the second century.62 But it is only from the time of Demetrius on that one can speak of an official Christian school at Alexandria under episcopal control. Thereafter, some school heads, such as Heraclas and Dionysius, became bishops, but eventually, from the time of bishop Theophilus on (385-412), the school ceased to exist.
Other scholars,63 while agreeing that Eusebius must be read critically, nevertheless argue that his claims should not be completely dismissed. In this view, based on a close reading of Clement, 'teaching and scholarship within the penumbra of the church was a long-established activity in Alexandria well before Origen.'64 As for Clement, who was both a teacher and a presbyter, 'a contrast between church and school is nonexistent. His instruction moved the faithful through baptism and then toward wisdom and knowledge within the context of the church.'65
In fact, the full story is told neither by Eusebius nor by Clement. There were clearly other Christian teachers in Alexandria in Clement's time and there were prominent Christian teachers in Alexandria long before him of a type similar to the private teachers who represented the various philosophical traditions current in the Graeco-Roman world. Clement can be seen in a special light as one who put his instruction at the service of the Christian communities who for him constituted 'the church', in which he assumed an important leadership role. Indeed, it may be that Clement's role as a part of the Alexandrian presbytery involved a power struggle in the church that led to his departure from the city.66 But the 'Catechetical School' of Alexandrian Christian tradition probably came into being only in the early third century as a result of the growing authority of bishop Demetrius.
Two of the school's teachers stand out in terms of their contributions to the development of Alexandrian theology, Clement and Origen. Titus Flavius Clemens, whose life is poorly documented, was probably born a pagan in Athens sometime between 140 and 150. He studied philosophy in Greece, Magna Graecia, Syria and Palestine before settling in Alexandria (Str. 1.11.2). The place and time of his conversion is unknown. He left Alexandria for Palestine around 202, and died there around 216. His writings reflect the strong influence of Platonism and especially of the philosophy and scriptural
62 On the Alexandrian scriptorium see Zuntz, Text of the epistles, 271-3.
63 See esp. Méhat, Etude, 62-70; van den Hoek, '"Catechetical" school'.
64 Van den Hoek, '"Catechetical" school', 76.
65 Van den Hoek, '"Catechetical" school', 71. That Clement was a presbyter is indicated in a letter by Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, quoted by Eusebius, HE 6.11.6. See van den Hoek, '"Catechetical" school', 77; Nautin, Lettres, 114-18.
66 Nautin, Lettres, 18,140.
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