In the Paedagogus, the second volume of his three major works, Clement of Alexandria develops a “Christian” ethic and sense of identity, which is dependent on one’s “habits, deeds, and passions.”1 The work itself is directed toward “you who are children” and is intended to instruct Christians in matters of character and behavior.2 Though he is preoccupied with attempting to educate—rather, allowing his understanding of Christ to educate—Christians in regard to appropriate behaviors and values, thereby defining and maintaining a unique sense of Christian identity in late second century Alexandria, he is also at home in a culture of Greek and Jewish philosophy and literature. As an educated, Greek-speaking, Alexandrian Christian, with a significant indebtedness to both Plato and Philo, Clement is an ideal figure to engage with when concerned with questions of identity among early Christians. By applying modern theoretical frameworks and studies on identity, I aim to examine Clement’s ideal and demonstrate how intertwined and permeated it is by that which he seeks to exclude. His aim of trying to regulate behavior in order to maintain a distinct group cohesion is part of what is best understood as the process of identity.
1 Clement, Paedagogus, 1.1.1.
2 Clement, Paedagogus, 1.1.1.