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Eusebius of Caesarea

Eusebius of Caesarea, c. 263–339,[1] called Eusebius Pamphili, became the Bishop of Caesarea[2], in Palestine, about the year 314.[1] He flourished during the time of Constantine the Great and Constantius. His surname Pamphilus came from his relationship with Pamphilus the martyr. Eusebius, historian, exegete and polemicist is one of the more renowned Church Fathers.

He (with Pamphilus) was a most diligent investigator of the Canon. Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, and On Discrepancies between the Gospels were among his scholarly works. As "Father of Church History" he produced Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, Chronicle of Universal History and On the Martyrs.[1][2] (See Jerome and De Viris Illustribus (On Illustrious Men) Chapt. 81 )


Early life

Little is known of his early days. It is estimated that he was born in 265[3]. He became acquainted with the presbyter Dorotheus in Antioch and probably received exegetical instruction from him. In 296 he was in Palestine and saw Constantine who visited the country with Diocletian.

Eusebius was in Caesarea during the time of Bishop Agapius where he was baptized and ordained. He received much of his education from the most learned presbyter Pamphilus. In 307, Pamphilus came to be persecuted for his beliefs by the Romans and died in martyrdom in 310. Eusebius may himself have been imprisoned by the Roman authorities at Caesarea, and he was taunted many years later with having escaped by performing some act of submission. However Eusebius did continue their collaborative work. The resulting defense of Origen, in which they had collaborated, was finished by Eusebius after the death of Pamphilus SEE

Bishop of Caesarea

Eusebius succeeded Agapius, as Bishop of Caesarea soon after 313 and played a prominent role at the Council of Nicaea in 325. Eusebius, a learned man and famous author, enjoyed the favour of the Emperor Constantine. Because of this he was called upon to present the creed of his own church to the 318 attendees." [4] However, the anti-Arian creed from Palestine prevailed becoming the basis for the Nicene Creed.[5]

The theological views of Arius, that taught the subordination of the Son to the Father, continued to be a problem. Eustathius of Antioch strongly opposed the growing influence of Origen's theology as the root of Arianism. Eusebius, an admirer of Origen, was reproached by Eustathius for deviating from the Nicene faith. Eusebius prevailed and Eustathius was deposed at a synod in Antioch.

However, Athanasius of Alexandria became a more powerful opponent and in 334, he was summoned before a synod in Caesarea (which he refused to attend). In the following year, he was again summoned before a synod in Tyre at which Eusebius of Caesarea presided. Athanasius, foreseeing the result, went to Constantinople to bring his cause before the Emperor. Constantine called the bishops to his court, among them Eusebius. Athanasius was condemned and exiled at the end of 335. Eusebius remained in the Emperor’s favour throughout this time and more than once was exonerated with the explicit approval of the Emperor Constantine. After the Emperor’s death (c.337), Eusebius wrote the Life of Constantine, an important historical work because of eye witness accounts and the use of primary sources. Eusebius died c.339.[6]


Of the extensive literary activity of Eusebius, a relatively large portion has been preserved. Although posterity suspected him of Arianism, Eusebius had made himself indispensable by his method of authorship; his comprehensive and careful excerpts from original sources saved his successors the painstaking labor of original research. Hence, much has been preserved, quoted by Eusebius, which otherwise would have been destroyed.

The literary productions of Eusebius reflect on the whole the course of his life. At first, he occupied himself with works on Biblical criticism under the influence of Pamphilus and probably of Dorotheus of Tyre of the School of Antioch. Afterward, the persecutions under Diocletian and Galerius directed his attention to the martyrs of his own time and the past, and this led him to the history of the whole Church and finally to the history of the world, which, to him, was only a preparation for ecclesiastical history.

Then followed the time of the Arian controversies, and dogmatic questions came into the foreground. Christianity at last found recognition by the State; and this brought new problems—apologies of a different sort had to be prepared. Lastly, Eusebius wrote eulogies in praise of Constantine. To all this activity must be added numerous writings of a miscellaneous nature, addresses, letters, and the like, and exegetical works that extended over the whole of his life and that include both commentaries and treatises on Biblical archaeology.


Biblical text criticism

Pamphilus and Eusebius occupied themselves with the textual criticism of the Septuagint text of the Old Testament and especially of the New Testament. An edition of the Septuagint seems to have been already prepared by Origen, which, according to Jerome, was revised and circulated by Eusebius and Pamphilus. For an easier survey of the material of the four Evangelists, Eusebius divided his edition of the New Testament into paragraphs and provided it with a synoptical table so that it might be easier to find the pericopes that belong together. These canon tables or "Eusebian canons" remained in use throughout the Middle Ages, and illuminated manuscript versions are important for the study of early medieval art. Eusebius explained detailed in Epistula ad Carpianum how to use his canons.


The two greatest historical works of Eusebius are his Chronicle and his Church History. The former (Greek Παντοδαπὴ Ἱστορία (Pantodape historia), "Universal History") is divided into two parts. The first part (Χρονογραφία (Chronographia), "Annals") gives an epitome of universal history from the sources, arranged according to nations. The second part (Χρονικοὶ Κανόνες (Chronikoi kanones), "Chronological Canons") furnishes a synchronism of the historical material in parallel columns, the equivalent of a parallel timeline.

