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II. Works. Among Clement’s surviving works, three the Protrepticus, the Paedagogus and the Stromata excel and seem to form a trilogy aimed at clearly explaining the gradual way toward perfection. But this is not the case: in fact the first two, the Protrepticus and the Paedagogus, are so very different in content from the redaction of the Stromata that the theory of a trilogy only barely stands, and thus this opinion cannot be maintained. The first two were written for the publishing market and for the public, while the Stromata was written to illustrate the activity of the school. The trilogy theory originated from the fact that Pier Vittori Latinized to Petrus Victorius, publishing the editio princeps in 1550, casually changed the usual order of the works that of Eusebius and Jerome to that of Protrepticus, Paedagogus, Stromata.

This order was followed by Franz Overbeck in his essay Anf¤nge des Christentums as a tripartite mystical way of perfection, which in practice still continues to condition our judgment of Clement. Considered closely, the Protrepticus is presented, like Aristotle’s lost work of the same name, in the form of a proclamation addressed to educated persons with an interest in Christianity, seen as the true way of life, rather as Aristotle had done for philosophy in his Protrepticus. The three books of the Paedagogus are a manual aiming to consolidate, broaden and deepen the benefit of faith imparted in baptismal teaching, also addressed to the highly educated.

The Stromata, however, must be seen as a work to be used privately for expositions of the work of pedagogy. Clement starts from the rhetorical topos of support for his weak memory; the arguments, repropounded, could serve as pioneering models to initiate a similar didactic experience elsewhere. And yet, through the philosophical arguments discussed, the Capitula present the true solution of the problems in a Christian perspective. No wonder we find so few, or only passing, references to the institutions and sacraments of the church, though the basic ultimate purpose of the treatment remains true Christianity.

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