Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XIII
Chapter XIII.—The Writings of Clement. 1840
1. All the eight Stromata of Clement are preserved among us, and have been given by p. 259 him the following title: “Titus Flavius Clements Stromata of Gnostic Notes on the True Philosophy.” 1841
2. The books entitled Hypotyposes 1842 are of the same number. In them he mentions Pantænus 1843 by name as his teacher, and gives his opinions and traditions.
3. Besides these there is his Hortatory Discourse addressed to the Greeks; 1844 three books of a work entitled the Instructor; 1845 another with the title What Rich Man is Saved? 1846 the work on the Passover; 1847 discussions on Fasting and on Evil Speaking; 1848 the Hortatory Discourse on Patience, or To Those Recently Baptized; 1849 and the one bearing the title Ecclesiastical Canon, or Against the Judaizers, 1850 which he dedicated p. 260 to Alexander, the bishop mentioned above.
4. In the Stromata, he has not only treated extensively 1851 of the Divine Scripture, but he also quotes from the Greek writers whenever anything that they have said seems to him profitable.
5. He elucidates the opinions of many, both Greeks and barbarians. He also refutes the false doctrines of the heresiarchs, and besides this, reviews a large portion of history, giving us specimens of very various learning; with all the rest he mingles the views of philosophers. It is likely that on this account he gave his work the appropriate title of Stromata. 1852
6. He makes use also in these works of testimonies from the disputed Scriptures, 1853 the so-called Wisdom of Solomon, 1854 and of Jesus, the son of Sirach, and the Epistle to the Hebrews, 1855 and those of Barnabas, 1856 and Clement 1857 and Jude. 1858
7. He mentions also Tatians 1859 Discourse to the Greeks, and speaks of Cassianus 1860 as the author of a chronological work. He refers to the Jewish authors Philo, 1861 Aristobulus, 1862 Josephus, 1863 Demetrius, 1864 and Eupolemus, 1865 as showing, all of them, in their works, that Moses and the Jewish race existed before the earliest origin of the Greeks.
8. These books abound also in much other learning. In the first of them 1866 the author speaks of himp. 261 self as next after the successors of the apostles.
9. In them he promises also to write a commentary on Genesis. 1867 In his book on the Passover 1868 he acknowledges that he had been urged by his friends to commit to writing, for posterity, the traditions which he had heard from the ancient presbyters; and in the same work he mentions Melito and Irenæus, and certain others, and gives extracts from their writings.
On the life of Clement, see Bk. V. chap. 11, note 1. He was a very prolific writer, as we can gather from the list of works mentioned in this chapter. The list is repeated by Jerome (de vir. ill. c. 38) and by Photius (Cod. 109–111), the former of whom merely copies from Eusebius, with some mistakes, while the latter copies from Jerome, as is clear from the similar variations in the titles given by the last two from those given by Eusebius, and also by the omission in both their lists of one work named by Eusebius (see below, note 10). Eusebius names ten works in this chapter. In addition to these there are extant two quotations from a work of Clement entitled περὶ προνοίας. There are also extant two fragments of a work περί ψυχῆς. In the Instructor, Bk. II. chap. 10, Clement refers to a work On Continence (ὁ περὶ ἐγκρατείας) as already written by himself, and there is no reason to doubt that this was a separate work, for the third book of the Stromata (to which Fabricius thinks he refers), which treats of the same subject, was not yet written. The work is no longer extant. In the Instructor, Bk. III. chap. 8, Clement speaks of a work which he had written On Marriage (ὁ γαμικὸς λόγος). It has been thought possible that he may have referred here to his discussion of the same subject in Bk. II. chap. 10 of the same work (see the Bishop of Lincolns work on Clement, p. 7), but it seems more probable that he referred to a separate work now lost. Potter, p. 1022, gives a fragment which is possibly from this work.
