Rebirth and Christian Life

John Behr

in Asceticism and Anthropology in Irenaeus and Clement

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780198270003
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683862 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Rebirth and Christian Life

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The main themes of Paedagogus include the significance of rebirth and the childhood of the people of God and the divine paideia or character formation. Clement gives emphasis on baptism and two of its features: first, newly baptized people possess characteristics of perfection and second, how this granted perfection lasts. A neophyte, a newly baptized person, would then have a twofold life, his natural life and a supernatural life in Christ. Clement explains that being baptized does not mean simply following Christ's actions; this means that the Christian would have a union with Christ. Through rebirth in Christ, Christians are able to live an eternally youthful life anew. Clement asserts that the practice of this asceticism relies on man's own ability; it is in man's power to decide whether he would obey God's commandments and plans for him.

Keywords: perfection; Paedagogus; rebirth; paideia; Clement; neophyte; baptism; Christ; Christian; asceticism

Chapter.  13567 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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