The Dangers of Taking Everything Literal – 1st Clement (of Rome)

Pope Clement I
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Let us consider that wonderful sign |of the resurrection¦ which takes place in Eastern lands, that is, in Arabia and the countries round about.

There is a certain bird which is called a phoenix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near that it must die, it builds itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices, into which, when the time is fulfilled, it enters and dies.

But as the flesh decays a certain kind of worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the dead bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has acquired strength, it takes up that nest in which are the bones of its parent, and bearing these it passes from the land of Arabia into Egypt, to the city called Heliopolis.

And, in open day, flying in the sight of all men, it places them on the altar of the sun, and having done this, hastens back to its former abode.

The priests then inspect the registers of the dates, and find that it has returned exactly as the five hundredth year was completed. (1Cl 25:1-5)

Now, we may assume that Clement of Rome, a Bishop after Peter, was a wise a spiritual man, but would we then dare to take every word of his as inspired and correct?

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8 Replies to “The Dangers of Taking Everything Literal – 1st Clement (of Rome)”

  1. Of course Church Father writings are not inspired though of course this brings up an interesting question of Papal Statements 🙂 though of course if a bird existed or not would be in the realm of Faith and Morals.

    I have always wondered if he believed such a bird existed or if everyone knew of course not such a bird existed and everyone was in on it.

    Never researched it

  2. I’m a little peeved by this, because it seems to characterize me as thinking Clement was inspired.
    I simply posted a quote. I’ve posted quotes with which I agree and some with which I do not agree.
    One thing is definite: you know that I do not think Clement to be inspired. Linking to my post as you did has done me a great disservice by making it appear is if I do.
    I hope you will correct this.

    1. Jason, I regret that you got offended by this, and more particularly, about the linking of it by a single word. I am moved the link over, but keep in mind, it wasn’t meant in harm, my friend.

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