Clare Rothschild has rendered an incredible service to the historical study of early Christianity, presenting early Christian researchers with a myriad of historical considerations and research on individual books in the Apostolic Fathers corpus. Her research consists of fifteen independent essays. According to Rothschild, they are ‘united in their focus on a single collection and consistent reliance on the historical-critical methods as the best means to greater understanding’ (p. 5). Although the collection of articles presents an array of research and topics, the Clementine corpus receives the most attention (five chapters on 1 Clement and three on 2 Clement)—a possible criticism of the book. Beyond this focus on the Clementine letters, Rothschild builds upon David Lincicum’s research regarding the name of Patres Apostolici (ch. 2). She also includes single chapters on the Martyrdom of Polycarp (ch. 11), Didache (ch. 12), Epistle of Barnabas (ch. 13), Diognetus (ch. 14), and Shepherd of Hermas (ch. 15). The Letters of Ignatius, Polycarp’s To the Philippians, and Papias’s fragments receive no attention. Given the brevity of this review, I will seek to limit my evaluative comments to three articles in particular. First, Rothschild’s article on the Epistle of Barnabas and allegory is creatively argued and filled with invaluable research. Barnabas students would do well to consult her footnotes, as they are replete with German, French, and English scholarship. The premiss of this article evaluates the use of Barnabas’s allegory and hyperbole. After offering a brief history of research, Rothschild highlights the use of ὑπɛρβολή, ἀλληγορία, typology, and some of the essential differences. She dips into Origenian scholarship and the function of typology and allegory. She concludes that the allegory of Barnabas has a rhetorical effect to encourage the Christian readers, and it matches the book of Hebrews as ‘a joint response to the inner-Jewish debate concerning atonement for the golden calf incident’ (p. 211). Second, the essential value of this book rests in Rothschild’s reading of 1 Clement. Some arguments vary in their historical assessment—e.g. consider Janelle Peters’s imperial readings of the Phoenix in 1 Clem. 25. Of particular note is Rothschild’s chapter entitled ‘1 Clement as Pseudepigraphon’. This chapter is rather convincing and worthy of more consideration as a competing argument for authorship. She considers the occasion of the book, its historical circumstances, and the form of the book only to conclude ‘1 Clement is a letter from the church παροικοῦσα (‘dwelling near’) Rome to the church παροικοῦσα Corinth’ (p. 68). Rather than seeing this as a literal location, it could perhaps be a theological vantage point of ‘dwelling near’ Rome or Corinth as a spiritual identity, and she thereby considers 1 Clement as a possible Clementine Pseudepigraphon. Last, Rothschild’s single chapter on the Didache, entitled ‘Travelers and Christ-Mongers in Didache 12:1–5’, presents a convincing case. Didache 11–13 already presents a host of problems as it relates to the whole of the Didache and its composite development. Rothschild offers a more secure historical consideration of παρόδιος than χριστέμπορος, and suggests the neologism (παρόδιος) corresponds to the social identity of the Didache’s insider community who identify those who arrive in their community as travellers ‘alongside the road’ as non-Christians, non-baptizands, non-community members, and possible converts or parasites (p. 187). My primary quibble with this chapter, and it does not impede Rothschild’s contribution to Didache scholarship, is her structure of the Didache. It is unique and does not take into consideration standard structures from Kurt Niederwimmer or Klaus Wengst, or Nancy Pardee’s structure in Genre and Development of the Didache. Even though Rothschild’s research predominantly focuses on 1 Clement, this volume will need to be considered by anyone seriously researching the Apostolic Fathers. It will place Rothschild’s voice immediately into discussions of the Apostolic Fathers for years to come. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Journal of Theological Studies – Oxford University Press
Published: May 2, 2018
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