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(The previous post in this series can be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/translation-and-notes-1-clement-13-walk-humbly/)


Therefore, it is just and holy, men and brothers, that we should be obedient to God – rather than follow leaders of a loathsome jealousy in their arrogance and chaos.  For we will not suffer common harm, but rather endure profound danger if we recklessly surrender ourselves to the will of mere men – men who hurl you out into strife and rebellion, separating you from everything good. Rather, let us do kindness to them, according to the compassion and sweetness of the One who made us.


Greek Text:

XIV. Δίκαιον οὖν καὶ ὅσιον, ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί, ὑπηκόους ἡμᾶς μᾶλλον γενέσθαι τῷ Θεῷ ἢ τοῖς ἐν ἀλαζονείᾳ καὶ ἀκαταστασίᾳ μυσεροῦ ζήλους ἀρχηγοῖς ἐξακολουθεῖν. 2 βλάβην γὰρ οὐ τὴν τυχοῦσαν, μᾶλλον δὲ κίνδυνον ὑποίσομεν μέγαν, ἐὰν ῥιψοκινδύνως ἐπιδῶμεν ἑαυτοὺς τοῖς θελήμασιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, οἵτινες ἐξακοντίζουσιν εἰς ἔριν καὶ στάσεις εἰς τὸ ἀπαλλοτριῶσαι ἡμᾶς τοῦ καλῶς ἔχοντος. 3 χρηστευσώμεθα αὐτοῖς κατὰ τὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν καὶ γλυκύτητα τοῦ ποιήσαντος ἡμᾶς.


Translation Notes:

Δίκαιον οὖν καὶ ὅσιον, Therefore, just and holy

The clause contains an ellipsis: the verb “to be” is implied but not stated.  Therefore it is just and holy

ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί: men, brothers


ὑπηκόους ἡμᾶς μᾶλλον γενέσθαι τῷ Θεῷ: obedient for us more/especially so to be to God – for us to be particularly obedient to God.

Obedience is accusative as an adjective modifying the direct object (us) of the verb “to be”.  The dative is the dative of the indirect object: we are obedient to God. The infinitive is complementary.  

ἢ τοῖς ἐν ἀλαζονείᾳ καὶ ἀκαταστασίᾳ or to those [leaders who] in boasting and disorder

ἢ τοῖς: or to those [leaders].  

The article will be matched by “leaders” after the intervening adjectival phrase.  The “those [leaders]” is the indirect object and parallels “God” in the previous clause. Note that the adjectives are singular; the pronoun plural.  The adjectives are thus abstracted.

ἐν:  This phrase presents some difficulties in translation. If we omit this phrase, first, it will help to determine a translation. Therefore, the discussion of the translation will follow the translation of the clause, μυσεροῦ ζήλους ἀρχηγοῖς ἐξακολουθεῖν.

ἀλαζονείᾳ: pretense, arrogance, boasting – a thoroughly negative word: James 4:16; 1 John 2:16

ἀκαταστασίᾳ: disorder. The word is used twice in Paul’s letter to Corinth, 1 Cor. 14:33 & 2 Cor. 12:20: “For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder”  (ESV).  “Jealousy” is also used by Clement in the next phrase; however, this is not a clear allusion – even though the ideas are similar.


μυσεροῦ ζήλους ἀρχηγοῖς ἐξακολουθεῖν: to follow leaders of loathsome jealousy;

This entire clause present some difficulties due to the variability of usage and the mix of cases.

μυσεροῦ: Not used in the NT, “of loathsome”. This potentially modifies rulers: loathsome rulers (attributive genitive). It could modify “jealousy” “loathsome jealousy”.

Ζήλους: jealousy, genitive.

ἐξακολουθεῖν: to follow. Complementary infinitive, parallels “to be” in the previous clause.


The “en” of the preceding phrase, of itself presents some possibilities of translation:  First, the preposition + dative describes the agency used by the agent (those) (see, Wallace 373).   Second, it could be a general adjectival reference. Third, this may be the ‘dative of rule,” that is, they are such according to the particular standard. Fourth, it may be a dative of manner, “with”.

The genitive phrase, “of loathsome jealousy” – this could modify either “disorder” or “leaders”.

