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The Appropriate, the Necessary, and the Impossible: Faith and Reason in Hebrews

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Chapter Summary

The legacy of patristic theology is the use of Greek philosophy to interpret and defend the Christian credo on rational grounds for the benefit of both the cultured despisers and the faithful. Although Clement played a pivotal role in the appropriation of Greek rationalism, he actually built on the foundation of his predecessors in Alexandria, Aristobulus and Philo. Clement inherited the traditions of his Alexandrian Jewish predecessors. This chapter examines the extent to which this tradition that extends from the background to the foreground of the New Testament (NT) is present in a meaningful way also within the NT. As the Epistle to the Hebrews has numerous linguistic contacts with Philo, it provides a potential link in the Alexandrian tradition that employed philosophy to explain and defend the faith. The chapter focuses on the place of the Epistle to the Hebrews within this Alexandrian tradition that Clement inherited.

Keywords: Alexandrian tradition; Clement; Hebrews; Philo



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