28953 - Ancient Christian Literature (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the ending of the courses, the student will be acquainted of the literary production processes in ancient Christianity between I and VIII centuries, starting from the authors and their writings, in relation with classical literatures and with the 'Fortleben' in Middle Ages and modern times.

Course contents

Christianity and wealth: the Quis diues saluetur? by Clement of Alexandria.

Clement of Alexandria was a refined scholar who lived in the II century; he had a profound knowledge both of Greek literature and of Biblical writings, and can be considered a key figure as regards the making of Christian thought. Among his works there is a little treatise on a topic early Christians were very interested in: how should be a Christian’s attitude toward wealth.

The program of the course will be developed as follows:

1st part (10 hours):

– the Quis diues saluetur? in the context of Clement’s writings;

– the Quis diues saluetur? in the context of early Christian literature on the same topic;

– literary structure, philosophical and theological contents of the Quis diues saluetur? ;

– the critical reception of the Quis diues saluetur? .

2nd part (20 hours):

– reading of the Greek text of the Quis diues saluetur?, translation and commentary.


1) Texts:

– (Greek text of Quis diues saluetur? ): O. STÄHLIN – L. FRÜCHTEL – U. TREU, GCS 17/2, Berlin 19702, pp. 159-191 (the text will be uploaded in the didactic material).

2) Studies:

a) Introduction to Clemente of Alexandria:

– M. SIMONETTI-E. PRINZIVALLI, Letteratura Cristiana Antica, EDB, Bologna 2010, pp. 127-139);

– G. LAZZATI, Introduzione allo studio di Clemente Alessandrino, Milano, Vita e pensiero 1939

b) (Introduction, Italian translation and commentary to Quis diues saluetur? )

– M. TODDE – A. PIERI (ed.), Retto uso delle ricchezze nella tradizione patristica, Torino, Ed. Paoline 1985, pp. 63-132;

– C. NARDI (ed.), Clemente di Alessandria, Quale ricco si salva? Il cristiano e l’economia, Roma, Borla 1991;

– M.G. BIANCO (ed.), Clemente Alessandrino, Quale ricco si salverà?, Roma, Città Nuova 1999;

– S. CIVES (ed.), Clemente Alessandrino, Il ricco e la salvezza (Quis dives salvetur?), Cinisello Balsamo, San Paolo 2003 (parallel text edition);

– G.W. BUTTERWORTH (ed.), Clement of Alexandria, Cambridge MA - London, Heinemann 1960 (Loeb Classical Library), pp. 270-367 (parallel text edition [Greek-English]).

Teaching methods

Lectures; use of bibliographic and electronic databases.

Assessment methods

a) The students who attend lessons will be able to read and translate the Quis diues saluetur? in the original Greek text (required for students of Classics). With the help of a commentary (see Bibliography, Studies, point [b]), of the Introduzione generale (see Bibliography, Studies, point [a]), they will be able to comment the text of the Quis diues saluetur? from an historical, philosophical, and theological point of view.

b) The students who cannot attend lessons will study the same program as the students who attend lessons; they will substitute lesson notes with two essays by choice from the following (which will be uploaded in the didactic material):

  • V. ČERNUŠKOVÁ, Four Desires: Clement of Alexandria and the Sermon on the Mount, in: V. ČERNUŠKOVÁ – J.L. KOVACS – J.PLÁTOVÁ (a c. di), Clement’s Biblical Exegesis, Leiden, Brill 2014, pp. 217-258;
  • S.R.C. LILLA, Clement of Alexandria, Oxford, Oxford University Press 1971, pp. 60-117;
  • M.G. MARA (a c. di), Ricchezza e povertà nel cristianesimo primitivo, Roma, Città Nuova 1980, pp. 11-94;
  • M. RIZZI, Riflessione teologica e pragmatiche sociali in Clemente Alessandrino: introduzione, in: “Adamantius” 9 (2003) 8-9;
  • M. RIZZI, Il martirio come pragmatica sociale in Clemente Alessandrino, in: “Adamantius” 9 (2003) 60-66.

Teaching tools

Projector; PC.

Office hours

See the website of Antonio Cacciari