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Clement of Alexandria
(c.150 - c.215)

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Clement of Alexandria (from André Thevet)

Clement of Alexandria (from André Thevet)
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Synopsis

Little is known about the life of Titus Flavius Clemens.[1] He succeeded the converted stoic philosopher Pantaenus[2] as head of the Christian Catechetical school in Alexandria, founded by the latter in the middle of the second century. He is regarded as an inferior theologian to his immediate successor to the post, Origen.[3]

Clement drew extensively on Philo,[4] and followed both Philo and Justin Martyr[5] in claiming that the Greek philosophers had plagiarised their teaching from Moses.[6] His reasons for doing this were twofold. First, he wished to counter the negative attitude that many uneducated Christians had towards Greek philosophy. That (in his opinion) would have greatly hindered its spread in the Hellenistic world. Secondly, he was faced with the attacks of educated Pagans, such as Celsus (late second century), who in his work True Doctrine[7] argued for the superiority of Greek culture, of which Judaism and Christianity were but shabby counterfeits.[8] On the contrary, Clement argued, Plato and the other philosophers had read the writings of Moses and the Prophets: whatever good could be found in their works was a result of divine inspiration and/or their use of biblical material.[9] This theory is often referred to as "the theft of the Greeks". Lilla points out that Clement and Celsus shared the common conviction that the Greeks had inherited, not invented their superior culture and philosophy from the ancient civilisations of India, Persia, Babylon and Egypt.[10]

In extolling the divine character of the philosophy of Plato, Clement claims several times that Plato was dependent on Scripture,[11] as was Pythagoras (who is also warmly praised).[12] This is amply demonstrated in the reading list of the Catechetical school in Alexandria, which included the works of all the philosophers (except those of the Epicureans, who denied the existence of God), and was clearly modelled on the Platonic schools of the time.[13] He interpreted Greek philosophy in a biblical sense[14] and maintained that it had prepared the Hellenistic world for the ‘true philosophy’: the Christian gospel.[15] Philosophy gave Clement an the means by which he could penetrate beyond the literal sense of Scripture to reveal the true meaning, namely allegory.

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References

[1] Albert C. Outler, "The ‘Platonism’ of Clement of Alexandria," The Journal of Religion, Vol. 20, No. 3. (1940): 217.

[2] Eusebius, History 6.6 (NPNF, 2nd series, Vol. 1, 253-254). Henry Chadwick in A. Hilary Armstrong, ed. The Cambridge History of Later Greek And Early Medieval Philosophy. (Cambridge: CUP, 1970), 168.

[3] Outler, 217.

[4] Joseph W. Trigg, "Allegory," Everett Ferguson ed. EEC. (New York: Garland, 1990), 24.

[5] Though Clement nowhere gives Justin credit when he develops Justin’s ideas. Chadwick, Later Greek And Early Medieval Philosophy, 170.

[6] E.g. Clement, Strom. 1.20-29; 2.1.1; 4.1.2 (ANF, Vol. 2, 323-341). Salvatore R.C. Lilla., Clement of Alexandria, A Study in Christian Platonism and Gnosticism. (Oxford: OUP, 1971), 31-41.

[7] Written 178 AD.

[8] Lilla, 34-36.

[9] Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation 6; Strom. 1:15, 21; 2.5, 11, 14; 6.3 (ANF, Vol. 2, 316-317, 324; 351-353, 460, 465-476; 486-488).

[10] Lilla, 37-39.

[11] Clement, Strom. 1.25; 2.22; 5.14 (ANF, Vol. 2, 338, 375-376, 465-469). Lilla, 42, n.4.

[12] Lilla, 43.

[13] Gregory Thaumaturgus’ (or ‘the wonder-worker’) Thanksgiving to Origen is our source for details of the school’s curriculum. G.L. Prestige, Fathers And Heretics. (London: SCM, 1963), 49-52; Lilla, 55-56.

[14] Lilla, 43.

[15] Lilla, 56; Daniélou, Hellenistic, 109.

