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The next development was the worship of the products of agriculture, from which he contends the cults of Demeter and Dionysus arose. In the following stage, the poets Hesiod and Homer attempt to enumerate the Gods; Hesiod's Theogony giving the number of twelve.
Finally, men proclaimed other men, such as Asclepius and Heracles , deities. Clement criticizes Greek paganism in the Protrepticus on the basis that its deities are both false and poor moral examples, and he attacks the mystery religions for their obscurantism and trivial rituals. However, his greatest praise is reserved for Plato, whose apophatic views of God prefigure Christianity.
The figure of Orpheus is prominent throughout the narrative, and Clement contrasts his song, representing pagan superstition, with the divine Logos of Christ. This work's title, translatable as "tutor", refers to Christ as the teacher of all mankind, and it features an extended metaphor of Christians as children.
The first having been dealt with in the Protrepticus , he devotes the Paedagogus to reflections on Christ's role in teaching us to act morally and to control our passions. Although Christ, like man, is made in the image of God , he alone shares the likeness of God the Father. Clement argues for the equality of sexes , on the grounds that salvation is extended to all of mankind equally.
It has been suggested that Clement's progressive views on gender as set out in the Paedagogus were influenced by Gnosticism. According to Clement, it is through faith in Christ that we are enlightened and come to know God. In the second book, Clement provides practical rules on living a Christian life.
He argues against overindulgence in food and in favour of good table manners. He condemns elaborate and expensive furnishings and clothing, and argues against overly passionate music and perfumes. But Clement does not believe in the abandoning of worldly pleasures and argues that the Christian should be able to express his joy in God's creation through gaiety and partying.
He argues that both promiscuity and sexual abstinence are unnatural, and that the main goal of human sexuality is procreation.
The third book continues along a similar vein, condemning cosmetics on the grounds that it is our souls, not our bodies, that we should seek to beautify. He advises choosing one's company carefully, to avoid being corrupted by immoral people, and while arguing that material wealth is no sin in itself, it is too likely to distract one from the infinitely more important spiritual wealth which is found in Christ.
The contents of the Stromata , as its title suggests, are miscellaneous. Its place in the trilogy is disputed — Clement initially intended to write the Didasculus , a work which would complement the practical guidance of the Paedagogus with a more intellectual schooling in theology. Photius , writing in the 9th century, found various text appended to manuscripts of the seven canonical books, which lead Daniel Heinsius to suggest that the original eighth book is lost, and he identified the text purported to be from the eighth book as fragments of the Hypopotoses.
The first book starts on the topic of Greek philosophy.
Consistent with his other writing, Clement affirms that philosophy had a propaedeutic role for the Greek, similar to the function of the law for the Jews. The books ends with a discussion on the origin of languages and the possibility of a Jewish influence on Plato.
The second book is largely devoted to the respective roles of faith and philosophical argument. Clement contends that while both are important, the fear of God is foremost, because through faith one receives divine wisdom. The third book covers asceticism. He discusses marriage, which is treated similarly in the Paedagogus.
Clement rejects the Gnostic opposition to marriage, arguing that only men who are uninterested in women should remain celibate, and that sex is a positive good if performed within marriage for the purposes of procreation. Clement begins the fourth book with a belated explanation of the disorganized nature of the work, and gives a brief description of his aims for the remaining three or four books.
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While all good Christians should be unafraid of death, Clement condemns those who actively seek out a martyr's death, arguing that they do not have sufficient respect for God's gift of life. According to Clement, there is no way of empirically testing the existence of God the Father , because the Logos has revelatory, not analysable meaning, although Christ was an object of the senses.
God had no beginning, and is the universal first principle. The fifth book returns to the subject of faith. Clement argues that truth, justice and goodness can be seen only by the mind, not the eye; faith is a way of accessing the unseeable.
