In ancient Christian literature this word was used in two senses: on the one hand to express a theological idea, and on the other according to the everyday meaning of the times. As a theological expression it indicated the first period of humanity’s history or of the church’s earthly life and was also a symbol of the perfect person. In the Greco-Roman world the division of human history into seven parts was well known, and it was compared to a human life by the Stoics. Some 4th-c. Fathers were inspired by these two conceptions and spoke of salvation history in more or less the same way. Scottsdale Map Tourist Attractions Thus Gregory of Nyssa Or. in Chr. res.: PG 46, 672, Jerome Comm. in Ez. 38, 1, Ambrose Ep. 18, 21 and esp. Augustine Gen. Man. I, 32,35; Civ. Dei XV-XVI. Tyconius Doctr. Christ. III, 35, 51 provided the idea that inspired Augustine, who divided human or salvation history into seven epochs, according to the phases of a human life; the first, which is like childhood, lasted from the creation until Noah and included two parts, infancy and childhood Civ. Dei XVI, 43. Conversely, in Clement of Alexandria the end of humanity’s earthly life that is, the epoch of the church is like childhood, because Christians are clothed with the new man Eph 4:24 and live in the springtime of eternal life Paed. I, 5,20,4. The child as a model of the perfect man is suggested in the words of Jesus Mt 18:3 and in Paul’s letters Gal 4:7, but childhood does not have a positive sense in Pauline theology 1 Cor 13:11: it does not express the perfect, mature man, as previously in Philo Gnilka, Aet. spin., 208. This idea was highly favored in gnostic texts and in Clement of Alexandria’s theology. According to the Gospel of Thomas, an old man does not hesitate to ask a baby of seven days about the place of life Gos.Thom., log. 4. In gnostic thought the child generally represents a person who is a complete stranger to sensual temptations, without earthly ambition, and for whom sexual difference is no longer important; such a person could be considered a monad, androgynous. A very similar expression is in the apocryphal Psalter: The elderly with grey hair are instructed by children. Six-year-olds teach old men of 60 Psalt. 192,2-3; a similar formula is in the Ophites Hipp., Haer. V, 7,20, or in the Manichees Alex. of Lycopolis, De plac. Man. 24.
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