Primary Sources

Book or monograph Buell: Making ChristiansDenise Kimber Buell, Making Christians: Clement of Alexandria and the Rhetoric of Legitimacy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1999. Hbk. ISBN: 0691059802. pp.236. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Clement of Alexandria: Exhortation to the GreeksG.W. Butterworth, trans., Clement of Alexandria: Exhortation to the Greeks / Rich Man's Salvation / To the Newly Baptized, Loeb Classical Library Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1919. Hbk. ISBN: 0674991036. pp.432. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Henry Chadwick, ed. Alexandrian Christianity, J. Baillie et al, ed. Library of Christian Classics, Vol. 2. Philadelphia:Westminster, 1977. Pbk. ISBN: 0664241530. {Amazon.com}
On-line Resource - website, article, monograph or book Clement of Alexandria (Christian Classic Ethereal Library)
Book or monograph Clement of Alexandria, Christ the Educator. Fathers of the Church, Vol. 23. Simon P. Wood, trans. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. Hbk. ISBN: 0813200237. pp.309. {Amazon.com}
On-line Resource - website, article, monograph or book Clement of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John (Tertullian.org)
Book or monograph Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis Books 1-3, Fathers of the Church, Vol. 85. John Ferguson, trans. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1991. ISBN: 0813200857. Hbk. pp.312. {Amazon.com}
On-line Resource - website, article, monograph or book Clement of Alexandria (Peter Kirby)
Book or monograph Miroslav Marcovich, Clementis Alexandrini "Paedagogus". Vigiliae Christianae, Supplements. Leiden: Brill, 2003. Hbk. ISBN: 9004124705. pp.240. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Morton Smith, ed. Clement of Alexandria and the Secret Gospel of Mark. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973. ISBN: 0674134907. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph W. Wilson, trans. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. Hbk. ISBN: 0802880886. pp.632. {Amazon.com}

