Clement of Alexandria


in Origen and the Life of the Stars

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780198263616
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682612 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Clement of Alexandria

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This chapter examines the views of Clement of Alexandria, who had a similar theological approach to Origen. Clement was an uncompromising opponent of the Hellenistic religion of the heavens, particularly in his Protreptikos, which is addressed to pagans. In this, he attacked Alcmaeon of Croton for believing that the stars are gods and alive, and Xenocrates for suggesting that the planets are in fact eight gods. Many Coptic gnostic texts, which have survived both persecution and time, confirm the power of gnostic speculation in early Christian Egypt. This influence was evident in Clement, who habitually used gnostic terminology and called himself a ‘gnostic’ more than any other Christian writer of his era. Most importantly, he saw the opportunity to incorporate contemporary lore on the stars into the Christian doctrine of life after death.

Keywords: Clement of Alexandria; Protreptikos; gnostic texts; Alexandrian Christianity; angels

Chapter.  2969 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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