Friday, August 12, 2005

Second Reading

Here we go with the next reading, St. Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians. This is Clement of Rome, the one who's mentioned in the First Eucharistic Prayer (the Roman Canon); don't confuse him with Clement of Alexandria.

St. Clement had a second epistle attributed to him, which has since been recognized as spurious (and which we won't be reading). This might be a good time to talk a little about spurious and apocryphal writings. Many assume that "spurious" equals "fraudulent" and imagine some medieval monk forging documents by candlelight. Certainly there are forgeries--the Donation of Constantine will forever remain a staple of anti-Catholic rhetoric--but often a spurious document is simply a matter of mistaken attribution. Such is the case with Clement's second epistle; it's apparently a homily that was thought by early Christians to have been written by St. Clement, but has since been shown to be by a different and unknown author. Nobody faked it; it's just that we don't know who it's by. If you're reading fast and want something extra, go ahead and read it. Guilt-free.

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