Study Guide

Day 3: Boundaries and Appearances

Christian Tradition, Spring 2016

We will focus in class on 1 Clement, the Didache, Ignatius, and the Shepherd of Hermas. If you have time, read the texts about canon and scripture; they will not be on the quiz. We will look at them together in class Tuesday.

Background information about texts:

1 Clement: 

  • Written around 95 CE, the author claims to be the bishop of Rome writing to the church in Corinth (in Greece).
  • The letter is probably pseudonymous – written under a false name


  • The earliest known “church manual,” probably written around 100 CE
  • It is uncertain how representative this manual is of Christian churches throughout the Roman Empire


  • Bishop of Antioch in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) who writes to churches in Asia Minor (Ephesus, Magnesia, Smyrna, Trallia) as well as to Rome (which we will read later)
  • He writes some of his letters while arrested and on the way to Rome, probably to be martyred (killed)
  • Letters written around 110 CE (near the same time as the correspondence between Pliny & Trajan in 111/12)

Important people, terms, and concepts

the letter “1 Clement”
the Didache
“apostolic succession”


Key themes
boundaries between Christians and non-Christians
intra-Christian boundaries (heresy and orthodoxy)
authority and power in the early churches
understandings of Christian scripture (in general and as a way of establishing identity and boundaries)

Study Questions
What do the following texts/authors think is the role of the bishop in a Christian community?  How do they justify or explain the origins of the bishop’s authority and power?  Consider how their arguments about the bishop are the same or different.
1 Clement





The Didache



In his letters, what does Ignatius say about intra-Christian boundaries?  What does it mean to be a Christian for Ignatius, and what does he say about people who claim to be Christian but whom Ignatius thinks really are not true Christians?





What does the Shepherd of Hermas say about sin after baptism? 





Look at the lists some early Christians compiled of the texts they considered sacred scripture.  How much are they alike, how are they different?  What do you think is significant about these lists?