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Eusebius

Εὐσέβιος).

Pamphĭli. One of the most distinguished of the earlier Christian writers, the friend of Constantine, born in Palestine, probably at Caesarea, about A.D. 264. He pursued his studies at Antioch, and is believed to have received holy orders from Agapius, bishop of Caesarea. After having been ordained presbyter, he set up a school in his native city, and formed an intimate acquaintance with Pamphilus, bishop of Caesarea, who suffered martyrdom under Galerius, A.D. 309, and in memory of whose friendship he added to his name the term Pamphili—i. e. (the friend) of Pamphilus. After the martyrdom of his friend he removed to Tyre, and thence to Egypt, where he himself was imprisoned. On his return from Egypt, he succeeded Agapius in the see of Caesarea, A.D. 315. In common with many other bishops of Palestine, he at first espoused the cause of Arius; but at the Council of Nice, in 325, where the emperor Constantine assigned to Eusebius the office of opening the session of the assembly, the opinions of the heresiarch were condemned. He is said, however, to have raised some objections to the words “consubstantial with the Father,” as applied to the Son in the Nicene creed. His intimacy with his namesake Eusebius , bishop of Nicomedia, who openly espoused the cause of Arius, led him also to favour the same, and to use his influence with the emperor for the purpose of reinstating Arius in the Church, in defiance of the opposition of Athanasius. The party to which he attached himself were called Eusebians, from their leader Eusebius of Nicomedia, and they seem to have acted in a great degree through hostility towards Athanasius and his supporters, as they did not, as yet, openly advocate the objectionable tenets of Arius, who had himself apparently submitted to the decrees of the Council of Nice. Eusebius was deputed by the Council of Tyre to defend before Constantine the judgment which it had passed against Athanasius. The part which he took in this controversy caused him to be stigmatized as an Arian, though it appears that he fully admitted the divinity of Christ. He was, however, unwilling to believe him συναΐδιος or “co-eternal” with the Father. He was much in favour with Constantine, with whom he maintained a correspondence. He died soon after his imperial patron, in 339 or 340.


Chronicle, or Universal History (Παντοδαπὴ Ἱστορία

Eusebius was one of the most learned men of his time. He had read all sorts of Greek authors, whether philosophers, historians, or divines, of Egypt, Phœnicia, Asia, Europe, and Africa. All his studies were directed towards the religion which he professed, and if he cultivated chronology, it was with the view of establishing on a solid basis the confidence to which the historical books of the Old Testament present a claim. He exhibited the fruits of his researches in a Chronicle, or Universal History (Παντοδαπὴ Ἱστορία), divided into two books. In the first of these, to which he gave the name of “Chronography” (Χρονογραφία), he relates the origin and the history of all nations and empires, from the creation of the world down to A.D. 325. In this first portion of the work, Eusebius introduced extracts from various historical writers whose productions are now lost, such as Alexander Polyhistor, Berosus, Amydenus, Manetho, etc. The second part, entitled “Chronical Canon” (Χρονικὸς Κανών), consisted of synchronistic tables, giving, by periods of ten years each, the names of sovereigns, and the principal events which had taken place, from the call of Abraham (B.C. 2017). In compiling this part of his labours Eusebius availed himself of the Chronography of Sextus Iulius Africanus, which he inserted almost entire in his Canon, completing it by the aid of Manetho, Iosephus, and other historians. This he continued also to his own times. We possess a Latin translation of this chronicle, made by St. Jerome; it is not, however, a simple version, since this father continued the dates down to the year 378, and made several changes also in the first part of the work. The Greek text itself is lost; and though Georgius Syncellus has inserted many fragments of it in his Chronicle, and Eusebius himself has done the same in his Praeparatio Evangelica, the remembrance of this original text was so far lost, that doubts began to be entertained whether that of the first book had ever existed, some critics being persuaded that Eusebius had written no other chronological work besides his Canon. Joseph Scaliger, however, undertook to reconstruct the first book of the work, by uniting all the fragments scattered throughout the writings of the various authors to whom allusion has been made. The whole subject has at length been cleared up in later times, and all uncertainty on this point has been put completely to rest since 1792, when an Armenian of Constantinople, named Georgius Iohannis, discovered an Armenian translation of the entire work. The first book of the Chronicle of Eusebius , with which we are made acquainted through the medium of this translation, is preceded by a preface, in which the author gives an account of the plan and difficulty of his undertaking. It is divided into forty-eight chapters, of which the first twenty-two embrace the chronology of the Chaldaeans, Assyrians, Medes, Lydians, Persians, Hebrews, and Egyptians, comprehending under the latter head the dynasty of the Ptolemies. The remaining chapters, from the twenty-third to the forty-eighth, are devoted to the chronology of the Greeks and Romans, down to the time of Iulius Caesar.


