the favour of his bishop, elementary instruction in the Christian faith. Can we resolve these tensions, and come to some kind ofconsistent picture ofOrigen's teaching activity?
It is important to disabuse ourselves of the inevitable assumptions drawn from analogies with schools as we experience them in modern societies: schools were not institutions. Greek cities didprovide salaries for some teachers to offer public education, but the majority of teachers operated on a freelance basis, gathering groups of students whose size depended on the teacher's popularity. Their classes might be held in the gymnasium or other public locale, or at their own house or some other private place. Depending upon their social status, pupils would either drop out at some stage, or move from the elementary teacher to the grammatikos and then to the rhetor, as and when they were ready to do so. They might then proceed to some philosopher. When one philosophical teacher followed another as his successor, the word 'school' might be used for this continuous succession - the best-known case being the Academy which stemmed from Plato and lasted several centuries. The word 'school' could have a variety of possible connotations.
Eusebius may be using multiple sources to construct his account of Origen's life and teaching activities - it is in any case a rather episodic narration, broken up by the insertion of other material, on account of Eusebius' attempts to order his material chronologically rather than topically. Several different descriptions are apposite to our enquiry. (1) After his father's martyrdom, a rich woman became Origen's patron so that he could pursue his studies, and he rapidly reached the stage where he could earn well as a grammatikos.20 (2) During the persecution, all the Christian catechists had left Alexandria. Various pagans approached Origen for instruction in the Word of God. So at the age of seventeen the bishop, Demetrius, appointed him head of the catechetical school. He came under increasing pressure as soldiers were posted around the house where he was living, because of the large numbers who came to him for elementary instruction in the faith, and he had to keep moving from house to house.21 (3) Responsibility for catechesis was entrusted by Demetrius to Origen alone, and he soon saw pupils coming to him in increasing numbers. He decided that this responsibility was not compatible with being a grammatikos, so he sold his library in order to gain some financial independence, and devoted himself to study of the scriptures. (4) After a trip to Rome, Origen decided that his catechetical work was too distracting from his
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