In addition to these works, referred to as already written, Clement promises to write on First Principles (περὶ ἀρχῶν; Strom. III. 3, IV. 1, 13, V. 14, et al.); on Prophecy (Strom. I. 24, IV. 13, V. 13); on Angels (Strom. VI. 13); on the Origin of the World (Strom. VI. 18),—perhaps a part of the proposed work on First Principles, and perhaps to be identified with the commentary on Genesis, referred to below by Eusebius (see note 28),—Against Heresies (Strom. IV. 13), on the Resurrection (Instructor, I. 6, II. 10). It is quite possible that Clement regarded his promises as fulfilled by the discussions which he gives in various parts of the Stromata themselves, or that he gave up his original purpose.259:1841
Clements three principal works, the Exhortation to the Greeks (see below, note 5), the Instructor (note 6), and the Stromata, form a connected series of works, related to one another (as Schaff says) very much as apologetics, ethics, and dogmatics. The three works were composed in the order named. The Stromata (Στρωματεῖς) or Miscellanies (said by Eusebius in this passage to bear the title τῶν κατὰ τὴν ἀληθῆ φιλοσοφίαν γνωστικῶν ὑπομνημ€των στρωματεῖς) are said by Eusebius and by Photius (Cod. 109) to consist of eight books. Only seven are now extant, although there exists a fragment purporting to be a part of the eighth book, but which is in reality a portion of a treatise on logic, while in the time of Photius some reckoned the tract Quis dives salvetur as the eighth book (Photius, Cod. 111). There thus exists no uniform tradition as to the character of the lost book, and the suggestion of Westcott seems plausible, that at an early date the logical introduction to the Hypotyposes was separated from the remainder of the work, and added to some mss. of the Stromata as an eighth book. If this be true, the Stromata consisted originally of only seven books, and hence we now have the whole work (with the exception of a fragment lost at the beginning). The name Στρωματεῖς, “patchwork,” sufficiently indicates the character of the work. It is without methodical arrangement, containing a heterogeneous mixture of science, philosophy, poetry, and theology, and yet is animated by one idea throughout,—that Christianity satisfies the highest intellectual desires of man,—and hence the work is intended in some sense as a guide to the deeper knowledge of Christianity, the knowledge to be sought after by the “true Gnostic.” It is full of rich thoughts mingled with worthless crudities, and, like nearly all of Clements works, abounds in wide and varied learning, not always fully digested. The date at which the work was composed may be gathered from a passage in Bk. I. chap. 21, where a list of the Roman emperors is closed with a mention of Commodus, the exact length of whose reign is given, showing that he was already dead, but also showing apparently that his successor was still living. This would lead us to put the composition at least of the first book in the first quarter of the year 193. It might of course be said that Pertinax and Didius Julianus are omitted in this list because of the brevity of their reigns, and this is possible, since in his own list he gives the reigns of the emperors simply by years, omitting Otho and Vitellius. The other list which he quotes, however, gives every emperor, with the number of years, months, and even days of each reign, so that there is no reason, at least in that list, for the omission of Pertinax and Didius Julianus. It seems probable that, under the influence of that exact list, and of the recentness of the reigns of the two emperors named, Clement can hardly have omitted them if they had already ruled. We can say with absolute certainty, however, only that the work was written after 192. Clement left Alexandria in 202, or before, and this, as well as the rest of his works, was written in all probability before that time at the latest.
The standard edition of Clements works is that of Potter, Oxford, 1715, in two vols. (reprinted in Mignes Patr. Gr., Vols. VIII. and IX.). Complete English translation in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Amer. ed., Vol. II. On his writings, see especially Westcotts article in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. and for the literature on the subject Schaffs Ch. Hist. II. 781.259:1842
The Hypotyposes (ὑποτυπώσεις), or Outlines (Eusebius calls them οἱ ἐπιγεγραμμένοι ὑποτυπώσεων αὐτοῦ λόγοι), are no longer extant, though fragments have been preserved. The work (which was in eight books, according to this passage) is referred to by Eusebius, in Bk. I. chap. 12 (the fifth book), in Bk. II. chap. 1 (the sixth and seventh books), in Bk. II. chaps. 9 and 23 (the seventh book), chap. 15 (the sixth book), in Bk. V. chap. 11, and in Bk. VI. chap. 14 (the book not specified). Most of these extracts are of a historical character, but have to do (most of them, not all) with the apostolic age, or the New Testament. We are told in chap. 14 that the work contained abridged accounts of all the Scriptures, but Photius (Cod. 109) says that it seems to have dealt only with Genesis, Exodus, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, the epistles of Paul, and the Catholic epistles (ὁ δὲ ὅλος σκοπὸς ὡσανεὶ ἑρμηνεῖαι τυγχ€νουσι τῆς Γεγέσεως κ.τ.