Titus Flavius Clemens, also known as Clement of Alexandria (Ancient Greek: Κλήμης ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς; c. 150 – c. 215 AD), was a Christian theologian and philosopher who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Among his pupils were Origen and Alexander of Jerusalem.
- Clement Alexandrine
- Early life and career
- Clement’s view of the roles of faith and knowledge
St. Clement of Alexandria, Latin name Titus Flavius Clemens, (born 150 ce, Athens—died between 211 and 215; Western feast day November 23; Eastern feast day November 24), Christian Apologist, missionary theologian to the Hellenistic (Greek cultural) world, and second known leader and teacher of the catechetical School of Alexandria. The most import...
According to St. Epiphanius, a 4th-century bishop, the parents of Titus Flavius Clemens were Athenian pagans. There is little significant information about his early life. As a student, he traveled to various centres of learning in Italy and in the eastern Mediterranean area. Converted to Christianity by his last teacher, Pantaenus—reputedly a former Stoic philosopher and the first recorded president of the Christian catechetical School at Alexandria—Clement succeeded his mentor as head of the school about 180.
During the next two decades Clement was the intellectual leader of the Alexandrian Christian community: he wrote several ethical and theological works and biblical commentaries; he combated heretical gnostics (religious dualists who believed in salvation through esoteric knowledge that revealed to humans their spiritual origins, identities, and destinies); he engaged in polemics with Christians who were suspicious of an intellectualized Christianity; and he educated persons who later became theological and ecclesiastical leaders (e.g., Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem).
In addition to the famed trilogy, his extant works include a tract on the use of wealth, A Discourse Concerning the Salvation of Rich Men; a moral tract, Exhortation to Patience; or, Address to the Newly Baptized; a collection of sayings by Theodotus, a follower of Valentinus (a leading Alexandrian gnostic), with commentary by Clement, Excerpta ex Theodoto; the Eclogae Propheticae (or Extracts), in the form of notes; and a few fragments of his biblical commentary Hypotyposeis (Outlines).
Clement presented a functional program of witnessing in thought and action to Hellenistic inquirers and Christian believers, a program that he hoped would bring about an understanding of the role of Greek philosophy and the Mosaic tradition within the Christian faith. According to Clement, philosophy was to the Greeks as the Law of Moses was to the Jews, a preparatory discipline leading to the truth, which was personified in the Logos. His goal was to make Christian beliefs intelligible to those trained within the context of the Greek paideia (educational curriculum) so that those who accepted the Christian faith might be able to witness effectively within Hellenistic culture. He also was a social critic deeply rooted in the 2nd-century cultural milieu.
Clement’s view, “One, therefore, is the way of truth, but into it, just as into an everlasting river, flow streams but from another place” (Strōmateis), prepared the way for the curriculum of the catechetical school under Origen that became the basis of the medieval quadrivium and trivium (i.e., the liberal arts). This view, however, did not find ready acceptance by the uneducated orthodox Christians of Alexandria, who looked askance at intellectuals, especially at the heretical gnostics, who claimed a special knowledge (gnōsis) and spirituality. Led by Demetrius, the bishop of Alexandria who was elevated to the episcopacy in 189, they taught a legalistic doctrine of salvation and preached that the Christian was saved by faith (pistis).
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Clement attempted to mediate between the heretical gnostics and the legalistic orthodox Christians by appropriating the term gnostic from the heretical groups and reinterpreting it to meet the needs of both the uneducated orthodox stalwarts and the growing numbers of those educated in the Greek paideia who were enlisting in the Christian church. Gnōsis became, in Clement’s theology, a knowledge and aspect of faith; he viewed it as a personal service that “loves and teaches the ignorant and instructs the whole creation to honor God the Almighty” (Strōmateis). Thus, Clement’s Christian gnostic—as opposed to the heretical gnostic—witnessed to nonbelievers, to heretics, and to fellow believers, the educated and uneducated alike, by teaching new insights and by setting a lofty example in moral living. Like the pistic Christians (those who claimed that people were saved by faith, which was to be demonstrated in legalistic and moral terms), Clement held that faith was the basis of salvation, but, unlike them, he claimed that faith was also the basis of gnōsis, a spiritual and mystical knowledge. By distinguishing between two levels of believers—i.e., the pistic Christian, who responds through discipline and lives on the level of God’s law, and the Christian gnostic, who responds through discipline and love and lives on the level of the gospel—Clement set the stage for the efflorescence of monasticism that began in Egypt about a half century after his death.
Though much of Clement’s attention was focused on the reorientation of people’s personal lives in accordance with the Christian gospel, his interest in the social witnessing of Christians also involved him in the political and economic forces that affected human dignity and status. In keeping with the logos–nomos (word–law, or, sometimes, gospel–law) theme that pervades his works, Clement alluded to the theory of the two cities, the city of heaven and the city of the earth. Like St. Augustine, the great theologian who utilized the same theme two centuries later in De civitate Dei (The City of God), Clement did not equate the city of heaven with the institutional church. According to Clement, the Christian was to live under the Logos as befitting a citizen of heaven and then, in an order of priorities, under the law (nomos) as a citizen of the earth. If a conflict should arise between God and Caesar (i.e., the state), the Christian was to appeal to the “higher law” of the Logos. At one point Clement advocated the theory of the just cause for open rebellion against a government that enslaves people against their will, as in the case of the Hebrews in Egypt. In this view he also anticipated Augustine’s theory of the just war, a theory that has been dominant in Western civilization since the early Middle Ages. He also struck at racism when it is considered a basis for slavery.
Jun 2, 2023 · In about 202, Clement fled Alexandria to escape the persecution of Roman Emperor Septimus Severus and later died in Asia Minor. Clement’s influence has been debated, but, according to tradition he was a teacher of Origen , who later became a theologian of major influence in the Eastern Church.
Saint Clement of Alexandria, Latin Titus Flavius Clemens, (born 150, Athens—died between 211 and 215, Palestine; Western feast day November 23; Eastern feast day November 24), Christian apologist, missionary theologian to the Hellenistic world, and leader of the catechetical school at Alexandria.
The "new philosophy" He was born Titus Flavius Clemens, most likely to pagan parents in Athens. As an adult, he sought out truth from a number of teachers in Greece, lower Italy, Syria, Palestine,...
Nov 23, 2022 · Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens) was one of the most erudite Christian writers of the 2nd century. As little is known of Clement’s life, the dates of his birth and death are approximate. Among scholars, they are usually appointed as 150–215 CE.
Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – 215) (Titus Flavius Clemens) was an early Christian philosopher and one of the most distinguished teachers of the Church of Alexandria. He is known for his attempt to unite Greek philosophy with Christian teachings and drew a large number of educated pagans to the Church.
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