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Mediterranean Chronology


Clement of Alexandria

c. 150- c.230

 

Flavius Clemens was an early Christian thinker of the late second century and early third century AD. History remembers him as Clement of Alexandria, in reference to the city in which he studied and wrote. Very little is known about Clement’s personal life. He was believed to have been born in Athens around 150 AD. He was brought up on Platonic philosophy and converted to Christianity under its leading. Clement traveled throughout the Roman Empire until he arrived in Alexandria and met his mentor to be, Pantaenus. Pantaenus died, Clement dedicated his life to defending and supporting Christian doctrine through a controversial combination of Scripture and philosophy. He is regarded as the first person to bring theology and philosophy together.

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His three major works included Protreptikos, Paedagogos, and Stromateis. Protreptikos was his first work and was intended to promote the conversion of Greeks. He denounces the pagan religions and mystery religions as immoral and irrational. Paedagogos, Clement’s second work, is translated as ‘The Educator’ and was meant to give moral instruction to pagans of Alexandria. In his third book, Stromateis, he presents his image of the ‘true Christian Gnostic’. The true Christian Gnostic combines faith and knowledge through belief in Jesus Christ and the study of Scripture. He states that ‘divine reason’, or 'Logos,' is the means for that unification.

Clement stressed dedication to training and education. His works are clearly influenced by Greek philosophies such as Platonism and Stoicism. Clement wrote in a time where religions became mixed together as one and philosophies fought for supremacy. His devotion to the Christian faith and his adherence to Greek philosophy made Clement one of the most respected and controversial thinkers of his day.


Bibliography:

Kraft, H, Early Christian Thinkers. Association Press; New York, New York, 1964.

Fox, Robin Lane, Pagans and Christians. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.; New York, New York, 1987.


Researched and Written by Michael Johnson
December 15, 1998

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