Eschatology, Androgynous Thinking, Encratism, and the Question of Anti-Gnosticism in 2 Clement 12 (Part Two)

In: Vigiliae Christianae
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  • 1 Faculty of Theology


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.