Clement of Alexandria

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Titus Flavius Clemens (c.150 - c. 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.[citation needed] vide, e.g., Stromata, VI.106.4f. Though he constantly opposes the concept of gnosis as defined by the Gnostics, he used the term "gnostic" for Christians who had attained the deeper teaching of the Logos.[1] He developed a Christian Platonism.[2] He presented the goal of Christian life as deification, identified both as Platonism's assimilation into God and the biblical imitation of God.[1]

Like Origen, he arose from Alexandria's Catechetical School and was well versed in pagan literature.[2] Origen succeeded Clement as head of the school.[2] 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. He advocated a vegetarian diet and claimed that the apostles Peter, Matthew, and James the Just were vegetarians.[3][4][5]

Contents

Life

Because Early Alexandrian Church fathers wrote their works in Greek, later scholars proposed they were not all Egyptians. Clement's birthplace is not known with certainty. Other than being Egyptian, Athens is proposed as his birthplace by the sixth-century Epiphanius Scholasticus, supported by the classical quality of his Greek. His parents seem to have been wealthy pagans of some social standing. The thoroughness of his education is shown by his constant quotation of the Greek poets and philosophers. He travelled in Greece, Italy, Palestine, and finally Egypt. He became the colleague of Pantaenus, the head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, and finally succeeded him in the direction of the school. One of his most popular pupils was Origen. During the persecution of Christians by Septimius Severus (202 or 203) he sought refuge with Alexander, then bishop (possibly of Flaviada) in Cappadocia, afterward of Jerusalem, from whom he brought a letter to Antioch in 211.

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