λ.). Besides the detached quotations there are extant three series of extracts which are supposed to have been taken from the Hypotyposes. These are The Summaries from Theodotus, The Prophetic Selections, and the Outlines on the Catholic Epistles. On these fragments, which are very corrupt and desultory, see Westcott in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. They discuss all sorts of doctrines, and contain the interpretations of the most various schools, and it is not always clearly stated whether Clement himself adopts the opinion given, or whether he is simply quoting from another for the purpose of refuting him. Photius condemns parts of the Hypotyposes severely, but it seems, from these extracts which we have, that he may have read the work, full as it was of the heretical opinions of other men and schools, without distinguishing Clements own opinions from those of others, and that thus he may carelessly have attributed to him all the wild notions which he mentions. These extracts as well as the various references of Eusebius show that the work, like most of the others which Clement wrote, covered a great deal of ground, and included discussions of a great many collateral subjects. It does not seem, in fact, to have been much more systematic than the Instructor or even the Stromata. It seems to have been intended as a part of the great series, of which the Exhortation, Instructor, and Stromata were the first three. If so, it followed them. We have no means of ascertaining its date more exactly.259:1843
Pantænus, see above, Bk. V. chap. 10, note 1.259:1844
The Exhortation to the Greeks (ὁ λόγος προτρεπτικὸς πρὸς ῞Ελληνας), the first of the series of three works mentioned in note 2, is still extant in its entirety. It is called by Jerome (de vir. ill. chap. 38) Adversus Gentes, liber unus, but, as Westcott remarks, it was addressed not to the Gentiles in general, but to the Greeks, as its title and its contents alike indicate. The general aim of the book is to “prove the superiority of Christianity to the religions and philosophies of heathendom,” and thus to lead the unbeliever to accept it. It is full of Greek mythology and speculation, and exhibits, as Schaff says, almost a waste of learning. It was written before the Instructor, as we learn from a reference to it in the latter (chap. 1). It is stated above (Bk. V. chap. 28, §4), by the anonymous writer against the Artemonites, that Clement wrote (at least some of his works) before the time of Victor of Rome (i.e. before 192 a.d.), and hence Westcott concludes that this work was written about 190, which cannot be far out of the way.259:1845
The Instructor (ὁ παιδαγωγός, or, as Eusebius calls it here, τρεῖς τε οι τοῦ ἐπιγεγραμμένου παιδαγωγοῦ), is likewise extant, in three books. The work is chiefly of a moral and practical character, designed to furnish the new convert with rules for the proper conduct of his life over against the prevailing immoralities of the heathen. Its date is approximately fixed by the fact that it was written after the Exhortation to which it refers, and before the Stromata, which refers to it (see Strom. VI. 1).259:1846
The Quis Dives Salvetur? as it is called (τίς ὁ σωζόμενος πλούσιος), is a brief tract, discussing the words of Christ in Mark x. 17 sqq. It is still extant, and contains the beautiful story of John and the robber, quoted by Eusebius in Bk. III. chap. 23. It is an eloquent and able work; and when compared with the prevailing notions of the Church of his day, its teaching is remarkably wise and temperate. It is moderately ascetic, but goes to no extremes, and in this furnishes a pleasing contrast to the writings of most of the Fathers of Clements time.259:1847
τὸ περὶ τοῦ π€σχα σύγγραμμα. This work is no longer extant, nor had Photius seen it, although he reports that he had heard of it. Two fragments of it are found in the Chronicon Paschale, and are given by Potter. The work was composed, according to §9, below, at the instigation of friends, who urged him to commit to writing the traditions which he had received from the ancient presbyters. From Bk. IV. chap. 26, we learn that it was written in reply to Melitos work on the same subject (see notes 5 and 23 on that chapter); and hence we may conclude that it was undertaken at the solicitation of friends who desired to see the arguments presented by Melito, as a representative of the Quartodeciman practice, refined. The date of the work we have no means of ascertaining, for Melitos work was written early in the sixties (see ibid.).259:1848
διαλέξεις περὶ νηστείας καὶ περὶ καταλαλιᾶς. Photius knew both these works by report (the second under the title περὶ κακολογίας), but had not seen them. Jerome calls the first de jejunio disceptatio, the second de obtrectatione liber unus. Neither of them is now extant; but fragments of the second have been preserved, and are given by Potter.259:1849
ὁ προτρεπτικὸς εἰς ὑπομονὴν ἢ πρὸς τοὺς νεωστὶ βεβαπτισμένους. This work is mentioned neither by Jerome nor by Photius, nor has any vestige of it been preserved, so far as we know.259:1850
ὁ ἐπιγεγραμμένος κανὼν ἐκκλησιαστικὸς, ἢ πρὸς τοὺς ᾽Ιουδαϊζόντας. Jerome: de canonibus ecclesiasticis, et adversum eos, qui Judæorum sequuntur errorum. Photius mentions the work; calling it περὶ κανόνων ἐκκλησιαστικῶν, but he had not himself seen it. It is no longer extant, but a few fragments have been preserved, and are given by Potter.