The work as a whole has been lost in the original, but it may be reconstructed from later chronographists of the Byzantine school who made excerpts from the work with untiring diligence, especially George Syncellus. The tables of the second part have been completely preserved in a Latin translation by Jerome, and both parts are still extant in an Armenian translation. The loss of the Greek originals has given an Armenian translation a special importance; thus, the first part of Eusebius's "Chronicle", of which only a few fragments exist in the Greek, has been preserved entirely in Armenian. The "Chronicle" as preserved extends to the year 325. It was written before the "Church History."

Church History

In his Church History or Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius wrote what was in fact the second attempted history (the doctor Luke who wrote the Gospel and Acts is first) of the Christian Church, as a chronologically-ordered account, based on earlier sources, and complete from the period of the Apostles to his own epoch. He also wrote that Matthew composed the Gospel according to the Hebrews. The time scheme correlated the history with the reigns of the Roman Emperors, and the scope was broad. Included were the bishops and other teachers of the Church; Christian relations with the Jews and those deemed heretical; and the Christian martyrs.

Life of Constantine

Eusebius' Life of Constantine (Vita Constantini)[7]. is a eulogy or panegyric, and therefore its style and selection of facts are affected by its purpose, rendering it inadequate as a continuation of the Church History. As the historian Socrates Scholasticus said, at the opening of his history that was designed as a continuation of Eusebius, "Also in writing the life of Constantine, this same author has but slightly treated of matters regarding Arius, being more intent on the rhetorical finish of his composition and the praises of the emperor, than on an accurate statement of facts." The work was unfinished at Eusebius' death.

Minor historical works

Before he compiled his church history, Eusebius edited a collection of martyrdoms of the earlier period and a biography of Pamphilus. The martyrology has not survived as a whole, but it has been preserved almost completely in parts. It contained:

  1. an epistle of the congregation of Smyrna concerning the martyrdom of Polycarp;
  2. the martyrdom of Pionius;
  3. the martyrdoms of Carpus, Papylus, and Agathonike;
  4. the martyrdoms in the congregations of Vienne and Lyon;
  5. the martyrdom of Apollonius.

Of the life of Pamphilus, only a fragment survives. A work on the martyrs of Palestine in the time of Diocletian was composed after 311; numerous fragments are scattered in legendaries which have yet to be collected. The life of Constantine was compiled after the death of the emperor and the election of his sons as Augusti (337). It is more a rhetorical eulogy on the emperor than a history but is of great value on account of numerous documents incorporated in it.

Apologetic and dogmatic works

To the class of apologetic and dogmatic works belong:

  1. the Apology for Origen, the first five books of which, according to the definite statement of Photius, were written by Pamphilus in prison, with the assistance of Eusebius. Eusebius added the sixth book after the death of Pamphilus. We possess only a Latin translation of the first book, made by Rufinus;
  2. a treatise against Hierocles (a Roman governor and Neoplatonic philosopher), in which Eusebius combated the former's glorification of Apollonius of Tyana in a work entitled "A Truth-loving Discourse" (Greek, Philalethes logos);
  3. Praeparatio evangelica ('Preparation for the Gospel'), commonly known by its Latin title, which attempts to prove the excellence of Christianity over every pagan religion and philosophy. The Praeparatio consists of fifteen books which have been completely preserved. Eusebius considered it an introduction to Christianity for pagans. But its value for many later readers is more because Eusebius studded this work with so many fascinating and lively fragments from historians and philosophers which are nowhere else preserved. Here alone is preserved a summary of the writings of the Phoenician priest Sanchuniathon of which the accuracy has been shown by the mythological accounts found on the Ugaritic tables, here alone is the account from Diodorus Siculus's sixth book of Euhemerus' wondrous voyage to the island of Panchaea where Euhemerus purports to have found his true history of the gods, and here almost alone is preserved writings of the neo-Platonist philosopher Atticus along with so much else.
  4. Demonstratio evangelica ('Proof of the Gospel') is closely connected to the Praeparatio and comprised originally twenty books of which ten have been completely preserved as well as a fragment of the fifteenth. Here Eusebius treats of the person of Jesus Christ. The work was probably finished before 311;
  5. another work which originated in the time of the persecution, entitled "Prophetic Extracts" (Eklogai prophetikai). It discusses in four books the Messianic texts of Scripture. The work is merely the surviving portion (books 6–9) of the General elementary introduction to the Christian faith, now lost.
  6. the treatise "On Divine Manifestation" (Peri theophaneias), of unknown date. It treats of the incarnation of the Divine Logos, and its contents are in many cases identical with the Demonstratio evangelica. Only fragments are preserved in Greek, but a complete Syriac translation of the Theophania survives in an early 5th century manuscript. Samuel Lee, the editor (1842) and translator (1843) of the Syriac Theophania thought that the work must have been written "after the general peace restored to the Church by Constantine, and before either the 'Praeparatio,' or the 'Demonstratio Evengelica,' was written . . . it appears probable . . . therefore, that this was one of the first productions of Eusebius, if not the first after the persecutions ceased."[8] Hugo Gessmann, noting in 1904 that the Demonstratio seems to be mentioned at IV. 37 and V. 1, and that II. 14 seems to mention the extant practice of temple prostitution at Hieropolis in Phoenica, concluded that the Theophania was probably written shortly after 324. Others have suggested a date as late as 337.[9]
  7. A polemical treatise against Marcellus of Ancyra, the "Against Marcellus," dating from about 337;
  8. a supplement to the last-named work, also against Marcellus, entitled "The Ecclesiastical Theology," in which he defended the Nicene doctrine of the Logos against the party of Athanasius.

