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Moses, Statesman and Philosopher: The Philosophical Background of the Ideal of Assimilating to God and the Methodology of Clement of Alexandria’s Stromateis 1

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Clement’s so-called ‘eclectic’ style has long been noted by his modern readers, with several suggesting that this approach reflects his idea of Mosaic philosophy as having been scattered among the different philosophical traditions of his period. Here, I wish to argue that in his portrait of Moses in Strom. 1, Clement draws on Platonic and Stoic sources to provide a coherent picture of what it is to assimilate to God as a unification of the civic and contemplative lives. In doing so, Clement exploits actual historical connections between the two schools in using Stoicism as a hermeneutical lens through which to unify Plato’s dialogues, which themselves offer conflicting interpretations of the relationship between the statesman and the philosopher. This study also hopes to illuminate the ways in which conceptualizations of Judaism at times informed and controlled early Christian constructions of their relationship with pagan culture.

Affiliations: 1: Wilfrid Laurier University75 University Ave W., Waterloo, on N2L


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