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Clement Of Alexandria On Foul Language

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Chapter Summary

Clement of Alexandria wrote more about foul language than any Christian before him. Like Christians before and after him, Clement opposes foul language, grounding his ethic in a dozen biblical references and a variety of moral arguments. The bulk of Clement?s discussion of foul language is found in the Paedagogue, and a few words about the nature of that work will help to situate his comments. It is perhaps surprising that he nowhere quotes Didache 3.3, since this verse makes precisely the point Clement wishes to make, namely, that foul language leads to sexual activity. We have seen that Clement developed his morality of the tongue in a way he thought would protect Christians both from passions and from the charge of naïveté. We can see how different Clement?s concerns are from those of the text he so admired, the Epistle to the Ephesians.

Keywords: Christians; Clement of Alexandria; Didache; Epistle to the Ephesians; foul language; Paedagogue



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