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Conclusion

The “Great Church” and the Many Schools of Alexandria

from Part II - Early Christian Teachers and Movements in Alexandria

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 December 2023

M. David Litwa
Affiliation:
Boston College, Massachusetts
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Summary

The conclusion tackles two lingering problems in Alexandrian church history: the meaning of the “great church” of Alexandria and the “catechetical school.” Despite Celsus’s use of the “great church,” no Christian group in Alexandria could convincingly claim numerical superiority in the second century. The use of numbers or quantitative contrasts were largely rhetorical, not demographical statements. Origen indicates that a number of alternative Christian groups flourished in his youth, and some of these groups could be represented by the Second Discourse of Great Seth and the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter. 2 Clement, if taken to be Alexandrian, does not indicate that incipient catholics had the upper hand. The catechetical school run by Origen in the early third century did not have a clear institutional antecedent. Throughout the second century, there were multiple, mostly informal, Christian schools run by a variety of Christian teachers (e.g., Basilides, Carpocrates, Pantaenus) offering higher theological instruction.

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Early Christianity in Alexandria
From its Beginnings to the Late Second Century
, pp. 168 - 180
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Conclusion
  • M. David Litwa, Boston College, Massachusetts
  • Book: Early Christianity in Alexandria
  • Online publication: 14 December 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009449571.014
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  • Conclusion
  • M. David Litwa, Boston College, Massachusetts
  • Book: Early Christianity in Alexandria
  • Online publication: 14 December 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009449571.014
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • M. David Litwa, Boston College, Massachusetts
  • Book: Early Christianity in Alexandria
  • Online publication: 14 December 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009449571.014
Available formats
×