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Chapter 7 - Musical Imagery in Clement of Alexandria and Origen

The Greek Musical World Revised and Accepted

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 November 2020

Francesco Pelosi
Affiliation:
Università degli Studi, Pisa
Federico M. Petrucci
Affiliation:
Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy
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Summary

In the Christian literature of the first centuries, notions such as those of harmonia, symphōnia and epōidē – just to mention a few – as well as many musical instruments and musical myths borrowed from pagan culture, appear, in an adequately reinterpreted form, in the description and explanation of fundamental aspects of Christian doctrine. The chapter examines some musical concepts and images in Clement of Alexandria’s and Origen’s works, with a specific focus on the Greek musical culture that lies in the background of this rich musical imagery. By analysing Clement’s and Origen’s strategy of reinterpretation and appropriation of fundamental figures and notions drawn from the Greek musical world – such as the figure of Orpheus and the notion of symphōnia – the chapter shows that the use of music stands out as a momentous feature in the apologetic and exegetical activities of these Christian writers, touching upon some crucial issues, such as the Christian attitude to pagan culture and the relationship between Christianity and philosophy.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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