Meaningful Cosmos: Logos and Nature in Clement the Alexandrian’s Exhortation to the Gentiles

Doru Costache, ThD
Senior Lecturer
St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College

Abstract: The paper begins by emphasising the contemporary understanding of the universe as an encoded message that does not require either an Encoder or a meaning, to which the author opposes the richer Clementine appraisal of the cosmos as theologically meaningful and existentially enriching. Furthermore, together with addressing the current lack of interest in Clement’s Exhortation to the Gentiles, the essay points out the relevance of this small treatise for the category of the cosmos as another scripture. This category is of particular interest since it allows for the construal of the universe as meaningful, which Clement actually accomplished in this treatise. The content of the Exhortation, and primarily its prologue, is studied herein from a revelational perspective (the cosmos as a meaningful song) and a soteriological perspective (the cosmos as a salvific song). The paper stresses out the centrality of Christ the Logos to the Clementine construct, and the repercussions of this core conviction for the representation of the rapports engaging the cosmos, the Old Testament and the gospel; it is precisely these complex rapports that contributed to the depiction of the world as meaningful. The paper ends by highlighting the significance of Clement’s worldview as an alternative to the pervasive nihilism of contemporary culture.