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Clement of Alexandria (~150-~215) was one of the early Fathers of the Catholic Church, one among many Greek luminaries of the early religion. He was born in Athens, and converted to Christianity early in his life. Going on a journey from his native town, he sought instruction from Pantaenus, head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Before settling with his final tutor, he attached himself to various other masters, including two Greeks, a Syrian, an Egyptian, and a converted Palestinian Jew. The man sure got around, where faith was concerned.

The student, as all good ones do, eventually superceded the teacher, and Clement became the leader of the School in 190. His most significant work while there was Hortatory Discourse to the Greeks (Protreptikos pros Ellenas), an appeal for faith written in a lyrical strain. Other works include Outlines (Hypotyposeis), Miscellanies (Stromateis), and The Tutor (Paidagogos). He was well versed in Greek literature and philosophy, using it to his advantage in rhetorical argument. Some criticise his philosophy as tainted with Hellenism, and therefore not wholly orthodox to Catholic teachings.

The liberal atmosphere of Alexandria allowed the rhetorical instruction facility to continue to function, but in 202 increasing persecution forced Clement to leave the area. Sometime between 210 and 215 Clement died, leaving a legacy of philosophical Greek writing and a strong base of Christian faith in his wake.

*Howatson M. C. The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
*The Catholic Encyclopedia - http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/

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