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Supernatural Religion, Vol. II. (of III) An Inquiry into the Reality of Divine Revelation   By: (1826-1907)

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First Page:



By Walter Richard Cassels

In Three Volumes: Vol. II.

Complete Edition.

Carefully Revised.


Longmans, Greenland Co.,


PG EDITOR'S NOTE: This file has been provided with an image of the original scan for each page which is linked to the page number in the html file. Nearly every page in the text has many Greek passages which have been indicated where they occur by [———] as have many complex tables; these passages may be viewed in the page images. Some of the pages have only a few lines of text and then the rest of the page is taken up with complex footnotes in English, Greek and Hebrew. The reader may click on the page numbers in the html file to see the entire page with the footnotes. —DW




We must now as briefly as possible examine the evidence furnished by the apocryphal religious romance generally known by the name of "The Clementines," and assuming, falsely of course,(1) to be the composition of the Roman Clement. The Clementines are composed of three principal works, the Homilies, Recognitions, and a so called Epitome. The Homilies, again, are prefaced by a pretended epistle addressed by the Apostle Peter to James, and another from Clement. These Homilies were only known in an imperfect form till 1853, when Dressel(2) published a complete Greek text. Of the Recognitions we only possess a Latin translation by Rufinus (a.d. 402).


Although there is much difference of opinion regarding the claims to priority of the Homilies and Recognitions, many critics assigning that place to the Homilies,(1) whilst others assert the earlier origin of the Recognitions,(2) all are agreed that the one is merely a version of the other, the former being embodied almost word for word in the latter, whilst the Epitome is a blending of the other two, probably intended to purge them from heretical doctrine. These works, however, which are generally admitted to have emanated from the Ebionitic party of the early Church,(3) are supposed to be based upon older Petrine writings, such as the "Preaching of Peter" [ ], and the "Travels of Peter" [ ].(4)


It is not necessary for our purpose to go into any analysis of the character of the Clementines. It will suffice to say that they almost entirely consist of discussions between the Apostle Peter and Simon the Magician regarding the identity of the true Mosaic and Christian religions. Peter follows the Magician from city to city for the purpose of exposing and refuting him, the one, in fact, representing Apostolic doctrine and the other heresy, and in the course of these discussions occur the very numerous quotations of sayings of Jesus and of Christian history which we have to examine.

The Clementine Recognitions, as we have already remarked, are only known to us through the Latin translation of Rufinus; and from a comparison of the evangelical quotations occurring in that work with the same in the Homilies, it is evident that Rufinus has assimilated them in the course of translation to the parallel passages of our Gospels. It is admitted, therefore, that no argument regarding the source of the quotations can rightly be based upon the Recognitions, and that work may, consequently, be entirely set aside,(1) and the Clementine Homilies alone need occupy our attention.

We need scarcely remark that, unless the date at which these Homilies were composed can be ascertained, their value as testimony for the existence of our Synoptic Gospels is seriously affected. The difficulty of arriving at a correct conclusion regarding this point, great under almost any circumstances, is of course increased by the fact that the work is altogether apocryphal, and most certainly not held by any one to have


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