppose His counsel.
26. “But perhaps some one will say, What does it contribute to piety to be baptized with water? In the first place, because you do that which is pleasing to God; and in the second place, being born again to God of water, by reason of fear you change your first generation, which is of lust, and thus you are able to obtain salvation. But otherwise it is impossible. For thus the prophet has sworn to us, saying, “Verily I say to you, Unless ye be regenerated by living water into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.9 Wherefore approach. For there is there something that is merciful from the beginning, home upon the water, and rescues from the future punishment those who are baptized with the thrice blessed invocation, offering as gifts to God the good deeds of the baptized whenever they are done after their baptism. Wherefore flee to the waters, for this alone can quench the violence of fires.10 He who will not now come to it still bears the spirit of strife, on account of which he will not approach the living water for his own salvation.
27. “Therefore approach, be ye righteous or unrighteous. For if you are righteous, baptism alone is lacking in order to salvation. But if you are unrighteous, come to be baptized for the remission of the sins formerly committed in ignorance. And to the unrighteous man it remains that his well-doing after baptism be according to the proportion of his previous impiety. Wherefore, be ye righteous or unrighteous, hasten to be born to God, because delay brings danger, on account of the fore-appointment of death being unrevealed; and show by well-doing your likeness to the Father, who begetteth you of water. As a lover of truth, honour the true God as your Father. But His honour is that you live as He, being righteous, would have you live. And the will of the righteous One is that you do no wrong. But wrong is murder, hatred, envy, and such like; and of these there are many forms.
28. “However, it is necessary to add something to these things which has not community with man, but is peculiar to the worship of God. I mean purification, not approaching to a man’s own wife when she is in separation, for so the law of God commands. But what? If purity be not added to the service of God, you would roll pleasantly like the dung-flies. Wherefore as man, having something more than the irrational animals, namely, rationality, purify your hearts from evil by heavenly reasoning, and wash your bodies in the bath. For purification according to the truth is not that the purity of the body precedes purification after the heart, but that purity follows goodness. For our Teacher also, dealing with certain of the Pharisees and Scribes among us, who are separated, and as Scribes know the matters of the law more than others, still He reproved them as hypocrites, because they cleansed only the things that appear to men, but omitted purity of heart and the things seen by God alone.
29. “Therefore He made use of this memorable expression, speaking the truth with respect to the hypocrites of them, not with respect to all. For to some He said that obedience was to be rendered, because they were entrusted with the chair of Moses. However, to the hypocrites he said, `Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye make clean the outside of the cup and the platter, hut the inside is full of filth. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and the platter, that their outsides may be clean also.’ And truly: for when the mind is enlightened by knowledge, the disciple is able to be good, and thereupon purity follows; for from the understanding within a good care of the body without is produced. As from negligence with respect to the body, care of the understanding cannot be produced, so the pure man can purify both that which is without and that which is within. And he who, purifying the things without, does it looking to the praise of men, and by the praise of those who look on, he has nothing from God.
30. “But who is there to whom it is not manifest that it is better not to have intercourse with a woman in her separation, but purified and washed. And also after copulation it is proper to wash. But if you grudge to do this, recall to mind how you followed after the parts of purity when you served senseless idols; and be ashamed that now, when it is necessary to attain, I say not more, but to attain the one and whole of purity, you are more slothful. Consider, therefore, Him who made you, and you will understand who He is that casts upon you this sluggishness with respect to purity.
31. “But some one of you will say, Must we then do whatsoever things we did while we were idolaters? I say to you, Not all things; but whatsoever you did well, you must do now, and more: for whatsoever is welt done in error hangs upon truth, as if anything be ill done in the truth it is from error. Receive, therefore, from all quarters the things that are your own, and not those that are another’s, and do not say, If those who are in error do anything well we are not bound to do it. For, on this principle, if any one who worships idols do not commit murder, we ought to commit murder, because he who is in error does not commit it.
32. “No; but rather, if those who are in error do not kill, let us not be angry; if he who is in error do not commit adultery, let us not lust even in the smallest degree; if he who is in error loves him who loves him, let us love even those who hate us; if he who is in error lends to those who have, let us give to those who have not. Unquestionably we ought-we who hope to inherit eternal life-to do better things than the good things that are done by those who know only the present life, knowing that if their works, being judged with ours in the day of judgment, be found equal in goodness, we shall have shame, and they perdition, having acted against themselves through error. And I say that we shall be put to shame on this account, because we have not done more than they, though we have known more than they. And if we shall be put to shame if we show well-doing equal to theirs, and no more, how much more if we show less than their well-doing?
33. “But that indeed in the day of judgment the doings of those who have known the truth are compared with the good deeds of those who have been in error, the unlying One Himself has taught us, saying to those who neglected to come and listen to Him, `The queen of the south shall rise up with this generation, and shall condemn it; because she came from the extremities of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon: and behold, a greater than Solomon is here, ’11 and ye do not believe Him. And to those amongst the people who would not repent at His preaching He said, `The men of Nineveh shall rise up with this generation and shall condemn it, for they heard and repented on the preaching of Jonas: and behold, a greater is here, and no one believes.’12 And thus, setting over against all their impiety those from among the Gentiles who have done well, in order to Condemn those who, possessing the true religion, had not acted so well as those who were in error, he exhorted those having reason not only to do equally with the Gentiles whatsoever things are excellent, but more than they. And this speech has been suggested to me, taking occasion from the necessity of respecting the separation, and of washing after copulation, and of not denying such purity, though those who are in error do the same, since those who in error do well, without being saved, are for the condemnation of those who are in the worship of God, and do ill; because their respect for purity is through error, and not through the worship of the true Father and God of all.”