Mar 30, 2009

Princes Shall Come out of Egypt: Clement of Alexandria

As an evangelical, one would think that in the great history of Christian theology, God stopped speaking in the seventeenth century and had perfectly revealed Godself to the Germans and the French. In terms of the geo-politics within academic settings, it would be suffice to say that up until the the latter half of the twentieth century, from psychology (Freud) to philosophy (Kant, Nietsche), to theology (Barth) to economics and history (Marx) to physics (Einstein), a vast majority of authorities in these fields were either born or educated European schools (many of them German institutions).

The world was not always like this. Before the Muslims conquered Egypt less than midway through the 7th century, Common Era, Alexandria was once the capital of Egypt. Clement of Alexandria was a Christian intellectual who would constantly write in response to the prevailing heresies and immoralities of his day. From the Gnostics to the Carpocratians, Clement was not afraid to confront his opponents in the bluntest of terms. He also struggled with traditions such as the Christian followers who studied Tertullian and who believed that studying Greek philosophy was a waste of time. To these, Clement would answer, "The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, and anyone who seeks to help catechumens, especially if they are Greeks, must not shrink from scholarly study" Strom., VI, 89. In today's world, there are many people in the church who question the need for religious scholarship. This is because they have chosen to divide the spirit from the body, in almost the way Clement's enemies, the Gnostics once did. Let us heed the words of Clement, who argues that the body and the spirit are in mutual need for each other:


***The task of the law is to deliver us from a dissolute life and all disorderly ways. Its purpose is to lead us from unrighteousness to righteousness, so that it would have us self-controlled in marriage, in begetting children, and in general behavior. The LORD is not “come to destroy the law but to fulfil it” (Matt 5:17). “To fulfill” does NOT imply that it was defect, but that by his coming the prophecies of the law are accomplished, since before the law the demand for right conduct was proclaimed by the LOGOS to those also who lived good lives. The multitude who know nothing of continence live for the body, not for the spirit. But the body without spirit is ‘earth and ashes’ (Gen 18:27).***

Clement of Alexandria, On Marriage, Chapter VI, #46.

5 comments:

Celucien L. Joseph said...

I don't see the name of Dubois on the sociology of "race." He is the "RACE MAN"! You just cannot leave him unnamed my friend:)

Rod said...

You are right Celucien, but at the same time, I remember reading David Levering Lewis's W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, and DuBois did go to Germany to get some more education post doctorate I do believe, and he got some of his methodology from there.

mrllgoode said...

Good work, however You are negligent in your scholarship. Egypt has a long and rich history when it comes to religion. -If you can get past either your fear are hatred of Islam, you would have added that the story of Jesus is not owned by the cult of christ (christian faith). The story has a history in ancient Egypt.
The Most Hon. Elijah Muhammad teaches that partial and half truths are worst outright lies, tell the truth Jesus was a jew. I was born and raised a christian but in essence it is the cult of chirst.
Please tell me where in the bible that the great man Jesus told the people to pray to him or worship him, do he not say "that their is none good but the father".

Rod said...

Mrllgoode,

Your comments about Islam go both unwarranted and unappreciated. Please do not jump to conclusions which I have not argued. You have no way of reading my mind with your false accusations.

The truth is that Jesus was Jewish, and I am an unashamed worship of a 1st century Jewish rabbi who is God Incarnate. I am unashamedly a Christian and therefore, this is unashamedly a Christian blog. I bear no responsibility to address the history of Islam. In fact, when you think about it, when a lot of Christians discuss Islam, they do so out of ignorance and prejudice here in America. Ever watch Fox News Channel? I do, and I see through the biases and some of the anti-Muslim sentiment. So, if you want to blog about the history of Egypt and Islam, go ahead. My duty is to inform Christians about Christian history that is non-white.

As for your comments about "none being good but the Father," I will address your prooftexting and bad quoting of Scripture in a separate post.

Rod said...

Mrllgoode,

here is my response to your question, as I promised:

http://hope-theologian.blogspot.com/2009/04/only-god-is-good-response-to-mrllgoode.html