Danz (De Eusebio, p. 90) refers to Clements Stromata, lib. VI. p. 803, ed. Potter, where he says that “the ecclesiastical canon is the agreement or disagreement of the law and the prophets with the testament given at the coming of Christ.” Danz concludes accordingly that in this work Clement wished to show to those who believed that the teaching of the law and the prophets was not only different from, but superior to the teachings of the Christian faith,—that is, to the Judaizers,—that the writers of the Old and New Testaments were in full harmony. This might do, were it not for the fact that the work is directed not against Jews, but against Judaizers, i.e. Judaizing Christians. A work to prove the Old and New Testament in harmony with each other could hardly have been addressed to such persons, who must have believed them in harmony before they became Christians. The truth is, the phrase κανὼν ἐκκλησιαστικός is used by the Fathers with a great variety of meanings, and the fact that Clement used it in one sense in one of his works by no means proves that he always used it in the same sense. It is more probable that the work was devoted to a discussion of certain practices or modes of living in which the Judaizers differed from the rest of the Church Catholic, perhaps in respect to feasts (might a reference to the Quartodeciman practice have been perhaps included?), fasts and other ascetic practices, observance of the Jewish Sabbaths, &c. This use of the word in the sense of regula was very common (see Suicers Thesaurus). The work was dedicated, according to Eusebius, to the bishop Alexander, mentioned above in chap. 8 and elsewhere. This is sufficient evidence that it was written considerably later than the three great works already referred to. Alexander was a student of Clements; and since he was likewise a fellow-pupil of Origens (see chap. 8, note 6), his student days under Clement must have extended at least nearly to the time when Clement left Alexandria (i.e. in or before 202. a.d.). But Clement of course cannot have dedicated a work to him while he was still his pupil, and in fact we shall be safe in saying that Alexander must have gained some prominence before Clement would be led to dedicate a work to him. We think naturally of the period which Clement spent with him while he was in prison and before he became bishop of Jerusalem (see chap. 11). It is quite possible that Clements residence in Cappadocia with Alexander had given him such an acquaintance with Judaizing heresies and practices that he felt constrained to write against them, and at the same time had given him such an affection for Alexander that he dedicated his work to him.260:1851
Literally, “made a spreading” (κατ€στρωσιν πεποίηται). Eusebius here plays upon the title of the work (Στρωματεῖς).260:1852
See note 2.260:1853
ἀντιλεγομένων γραφῶν. On the Antilegomena, see Bk. III. chap 25, note 1.260:1854
The Wisdom of Solomon and the Wisdom of Sirach were two Old Testament apocryphal books. The Church of the first three centuries made, on the whole, no essential difference between the books of the Hebrew canon and the Apocrypha. We find the Fathers, almost without exception, quoting from both indiscriminately. It is true that catalogues were made by Melito, Origen, Athanasius, and others, which separated the Apocrypha from the books of the Hebrew canon; but this represented theory simply, not practice, and did not prevent even themselves from using both classes as Scripture. Augustine went so far as to obliterate completely all distinction between the two, in theory as well as in practice. The only one of the early Fathers to make a decided stand against the Apocrypha was Jerome; but he was not able to change the common view, and the Church continued (as the Catholic Church continues still) to use them all (with a few minor exceptions) as Holy Scripture.260:1855
On the Epistle to the Hebrews, see Bk. III. chap. 3, note 17.260:1856
On the Epistle of Barnabas, see Bk. III. chap. 25, note 20.260:1857
The Epistle of Clement, see Bk. III. chap. 16, note 1.260:1858
On the Epistle of Jude, see Bk. II. chap. 23, note 47.260:1859
On Tatian and his works, see Bk. IV. chap. 29, note 1.260:1860
This Cassianus is mentioned twice by Clement: once in Strom. I. 21, where Clement engages in a chronological study for the purpose of showing that the wisdom of the Hebrews is older than that of the Greeks, and refers to Cassians Exegetica and Tatians Address to the Greeks as containing discussions of the same subject; again in Strom. III. 13 sqq., where he is said to have been the founder of the sect of the Docetæ, and to have written a work, De continentia or De castitate (περὶ ἐγκρατείας ἢ περὶ εὐνουχίας), in which he condemned marriage. Here, too, he is associated with Tatian. He seems from these references to have been, like Tatian, an apologist for Christianity, and also like him to have gone off into an extreme asceticism, which the Church pronounced heretical (see Bk. IV. chap. 29, note 