While the intention is a description of the Christian ideal, presented in Stoic terms, Clement emerges from the work as the great missionary to the rich and intellectual, who speaks their language. The other book worth mentioning, the Excerpta ex Theodoto, shows another, even more marked, side of Clement: his skill in dialogue. Since, as far as we can conjecture, the primitive mission to Egypt was probably from the start actuated by Jewish Christian missionaries from Palestine, the gnostic model of Christianity too was soon preached and, in Clement’s time, many intellectuals not content with the simple faith of common Christians sought here the solution to their problems.
Clement took up the problems of the gnostics, making excerpta from the Valentinian Theodotus with the intention of providing a way toward orthodox faith. Argument and reply are so closely coupled here that it is often hard to tell what is Clement’s and what is Theodotus’s. The same method is used on the Eclogae Propheticae, in which Clement brings together proto-Christian speculations of the subapostolic period on the first chapters of Genesis and on many passages from the Prophets. Clement fits them into Hellenistic models as an aid to seekers of truth who are not content with a simple ethic. The homily Quis dives salvetur? is composed differently.
Clement answers the doubts and questions posed for the rich by Mk 10:17-31. He maintains that true poverty is to be free from rigid attachment to money and possessions and is aimed at inner freedom. As for Clement’s lost writings, we should mention the Hypotyposeis, of which, besides citations by other authors, we have one longer extract in a Latin translation from Cassiodorus’s scriptorium ca. 540, titled Adumbrationes. These were brief interpretations of all of Scripture in the form of scholia, of the type used for contemporary Homeric exegesis. A single fragment of the Canon ecclesiasticus is preserved by Eusebius HE 6, 13, 3. Other works mentioned by Eusebius have not been preserved. Anastasius the Sinaite cites a De providentia, but the attribution remains dubious. No letters were known until 1973, when M. Smith published a recently discovered document, which must be considered a letter by Clement, in which he mentions a secret and apocryphal gospel of Mark, accepted by deeply orthodox Christian circles as authentic and adhered to by Clement himself.
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