Second-century Christian author. The scanty knowledge about Pantaenus comes primarily from eusebius, who stated (Hist. Eccl. 5.10) that he had been trained in the Stoic philosophy and was head of a private school of philosophy at Alexandria about 180. Previously, although Eusebius reported this only as tradition, he had been a zealous missionary and had reached India (i.e., probably South Arabia), where he had found Christians who knew the Gospel of St. Matthew in Hebrew (Aramaic) which they had received from St. bartholomew. He was still alive in 194 (Eusebius, Chron. 2210) and died probably in that decade, being succeeded by clement of alexandria.
In the Hypotyposes, Clement mentioned Pantaenus as his teacher and quoted "his opinions and traditions" (Hist. Eccl. 6.13). Eusebius thought that he also alluded to him in the Stromateis (1.11.2; particularly quoted Hist. Eccl. 5.11); where after mentioning certain unnamed teachers Clement concluded: "I found rest when I came upon the last (he was the first in power), after tracking him to where he was in Egypt. He the true Sicilian bee, gathering the flowers of the prophetic and apostolic meadow, engendered in the soul of his hearers an unfading element of knowledge."
Possibly Pantaenus came originally from Sicily. He seems to have promoted liberal studies, for origen (Hist. Eccl. 6.14) defended his own study of philosophy by reference to his example. He also wrote scriptural commentaries that were extant in jerome's time (De vir. ill. 36), but nothing has survived. His importance lies in his contribution to the scholarly tradition of Alexandrian Christianity.
Feast: July 7 (Roman martyrology), June 22 (Coptic Church).
Bibliography: j. quasten, Patrology 2:4–5. j. munck, Untersuchungen über Klemens von Alexandria (Stuttgart 1933) 151–204. g. bardy, Recherches de science religeuse 27 (1937) 65–90, school. m. hornschuh, Zeitschrift Kirchengeschichte 71 (1960) 1–5, 19–25. h. i. marrou, ed. and tr., À Diognète (Sources Chrétiennes 33; 1951) 266–268.