Search Results

James Kelhoffer

Abstract

The surviving witnesses to Basilides of Alexandria (fl. 120-140 C.E.) reflect considerable variety and confusion concerning his writing(s). Attempts by scholars to present Basilides as an exegete of Christian scripture, and even as the author of a gospel, are based on precious little evidence, which scholars have at times misinterpreted. This article argues that only a limited interest in gospel materials on the part of Basilides can be demonstrated from the surviving portions of his Exegetica (Treatises). Moreover, if Basilides did indeed write a gospel, it was not a narrative or sayings gospel concerned primarily with the life or the teachings of Jesus. Finally, prior to Origen in the mid-third century C.E. the designation (or title) Exegetica did not connote an 'exegetical' commentary. Clement of Alexandria's title for Basilides's work ('Eξηγητικα, Strom. 4.81.1) instead supports the inference that this writing comprised "explanations" of Basilides's theological system.

James A. Kelhoffer

Abstract

This article problematizes the widespread use of an untenably broad definition of Gnosticism to support claims that 2 Clement 12 is antignostic. Several conclusions about the writing’s aims and opponents must therefore be reconsidered. It is argued that 2 Clement 12 is not polemical and does not censure any distinctively gnostic views or praxes. By shedding both the supposedly gnostic background of the dominical logion about “the two” becoming “one,” about the “outside” being like the “inside,” and about “neither male nor female” (12:2b, 6b) and an antignostic agenda for the interpretations of the logion (12:3-5), scholarship has a better chance of opening up promising avenues for interpreting this saying of Jesus and its interpretation in 2 Clement 12.

James A. Kelhoffer

Abstract

Part One of this investigation problematized the use by numerous scholars of an untenably broad definition of “Gnosticism” to support the inference that 2 Clement 12 criticizes gnostic Christ-believers. Part Two completes the analysis of 2 Clement 12 and examines 2 Clement 13, which casts further doubt upon the notion that 12:5-6 calls for sexual renunciation. It is argued that 12:1-13:4 is not polemical and does not censure any distinctively gnostic views or praxes. By shedding both the supposedly gnostic background of the dominical logion about “the two” becoming “one,” about the “outside” being like the “inside,” and about “neither male nor female” (12:2b, 6b) and an antignostic agenda for the interpretations of the logion (12:3-5), scholarship has a better chance of opening up promising avenues for interpreting 12:1-13:4. In particular, the call to cultivate thinking that does not take into account a Christian’s gender (12:5) and the notion that the kingdom’s arrival depends on believers’ moral development (12:6) merit further investigation.