Friday, November 19, 2010

Another Unrecognized Parallel Between Book Five of the Stromateis and the Letter to Theodore

It's Friday night and I have to go out momentarily but I think I have done a fairly convincing job of demonstrating that Book Five of the Stromateis understands the 'secret wisdom' of the apostle in a parallel way to the 'mystic gospel' of to Theodore.  The point of Book Five is to hint that there is something hidden by a veil in the adyton of the church of Alexandria which acts as a mystic key to understand all scripture.  Clement makes clear that he can't tell outsiders exactly what it is that is being hidden in the shrine - exactly as we read in to Theodore - but interestingly in each text he uses Proverbs 25.6 "answer a fool according to his folly" to justify this prohibition:

And that our tenets are probable and worthy of belief, the Greeks shall know, the point being more thoroughly investigated in what follows. For we are taught what is like by what is like. For says Solomon, "Answer a fool according to his folly." Wherefore also, to those that ask the wisdom that is with us, we are to hold out things suitable, that with the greatest possible ease they may, through their own ideas, be likely to arrive at faith in the truth. For "I became all things to all men, that I might gain all men." [Strom. 5.4]

To them, therefore, as I said above, one must never give way; nor, when they put forward their falsifications, should one concede that it is Mark's mystical gospel, but should even deny it on oath. For, "Not all true things are to be said to all men". For this reason the Wisdom of God, through Solomon, advises, "Answer the fool from his folly", teaching that the light of the truth should be hidden from those who are mentally blind. Again it says, "From him who has not shall be taken away", and "Let the fool walk in darkness". But we are "children of Light", having been illuminated by "the dayspring" of the spirit of the Lord "from on high", and "Where the Spirit of the Lord is", it says, "there is liberty", for "All things are pure to the pure". [To Theodore II.12 - 19]

Again, we've had this newly discovered text for over fifty years.  You'd think someone would have developed some comparisons with themes and the use of scripture with Clement's other works.

But maybe I am asking too much.  More than a lot.  They gave us nothing now it's all we got ...

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