Worldview and Melodic Imagery in the Alexandrian Tradition and Certain Patristic Antecedents

  1. Lemma
  2. Worldview and Melodic Imagery in the Alexandrian Tradition and Certain Patristic Antecedents
  3. English
  4. Tampakis, Kostas
  5. Patristic studies
  6. 2015
  7. Worldview and Melodic Imagery in the Alexandrian Tradition and Certain Patristic Antecedents
  8. Alexandrian Legacy: A Critical Appraisal
  9. Clement of Alexandria - Saint Athanasius of Alexandria - Universe as a scripture - Exhortation to the Gentiles - Against the Gentiles
    1. This chapter is a revised version of the earlier 2014 article, titled “Worldview and Melodic Imagery in Clement the Alexandrian, Saint Athanasius, and their Antecedents in Saints Ignatius and Irenaeus" and published in Phronema 29 (1). This paper focuses on the particularities of the Christian worldview in the thought of Clement and St Athanasius, together with their antecedents in St Ignatius, St Irenaeus and others, whose relation has so far been neglected by contemporary scholarship. The two Alexandrians exhibited a kindred perception of the universe as functionally structured, ordered and theologically meaningful. They saw the universe as pointing to the permeating providence of the Logos, taken as a fine-tuning, ecosystemic and harmonising activity. They also shared an interest in melodic imagery, exhibited in analogies and metaphors which they employed for the articulation of the Christian worldview. In both cases, this approach resulted in complexly poetical narratives of a God that ‘sings’ the creation into being—for the latter to enjoy a harmonious existence and to intone a theological song meant to inspire humankind, or rather the ecclesial choir, to gratefully acknowledge God in hymns and doxologies. These common denominators are prominent in the main works considered by the paper, which are Clement’s Exhortation to the Gentiles and St Athanasius’ Against the Gentiles, which are taken to be intrinsically. Their connection, in turn, confirms the unity of the Alexandrian tradition which they represent. The continuity of these writings is further endorsed by their belonging to the same apologetic genre and the fact that they explore the crossroads of Gospel and culture together with sharing an interest in cosmology. The paper starts by investigating the use of melodic imagery in the articulation of the Christian worldview by certain earlier fathers, mainly St Ignatius of Antioch and St Irenaeus of Lyon. It is argued that their contributions bore certain influence upon Clement and St. Athanasius. The paper then addresses musical imagery, with the purpose of bringing to the fore a feature of the early Christian worldview that usually goes unnoticed within current researches into the cosmos as “another scripture”. With this goal in mind, the paper finally attempts to bridge two scholarly strands, namely the study of the scriptural texture of the cosmos and the early Christian understandings of music, within the framework of the historico-literary method typical for patristic studies and the perspective of theological hermeneutics. The paper ends by noting the new aspects that emerge when these otherwise extensively researched patristic sources are studied in conjunction.