), the favorite preceptor of Clemens Alexandrinus. Of what country he was originally, is uncertain. Cave endeavors to reconcile the various accounts by conjecturing that he was of Sicilian parentage, but that he was born in Alexandria.
In this city he was undoubtedly educated, and embraced the principles of the stoical school of philosophy. We do not find it mentioned who the parties were that instructed him in the truths of Christianity, but we learn from Photius (Phot. Bibl. 118
) that he was taught by those who had seen the Apostles, though his statement that he had heard some of the Apostles themselves justly appears to Cava, chronologically impossible. About A. D. 181, he had acquired such eminence that he was appointed master of the catechetical school in Alexandria, an office which he discharged with great reputation for nine or ten years.
At this time the learning and piety of Pantaenus suggested him as a proper person to conduct a missionary enterprise to India. Of his success there we know nothing.
But we have a singular story regarding it told by St. Jerome.
It is said that he found in India a copy of St. Matthew's Gospel, written in Hebrew, which had been left by St. Bartholomew, and that he brought it back with him to Alexandria.
He probably resumed his place in the catechetical school, which had been filled during his absence by his pupil and friend Clemens.
The persecution under Severus, A. D. 202, drove both Pantaenus and Clemens into Palestine; but that he resumed his labours before his death appears from an expression of Eusebius (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 5.10
), τελευτων ἡγεῖται
. We do not know the exact date of his death, but it cannot have been prior to A. D. 211, as he lived to the time of Caracalla. His name has a place in the calendar of the Roman Church, on> the seventh of July.
He was succeeded by Clemens Alexandrinus.
This, with some other points, has been disputed by Dodwell (ad Irenaeum,
p. 501, &c.). who makes Pantaenus to be not the predecessor, but the successor of Clemens.
He was a man of much eloquence, if we may trust the opinion of Clemens, who calls him a Sicilian bee.
Both Eusebius and Jerome speak of his writings, the latter mentioning his Commentaries on the Scriptures, but we have not even a fragment of them. Cave states that he is numbered by Anastasius of Sinai amongst the commentators who referred the six days' work of the Creation to Christ and the Church. (Fabric. Bill. Graec.
vol. iii. p. 569; Cave, Apostolici,
p. 127, &c., Hlst. Lit.
vol. i. p. 81, &c.; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 5.10