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Secondary Sources

On-line Resource Clement of Alexandria's Interpretation of Scripture: An Allegorical Approach for a Deeper Meaning (Stacie Anderson, Bethany Ruggles, & Julie Toomey)
Article in Journal or Book Richard Bauckham, "The Fall of the Angels as the Source of Philosophy In Hermias and Clement of Alexandria," Vigiliae Christianae 39.4 (1985): 313-330.
On-line Resource - website, article, monograph or book Aecio Cairus, "Clement of Alexandria and the Lord's Day," Andrews University Seminary Studies 40.2 (Autumn 2002): 273-276.View in PDF format
Book or monograph Bigg: The Christian Platonists of AlexandriaCharles Bigg, The Christian Platonists of Alexandria. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2000. Pbk. ISBN: 1579103030. pp.332. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book James A. Brooks, "Clement of Alexandria as a Witness to the Development of the New Testament Canon," Second Century 9.1 (1992): 41-55.
Article in Journal or Book B.G. Bucur, "The Other Clement of Alexandria: Cosmic Hierarchy and Interiorized Apocalypticism," Vigiliae Christianae 60.3 (2006): 251-268.
Article in Journal or Book Aecio E.Cairus, "Clement of Alexandria and the Lord's Day," Andrews University Seminary Studies 40.2 (2002): 273-276.
Book or monograph von Campenhausen: Fathers of the Greek ChurchH. von Campenhausen, Fathers of the Greek Church. Hendrickson, 1998. Hbk. ISBN: 1565630955. pp.29-39. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Stephen C. Carlson, "Clement of Alexandria on the 'Order' of the Gospels," New Testament Studies 47.1 (2001): 118-125.
On-line Resource Robert P. Casey, "Clement of Alexandria and the Beginnings of Christian Platonism," Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 18, No. 1 (1925): 39-101.View in PDF format
Book or monograph Chadwick: Early Christian Thought and the Classical TraditionHenry Chadwick, Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition. Oxford: Clarendon, 1984. Pbk. ISBN: 0198266731. pp.182.. {CBD} {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Elizabeth A.Clark, Clement's Use of Aristotle: The Aristotelian to Clement of Alexandria's Refutation of Gnosticism. New York: Mellen, 1977. Hbk. ISBN: 0889469849. pp.182. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph F.L. Cross, The Early Christian Fathers. Studies in Theology 1. London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd., 1960. Hbk. pp.118-122.
Article in Journal or Book James Davison, "Structural Similarities and Dissimilarities in the Thought of Clement of Alexandria and the Valentinians," Second Century 3.4 (1983): 201-218.
Article in Journal or Book E. Draczkowski, "The educational function of the Old Testament in Clement of Alexandria's Conception. Written Kerygma in Theory and Practice," Roczniki teologisczno-kanonisczne 26.3 ((1979): 17-29.
Article in Journal or Book M.J. Edwards, "Clement of Alexandria and His Doctrine of the Logos," Vigiliae Christianae 54.2 (2000): 159-177.
Article in Journal or Book Denis Farkasfalvy, "The Presbyters' Witness on the Order of the Gospels as Reported by Clement of Alexandria," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 54.2 (1992): 260-270.
Article in Journal or Book John Ferguson, "The Achievement of Clement of Alexandria," Religious Studies 12.1 (1976): 59-80.
Book or monograph John Ferguson, Clement of Alexandria. New York: Twayne, 1974. Hbk. ISBN: 0805722319. pp.210. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Thomas Finan, "Hellenism and Judeo-Christian History in Clement of Alexandria," Irish Theological Quarterly 28 (1961): 83-114.
Book or monograph W E Gregory Floyd, Clement of Alexandria's Treatment of the Problem of Evil. Oxford Theological Monographs. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971, Hbk. ISBN: 019826707X. pp.136. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Tom Halton, "Clement of Alexandria and Athenaeus (Paed. III. 4,26)," Second Century 6.4 (1987/88): 193-202.
On-line Resource Trevor A. Hart, "The Two Soteriological Traditions of Alexandria," The Evangelical Quarterly 61.3 (1989): 239-259.View in PDF format[Clement and Athanasius]
On-line Resource Clement of Alexandria (Francis P. Havey)
Book or monograph A. van der Hoek, Clement of Alexandria and His Use of Philo in the Stromateis. Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae, 3. Leiden: Brill, 1988. Hbk. 9004087567. pp.261. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book A. Van Den Hoek, "How Alexandrian was Clement of Alexandria? Reflections on Clement and his Alexandrian Background," Heythrop Journal 31 (1990): 179-194.
Article in Journal or Book A. Van Den Hoek, "Divergent Traditions in Clement of Alexandria," and other Authors of the 2nd century," Apocrypha 7 (1996): 43-62.
Article in Journal or Book Annewies van den Hoek, "The Catechetical School of Early Christian Alexandria and its Philonic Heritage," Harvard Theological Review 90.1 (1997): 59-87.
Article in Journal or Book Annewies van den Hoek, "Techniques of Quotation in Clement of Alexandria: A View of Ancient Literary Working Methods," Vigiliae Christianae 50.3 (1996): 223-243.
Article in Journal or Book Clayton N. Jefford, "Clement of Alexandria and Gnosis: A Dissertation in Review," Perspectives in Religious Studies 20.4 (1993): 381-396.
