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Origen on Working Late into the Evening

October 9, 2008

Seminary students often complain about how hard they have work. Many students that I know work two or more jobs while also going to school full-time. Such pressure truly can be difficult, but lest we think that such experience is a new one for students of the Bible, consider this description from Origen about his own work on the Bible with his patron Ambrose:

We are not permitted to dine without discussion, or, having dined, to take a walk so that the flesh may recover.  Even at those times we are required to engage in textual studies and to correct texts.  Nor are we allowed to sleep through the night for the health of the body, since our textual studies continue until late in the evening.  Not to mention that we work until the ninth hour, and sometimes the tenth: for all those who really desire to love work devote those times to the study of Scriptures and to readings.

– Anthony Grafton and Megan Williams, Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: Origen, Eusebius, and the Library of Caesarea (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2006), 79.

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