Original Research - Special Collection: James Alfred Loader Dedication

‘No small counsel about self-control’: Enkrateia and the virtuous body as missional performance in 2 Clement

Chris L. de Wet
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a1340 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.1340 | © 2013 Chris L. de Wet | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 October 2012 | Published: 13 May 2013

About the author(s)

Chris L. de Wet, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


The question this article addresses is how the encratic, virtuous body in 2 Clement ‘speaks itself’ as a missional performance. It is in essence concerned with the discourses of corporeal virtuosity in 2 Clement. Firstly, the agon motif (2 Clem 7:1−6; 20:1−4) is discussed since it forms the basis metaphor for the understanding of ancient virtue-formation. Secondly, 2 Clement’s encratic technologies of soul and flesh as an extension and overamplification, respectively, of the body are examined (2 Clem 9:1−11). In the third instance, the proliferation of visible technologies of the body in 2 Clement are brought into perspective with special emphasis on these technologies as strategies of andromorphism, a crucial element in the understanding of virtue in antiquity (2 Clem 12:1−6). Fourthly, 2 Clement also links concepts of holiness and the pneumatic dimension of spirituality in its argumentation (2 Clem 14:1−5). This needs to be understood in the light of corporeal virtuosity. Finally, the concepts of suffering (2 Clem 19:3−4), martyrdom (2 Clem 5:1−7) and the apocalyptic anti-spectacle (2 Clem 17:1−7) are central in 2 Clement’s formulations of the missional performance and are therefore clarified. The intersection of these discourses is where the virtuous body in 2 Clement speaks itself as a missional performance. The study concludes by looking at the implications of the findings for understanding early Christian missionality.


Second Clement; encratism; enkrateia; virtue; corporeality; missionality; apostolic fathers


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