A number of writings, belonging in this category, have been entirely lost.

Exegetical and miscellaneous works

All of the exegetical works of Eusebius have suffered damage in transmission. The majority of them are known to us only from long portions quoted in Byzantine catena-commentaries. However these portions are very extensive. Extant are:

  1. An enormous Commentary on the Psalms.
  2. A commentary on Isaiah, discovered more or less complete in a manuscript in Florence early in the 20th century and published 50 years later.
  3. Small fragments of commentaries on Romans and 1 Corinthians.

Eusebius also wrote a work Quaestiones ad Stephanum et Marinum, "On the Differences of the Gospels" (including solutions). This was written for the purpose of harmonizing the contradictions in the reports of the different Evangelists. The work existed in the 16th century, but has since been lost. However a long epitome was discovered in the 19th century, and there are also long quotations in the Catena on Luke of Nicetas[10]. The original work was also translated into Syriac, and lengthy quotations exist in a catena in that language, and also in Coptic and Arabic catenas[11].

Eusebius also wrote treatises on Biblical archaeology:

  1. A work on the Greek equivalents of Hebrew Gentilic nouns;
  2. A description of old Judea with an account of the loss of the ten tribes;
  3. A plan of Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon.

These three treatises have been lost.

A work known as the Onomasticon, entitled in the main Greek manuscript "Concerning the Place-names in Sacred Scripture",[12] is still in existence. This is an alphabetical dictionary of Biblical place names, often including identifications with places existing in Eusebius' own time.

The addresses and sermons of Eusebius are mostly lost, but some have been preserved, e.g., a sermon on the consecration of the church in Tyre and an address on the thirtieth anniversary of the reign of Constantine (336).

Most of Eusebius' letters are lost. His letters to Carpianus and Flacillus exist complete. Fragments of a letter to the empress Constantia also exists.

Estimate of Eusebius


From a dogmatic point of view, Eusebius stands entirely upon the shoulders of Origen. Like Origen, he started from the fundamental thought of the absolute sovereignty (monarchia) of God. God is the cause of all beings. But he is not merely a cause; in him everything good is included, from him all life originates, and he is the source of all virtue. God sent Christ into the world that it may partake of the blessings included in the essence of God. Christ is God and is a ray of the eternal light; but the figure of the ray is so limited by Eusebius that he expressly distinguishes the Son as distinct from Father as a ray is also distinct from its source the sun.

Eusebius was intent upon emphasizing the difference of the persons of the Trinity and maintaining the subordination of the Son (Logos, or Word) to God (Eusebius never calls Jesus theos) because in all contrary attempts he suspected either polytheism (three distinct gods) or Sabellianism (three modes of one divine person). The Son (Jesus), as Arius asserted, is a creature of God whose generation, for Eusebius, took place before time. Jesus acts as the organ or instrument of God, the creator of life, the principle of every revelation of God, who in his absoluteness and transcendence is enthroned above and isolated from all the world. This Logos, as a derivative creature and not truly God as the Father is truly God, could therefore change (Eusebius, with most early theologians, assumed God was immutable), and he assumed a human body without altering the immutable divine Father. Likewise, Eusebius described the relation of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity to that of the Son to the Father. No point of this doctrine is original with Eusebius, all is traceable to his teacher Origen. The lack of originality in his thinking shows itself in the fact that he never presented his thoughts in a system. After nearly being excommunicated for his heresy by Alexander of Alexandria, Eusebius submitted and agreed to the Nicene Creed at the First Council of Nicea in 325.


Notwithstanding the great influence of his works on others, Eusebius was not himself a great historian[13]. His treatment of heresy, for example, is limited, and he knew very little about the Western church. The panegyrical tone of the Life of Constantine has grated on modern sensibilities. Nor was he always critical about the material that he reproduces; he includes in the "Ecclesiastical History" letters supplied to him by a Syriac source purporting to be written back and forth between King Abgar and Jesus[14].

These and other issues have invited controversy.

