Clement of Alexandria and PRWTOTOKOS (fwd)

From: Juan Stam B (
Date: Tue Feb 25 1997 - 00:02:35 EST

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 18:43:30 -0600 (CST)
From: Juan Stam B <>
Subject: Clement of Alexandria and PRWTOTOKOS

From: Juan Stam
Subject: Clem Alex and PRWTOTOKOS

I have a few questions about some recent posting on Clem of Alex's
Christology. (1) There are problems in arguing from an outdated work by a
little known author; a tremendous lot has been done in Patristics since
1914! (2) It seems precarious to argue from a secondary source with an
isolated passage disconnected from the context of Clement's argument
(apparently of parallels between Plato and Christianity). We would have
to see the whole passage to decide how Clement uses this terminology, and
however that might be it would have limited relevance to the meaning of
Col. 1.15 some 100 to 150 years earlier. (3) Clement's use of PRWTOTOKOS
in this passage must be understood in the context of his over-all Logos/
incarnation theology (see J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine, 153f;
Quasten p335 in Spanish; Altaner 169-75 in German; sorry I don't have
these in English), his affirmation that "der Logos anfanglos wie Gott sei"
(RGG 1:1766), and his trinitarian theology (Quasten; Justo Gonzalez 1:220,
Spanish). G.L. Prestige (God in Patristic Thought, p12) says Clem.Alex
was the first to use the term "Holy Trinity", in the very same passage
under discussion (Strom. 5.14).

BTW, I couldn't find the term "first-created" in my copy of Thayer (p555).
Prior to the phrase aptly quoted by Ronald Wong, Thayer says the Son "came
into being through God prior to the entire universe of created things"
(which Thayer proceeds to relate to Origen's concept of eternal generation
of the Son). For PRWTOTOKOS here Lauw-Nida give "existing prior to
something else" and/or "superior in status" (10.43; 13.79; 87.47).

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