Book or monograph Peter Karavites, Evil-Freedom and the Road to Perfection in Clement of Alexandria. Vigiliae Christianae Supplements Series. Leiden: Brill, 1998. Hbk. ISBN: 9004112383. pp.208. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Donald Kinder, "Clement of Alexandria: Conflicting Views on Women," Second Century 7.4 (1989/90): 213-220.
Article in Journal or Book Blake Leyerle, "Clement of Alexandria on the Importance of Table Etiquette," Journal of Early Christian Studies 3.2 (1995): 123-141.
Book or monograph Salvatore Romano Clemente Lilla, Clement of Alexandria, A Study in Christian Platonism and Gnosticism. Oxford Theological Monographs. Oxford: OUP, 1971. ISBN: 0198267061. pp.282. {Amazon.com}
Book or monograph Joseph C McLelland, God the Anonymous: A Study in Alexandrian Philosophical Theology. Patristic Monograph series 4. Cambridge, MA: Philadelphia Patristic Foundation, 1976. ISBN: 091564603X. pp.209. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Harry O. Maier, "Clement of Alexandria and the Care of the Self," Journal of American Academy of Religion 62.3 (1994): 719-745.
Book or monograph Einar Molland, The Conception of the Gospel in the Alexandrian Theology. Oslo: I kommisjon hos J. Dybwad, 1938. pp. xi + 185.
Article in Journal or Book Raoul Mortley, "The Theme of Silence in Clement of Alexandria," Journal of Theological Studies 24.1 (1973): 197-202.
Article in Journal or Book Raoul Mortley, "The Mirror and I Cor. 13, 12 in the Epistemology of Clement of Alexandria," Vigiliae Christianae 30.2 (1976): 109-120.
On-line Resource Clement of Alexandria: The Original Christian Philosopher (Mark Moussa)
Book or monograph Eric Osborn, The Philosophy of Clement of Alexandria. Texts and Studies, new series, Vol. 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1957. pp.xi + 205.
Book or monograph Eric Osborn, Ethical Patterns in Early Christian Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976. ISBN: 0521208351. pp. x + 252. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Eric Osborn, "Clement of Alexandria: A Review of Research, 1958-1982," Second Century 3.4 (1983): 219-244.
Article in Journal or Book Eric Osborn, "Arguments for Faith in Clement of Alexandria," Vigiliae Christianae 48.1 (1994): 1-24.
Article in Journal or Book Albert C. Outler, "The Platonism of Clement of Alexandria," The Journal of Religion, Vol. 20, No. 3. (1940): 217-240.
Article in Journal or Book James Carlton Paget, "Clement of Alexandria and the Jews," Scottish Journal of Theology 59.1 (1998): 86-97.
Article in Journal or Book David Paulsen, "Ethical Individualism in Clement of ALexandria," Concordia Theological Monthly 43.1 (1972): 3-20.
Article in Journal or Book David T. Runia, "Why Does Clement of Alexandria Call Philo The Pythagorean?" Vigiliae Christianae 49.1 (1995): 1-22.
On-line Resource Alan. P.F. Sell, "Theology and the Philosophical Climate: Case-Studies From the Second Century AD (Part 2) Vox Evangelica 14 (1984): 53-64.View in PDF format
Book or monograph Morton Smith, Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973. Hbk. ISBN: 0674134907. pp.460. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book Morton Smith, "Clement of Alexandria and Secret Mark: The Score at the End of the First Decade," Harvard Theological Review 75.4 (1982): 449-461.
Book or monograph R.B. Tollinton, Clement of Alexandria: A Study in Christian Liberalism, 2 Vols. London: Williams and Norgate, 1914.
Article in Journal or Book Joseph W. Trigg, "Receiving the Alpha: Negative Theology in Clement of Alexandria and its Possible Implications," Studia Patristica 31 (1997): 540-45.
Article in Journal or Book A.H.C. Van Eijk, "The Gospel of Philip and Clement of Alexandria," Vigiliae Christianae 25.2 (1971): 94-120.
Article in Journal or Book J.G.M. Van Winden, "Quotations From Philo in Clement's Protepticus," Vigiliae Christianae 32.3 (1978): 208-213.
Article in Journal or Book W.H. Wagner, "Another Look at the Literary Problem in Clement of Alexandria's Major Writings," Church History, Vol. 37 (1968): 251-260.
Article in Journal or Book Robert L. Wilken, "Alexandria: A School for Training in Virtue," Patrick Henry, ed. Schools of Thought in the Christian Tradition. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985. Pbk. ISBN: 0800607309. pp.15-30. {Amazon.com}
Article in Journal or Book J.C.M. van Winden, "Quotations from Philo in Clement of Alexandria's Protrepticus," Vigiliae Christianae 32 (1978): 208-213.
Article in Journal or Book H.A. Wolfson, "Clement of Alexandria on the Generation of the Logos," Church History 20.2 (1951): 72-81.
Book or monograph Jan Zandee, "The Teachings of Silvanus" and Clement of Alexandria: a New Document of Alexandrian Theology. Mededelingen en Verhandelingen van het Vooraziatisch-Egyptisch Genootschap Ex Oriente Lux 19. Leiden: Ex Oriente Lux, 1977. pp. viii + 166.

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Biographies

Article in Journal or Book J.G. Davies, "Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 155 - 215)," Expository Times 80.1 (1968): 18-20.
On-line Resource - website, article, monograph or book Clement of Alexandria, Teacher and Apologist (James E. Kiefer)

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