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Lead, Kindiy Light

BMCR reviews Christos Didaskalos. The Christology of Clement of Alexandria, by Oleh Kindiy.

Brilliant, a man deeply cultured, Clement left us one of the warmest voices of the pre-Nicene Church. His portrait of Christ is complex, according to Kindiy, according to the reviewer:

Christ as the New Song is the captivating fish net which attracts non-Christians to Christianity and which retains them as Christians. The first changes of the new Christians in the congregation are also the work of the New Song.

At the next stage, Christ the Pedagogue takes over the responsibility for the newly converted and teaches them how to live as Christians. After that, the Pedagogue teaches the Christians how to read the Bible in a proper way, for example by introducing them to the ideas of different levels of the biblical texts. Further, the Pedagogue teaches Christians about the identity of God, which was hidden from them until then, and also about the identity and destiny of humans. Another part of the Pedagogue’s work is to heal humanity in order to lead humanity back to its original health.

Christ as High Priest brings the advanced Christians who have been taught by the Pedagogue and Teacher to the highest level of knowledge (gnosis). At this level, the Christians will be able to see and contemplate God, and they will consequently be one with God (theosis).

5 thoughts on “Lead, Kindiy Light

  1. Beautiful quote. And the “gnosis” we learn: Christ in the Eucharist, making us flesh and blood with God, one with God body and soul.

    Mike, I stopped by to say hello, let you know some of the fruits of my work, which you in part helped me with sometime back on my paper on John 6, research which I’ve since incorporated into my evangelization course – which also relies quite a bit on the Fathers!

    I now teach not only locally through the Archdiocese of Denver, but also by distance. Next distance course begins in a week, on Sept. 21.

    Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

  2. I looked Clement up in Wikipedia and was surprised to see him presented at a proto- or crypto-Arian. The quotations there certainly made him sound like one!

    Do most scholars now see Clement this way?

    I know he seems usually not called “St. Clement” and doesn’t seem to be in the Martyrology.

  3. Thanks for asking a fascinating question. When I wrote my first book on the Fathers, I spoke of Clement without the “St.,” for precisely the reason you mention. Then I noticed that the old manuals were divided on the subject (as they are, for example, on the status of Eusebius, Origen, and Tertullian as “Fathers”). Jurgens, for example, lists Clement as “Saint.” I consulted with an expert on saint-making, who told me that the judgment of Benedict XIV (to remove Clement’s name) was based on critical historical questions and not on doubts about Clement’s sanctity. He is listed in Bunson’s recent Encyclopedia of Saints, but not in Delaney’s Dictionary. The more recently canonized St. Josemaria Escriva was fond of the old Alexandrian’s work and spoke of him as “Saint Clement.” Noting all of the above, I couldn’t help doing the same. So I changed course for my book on the Mass.

    Do most scholars see Clement as a proto- or crypto-Arian. It’s hard to say. I wouldn’t judge him (or any of the pre-Nicene Fathers) badly because they didn’t toe the line that was articulated much later at Nicea. His desire was to teach with the Catholic Church, which he called his mother.

    You’ll find many of the pre-Nicene Fathers dragged into this at some point. Because of their lack of precision (that later centuries deemed necessary), they’re accused of subordinationism or modalism. The Alexandrians, with their emanationist language, were especially vulnerable. Arius forced the moment to its crisis, but when he did he positioned himself as a conservative.

  4. The link to the review actually links to the Amazon page…

  5. Thanks, Jeff. I think I fixed it now.

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