God transcends matter entirely, and thus the materialist cannot truly come to know God. Although Christ was God incarnate, it is our spiritual, not physical comprehension of him which is important. In the beginning of the sixth book, Clement intends to demonstrate that the works of Greek poets were derived from the prophetic books of the Bible.
In order to reinforce his position that the Greeks were inclined towards plagiarism, he cites numerous instances of such inappropriate appropriation by classical Greek writers, reported second-hand from On Plagiarism , an anonymous 3rd century BC work sometimes ascribed to Aretades.
He espouses broadly universalist doctrine, holding that Christ's promise of salvation is available to all, even those condemned to hell. The final extant book begins with a description of the nature of Christ, and that of the true Christian, who aims to be as similar as possible to both the Father and the Son. Clement then criticizes the simplistic anthropomorphism of most ancient religions, quoting Xenophanes ' famous description of African, Thracian and Egyptian deities.
Ares representing iron, and Dionysus wine. The Christian is a "laborer in God's vineyard", responsible both for his own path to salvation and that of his neighbor. The work ends with an extended passage against the contemporary divisions and heresies within the church.
Besides the great trilogy, Clement's only other extant work is the treatise Salvation for the Rich , also known as Who is the Rich Man who is Saved?
Having begun with a scathing criticism of the corrupting effects of money and misguided servile attitudes towards the wealthy, Clement discusses the implications of Mark It is more important to give up sinful passions than external wealth.
If the rich man is to be saved, all he must do is to follow the two commandments , and while material wealth is of no value to God, it can be used to alleviate the suffering of our neighbor.
Other known works exist in fragments alone, including the four eschatological works in the secret tradition: Clement identifies them both as the "Eyes of the Lord" and with the Thrones.
Even the protoctists can be elevated, although their new position in the hierarchy is not clearly defined. The commonest modern explanation is that the number seven is not meant to be taken literally, but has a principally numerological significance.
We know the titles of several lost works because of a list in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History , 6. They include the Outlines , in eight books, and Against Judaizers.
Others are known only from mentions in Clement's own writings, including On Marriage and On Prophecy , although few are attested by other writers and it is difficult to separate works which he intended to write from those which were actually completed. The Mar Saba letter was attributed to Clement by Morton Smith , but there remains much debate today over whether it is an authentic letter from Clement, an ancient pseudepigraph or a modern forgery.
Eusebius is the first writer to provide an account of Clement's life and works, in his Ecclesiastical History , 5. Photios I of Constantinople writes against Clement's theology in the Bibliotheca , although he is appreciative of Clement's learning and the literary merits of his work.
Photios compared Clement's treatise, which, like his other works, was highly syncretic, featuring ideas of Hellenistic, Jewish and Gnostic origin, unfavorably against the prevailing orthodoxy of the 9th century. Down to the seventeenth century he was venerated as a saint in Catholicism.
His name was to be found in the martyrologies, and his feast fell on the fourth of December. Benedict XIV maintained this decision of his predecessor on the grounds that Clement's life was little known, that he had never obtained public cultus in the Church, and that some of his doctrines were, if not erroneous, at least suspect.
Clement's veneration is somewhat limited; he is commemorated nonetheless in Anglicanism. As one of the earliest of the Church fathers whose works have survived, he is the subject of a significant amount of recent academic work, focusing on among other things, his exegesis of scripture, his Logos-theology and pneumatology, the relationship between his thought and non-Christian philosophy and his influence on Origen.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Clementis Alexandrini Opera Quae Extant.
Clementis Alexandrini Opera , 2 vols. Clementis Alexandrini Opera , 4 vols. Clement of Alexandria, Quis dives salvetur. Clemens Alexandrinus , 4 bds. Marcovich, Miroslav and Jacobus C. In Ante-Nicene Fathers , ed. Reprint New York: A Homily of Clement of Alexandria, Entitled: Who is the Rich Man that is being Saved?
Clement of Alexandria , Exhortation to Endurance, or, To the Newly Baptized ; cf.