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Stromateis, Books 1-3 (Fathers of the Church)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  9 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Titus Flavius Clemens Alexandrinus (ca. A.D. 150-215) wrote the Stromateis, possibly the third work in his trilogy - the Protrepticus, the Paedagogus, and the Stromateis - to direct Christian Gnostics toward the third stage of philosophy - gnosis. For Clement the only true gnosis was that which presupposed the faith of the Church, that is, apostolic and divinely revealed. ...more
Hardcover, 354 pages
Published November 27th 1992 by Catholic University of America Press (first published 1902)
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Thomas Achord
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Incredibly fascinating. Clement argues that the Greeks are worth studying because they "stole" their ideas from the Hebrews before them. ...more
Alex Kartelias
Apr 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Many ingenious insights. His appreciation for Greek and Roman intellectual/cultural life is a fresh breath of air and his insistence that Scripture intentionally veils itself from arrogant/sinful readers, is something that needs to be asserted these days. From numerology, music, the relationship between Plato and Moses to the symbology of the 10 commandments, the Tabernacle and the 3-Dimensional Cross (and it's relationship to the 6 days of Creation), St. Clement of Alexandria is one of my perso ...more
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Magnificent work. It combines theological depth with a exhortation to holy living with the living body of Christ's Church. ...more
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Neither Clement's birthdate or birthplace is known with any degree of certainty. It is conjectured that he was born in around 150. According to Epiphanius Scholasticus, he was born in Athens, but there is also a tradition of an Alexandrian birth.

His parents were pagans, and Clement was a convert to Christianity. In the Protrepticus he displays an extensive knowledge of Greek mythology and mystery

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“And barbarians were inventors not only of philosophy, but almost of every art. The Egyptians were the first to introduce astrology among men. Similarly also the Chaldeans. The Egyptians first showed how to burn lamps, and divided the year into twelve months, prohibited intercourse with women in the temples, and enacted that no one should enter the temples from a woman without bathing. Again, they were the inventors of geometry. There are some who say that the Carians invented prognostication by the stars. The Phrygians were the first who attended to the flight of birds. And the Tuscans, neighbours of Italy, were adepts at the art of the Haruspex. The Isaurians and the Arabians invented augury, as the Telmesians divination by dreams. The Etruscans invented the trumpet, and the Phrygians the flute. For Olympus and Marsyas were Phrygians. And Cadmus, the inventor of letters among the Greeks, as Euphorus says, was a Phoenician; whence also Herodotus writes that they were called Phoenician letters. And they say that the Phoenicians and the Syrians first invented letters; and that Apis, an aboriginal inhabitant of Egypt, invented the healing art before Io came into Egypt. But afterwards they say that Asclepius improved the art. Atlas the Libyan was the first who built a ship and navigated the sea. Kelmis and Damnaneus, Idaean Dactyli, first discovered iron in Cyprus. Another Idaean discovered the tempering of brass; according to Hesiod, a Scythian. The Thracians first invented what is called a scimitar (arph), -- it is a curved sword, -- and were the first to use shields on horseback. Similarly also the Illyrians invented the shield (pelth). Besides, they say that the Tuscans invented the art of moulding clay; and that Itanus (he was a Samnite) first fashioned the oblong shield (qureos). Cadmus the Phoenician invented stonecutting, and discovered the gold mines on the Pangaean mountain. Further, another nation, the Cappadocians, first invented the instrument called the nabla, and the Assyrians in the same way the dichord. The Carthaginians were the first that constructed a triterme; and it was built by Bosporus, an aboriginal. Medea, the daughter of Æetas, a Colchian, first invented the dyeing of hair. Besides, the Noropes (they are a Paeonian race, and are now called the Norici) worked copper, and were the first that purified iron. Amycus the king of the Bebryci was the first inventor of boxing-gloves. In music, Olympus the Mysian practised the Lydian harmony; and the people called Troglodytes invented the sambuca, a musical instrument. It is said that the crooked pipe was invented by Satyrus the Phrygian; likewise also diatonic harmony by Hyagnis, a Phrygian too; and notes by Olympus, a Phrygian; as also the Phrygian harmony, and the half-Phrygian and the half-Lydian, by Marsyas, who belonged to the same region as those mentioned above. And the Doric was invented by Thamyris the Thracian. We have heard that the Persians were the first who fashioned the chariot, and bed, and footstool; and the Sidonians the first to construct a trireme. The Sicilians, close to Italy, were the first inventors of the phorminx, which is not much inferior to the lyre. And they invented castanets. In the time of Semiramis queen of the Assyrians, they relate that linen garments were invented. And Hellanicus says that Atossa queen of the Persians was the first who composed a letter. These things are reported by Seame of Mitylene, Theophrastus of Ephesus, Cydippus of Mantinea also Antiphanes, Aristodemus, and Aristotle and besides these, Philostephanus, and also Strato the Peripatetic, in his books Concerning Inventions. I have added a few details from them, in order to confirm the inventive and practically useful genius of the barbarians, by whom the Greeks profited in their studies. And if any one objects to the barbarous language, Anacharsis says, "All the Greeks speak Scythian to me." [...]” 4 likes
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