Friday, December 14, 2012

Is the Theodore of Clement's Letter to Theodore Gregory Thaumaturgus?

Clement's teachings certainly seem to have filtered down to Gregory - not surprising perhaps if Origen was his teacher. Nevertheless it is worth noting how close the ideas are - as if Gregory (= Theodore) had read (and developed) the Stromata himself:
But self-control, desirable for its own sake, perfected through knowledge, abiding ever, makes the man lord and master of himself; so that the Gnostic is temperate and passionless, incapable of being dissolved by pleasures and pains, as they say adamant is by fire (Stromata 7:11)

And now Gregory Thaumaturgus:

[f]or example the salamander, the animal which can despise the flame, and adamant when it is struck by iron (not phantasmal and docetic, as we said) remain impassible. Absbestos, too, remains whole when it takes fire upon itself, suffering no harm from its association with fire. (to Theopompus p. 167)

The same idea is passed on to 'Adamantius' in the Dialogues of the same name. A certain Marinus asks 'Adamantius' "when the man was suffering [on the cross] was the Word present at the same time or not?" 'Adamantius's response is:

Permit me first to answer Marinus' question, then let him put forward his explanation. The Word of God was present with the man, but He suffered no injury, just as adamant remains sound when it is struck by iron, and on the contrary, causes injury to the very thing meant to injure it. Again, asbestos, when it is consigned to the fire, remains unbroken and unspoiled, without any damage. Nor is the fire, when cut by a sword, divided, for the dense flame runs back on itself and remains indivisible. If, then, material substances exert their strength against other substances and cannot be consumed, much more surely did the Word of God, e being of an impassible and unchangeable nature, remain impassible, and absorbed the sufferings (for the crucified man)

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