  • Edward Gibbon (18th century historian) dismissed his testimony on the number of martyrs and impugned his honesty by referring to a passage in the abbreviated version of the Martyrs of Palestine attached to the Ecclesiastical History, book 8, chapter 2, in which Eusebius introduces his description of the martyrs of the Great Persecution under Diocletian with: "Wherefore we have decided to relate nothing concerning them except the things in which we can vindicate the Divine judgment. [...] We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity." [15] In the longer text of the Martyrs of Palestine, chapter 12, Eusebius states: "I think it best to pass by all the other events which occurred in the meantime: such as [...] the lust of power on the part of many, the disorderly and unlawful ordinations, and the schisms among the confessors themselves; also the novelties which were zealously devised against the remnants of the Church by the new and factious members, who added innovation after innovation and forced them in unsparingly among the calamities of the persecution, heaping misfortune upon misfortune. I judge it more suitable to shun and avoid the account of these things, as I said at the beginning.".
  • When his own honesty was challenged by his contemporaries[16], Gibbon appealed to the chapter heading—not the text—in Eusebius' Praeparatio evangelica (xii, 31), which says how fictions (pseudos)—which Gibbon rendered 'falsehoods'—may be a "medicine", which may be "lawful and fitting" to use[17].
  • Jacob Burckhardt (19th century cultural historian) dismissed Eusebus as "the first thoroughly dishonest historian of antiquity".
  • Questions were long raised by scholars about whether all the documents in the Life of Constantine were authentic.
  • Other critics of Eusebius' work cite the panegyrical tone of the Vita, plus the omission of internal Christian conflicts in the Canones, as reasons to interpret his writing with caution[18].

But other views have tended to prevail.

  • With reference to Gibbon's comments, Joseph Barber Lightfoot (late 19th century theologian and former Bishop of Durham) pointed out[19] that Eusebius' statements indicate his honesty in stating what he was not going to discuss, and also his limitations as a historian in not including such material. He also discusses the question of accuracy. "The manner in which Eusebius deals with his very numerous quotations elsewhere, where we can test his honesty, is a sufficient vindication against this unjust charge." Lightfoot also notes that Eusebius cannot always be relied on: "A far more serious drawback to his value as a historian is the loose and uncritical spirit in which he sometimes deals with his materials. This shews itself in diverse ways. He is not always to be trusted in his discrimination of genuine and spurious documents."
  • Averil Cameron (professor at King's College and Oxford) and Stuart Hall (historian and theologian), in their recent translation of the Life of Constantine, point out that writers such as Burckhardt found it necessary to attack Eusebius in order to undermine the ideological legitimacy of the Habsburg empire, which based itself on the idea of Christian empire derived from Constantine, and that the most controversial letter in the Life has since been found among the papyri of Egypt[20].
  • In Church History (Vol. 59, 1990), Michael J. Hollerich (assistant professor at the Jesuit Santa Clara University, California) replies to Burckhardt's criticism of Eusebius, that "Eusebius has been an inviting target for students of the Constantinian era. At one time or another they have characterized him as a political propagandist, a good courtier, the shrewd and worldly adviser of the Emperor Constantine, the great publicist of the first Christian emperor, the first in a long succession of ecclesiastical politicians, the herald of Byzantinism, a political theologian, a political metaphysician, and a caesaropapist. It is obvious that these are not, in the main, neutral descriptions. Much traditional scholarship, sometimes with barely suppressed disdain, has regarded Eusebius as one who risked his orthodoxy and perhaps his character because of his zeal for the Constantinian establishment." Hollerich concludes that "... the standard assessment has exaggerated the importance of political themes and political motives in Eusebius's life and writings and has failed to do justice to him as a churchman and a scholar".

While many have shared Burckhardt's assessment, particularly with reference to the Life of Constantine, others, while not pretending to extol his merits, have acknowledged the irreplaceable value of his works which may principally reside in the copious quotations that they contain from other sources, often lost.

