Thursday, 2 April 2015

Veronika Černušková: Eclogae 9-11 on the value of suffering

Two explanations of the value of suffering are most often presented by Clement. First: affliction, disease and other physical suffering may be either a divine admonition or chastisement, not in the sense of a revenge, but as a form of divine forgiveness and healing. Second: innocent prosecuted Christians' martyrdom is extolled by Clement as a testimony of the love to God. Only minor hints indicate that Clement is also aware of other than heroic and purifying aspects of suffering.
In Ecl. 9, the threefold reason of a believer's physical disease is introduced. First: the above-mentioned God's admonishing for a sin, second: an (unspecified) kind of God's protection against sin that may be committed in the future, and third possible reason of suffering is - according to Ecl. 9 - that "God does not prevent an attack caused by (devil's?) operation, in order to let even a suffering person profit from the situation, and for the sake of example given to his neighbours." The question reamains, which a profit might result from devil's attack.
In my paper, I would like to state a question, whether Eclogae include any esoteric Christian teaching about the value of suffering, which cannot be found in Clement's well-known trilogy, or outlines of parallel formulations can be discovered in Stromateis and other Clement's works.

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