Friday, December 5, 2014Clement of Alexandria
Lesser Feasts and Fasts (2006) has this to say about Clement:
Clement lived in the age of “Gnosticism,” a comprehensive term for many theories or ways of salvation current in the second and third centuries, all emphasizing “Gnosis” or “knowledge.” Salvation, for Gnostics, was to be had through a secret and rather esoteric knowledge accessible only to a few. It was salvation from the world, rather than salvation of the world. Clement asserted that there was a true Christian Gnosis, to be found in the Scriptures, available to all. Although his understanding of this Christian knowledge—ultimately knowledge of Christ—incorporated several notions of Greek philosophy which the Gnostics also held, Clement dissented from the negative Gnostic view of the world and its denial of the role of free will.
What Rich Man Will Be Saved? was the title of a treatise by Clement on Mark 10:17–31, and the Lord’s words, “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” His interpretation sanctioned the “right use” of material goods and wealth. It has been contrasted to the interpretation of Athanasius in his Life of Antony, which emphasized strict renunciation. Both interpretations can be found in early Christian spirituality: Clement’s, called “liberal,” and that of Athanasius, “literal.”
O God of unsearchable wisdom, who didst give thy servant Clement grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, the source of all truth: Grant to thy Church the same grace to discern thy Word wherever truth is found; through Jesus Christ our unfailing light, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.