|Joona Salminen, Doctoral student
Deification and Daily Life
Deification is one of the most important topics in early Christian thinking. The concept itself contains various nuances and the use of it in different historical contexts requires careful scholarly attention. The aim of my study “Deification and Daily Life: Clement of Alexandria and the Philosophical Roots of Christian Asceticism” is to give perspective to the discourse used to describe a way of life regarded as a philosophically justified Christian practice. Many early Christian authors described their recommended way of life in terms of ‘deification’ and considered the goal of Christian life to transform believers into the likeness of God. However, the theme of deification did not appear as an independent theological topic until the 6th century and afterwards it made its way to become one of the most distinguished differences between Eastern and Western theological thinking.
I my study will examine the philosophical roots of Christian asceticism by analyzing how 2nd and 3rd century Christian writers adopted both intellectual and practical popular philosophical teachings. By taking Paedagogus of Clement of Alexandria as a central source I want to show an early Christian theory of both deification and asceticism. Clement’s work seems to contain all the most important themes that emerged in later ascetic literature but the interesting thing is that Clement takes it for granted that Christian perfection can be achieved by leading a good city life.