Clemens in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

T. Flavius, a Father of the Church, who flourished between A.D. 190 and 217, and is commonly called Alexandrīnus, to distinguish him from Clemens of Rome. He is supposed by some to have been a native of Athens, and by others of Alexandria, but of his real origin very little is known. He early devoted himself to study in the schools of the latter city, and had many preceptors. His Hebrew preceptor, whom he calls "the Sicilian bee," was unquestionably Pantaenus, a Jew by birth, but of Sicilian extraction, who united Grecian with sacred learning, and was attached to the Stoic philosophy. Clemens so far adopted the ideas of this preceptor as to espouse the moral doctrine of the Stoics. In other respects he followed the Eclectic method of philosophizing. While the pagan philosophers pillaged the Christian stores to enrich the Eclectic system, this Christian father, on the contrary, transferred the Platonic, Stoic, and Oriental dogmas to the Christian creed, as relics of ancient tradition originating in Divine revelation. His most distinguished follower was Origen. In the hope of recommending Christianity to his catechumens, Clemens made a large collection of ancient wisdom, under the name of Stromata (Στρωματεῖς, "patchwork"), and intended to denote the miscellaneous nature of the philosophical and religious topics of which the work treats. He assigned as a reason for the undertaking, that much truth is mixed with the dogmas of philosophers, or, rather, covered and concealed in their writings, like the kernel within its shell. This work is of great value, as it contains many quotations and relates many facts not elsewhere preserved. Besides the Stromata, we have the following works of Clemens remaining: (a) Protrepticon (Λόγος Προτρεπτικός), or an exhortation to the Pagans; (b) Paedagogus (Παιδαγωγός), or the instructor; (c) the fragments of a treatise on the use of riches, entitled, "What rich man shall be saved?" The works of Clemens were first printed in Greek only, at Florence, in 1550. Of the various editions with Latin versions, the best is that of Archbishop Potter, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1715). A later edition is that of Klotz (Leipzig, 1834). A translation will be found in Clark's Ante-Nicene Library (1877-79). See Merk, Clemens von Alexandria (Leipzig, 1879); and Bigg, Christian Platonists (Bampton Lect. 1886).

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