See also

Preceded by
Agapius of Caesarea
Bishop of Caesarea
ca. 313–339/340
Succeeded by


  1. ^ a b c Wetterau, Bruce. World history. New York: Henry Holt and company. 1994.
  2. ^ a b Philip Schaff, A Select library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Princeton University, 1904 p 66
  3. ^ Encyclopedia of the Early Church, Published in 1992, English Version, page 299
  4. ^ Walker, Williston (1959), A History of the Christian Church, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, p. 108  
  5. ^ Bruce L. Shelley, Church History in Plain Language, (2nd ed. Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1995.), p.102.
  6. ^ Colm Luibheid, The Essential Eusebius : The Story of the First Centuries of the Christian Church in the Words of Its Greatest Historian, Mentor-Omega Press, 1966, p 31.
  7. ^ "Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine: From AD 306 to 337". Merchantville, NJ: Evolution Publishing. 2009.  
  8. ^ Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea On the Theophania, or Divine Manifestation of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Cambridge, 1843), pp. xxi-xxii. Lee's full passage is as follows: "As to the period at which it was written, I think it must have been, after the general peace restored to the Church by Constantine, and before either the "Praeparatio," or the "Demonstratio Evangelica," was written. My reason for the first of these suppositions is: Our author speaks repeatedly of the peace restored to the Church; of Churches and Schools restored, or then built for the first time : of the nourishing state of the Church of Caesarea; of the extended, and then successfully extending, state of Christianity : all of which could not have been said during the times of the last, and most severe persecution. My reasons for the second of these suppositions are, the considerations that whatever portions of this Work are found, either in the "Praeparatio," |22 the "Demonstratio Evangelica," or the " Oratio de laudibus Constantini," they there occur in no regular sequence of argument as they do in this Work: especially in the latter, into which they have been carried evidently for the purpose of lengthening out a speech. Besides, many of these places are amplified in these works, particularly in the two former as remarked in my notes; which seems to suggest, that such additions were made either to accommodate these to the new soil, into which they had been so transplanted, or, to supply some new matter, which had suggested itself to our author. And again, as both the "Praeparatio" and "Demonstratio Evangelica," are works which must have required very considerable time to complete them, and which would even then be unfit for general circulation ; it appears probable to me, that this more popular, and more useful work, was first composed and published, and that the other two,--illustrating as they generally do, some particular points only,--argued in order in our Work,-- were reserved for the reading and occasional writing of our author during a considerable number of years, as well for the satisfaction of his own mind, as for the general reading of the learned. It appears probable to me therefore, that this was one of the first productions of Eusebius, if not the first after the persecutions ceased."
  9. ^ Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius (Harvard, 1981), p. 367, n.176. Note that Lee (p. 285) thinks that the passage in V. 1 refers to an earlier section within the Theophania itself, rather than to the Demonstratio.
  10. ^ Edition and notes in J.-P.Migne, Patrologia Graeca.
  11. ^ Georg Graf, Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur vol. 1
  12. ^ C. Umhau Wolf (2006) [1971]. The Onomasticon of Eusebius Pamphili Compared with the Version of Jerome and Annotated. The Tertullian Project. pp. p. xx. Retrieved 2007-12-08.  
  13. ^ "Eusebius Of Caesarea". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-02-01.  
  14. ^ The Legend of Abgar
  15. ^ Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vol. 1, chapter 16
  16. ^ See Gibbon's Vindication for examples of the accusations that he faced.
  17. ^ "Data for discussing the meaning of pseudos and Eusebius in PE XII, 31". Retrieved 2008-02-01.  
  18. ^ Burgess, R. W., and Witold Witakowski. 1999. Studies in Eusebian and Post-Eusebian chronography 1. The "Chronici canones" of Eusebius of Caesarea: structure, content and chronology, AD 282–325 – 2. The "Continuatio Antiochiensis Eusebii": a chronicle of Antioch and the Roman Near East during the Reigns of Constantine and Constantius II, AD 325-350. Historia (Wiesbaden, Germany), Heft 135. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner. Page 69.
  19. ^ "J.B. Lightfoot, Eusebius of Caesarea". Retrieved 2008-02-01.  
  20. ^ Averil Cameron, Stuart G. Hall, Eusebius' Life of Constantine. Introduction, translation and commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Pp. xvii + 395. ISBN 0-19-814924-7. Reviewed in BMCR


  • Initial text from Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religion, subjected to edits for style.
  • Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine. 2009. Reprint of Bagster edition [1845]. Evolution Publishing. ISBN 978-1-889758-93-0. [1]
  • Cameron, Averil and Stuart Hall, trans. Life of Constantine. 1999. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198149247.

External links

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

EUSEBIUS [OF CAESAREA] (c. 260 - c. 340), ecclesiastical historian, who called himself Eusebius Pamphili, because of his devotion to his friend and teacher Pamphilus, was born probably in Palestine between A.D. 260 and 265, and died as bishop of Caesarea in the year 339 or 340. We know little of his youth beyond the fact that he became associated at an early day with Pamphilus, presbyter of the Church of Caesarea, and founder of a theological school there (see Hist. Eccl. vii. 32). Pamphilus gathered about him a circle of earnest students who devoted themselves especially to the study of the Bible and the transcription of Biblical codices, and also to the defence and spread of the writings of Origen, whom they regarded as their master. Pamphilus had a magnificent library, which Eusebius made diligent use of, and a catalogue of which he published in his lost Life of Pamphilus (Hist. Eccl. vi. 32). In the course of the Diocletian persecution, which broke out in 303, Pamphilus was imprisoned for two years, and finally suffered martyrdom. During the time of his imprisonment (307-309) Eusebius distinguished himself by assiduous devotion to his friend, and assisted him in the preparation of an apology for Origen's teaching (Hist. Eccl. vi. 33), the first book of which survives in the Latin of Rufinus (printed in Routh's Reliquiae sacrae, iv. 339 sq., and in Lommatzsch's edition of Origen's Works, xxiv. p. 2 93 sq.). After the death of Pamphilus Eusebius withdrew to Tyre, and later, while the Diocletian persecution was still raging, went to Egypt, where he seems to have been imprisoned, but soon released. He became bishop of Caesarea between 313 and 315, and remained such until his death. The patriarchate of Antioch was offered him in 331, but declined (Vita Constantini, iii. S9 sq.).

