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2015 | 64 | 249-291

Article title

Chleb nieodpowiedni dla chrześcijan: moralne zalecenia Klemensa Aleksandryjskiego w konfrontacji z naukowymi ustaleniami Galena


Title variants

Bread unfit for the Christians: moral recommendations of Clement of Alexandria confronting scholarly doctrines of Galen

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The goal of the present discussion is to determine what kind of bread Clement of Alexandria had in mind, when, in his Paedagogus, castigated some of Alexandria inhabitants for the consumption of a kind produced form excessively purified (by sieving) flour (which due to the process was becoming devoid of any nutritional values), which, as an item of luxury, would ultimately lead its consu­mers to effeminacy. In order to identify the food and link it to the varieties produced in those times, the authors of the study have analyzed select treatises of Galen, who, being a con­temporary of Clemens, is acclaimed to have been the most eminent physician of the period between the IInd and the IIIrd centuries after Christ, and an authority in the area of bread nutritional values. Having outlined the scope of Clement’s activities and knowledge as well as having presented the corpus of data in the line left by Galen, the authors of the present study conclude, that the Christian wrote about a kind of bread baked with a generous amount of leaven (since it was the additive that made the dough rise), and consequently they identify the variety artos zymites. As for the technology of baking, they opine that the bread described by the Christin writer belonged to bread types obtained from kribanon or ipnos. The authors also opine that the crucial piece of information given by Clement allowing to identify the variety is the one concerning flour used for the purpose. They claim that, since it was presented as very well-sieved, contributing to the whiteness of the bread and consequently to its classification as luxurious, the choice is limited to two kinds of the food, namely artos katharos or plytos artos. Out of the two only the latter’s characteristics given by Galen matche Clement’s description of the bread as a foodstuff of low nu­tritional value. Consequently, the authors of the article conclude that it was plytos artos that was the bread variety alluded to in Paedagogus. Moreover, they come to the opinion that the discussion on bread show that Clement’s words included in Paedagogus show consistency with contempo­rary dietetic doctrines. Accordingly, the latter were either not absent from the Christian’s general knowledge or constructed on popular lore he shared.







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Publication order reference


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