The Pastoral Epistles in First Clement, Part I

[This post is part of a series on The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers. RWB]


The discussion of First Clement in The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers lists four areas of potential reference to the Pastoral Epistles. The readings range from a ‘c’ rating to a ‘not classed’ rating.


The instance under discussion today is the ‘c’ rated reading.


1Cl 1.3 || Titus 2.4-5



(3) ἀπροσωπολήμπτως γὰρ πάντα ἐποιεῖτε, και τοῖς νομίμοις τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπορεύεσθε, ὑποτασσόμενοι τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶν καὶ τιμὴν τὴν καθήκουσαν ἀπονέμοντες τοῖς παρʼ ὑμῖν πρεσβυτέροις· νέοις τε μέτρια καὶ σεμνὰ νοεῖν ἐπετρέπετε· γυναιξίν τε ἐν ἀμώμῳ καὶ σεμνῇ καὶ ἁγνῇ συνειδήσει πάντα ἐπιτελεῖν παρηγγέλλετε, στεργούσας καθηκόντως τοὺς ἄνδρας ἑαυτῶν· ἔν τε τῷ κανόνι τῆς ὑποταγῆς ὑπαρχούσας τὰ κατὰ τὸν οἶκον σεμνῶς οἰκουργεῖν ἐδιδάσκετε, πάνυ σωφρονούσας. (1Cl 1.3)
(3) For you did everything without partiality, and you lived in accordance with the laws of God, submitting yourselves to your leaders and giving to the older men among you the honor due them. You instructed the young to think temperate and proper thoughts; you charged the women to perform all their duties with a blameless, reverent, and pure conscience, cherishing their own husbands, as is right; and you taught them to abide by the rule of obedience, and to manage the affairs of their household with dignity and all discretion. (1Cl 1.3)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (28-29). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


4 ἵνα σωφρονίζωσιν τὰς νέας φιλάνδρους εἶναι, φιλοτέκνους 5 σώφρονας ἁγνὰς οἰκουργοὺς ἀγαθάς, ὑποτασσομένας τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν, ἵνα μὴ ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ βλασφημῆται. (Tt 2.4-5, NA27)
4 so that they might encourage the younger women to love their husbands, love their children, 5 to be sober minded, pure, fulfilling their household duties, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God is not blasphemed. (Tt 2.4-5, my own translation)


The surrounding context in Titus (Tt 2.1-8) also has similar concepts to those mentioned in the first portion of 1Cl 1.3, particularly the bits about older men and “the young”. Also note the similar idea of submitting to leaders; this idea is familiar in First Timothy, both to governmental leaders and also to overseers and elders.


The striking portion of 1Cl 1.3, compared to Tt 2.4-5, has to do with lexical similarity in the passage describing the charge to the women. The Oxford committee highlights several items. The following list has text from Clement on the left and text from Titus on the right; translations are on alternating lines.




  • ἁγνῇ συνειδήσει -> ἁγνὰς


  • pure conscience -> pure/good


  • στεργούσας καθηκόντως τοὺς ἄνδρας ἑαυτῶν -> φιλάνδρους


  • cherishing their own husbands -> love their own husbands


  • ἔν τε τῷ κανόνι τῆς ὑποταγῆς ὑπαρχούσας -> ὑποτασσομένας τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν


  • to abide in the rule of obedience -> being subject to their own husbands


  • οἰκουργεῖν -> οἰκουργοὺς


  • manage affairs of the household -> fulfilling household duties


  • πάνυ σωφρονούσας -> σώφρονας


  • all discretion -> to be sober minded

Between the two passages there is a concentration of similar ideas, particularly the concept of managing the house. The editors of the Oxford committee find this the strongest point:



The Committee is inclined to think that correspondence of phrases, and especially of οἰκουργεῖν and οἰκουργοὺς, cannot well be accounted for by chance, and makes it probable that the one writer is dependent on the other: they have, therefore, with some hesitation, decided to place the passage in Class C. (51).


This is followed by one committee member’s note that he posits a common source document between the two; some sort of “manual of directions for the moral life” (51). But the lists don’t read like other such lists. How is this known? There is a similar list in Philo De Execr.:



ὄψονται καὶ γυναῖκας, ἃς ἠγάγοντο κουριδίας ἐπὶ γνησίων παίδων σπορᾷ, σώφρονας καὶ οἰκουροὺς καὶ φιλάνδρους ἑταιρῶν τρόπον ὑβριζομένας (Philo, Rewards 139)
Borgen, P., Fuglseth, K., & Skarsten, R. (2005). The Works of Philo : Greek Text with Morphology (Rewards 139). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
They will also see their wives, whom they married in holy wedlock for the purpose of propagating legitimate children, their modest, domestic, affectionate wives, insulted like so many courtesans. (Philo, Rewards 139)
Philo, o. A., & Yonge, C. D. (1996, c1993). The works of Philo  : Complete and unabridged (Rewards 139, p.677). Peabody: Hendrickson.


Here there are some common elements with the lists in 1Cl and Titus. But the list in Philo is the result of evil (cf. De Execr. 138-142); listing the qualities of the wives to remind the men of what they are losing as a result of what they’ve done. The context in 1Cl and Titus is completely different in that it is positive. The agreements between 1Cl and Titus are greater in number, adding items like purity/conscience and being subject to their own husbands.


I think it is likely that the list in Philo is not related but coincidental. It is interesting that Titus uses vocabularly like that of Philo. Again, Philo listed first, Titus after:




  • σώφρονας -> σώφρονας


  • οἰκουροὺς -> οἰκουργοὺς


  • φιλάνδρους -> φιλάνδρους

The second listed similarity is a bit deceptive; read the words carefully. They are not the same. However, Philo’s οἰκουροὺς does show up in variant readings of this verse (Sc, D2, H, Byz) but οἰκουργοὺς is the better attested reading (cf. Jerome Quinn, The Letter to Titus, [Anchor Bible] p. 121; also J.K. Elliott Greek Text of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, pp.181-182.).


Given that Philo pre-dates Titus and 1Cl, neither Titus nor 1Cl could have possibly influenced Philo. I have not seen any special studies on similarities between Philo and Paul (though if you have references, please leave them in the comments to this post) so I can’t make any judgment on if Paul could have been influenced by Philo, or if it was part of the first century Jewish mileu to use words and concepts like this in the description of women. And there’s always sheer coincidence.


My own dating of the Pastorals puts them in Paul’s lifetime (I think Paul is responsible for them via amanuensis); my dating of First Clement is to the 90’s. Thus, by dates alone, it is possible for Titus to have influenced First Clement given the 25-30 year span between the two of them. First Clement was written from Rome by the church at Rome. Given Pauline authorship, Titus was likely written from Rome. Paul died in Rome, so any copies of his letters he had at his death could very possibly end up in the hands of the church at Rome.


I think the concentration of ideas in Titus that show up here in First Clement may be more than coincedence. The little we know about the provenance of both letters makes it possible that Paul’s letters, even the pastoral letters, would be known to the church in Rome. But I’m not inclinded to rule out coincidence or even rule out appealing to a common mileu at present. I’m more interested in examining other potential parallels before making that call.


Next up: 1Cl 2.7; 24.4 || Titus 3.1; 2Ti 2.21; 3.17; 2Co 9.8.

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