Eusebius was a very important figure in the church of his day. He was not a great theologian nor a profound thinker, but he was the most learned man of his age, and stood high in favour with the emperor Constantine. At the council of Nicaea in 325 he took a prominent part, occupying a seat at the emperor's right hand, and being appointed to deliver the panegyrical oration in his honour. He was the leader of the large middle party of Moderates at the council, and submitted the first draft of the creed which was afterwards adopted with important changes and additions. In the beginning he was the most influential man present, but was finally forced to yield to the Alexandrian party, and to vote for a creed which completely repudiated the position of the Arians, with whom he had himself been hitherto more in sympathy than with the Alexandrians. He was placed in a difficult predicament by the action of the council, and his letter to the Caesarean church explaining his conduct is exceedingly interesting and instructive (see Socrates, Hist. Eccl. i. 8, and cf. McGiffert's translation of Eusebius' Church History, p. 15 sq.). To understand his conduct, it is necessary to look briefly at his theological position. By many he has been called an Arian, by many his orthodoxy has been defended. The truth is, three stages are to be distinguished in his theological development. The first preceded the outbreak of the Arian controversy, when, as might be expected in a follower of Origen, his interest was anti-Sabellian and his emphasis chiefly upon the subordination of the Son of God. In his works written during this period (for instance, the Praeparatio evangelica and Demonstratio evangelica), as in the works of Origen himself and other anteNicene fathers, expressions occur looking in the direction of Arianism, and others looking in the opposite direction. The second stage began with the outbreak of the controversy in 318, and continued until the Nicene Council. During this period he took the side of Arius in the dispute with Alexander of Alexandria, and accepted what he understood to be the position of Arius and his supporters, who, as he supposed, taught both the divinity and subordination of the Son. It was natural that he should take this side, for in his traditional fear of Sabellianism, in which he was one with the followers of Origen in general, he found it difficult to approve the position of Alexander, who seemed to be doing away altogether with the subordination of the Son. And, moreover, he believed that Alexander was misrepresenting the teaching of Arius and doing him great injustice (cf. his letters to Alexander and Euphration preserved in the proceedings of the second council of Nicaea, Act. vi. tom. 5: see Mansi's Concilia, xiii. 316 sq.; English translation in McGiffert, op. cit. p. 70). Meanwhile at the council of Nicaea he seems to have discovered that the Alexandrians were right in claiming that Arius was carrying his subordinationism so far as to deny all real divinity to Christ. To this length Eusebius himself was unwilling to go, and so, convinced that he had misunderstood Arius, and that the teaching of the latter was imperilling the historic belief in the divinity of Christ, he gave his support to the opposition, and voted for the Nicene Creed, in which the teachings of the Arians were repudiated. From this time on he was a supporter of Nicene orthodoxy over against Arianism (cf., e.g., his Contra Marcellum, De ecclesiastica theologia, and Theophania). But he never felt in sympathy with the extreme views of the Athanasian party, for they seemed to him to savour of Sabellianism, which always remained his chief dread (cf. his two works against Marcellus of Ancyra). His personal friends, moreover, were principally among the Arians, and he was more closely identified with them than with the supporters of Athanasius. But he was always a man of peace, and while commonly counted one of the opponents of Athanasius, he did not take a place of leadership among them as his position and standing would have justified him in doing, and Athanasius never spoke of him with bitterness as he did of other prominent men in the party. (For a fuller description of the development of Eusebius' Christology and of his attitude throughout the Arian controversy, see McGiffert, op. cit. p. II sq.) Eusebius was one of the most voluminous writers of antiquity, and his labours covered almost every field of theological learning. If we look in his works for brilliancy and originality we shall be disappointed. He was not a creative genius like Origen or Augustine. His claim to greatness rests upon his vast erudition and his sound judgment. Nearly all his works possess genuine and solid merits which raise them above the commonplace, and many of them still remain valuable. His exegesis is superior to that of most of his contemporaries, and his apologetic is marked by fairness of statement, breadth of treatment, and an instinctive appreciation of the difference between important and unimportant points. His style, it is true, is involved and obscure, often rambling and incoherent. This quality is due in