Prophylactic Grace in Clement’s Emergent Church Sexual Ethic

Kathy L. Gaca

in The Making of Fornication

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520235991
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929463 | DOI:
Prophylactic Grace in Clement’s Emergent Church Sexual Ethic

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This chapter argues that Clement of Alexandria completes Philo's paradigm shift, for in response to Philo he identifies any deviation from God's procreationist law as sexually hedonistic rebellion against God. Clement upholds a Christian norm of biblical endogamy for the perceived safety and salvation of all Christians. Clement supports the procreationist rule in its later Pythagorean form. Clement uses Philo's trope of soul fornication to identify sexual desire with the whorish worship of the Greek gods of eros. He situates Paul's problem of spiritual adultery in a procreationist framework and links procreationism with Paul's marital poetics. Clement's argument for doing away entirely with sexual desire forms an unforgettable aspect of his sexual ethic, combining as it does the strictures of Plato and biblical scripture. Clement allows Christians to grow and multiply within marriage, but they must populate a land that is devoid of eros.

Keywords: Clement; church sexual ethic; Philo; Alexandria; God; procreationism; sexual desire; Christians

Chapter.  12429 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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