Clement of Alexandria  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Titus Flavius Clemens (c.150 - 215), known as Clement of Alexandria (to distinguish him from Clement of Rome), was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen. He united Greek philosophical traditions with Christian doctrine and valued gnosis that with communion for all people could be held by common Christians specially chosen by God. He used the term "gnostic" for Christians who had attained the deeper teaching of the Logos. He presented the goal of Christian life as deification, identified both as Platonism's assimilation into God and the biblical imitation of God.

Like Origen, he arose from Alexandria's Catechetical School and was well versed in pagan literature. Origen succeeded Clement as head of the school. Alexandria had a major Christian community in early Christianity, noted for its scholarship and its high-quality copies of Scripture.

Clement is counted as one of the early Church Fathers.

Literary work

Great trilogy

The trilogy into which Clement's principal remains are connected by their purpose and mode of treatment is composed of:

Overbeck calls it the boldest literary undertaking in the history of the Church, since in it Clement for the first time attempted to set forth Christianity for the faithful in the traditional forms of secular literature.

The first book deals with the religious basis of Christian morality, the second and third with the individual cases of conduct. As with Epictetus, true virtue shows itself with him in its external evidences by a natural, simple, and moderate way of living.

The doctrine of apocatastasis, the belief that all people will eventually be saved, was first developed by Clement in the Stromata. He wrote that the punishments of God are "saving and disciplinary, leading to conversion." However, his successor as head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, Origen, is probably better known for espousing Christian universalism.

Other works

Besides the great trilogy, the only complete work preserved is the treatise "Who is the Rich Man that Shall Be Saved?" based on Mark Template:Bibleverse-nb, and laying down the principle that not the possession of riches but their misuse is to be condemned. There are extant a few fragments of the treatise on the Passover, against the Quartodecimanism position of Melito of Sardis, and only a single passage from the "Ecclesiastical Canon" against the Judaizers. Several other works are known only by their titles. His work Hypotyposes survives only in fragments.

Much of Clement's work has been published in recent years in the collection Sources Chr├ętiennes, in particular by Alain Le Boulluec.

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