Medicinal Baptism: Discipline and Punish(ment) & Care of the (Christian) Self in Clement of Alexandria’s Paedagogus
Schmidt, Charles Joseph
Winner of the Friends of Fondren Library Graduate Research Awards, 2016. This paper was originally prepared for Rice Course ANTH 615, Theories of Modernity and Postmodernity given by Professor James Faubion, Department of History in Spring 2015.
The following essay was submitted in partial completion of ANTH 615: Theories of Modernity and Postmodernity, taught by Dr. James Faubion in Spring 2015. I argue that Clement of Alexandria’s use of medical metaphors in his description of baptism and salvation maps perfectly onto the tripartite conception of Greco-Roman therapeutics. Furthermore, I contend that his moral and ethical prescriptions in books two and three of the Paedagogus encompass the third aspect of this therapeutic method (dietetics), thus prescribing the means by which baptized (i.e., saved) Christians can maintain their “health,” both spiritually and bodily. I bring the work of Michel Foucault into my conversation of books two and three in order to help elucidate the prescribed discipline and care of the newly minted Christian self.