The Greek of Second Clement

I recently had a birthday. My first and favorite gift was the new edition of the Apostolic Fathers. Buy it. Read it. Love it. Everybody else in the blogosphere or the B-Greek list seem to love it as well. Important texts very nicely printed and bound.

To break in my new book I decided to read Second Clement in Greek. I wrote an appropriate gloss in the margin for every word I didn’t know as I worked through it. I was surprised both that I only needed to look up about 7-8 words per chapter on average (but these are small chapters) and had very little difficulty understanding the syntax. There were a few places where I had no idea what the author was doing syntactically, but the number of those was less than expected. It seems to me that the Greek of the sermon could be easily categorized as intermediate. So if you are looking for something to translate and want to try something outside of the New Testament, this might be a good choice for you. If you are unclear of what the hortatory subjunctive is, this will be a good read for you (after you have looked up what "hortatory subjunctive" is in a grammar). He uses it constantly!

I have read Second Clement a few times before in English, and the more I read it the more it intrigues me. I keep trying to figure out where this guy fits in early Christianity. In tone he doesn’t strike me as particularly Pauline, despite the contest metaphor of chapter 7 and the few times he seems to refer to Paul’s letters. Who might be his main influence? There are a number of other interesting things about it. Though it probably wasn’t written by Clement and isn’t really a letter anyway, it still has some really useful and important things to say.