chapter  5
Pages 22

As the imminence of the Second Coming, together with the ‘end of the present world’, receded into the unforeseeable future, Christian communities were left with an ever-greater need for detailed exposition of moral and ethical conduct that would suit their members in daily life. No writer gave this problem more painstaking attention than Clement of Alexandria. Among his surviving works there is a large treatise called Paidagogos, which may be seen as the first book of etiquette written for Christians. This book, as well as the rest of his extant works, are testimony to their author’s deep commitment to the education of Christians. This, he thought, should commence with mastering the very basic skills, like how to wash behind the ears; then proceed to proper training in understanding of Scripture, and finally should even extend to the study of philosophy. Eager to take on the task of the educator, Clement comments extensively on all aspects of Christian conduct in his surviving works, which pay special attention to food, drink, and table manners; alongside these he gives instructions concerning exercise, bathing, clothing and marital intercourse.