large part to the desultory character of his thinking. He did not always clearly define his theme before beginning to write, and he failed to subject what he produced to a careful revision. Ideas of all sorts poured in upon him while he was writing, and he was not always able to resist the temptation to insert them whether pertinent or not. His great learning is evident everywhere, but he is often its slave rather than its master. It is as an historian that he is best known, and to his History of the Christian Church he owes his fame and his familiar title "The Father of Church History." This work, which was published in its final form in ten books in 324 or early in 325, is the most important ecclesiastical history produced in ancient times. The reasons leading to the great undertaking, in which Eusebius had no predecessors, were in part historical, in part apologetic. He believed that he was living at the beginning of a new age, and he felt that it was a fitting time, when the old order of things was passing away, to put on record for the benefit of posterity the great events which had occurred during the generations that were past. He thus wrote, as any historian might, for the information and instruction of his readers, and yet he had all the time an apologetic purpose, to exhibit to the world the history of Christianity as a proof of its divine origin and efficacy. His plan is stated at the very beginning of the work: "It is my purpose to write an account of the successions of the holy Apostles as well as of the times which have elapsed from the day of our Saviour to our own; to relate how many and important events are said to have occurred in the history of the church; and to mention those who have governed and presided over the church in the most prominent parishes, and those who in each generation have proclaimed the divine word either orally or in writing. It is my purpose also to give the names and number and times of those who through love of innovation have run into the greatest errors, and proclaiming themselves discoverers of knowledge, falsely so called, have like fierce wolves unmercifully devastated the flock of Christ. It is my intention, moreover, to recount the misfortunes which immediately came on the whole Jewish nation in consequence of their plots against our Saviour, and to record the ways and times in which the divine word has been attacked by the Gentiles, and to describe the character of those who at various periods have contended for it in the face of blood and tortures, as well as the confessions which have been made in our own day, and the gracious and kindly succour which our Saviour has accorded them all." The value of the work does not lie in its literary merit, but in the wealth of the materials which it furnishes for a knowledge of the early church. Many prominent figures of the first three centuries are known to us only from its pages. Many fragments, priceless on account of the light which they shed upon movements of far-reaching consequence, have been preserved in it alone. Eusebius often fails to appreciate the significance of the events which he records; in many cases he draws unwarranted conclusions from the given premises; he sometimes misinterprets his documents and misunderstands men and movements; but usually he presents us with the material upon which to form our own judgment, and if we differ with him we must at the same time thank him for the data that enable us independently to reach other results. But the work is not merely a thesaurus, it is a history in a true sense, and it has an intrinsic value of its own, independent of its quotations from other works. Eusebius possessed extensive sources of knowledge no longer accessible to us. The number of books referred to as read is enormous. He also had access to the archives of state, and gathered from them information beyond the reach of most. But the value of his work is due, not simply to the sources employed, but also to the use made of them. Upon this matter there has been, it is true, some diversity of opinion among modern scholars, but it is now generally admitted, and can be abundantly shown, that he was not only diligent in gathering material, but also far more thorough-going than most writers of antiquity in discriminating between trustworthy and untrustworthy reports, frank in acknowledging his ignorance, scrupulous in indicating his authorities in doubtful cases, less credulous than most of his contemporaries, and unfailingly honest. His principal faults are his carelessness and inaccuracy in matters of chronology, his lack of artistic skill in the presentation of his material, his desultory method of treatment, and his failure to look below the surface and grasp the real significance and vital connexion of events. He commonly regards an occurrence as sufficiently accounted for when it is ascribed to the activity of God or of Satan. But in spite of its defects the Church History is a monumental work, which need only be compared with its continuations by Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, Rufinus and others, to be appreciated at its true worth.

