Voluntary exile as the solution to discord in 1 Clement

Larry L. Welborn*

*Corresponding author for this work

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The counsel of voluntary exile offered to the leaders of the faction in the church at Corinth in 1 Clement 54 has long puzzled interpreters who sense that it ill comports with the author's insistence upon harmony, humility, and love. Aware that the discursive strategy of 1 Clement derives from the genre of political rhetoric, interpreters have adduced parallels to the apostrophe of 1 Clement 54 from the speeches of voluntary exiles in Roman political history. The present essay examines Clement's rhetorical appeal to the leaders of the faction in the context of the exile literature of the first and second centuries C.E., focusing upon treatises and discourses composed by Musonius, Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, and Favorinus. By situating 1 Clement 54 within the "discourse of displacement"1 that flourished in the early Empire, the essay demonstrates how Clement utilizes exile to construct a persona that dramatizes a communal consciousness of being resident aliens in the Roman Empire.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-21
Number of pages16
JournalZeitschrift fur Antikes Christentum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2014
Externally publishedYes


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