4). Whether he was personally connected with Tatian, or is mentioned with him by Clement simply because his views were similar, we do not know, nor can we fix the date at which he lived. Neither of his works referred to by Clement is now extant. Jerome (de vir. ill. chap. 38) mentions the work which Eusebius speaks of here, but says that he had not been able to find a copy of it. It is called by Clement, in the passage referred to here by Eusebius, ᾽Εξηγητικοὶ, and so Eusebius calls it in his Præf. Evang. X. 12, where he quotes from Clement. But here he speaks of it as a χρονογραφία, and Jerome transcribes the word without translating it. We can gather from Clements words (Strom. I. 21) that the work of Cassianus dealt largely with chronology, and hence Eusebius reference to it under the name χρονογραφία is quite legitimate.260:1861
On Philo and his works, see Bk. II. chaps. 4, 5, 17 and 18.260:1862
The Aristobulus referred to here was an Alexandrian Jew and Peripatetic philosopher (see the passages in Clement and Eusebius referred to below), who lived in the second century b.c., and was the author of Commentaries upon the Mosaic Law, the chief object of which was to prove that Greek philosophy was borrowed from the books of Moses (see Clement, Strom. V. 14, who refers only to Peripatetic philosophy, which is too narrow). The work is referred to by Clement of Alexandria (in his Stromata, I. 15; V. 14; VI. 3, &c.), by Eusebius (in his Præp. Evang. VII. 14; VIII. 9, 10; XIII. 12, &c.), by Anatolius (as quoted by Eusebius below, in Bk. VII. chap. 32), and by other Fathers. The work is no longer extant, but Eusebius gives two considerable fragments of it in his Præp. Evang. VIII. 10, and XIII. 12. See Schürers Gesch. d. jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu, II. p. 760 sq. Schürer maintains the authenticity of the work against the attacks of many modern critics.260:1863
On Josephus and his works, see Bk. III. chap. 9.260:1864
Demetrius was a Grecian Jew, who wrote, toward the close of the third century b.c., a History of Israel, based upon the Scripture records, and with especial reference to chronology. Demetrius is mentioned by Josephus (who, however, wrongly makes him a heathen; contra Apionem, I. 23), by Clement of Alexandria, and by Eusebius. His work is no longer extant, but fragments of it are preserved by Clement (Strom. I. 21) and by Eusebius (Præp. Evang. IX. 21 and 29). See Schürer, ibid. p. 730 sq.260:1865
Eupolymus was also a Jewish historian, who wrote about the middle of the second century b.c., and is possibly to be identified with the Eupolymus mentioned in 1 Macc. viii. 17. He wrote a History of the Jews, which is referred to under various titles by those that mention it, and which has consequently been resolvent into three separate works by many scholars, but without warrant, as Schürer has shown. The work, like that of Aristobulus, was clearly designed to show the dependence of Greek philosophy upon Hebrew wisdom (see Clements Strom. I. 23). It is no longer extant, but fragments have been preserved by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. I. 21, which gives us data for reckoning the time at which Eupolymus wrote, and I. 23) and by Eusebius (Præp. Evang. IX. 17, 26, 30–34, and probably 39). See Schürer ibid. p. 732 sq.260:1866
Eusebius is apparently still referring to Clements Stromata. In saying that Clement ὧν ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ περὶ ἑαυτοῦ δηλοι ὡς žγγιστα τῆς τῶν ἀποστόλων γενομένου διαδοχῆς, he was perhaps thinking of the passage in Strom. I. 1, where Clement says, “They [i.e. his teachers], preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine, derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it from the fathers (but few were like the fathers), came by Gods will to us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds.” Clement in this passage does not mean to assert that his teachers were immediate disciples of the apostles, but only that they received the traditions of the apostles in direct descent from their immediate disciples. Eusebius words are a little ambiguous, but they seem to imply that he thought that Clement was a pupil of immediate disciples of the apostles, which Clement does not assert in this passage, and can hardly have asserted in any passage, for he was in all probability born too late to converse with those who had seen any of the apostles.261:1867
In his Stromata (VI. 18) Clement refers to a work on the origin of the world, which was probably to form a part of his work On Principles. This is perhaps the reference of which Eusebius is thinking when he says that Clement in the Stromata promises εἰς τὴν Γένεσιν ὑπομνηματιεῖσθειν. If so, Eusebius words, which imply that Clement promised to write a commentary on Genesis, are misleading.261:1868
On this work, see note 8.
Next: Chapter XIV
Like & share St-Takla.org
© Saint Takla Haymanout Website: Coptic Orthodox Church - Alexandria, Egypt / URL: http://St-Takla.org / Contact us at