In addition to the Church History we have from Eusebius' pen a Chronicle in two books (c. 303; later continued down to 325), the first containing an epitome of universal history, the second chronological tables exhibiting in parallel columns the royal succession in different nations, and accompanied by notes marking the dates of historical events. A revised edition of the second book with a continuation down to his own day was published in Latin by St Jerome, and this, together with some fragments of the original Greek, was our only source for a knowledge of the Chronicle until the discovery of an Armenian version of the whole work, which was published by Aucher in 1818 (Latin translation in Schoene's edition), and of two Syriac versions published in Latin translation respectively in 1866 (by Roediger in Schoene's edition) and in 1884 (by Siegfried and Gelzer). Other historical works still extant are the Martyrs of Palestine and the Life of Constantine. The former is an account of martyrdoms occurring in Palestine during the years 303 to 310, of most of which Eusebius himself was an eye-witness. The work exists in a longer and a shorter recension, the former in a Syriac version (published with English translation by Cureton, 1861), the latter in the original Greek attached to the Church History in most MSS. (printed with the History in the various editions). The Life of Constantine, in four books, published after the death of the emperor, which occurred in 337, is a panegyric rather than a sober history, but contains much valuable material. Of Eusebius' apologetic works we still have the Contra Hieroclem, Praeparatio evangelica, Demonstratio evangelica, and Theophania. The first is a reply to a lost work against the Christians written by Hierocles, a Roman governor and contemporary of Eusebius. The second and third, taken together, are the most elaborate and important apologetic work of the early church. The former, in fifteen books, aims to show that the Christians are justified in accepting the sacred writings of the Hebrews, and in rejecting the religion and philosophy of the Greeks. The latter, in twenty books, of which only the first ten and fragments of the fifteenth are extant, endeavours to prove from the Hebrew Scriptures themselves that the Christians are right in going beyond the Jews and adopting new principles and practices. The former is thus a preparation for the latter, and the two together constitute a defence of Christianity against all the world, heathen as well as Jews. In grandeur of conception, comprehensiveness of treatment, and breadth of learning, this apology surpasses all other similar works of antiquity. The Praeparatio is also valuable because of its large number of quotations from classical literature, many of them otherwise unknown to us. The Theophania, though we have many fragments of the original Greek, is extant as a whole only in a Syriac version first published by Lee in 1842. Its subject is the manifestation of God in the incarnation of the Word, and it aims to give with an apologetic purpose a brief exposition of the divine authority and influence of Christianity. Of Eusebius' dogmatic and polemic writings, we still have two works against his contemporary, Marcellus, bishop of Ancyra, the one known as Contra Marcellum, the other as De theologia ecclesiastica. The former and briefer aims simply to expose the errors of Marcellus, whom Eusebius accuses of Sabellianism, the latter to refute them. We also have parts of a General Introduction (`H Ka06Xov arocxecc:Anr ecaaycoy4), which consisted of ten books (the sixth to the ninth books and a few other fragments still extant), under the title of Prophetical Extracts (IIpoon-rLeai EKXoyal). Although this formed part of a larger work it was complete in itself and circulated separately. It contains prophetical passages from the Old Testament relating to the person and work of Christ, accompanied by explanatory notes. Of Biblical and exegetical works we have a considerable part of Eusebius' Commentaries on the Psalms and on Isaiah, which are monuments of learning, industry and critical acumen, though marred by the use of the allegorical method characteristic of the school of Origen; also a work on the names of places mentioned in Scripture, or the Onomasticon, the only one extant of a number of writings on Old Testament topography; and an epitome and some fragments of a work in two parts on Gospel Questions and Solutions, the first part dealing with the genealogies of Christ given in Matthew and Luke, the second with the apparent discrepancies between the various gospel accounts of the resurrection. Other important works which have perished wholly or in large part, and some orations and minor writings still extant, it is not necessary to refer to more particularly. (See Preuschen's list in Harnack's Alt-christliche Litteraturgeschichte, i. 2, p. 55 sq. Preuschen gives thirty-eight titles, besides orations and letters, but it is doubtful whether all of the Commentaries mentioned really existed.) Bibliography. - The only edition of Eusebius' extant works which can lay claim even to relative completeness is that of Migne (Patrologia graeca, tom. xix.-xxiv.). The publication of a new critical edition was begun in 1902 in the Berlin Academy's Greek Fathers (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte, Leipzig). Many of Eusebius' works have been published separately. Thus the Church History, first by Stephanus (Paris, 1 554); by Valesius with copious notes, together with the Life of Constantine, the Oration in Praise of Constantine, and the Histories of Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, &c. (best edition that of Reading (Cambridge, 1720), in three volumes, folio); by Heinichen (1827, second edition 1868-1870 in three volumes, a very useful edition, containing also the Life of Constantine and the Oration in Praise of Constantine, with elaborate notes); by Burton (1838; a handy reprint in a single volume by Bright, 1881), and by many cthers. The most recent and best edition is that of Schwartz in the Berlin Academy's Greek Fathers, of which the first half has appeared, accompanied by the Latin version of Rufinus edited by Mommsen. The history was early put into Syriac (edited by Bedjan, Leipzig, 1897; also by Wright, McLean and Merx, London, 1898), Armenian (edited by Djarian, Venice, 1877), and Latin, and has been translated into many modern languages, the latest English version being that of McGiffert, in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second series, volume i. (New York, 1890). Of the Chronicle, the best edition is by Schoene in two volumes (Berlin, 1866-1875). The Life of Constantine and the Oration in Praise of Constantine are published by Valesius, Heinichen and others in their editions of the Church History, also in the first volume of the Berlin Academy's edition (ed. by Heikel), and an English translation by Richardson in the volume containing McGiffert's translation of the Church History. Gaisford published the Prophetical Extracts (Oxford, 1842), the Praeparatio evangelica (1843), the Demonstratio evangelica (1852), and the works against Hierocles and Marcellus (1852); and the works against Marcellus have appeared in the edition of the Berlin Academy (vol. iv.). The Onomasticon has been published frequently, among others by Lagarde (Göttingen, 1870; 2nd ed., 1887), and is contained in the edition of the Berlin Academy (vol. iii.). The Theophania was first published by Lee (Syriac version, 1842; English translation, 1843). A German translation of the Syriac version, with the extant fragments of the original Greek, is given in the edition of the Berlin Academy (vol. iii.).

Acacius, the pupil of Eusebius and his successor in the see of Caesarea, wrote a life of him which is unfortunately lost. His own writings contain little biographical material, but we get information from Athanasius, Philostorgius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, Jerome's De vir. ill., and Photius. Among the many modern accounts in church histories, histories of Christian literature, encyclopaedias, &c., may be mentioned a monograph by Stein, Eusebius Bischof von Caesarea (Wiirzburg, 1859), meagre but useful as far as it goes; the magnificent article by Lightfoot in the Dictionary of Christian Biography; the account by McGiffert in his translation of the Church History; Erwin Preuschen's article in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklop. (3rd ed., 1898); the treatment of the Chronology of Eusebius writings in Harnack's Alt - christliche Litteraturgeschichte, ii. 2, p. 106 sq.; and Bardenhewer's Patrologie, p. 2260 f. The many special discussions of Eusebius' separate works, particularly of his Church History, and of his character as an historian, cannot be referred to here. Elaborate bibliographies will be found in McGiffert's translation, and in Preuschen's article in Herzog-Hauck. (A.C. McG.)

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