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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Clement of Alexandria : O THE PERFECT CHILD!

from Clement's Instructor (Paedagogus), * 1.5, translated by A. Roberts and J. Donaldson.
Text in <angle brackets> added by Elpenor.

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Again, therefore, He calls them children; for He says, "Children, a little while I am with you." And, again, He likens the kingdom of heaven to children sitting in the market - places and saying, "We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned, and ye have not lamented; " and whatever else He added agreeably thereto. And it is not alone the Gospel that holds these sentiments. Prophecy also agrees with it. David accordingly says, "Praise, O children, the Lord; praise the name of the Lord." It says also by Esaias, "Here am I, and the children that God hath given me." Are you amazed, then, to hear that men who belong to the nations are sons in the Lord's sight? You do not in that case appear to give ear to the Attic dialect, from which you may learn that beautiful, comely, and freeborn young maidens are still called παιδίσκαι, and servant - girls παιδισκάρια; and that those last also are, on account of the bloom of youth, called by the flattering name of young maidens.

Πάλιν οὖν αὐτοὺς παιδία καλεῖ· φησὶ γὰρ παιδία͵ ἔτι μικρὸν μεθ΄ ὑμῶν εἰμι. Αὖθίς τε παιδίοις ὁμοιοῖ τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν ἐν ἀγοραῖς καθημένοις καὶ λέγουσιν· ηὐλήσαμεν ὑμῖν καὶ οὐκ ὠρχήσασθε͵ ἐθρηνήσαμεν καὶ οὐκ ἐκόψασθε͵ καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα τούτοις οἰκείως ἐπήγαγεν. Καὶ οὔτί γε μόνον τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ταύτῃ φρονεῖ͵ ὁμοδοξεῖ δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ ἡ προφητεία. Λέγει γοῦν Δαβὶδ αἰνεῖτε͵ παῖδες͵ κύριον͵ αἰνεῖτε τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου. Λέγει δὲ καὶ διὰ Ἡσαΐου ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ καὶ τὰ παιδία͵ ἅ μοι ἔδωκεν ὁ θεός. Θαυμάζεις ἀκούειν τοὺς ἄνδρας τοὺς ἐν ἔθνεσι παῖδας παρὰ κυρίῳ; Οὔ μοι δοκεῖς Ἀττικῆς ἐπαΐειν φωνῆς͵ παρ΄ ἧς ἔστιν ἐκμαθεῖν τὰς καλὰς καὶ ὡραίας͵ ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἐλευθέρας νεάνιδας παιδίσκας καλουμένας͵ παιδισκάρια δὲ τὰς δούλας͵ [καὶ] νεάνιδας δὲ καὶ αὐτάς͵ πρὸς τὸ εὐθαλὲς τῆς παιδικῆς ἡλικίας ὑποκοριστικῶς τιμωμένας.

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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