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Clement of Alexandria: STROMATA (MISCELLANIES) Complete

Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson.

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Page 119

The ingenuous among the philosophers will then with propriety be taken up in a friendly exposure both of their life and of the discovery of new dogmas, not in the way of our avenging ourselves on our detractors (for that is far from being the case with those who have learned to bless those who curse, even though they needlessly discharge on us words of blasphemy), but with a view to their conversion; if by any means these adepts in wisdom may feel ashamed, being brought to their senses by barbarian demonstration; so as to be able, although late, to see clearly of what sort are the intellectual acquisitions for which they make pilgrimages over the seas. Those they have stolen are to be pointed out, that we may thereby pull down their conceit; and of those on the discovery of which through investigation they plume themselves, the refutation will be furnished. By consequence, also we must treat of what is called the curriculum of study--how far it is serviceable; [2156] and of astrology, and mathematics, and magic, and sorcery. For all the Greeks boast of these as the highest sciences. "He who reproves boldly is a peacemaker." [2157] We lave often said already that we have neither practiced nor do we study the expressing ourselves in pure Greek; for this suits those who seduce the multitude from the truth. But true philosophic demonstration will contribute to the profit not of the listeners' tongues, but of their minds. And, in my opinion, he who is solicitous about truth ought not to frame his language with artfulness and care, but only to try to express his meaning as he best can. For those who are particular about words, and devote their time to them, miss the things. [2158] It is a feat fit for the gardener to pluck without injury the rose that is growing among the thorns; and for the craftsman to find out the pearl buried in the oyster's flesh. And they say that fowls have flesh of the most agreeable quality, when, through not being supplied with abundance of food, they pick their sustenance with difficulty, scraping with their feet. If any one, then, speculating on what is similar, wants to arrive [2159] at the truth [that is] in the numerous Greek plausibilities, like the real face beneath masks, he will hunt it out with much pains. For the power that appeared in the vision to Hermas said, "Whatever may be revealed to you, shall be revealed." [2160]

[2156] The text reads achrestos: Sylburg prefers the reading euchrestos.

[2157] Prov. x. 10, Septuagint.

[2158] [diadidraskei ta pragmata. A truly Platonic thrust at sophistical rhetoricians.]

[2159] deileluthenai, suggested by Sylb. As more suitable than the dialelethenai of the text.

[2160] Hermas--close of third vision, [cap. 13.]

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/fathers/clement-alexandria/stromata.asp?pg=119