Saturday, July 30, 2011

Is There Any Internal Evidence From Any of the Works of Clement that He was Actually Writing From Alexandria?

I have to admit I have always been puzzled by the complete lack of - 'hey, I am in Alexandria' - allusions in the writings of Clement. Even Origen gives us - 'hey, I just left Alexandria' - references. I wonder if there are any references I might have missed which allude to where Clement was writing from. Could it be that the missing opening lines of the Stromata do exactly this?

I also wonder whether Clement's reference to coming across the 'truth' about Christ in Egypt implies that he was no longer there when writing these words (dated to the beginning of the reign of Severus c. 195 CE):

Of these the one, in Greece, an Ionic; the other in Magna Græcia: the first of these from Cœle-Syria, the second from Egypt, and others in the East. The one was born in the land of Assyria, and the other a Hebrew in Palestine. When I came upon the last (he was the first in power), having tracked him out concealed in Egypt, I found rest. He, the true, the Sicilian bee, gathering the spoil of the flowers of the prophetic and apostolic meadow, engendered in the souls of his hearers a deathless element of knowledge. [Strom 1.1]

I also think the description of 'Pantaenus' (who or whatever he/it was) is related to the heretic Cerinthos (which literally means 'bees bread' in Greek. Now we confront the age old question - how is Clement's 'citation' of Marcosian teachings in Stromata Book 6 related to Irenaeus's verbatim citation of the same ideas in AH 1.13 - 21? In other words, is Clement citing Irenaeus or vice versa?

The obvious answer is that Irenaeus is citing Clement. Yet scholars just want to have Clement 'use' a 'Marcosian text' known to Irenaeus. I wonder whether the original report in Irenaeus is in fact a citation of the Stromata or knowledge that was passed on throughout generations of Alexandrian teachers from the time of Philo.

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