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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter VI

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VI.—Clement of Alexandria.

Clement 1803 having succeeded Pantænus, 1804 had charge at that time of the catechetical instruction in Alexandria, so that Origen also, while still a boy, 1805 was one of his pupils. In the first p. 254 book of the work called Stromata, which Clement wrote, he gives a chronological table, 1806 bringing events down to the death of Commodus. So it is evident that that work was written during the reign of Severus, whose times we are now recording.



This chapter has no connection with the preceding, and its insertion at this point has no good ground, for Clement has been already handled in the fifth book; and if Eusebius wished to refer to him again in connection with Origen, he should have done so in chap. 3, where Origen’s appointment as head of the catechetical school is mentioned. (Redepenning, however, approves the present order; vol. I. p. 431 sqq.) Rufinus felt the inconsistency, and hence inserted chaps. 6 and 7 in the middle of chap. 3, where the account of Origen’s appointment by Demetrius is given. Valesius considers the occurrence of this mention of Clement at this point a sign that Eusebius did not give his work a final revision. Chap. 13 is inserted in the same abrupt way, quite out of harmony with the context. Upon the life of Clement of Alexandria, see Bk. V. chap. 11, note 1. The catechetical school was vacant, as we learn from chap. 2, in the year 203, and was then taken in charge by Origen, so that the “that time” referred to by Eusebius in this sentence must be carried back of the events related in the previous chapters. The cause of Clement’s leaving the school was probably the persecution begun by Severus in 202 (“all were driven away by the threatening aspect of persecution,” according to chap. 3, §1); for since Origen was one of his pupils he can hardly have left long before that time. That it was not unworthy cowardice which led Clement to take his departure is clear enough from the words of Alexander in chaps. 11 and 14, from the high reputation which he continued to enjoy throughout the Church, and from his own utterances on the subject of martyrdom scattered through his works.


On Pantænus, see Bk. V. chap. 10, note 2.


Stephanus, Stroth, Burton, Schwegler, Laemmer, and Heinichen, following two important mss. and the translation of Rufinus, omit the words παῖδα ὄντα “while a boy.” But the words are found in all the other codices (the chief witnesses of two of the three great families of mss. being for them) and in Nicephorus. The manuscript authority is therefore overwhelmingly in favor of the words, and they are adopted by Valesius, Zimmermann, and Crusè. Rufinus is a strong witness against the words but, as Redepenning justly remarks, having inserted this chapter, as he did, in the midst of the description of Origen’s early years (see note 1), the words παῖδα ὄντα would be quite superfluous and even out of place, and hence he would naturally omit them. So far as the probabilities of the insertion or omission of the words in the present passage are concerned, it seems to me more natural to suppose that a copyist, finding the words at this late stage in the account of Origen’s life, would be inclined to omit them, than that not finding them there he should, upon historical grounds (which he could have reached only after some reflection), think that they ought to be inserted. The latter would be not only a more difficult but also a much graver step than the former. There seems, then, to be no good warrant for omitting these words. We learn from chap. 3 that he took charge of the catechetical school when he was in his eighteenth year, within a year therefore after the death of his father. And we learn that before he took charge of the school, all who had given instruction there had been driven away by the persecution. Clement, therefore, must have left before Origen’s eighteenth year, and hence the latter must have studied with him before the persecution had broken up the school, and in all probability before the death of Leonides. In any case, therefore, he was still a boy when under Clement, and even if we omit the words—“while a boy”—here, we shall not be warranted in putting his student days into the period of his maturity, as some would do. Upon this subject, see Redepenning, I. p. 431 sqq., who adduces still other arguments for the position taken in this note which it is not necessary to repeat here.


In Stromata, Bk. I. chap. 21. On this and the other works of Clement, see chap. 13.

Next: Chapter VII

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