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Original Research

The heads of the Catechetical School in Alexandria

Willem H. Oliver

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 36, No 1 (2015), 14 pages. doi: 10.4102/ve.v36i1.1386

Submitted: 22 September 2014
Published:  29 July 2015


This is the second of two articles, the first article being concerned with general questions regarding the Didaskaleion in Alexandria. The account of the founding of the Didaskaleion in Alexandria is based on information provided by Eusebius of Caesarea (263–339), a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist, in his well-known Historia Ecclesiastica, which he wrote during the first half of the 4th century. The heads of the Didaskaleion are, however, not indicated by Eusebius in an exhaustive order, as he referred to only some of them. The only ancient writer who attempted to assemble a list of heads at the Didaskaleion was Philip Sidetes (ca 380–440), also called Philip of Side (Side being a city in ancient Pamphylia, now Turkey), also a historian, of whom only a few fragments are extant. He provided a list of 13 heads (‘teachers’), ending with Rhodon who allegedly was his teacher. This article will list and discuss all the scholars being referred to as heads of the Didaskaleion during her existence, which could date back to the second half of the 1st century CE and ended somewhere near the end of the 4th century.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Research about Africa done by Africans (inhabitants of Africa) needs to increase, because in many ways Africa is silent or silenced about her past. The fundamental question is: ‘Can anything good come out of Africa?’ My answer is, ‘Yes! Come and see.’ Therefore these two articles attempt to indicate the significance of Africa which was actually the place where Christian Theology was founded. This has intradisciplinary as well as interdisciplinary implications; in this case the investigation is done from a theological perspective.

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Author affiliations

Willem H. Oliver, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, South Africa


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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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