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Clement of Alexandria

Spiritual Contemplation in Clement of Alexandria's Stromateis:
The Adaptation of the Philosophical Category Theoria,"

(Ph.D. Thesis, University of St Andrews - March 2001)

On each page I will present various sections of my research in summary form with very few citations. You can request a PDF file with full footnotes - using footnotes on an HTML web page is far too time consuming. I am happy to send these PDF documents to you - please just explain your project to me.

It is also important to know that the PDF files are not 100% accurate with respect to page numbers in the published thesis and cannot be a substitute for an inter-library loan. The PDF files are on A4 paper and will have to be sized to print on standard USA paper.

ABSTRACT
Although scholars have often acknowledged the spirituality in the writings of Clement of Alexandria (cir. 150-215 AD), a thorough study of the Platonic category theoria as it appears in this second century Father has never been undertaken. Most studies on Christian spirituality either ignore Clement's role altogether, or rush past him with little comment in favor of the great Origen (cir. 185-255 AD).

Stromateis, Clement's most enigmatic work, contains over 75 occurrences of theoria. A close examination of these texts reveals that his use of the term is somewhat different from two of his greatest philosophical and spiritual mentors, Plato and Philo. Clement uses this term (usually translated "contemplation") to refer to a spiritual experience which occurs in space and time, as well as an ethereal one and one which occurs in the mind. A possible explanation for this difference lies with Clement's claim in the opening chapter of the work: he is the recipient of an oral tradition which has never been recorded, but which he plans to include in the Stromateis.

This thesis demonstrates: 1) that Clement is the first Christian writer to adapt this philosophical category into Christian spirituality; 2) the primary purpose of Stromateis is to present the third stage in a spiritual pathway - to reveal theoria as the spiritual "meat" for the advanced believer; and 3) to present God and His contact with the Christian as immediate. In a radical move, going against the philosophical setting of the day, Clement presents this Platonic category as a means for the Christian to experience an immanent God.

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Clement of Alexandria and Christian Spirituality

Chapter 2
Origins of Christian Theoria
- introduction
- what is spirituality?
- studies on clement
- oral tradition
- oral tradition II
- minority tradition
- hidden - Stromateis
- theoria and oral tradition
- conclusions

Chapter 3
Technical Aspects of Theoria
- introduction
- apophatic theoria
- apatheia and theoria
- concept of mystery
more sections coming...
- the threefold pathway
- theoria - spirituality
- stromateis book VII
- practical spirituality
- silence, silent prayer
- egyptian christianity
- clement's theoria
- clement's influence

- CH101
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Clement of Alexandria Theology
Clement of Alexandria and Heresy
Clement of Alexandria and The Trinity
Clement of Alexandria and Contemplation
Clement of Alexandria and Prayer
Clement of Alexandria and Prayer
Clement of Alexandria Stromateis
3rd Century Fathers - Christianity
Clement of Alexandria
Origen of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria and Stromateis
Stromata, Miscellanies or Stromateis
Clement of Alexandria and The Instructor
Cyprian - Lapsed Christians
Third Century Christian History
The Trinity in the 3rd Century
Paidagogus - Stromateis - Miscellanies
Origen - De Principii - Principles
Paul of Samosata - Trinity
New Testament Canon, Canonized
Questions regarding Christian Issues
Third Century Christian Issues
Diocletian Persecution of Christians
Diocletian Persecutes Early Church
Novatian Baptism - Cyprian of Carthage
Early Christianity New Testament
Early Christianity Constantine and War
Important Issues in Early Christianity