The difficulty of the translation can be seen in the slight variations of the translators.  Lightfoot translates the “en” phrase as an agency used by the leaders.

rather than follow those who in arrogance and unruliness have set themselves up as leaders in abominable jealousy

Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 63. This seems ambiguous:  the phrase “in abominable jealousy” comes along awkwardly at the end as a limping adjectival phrase


rather than to follow those who in pride and unruliness are the instigators of an abominable jealousy.

Pope Clement I, Pope Clement I, et al., The Apostolic Fathers, ed. Pope Clement I et al., vol. 1, The Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann, 1912–1913), 31. Lake takes “pride and unruliness” to describe at least the sphere in which the leaders are operating. Their leadership is “an abominable jealousy.”


rather than to follow those instigators of loathsome jealousy in arrogance and insurrection.

Rick Brannan, trans., The Apostolic Fathers in English (Logos Bible Software, 2012).  The dative describe the sphere of action. The accusative jealousy is an adjective (accusative of manner


The dative is the sphere of activity.


Rather than follow those who in arrogance and unruliness have set themselves up as leaders in abominable jealousy

Holmes follows largely after Lightfoot.

Grant & Osborne:

Rather than follow those arrogant and unruly instigators of a detestable jealousy.

They take arrogant and unruly as adjectives describing the leaders and place the whole in the sphere of detestable jealousy.

The leaders are leaders of a “loathsome jealousy”. They operate by means of arrogance and disorder.

βλάβην γὰρ οὐ τὴν τυχοῦσαν: For it is not just receiving harm

βλάβην: means harm. However, due to the contrast in the next phrase, “great danger”, the implication is “mere harm”, “insignificant harm”.

τὴν τυχοῦσαν: the [harm] received, that is, “common” [context dependent].


μᾶλλον δὲ κίνδυνον ὑποίσομεν μέγαν:  but rather great danger we shall endure

ὑποίσομεν: we shall endure.


ἐὰν ῥιψοκινδύνως ἐπιδῶμεν ἑαυτοὺς: if we rashly surrender ourselves

Third class conditional sentence, “ean” + subjunctive:  This specifies what is (likely) to occur in the future, if something happens. The triggering future event is uncertain, but the connection to the outcome is not.

ῥιψοκινδύνως: Rashly, foolhardy. Not used in NT.

ἐπιδῶμεν ἑαυτοὺς: we hand over ourselves. The verb is subjunctive: hand over, yield control over, surrender. The pronoun is reflexive.

τοῖς θελήμασιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων: to the will of men

The dative is the dative of indirect object.

The genitive “of men” is adjectival (producer: men produce the will/desire). The use of “men” is to highlight the distinction with God.

οἵτινες ἐξακοντίζουσιν εἰς ἔριν καὶ στάσεις: those who will hurl [you] out to anger and rebellion

οἵτινες: relative pronoun, nominative plural.

ἐξακοντίζουσιν: very emphatic verb; not very common in the literature. Once in the Apostolic Fathers; never in NT. Xenophon uses it to describe the “hurling” of soldiers in battle, “καὶ ἐξηκόντιζον τοῖς παλτοῖς,” they hurled their spears.

στάσεις: means riot, revolt, rebellion – the crime of Barabbas, Mark 15:7.

εἰς τὸ ἀπαλλοτριῶσαι ἡμᾶς τοῦ καλῶς ἔχοντος: to estrange you from having good.

Eis + articular infinitive (Wallace, 611): εἰς τὸ ἀπαλλοτριῶσαι. For the purpose of (or with the result).

χρηστευσώμεθα αὐτοῖς: let us [hortatory subjunctive] to them

Note that Clement responds to evil with love.

κατὰ τὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν καὶ γλυκύτητα: according to the compassion and sweetness

Kata plus accusative: according to the standard of.

τοῦ ποιήσαντος ἡμᾶς: the maker of us

The participle is substantival: the one who made us. The genitive is source/producer: God produces the compassion – he is the source of the compassion.

Lightfoot and Grant translate “them” as “one-another” – which is not tenable here. First, it is the wrong word. Second, it is the wrong idea. Holmes rightly identifies “them” as the leaders of the schism.