Clement of Rome: the Manuscripts of "1 Clement"

The First Letter of Clement was written by the third bishop of Rome (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III.3:3) to the Corinthian church to reconcile disputes that had arisen.  It refers to the persecution under Nero (5:4), tells us that renewed persecution of the same sort is happening (1:1, 7:1),  suggests that the apostles and many of those who knew them have passed on (42-44:2).  The work has been dated to 95-96AD, the date of the persecution under Domitian recorded by Eusebius from Hegesippus.

The work appears to be treated as scripture by Clement of Alexandria, and this together with its position in the Egyptian bibles; the Alexandrinus, and the Strasbourg Coptic Ms., suggest that perhaps by some in Egypt at an early period it was considered part of the New Testament.



Shelfmark & Notes

Date /


London: British Library Codex Alexandrinus.  The famous Greek uncial of the bible.  This contains the Old Testament and most of the New Testament, although some leaves are missing.  It was presented to King Charles I in 1627 by Cyril Lucar, Patriarch of Constantinople.  This contains the entire Greek text of 1 Clement, apart from one folio.  A photographic facsimile of this entire Ms. exists, published 1879-83 by E. Maunde Thompson.  Also contains 2 Clement.


C Jerusalem Codex Hierosolymitanus / Codex Constantinopolitanus.  A Greek minuscule written by Leo the Notary in 1056AD, and discovered by Bryennius in Constantinople in 1875 in the library of the Patriarch monastery of Jerusalem.  The manuscript was in Jerusalem in 1967.  The Ms. also contains 2 Clement, Barnabas, the Didache, and the Long version of the letters of Ignatius of Antioch.  This contains the entire Greek text of 1 Clement.  A photographic version of 1 Clement is given in Lightfoot's edition of Clement.

1056 AD

S Cambridge: University Library Ms. Additional 1700. This has long been thought to be the only manuscript of a Syriac translation; the date of translation is unknown, but probably not early and perhaps 8th century.  A collation is given in Lightfoot's edition.  A full text: R.H.Kennett, The Epistles of St. Clement to the Corinthians in Syriac, London (1899). Also contains 2 Clement.  According to Brock (below) the ms. was written near Edessa.

1169 AD

Birmingham University, Mingana collection. Mingana Syr. 4.  Mentioned in BMCR review by Timothy Sailors of Michael W. Holmes' 3d edition of the Apostolic Fathers, that there is a second Syriac MS
of 1 Clement: Birmingham, Mingana Syr. 4.  The ms. is discussed in Sebastian Brock, "Notes on Some Texts in the Mingana Collection," J. of Semitic Studies 14 (1969): pp. 205-226.  The text is on ff. 43a-51a.  On f.141b the scribe says that his exemplar was an old manuscript from Tur `Abdin.


Harvard (Houghton Library) Ms. Syr. 91. (accession 4027).  Mentioned in Brock, "Notes on some texts...".  Brock also mentions a further Syriac ms. containing the title of this work (only) written vertically (Harvard syr. 123, accession 4058).  Neither ms. contains any reference to 2 Clement, unlike S.  All three ms. include the letter(s) in the lectionary cycle.

1899 AD

L Namur: Grand Seminaire Ms. Sem. 37.  This is the only manuscript of a Latin translation; the almost verbatim translation was made at an extremely early date, as it seems to have been used by Lactantius.  Quasten assigns it to the first half of the 2nd century; Lake says that it was probably translated into Latin in the late 2nd or early 3rd century.  Text: Dom G. Morin, Anecdota Maredsolana, vol. 2 (1894).  The manuscript formerly belonged to the Monastery of Florennes.  There is a description of the ms. in the catalogue by P. FAIDER, Catalogue des manuscrits conservés à Namur, Gembloux, 1934, p. 462-464. This description is also online on the official site Guide en ligne des manuscrits médiévaux, Wallonie-Bruxelles. This is the manuscript used for the editio princeps by Germain Morin in 1894.


Kb Berlin:  Staatsbibliothek

Ms. Orient., fol. 3065.  This is a Coptic version, in the Akhmimic dialect, but is incomplete.  Chapters 34:5-42 are missing because 5 pages have been lost.  It is a beautiful papyrus codex of the 4th century from the 'White Monastery' of Shenute.  Text: C. Schmidt, Der erste Clemensbrief in altkoptischer ܼ/font>bersetzung, Texte und Untersuchungen 32. 1, Leipzig (1908).


Ks Strasbourg [Unknown shelf-mark].  This is a Coptic version, in the Akhmimic dialect, also incomplete and more fragmentary than the 4th century copy, which was discovered at Strasbourg.  It does not go beyond chapter 26:2.  Text: F. Rusch, Bruchstucke des I. Clemensbriefes (1910).  The Ms. is a biblical manuscript, and 1 Clement follows directly after the canonical books.


There are also very numerous citations in Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis, which are valuable. 


Kirsopp LAKE, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 1, Loeb Classical Library (1912).  Checked.
Johannes QUASTEN, Patrology, vol. 1. Utrecht: Spectrum (ca. 1950).  Checked.
Bruce M. METZGER, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration.  Oxford (1992). 3rd edn.  Checked.

Constructive feedback is welcomed to Roger Pearse. Corrections and additions are very welcome.

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