Clement of Alexandria

About valid Tradition

Scriptural Tradition Latent Tradition Dynamic Tradition Informed Tradition Valid Tradition

Clement of Alexandria

150 - 215 AD

Translation from the Ante-Nicene Fathers. For a complete electronic copy, visit the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, the New Advent Library. Italics in the text by John Wijngaards.

The Apostles had women as partners in the ministry

Stromata Book 3, chap. 6, 53. “Peter and Philip had children, and Philip married his daughters off to men. And Paul is not afraid in one of his letters to call a woman his ‘wife’ whom he did not take with him on his journeys, because she was not of use to his great ministry. Does he not say in the same letter: ‘Don't we have the power to take with us a sister wife, as the other apostles do?’ For these apostles, giving themselves without respite to the work of evangelism as befitted their ministry, took with them women, not as wives but as sisters, to share in their ministry to women living at home: by their agency the teaching of the Lord reached the women’s quarters without arousing suspicion’.

Petrus enim et Philippus filios procrearunt: Philippus autem filias quoque suas viris locavit. Et Paulus quidem certe non veretur in quadam epistola suam appellare "conjugem," quam non circumferebat, quod non magno ei esset opus ministerio. Dicit itaque in quadam epistola: "Non habemus potestatem sororem uxorem circumducendi, sicut et reliqui apostoli? ". Sed hi quidem, ut erat consentaneum, ministerio, quod divelli non poterat, praedicationi scilicet, attendentes, non ut uxores , sed ut sorores circumducebant mulieres, quae una ministraturae essent apud mulieres quae domos custodiebant: per quas etiam in gynaeceum, absque ulla reprehensione malave suspicione, ingredi posset doctrina Domini. Scimus enim quaecunque de feminis diaconis in altera ad Timotheum praestantissimus docet Paulus.

There is an unwritten tradition written in people's hearts

Stromata Book 6, chap. 15, 131, 4-5. “By the Saviour’s teaching, given to the apostles, the unwritten tradition of written tradition [i.e., a commentary on Scripture] has been handed down to us, written by the power of God in new hearts, which correspond to the newness of the book of Isaiah.”

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:5

‘Have we not the right to take a woman around with us as a sister, like all the other apostles?’

Stromata Book 3, chap.6, 54, 3-4 “But the latter [the apostles], in accordance with their ministry [διακονια], devoted themselves to preaching without any distraction, and took women with them, not as wives, but as sisters, that they might be their co-ministers [συνδιακονους] in dealing with women in their homes. It was through them that the Lord’s teaching penetrated also the women’s quarters without any scandal being aroused. We also know the instructions about women deacons [διακονών γυναικών] which are given by the noble Paul in his other letter, the one to Timothy” [1 Timothy 3,11].

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