Ecclesiastical History (Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ Ἱστορία

Eusebius was also the author of an Ecclesiastical History (Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ Ἱστορία), in ten books, from the origin of Christianity down to A.D. 324, a year which immediately preceded the triumph of the Catholic church over Arianism. This history was translated into Latin by Rufinus, a priest of Aquilea, in the fourth century, who made, however, retrenchments as well as additions, and added a supplement in two books, which extends to the death of Theodosius the Great.


Other works.

The other works of Eusebius which have relation to the department of ecclesiastical history are the following:


1. Περὶ τῶν ἐν Παλαιστίνῃ Μαρτυρησάντων,
Of those who suffered martyrdom in Palestine.

The period referred to is the persecution of Dioclesian and Maximin, from 303 to 309.


2. Λόγος Τριακονταετηρικός,
Thirty-year Discourse,

i. e. an eloge on Constantine, pronounced in the thirtieth year of his reign, A.D. 335.


3. Περὶ τοῦ κατὰ Θεὸν Βίου τοῦ Μακαρίου Κωνσταντίνου τοῦ Βασιλέως.

A life of Constantine, in four books.


4. Τῶν Ἀρχαίων Μαρτύρων Συναγωγή,
A Collection of Ancient Martyrs.

This work is lost, but many fragments have been preserved by the legendary writers of subsequent ages.


5. A life of Pamphilus

of which there remains a solitary fragment.


6. Περὶ τῶν κατὰ Διαφόρους Καιροὺς ἐν Διαφόροις Πόλεσιν Ἀθλησάντων Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων,
Of the holy martyrs that have contended for the faith at various times and in various places.

Another work of Eusebius forms the principal one of his theological writings. This is his


7. Εὐαγγελικῆς Ἀποδείξεως Προπαρασκευή, or
Praeparatio Evangelica.

This work, though its subject is one entirely sacred in its nature, yet contains a great number of valuable notices respecting the mythology of the pagan nations, and the philosophy of the Greeks in particular. We find in it, also, numerous passages taken from more than four hundred profane writers, and in this list are many whose productions are now lost. The Praeparatio Evangelica is addressed to Theodotus, bishop of Laodicea, and is divided into fifteen books. To prepare his readers for a demonstration of evangelical truths by reasons purely philosophical, and, by collecting together a mass of citations drawn from profane authors, to show how far superior Christianity is to all the systems of the pagan world—such is the object of Eusebius in the work under consideration. In the first six books he proves the futility of the heathen doctrines; the nine following ones develop the motives which have induced the followers of Christianity to prefer to them the Jewish system of theology as contained in the Old Testament. One must not omit another work of Eusebius , entitled


8. Περὶ τῶν Τοπικῶν Ὀνομάτων ἐν τῇ Θείᾳ Γραφῇ,
Of the places mentioned in the sacred writings.

It was in two books. The second book, which treats of Palestine, has alone reached us; we have it in Greek, and also in a Latin version by St. Jerome. Still another work of Eusebius ,


9. Θεοφάνεια.

in four books, was discovered in 1839 by Tattam in an Italian monastery.


Bibliography

Editions of the work on chronology are that of Scaliger (Leyden, 1659), and that of Mai and Zohrab (Milan, 1818). The best editions of the Ecclesiastical History are that of H. Stephens (Paris, 1544), reprinted with the Latin version of Christophorson, at Geneva, 1612; that of Heinichen (Leipzig, 1827); Burton (Oxford, 1838; reprinted with an introduction by W. Bright, 1872); and that of Migne in the Patrologia GraecoLatina, vols. xix.-xxiv. (1857-66). The life of Constantine accompanies the first of these. The last edition of the entire work of Eusebius is that of Dindorf, in 4 vols. (Leipzig, 1867-71), unfinished. There is a translation of Eusebius in Clark's Theological Library. See Schaff, Church History (ii. 872-9).

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