Clement of Alexandria, The Rich Man's Salvation

LCL 92: 265

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The Rich Man’s Salvation

The Rich Man’s Salvation

Introduction

The Rich Man’s Salvation, or, to give the work its literal title, “Who is the rich man that is being saved?” is the only complete example left us of Clement’s popular teaching. Although composed in the form of a sermon, it would seem too long to have been delivered orally on any single occasion. Possibly it may be the expansion and elaboration of an actual sermon; but, whether this is so or not, we may be sure that the teaching it contains formed the subject of many a discourse addressed by Clement to the rich Christians of Alexandria. In all probability the Church came into close touch with the cultured and well-to-do classes earlier at Alexandria than elsewhere. Consequently, the problem of reconciling Christianity with the possession of worldly wealth would be likely to have become acute there in the second century. It was not an easy problem to solve. The rich man who was well-disposed towards the new religion had to consider many things which, as Clement in this treatise admits, often drove him to the conclusion that the Church had no place for him. There was

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.clement_alexandria-rich_mans_salvation.1919