Friday, 24 May 2019
Taras Khomych: Origins of Ministry in First Clement
The aim of this presentation is to explain several ambiguities embedded in key passages dealing with ministry in an early Christian epistle known as First Clement, challenging at the same time a widely accepted scholarly paradigm on the beginnings and early developments of Christian ministries. As a precious witness to the origins of Christian reflection on Church offices, this first century letter has been the subject of much scholarly attention. In particular, modern scholars have tended to interpret First Clement as a turning point between an office-free, pneumatic and prophetic Christian communities, on the one hand, and later more formal but less charismatic ecclesial structures, on the other. Entering in dialogue with recent studies by John Kloppenborg and Alistair Stewart on this subject matter, this contribution seeks to dispute the dominant paradigm and explain some of the ambiguities in light of the letter’s internal evidence. It will be argued, more specifically, that First Clement sets up concrete principles for the building of a viable Christian community by using creatively ancient Jewish prophetic tradition, which has not been sufficiently considered before.