) of CAESAREIA, the father of ecclesiastical history, took the surname of Pamphili, to commemorate his devoted friendship for Pamphilus, bishop of Caesareia.
He was born in Palestine about A. D. 264, towards the end of the reign of the Emperor Gallienus.
He spent his youth in incessant study, and probably held some offices in the church of Caesareia. In A. D. 303, Diocletian's edict was issued, and the persecution of the Christians began. Pamphilus was imprisoned in 307, and was most affectionately attended on by Eusebius for two years, at the end of which time he suffered martyrdom and Eusebius fled to Tyre, where he was kindly received by the bishop Paulinus; but afterwards he removed to Egypt, and was imprisoned there in the course of the persecution.
After his release he returned to Caesareia, and succeeded Agapius as bishop of that see about 315.
He was summoned to the council of Nicaea in 327, and was there appointed to receive Constantine with a panegyrical oration, and to sit on his right hand.
The course of events now made it necessary for him to form a distinct opinion on the relation of the first two Persons in the Trinity.
There is no doubt that in many of his works, especially in those which he wrote before this time, but also in others, several expressions may be found inconsistent with each other, some of which can only be understood in a semiarian sense. Thus in the Demonstratio Evangelica
he speaks of the Son as ἀφομοιώμενος τῶ Πατρὶ κατὰ παντὰ, ὃμοιος κατ̓ οὐσίαν
In the Praeparatio Evang.
4.3, he denies that the Son is like the Father ἁπλῶς ἀίδιος
; for (he adds) ὁ Πατὴρ προϋπάρχει τοῦ Υἱοῦ καὶ τῆς γενέδεως αὐτοῦ προὐφέδτηκε
; only the Son is not created, and everything perishable must be separated from our conception of His nature.
But with regard to all his earlier statements of doctrine, we must remember that till Arius's opinions, with their full bearings and consequences, were generally known, it was very possible for a person to use language apparently somewhat favourable to them, quite unintentionally, since the true fifth on the subject of our Lord's divinity had not yet been couched in certain formulae, of which the use after the controversy was mooted, became as it were the test of a man's opinions; nor had general attentio been called to the results of differences apparentl trifling. Eusebius's views on the subject seem to have been based on those of Origen, though indeed he deprecated the discussion of the question as above human comprehension, recommending men to be satisfied with the scriptural declaration, " So God loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever beliexeth on Him
should not perish, but have everlasting life;" "not," as he argues," whosoever knows how He is generated from the Father."
But in the Ecclesiastica Theologia
(after the rise of Arianism) he declares (1.8, 9.5) against those who reckon Christ among the κτίσματα
, asserting God to be the Father of Christ, but the Creator of all other beings. Again: in the Ecclesiastical History (10.4) he calls Him αὐτοεός
, and in other places uses language which proves him to have fully believed in His divinity.
He was, however, of course disposed to regard Arius with mildness, and wrote to Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, in his defence; arguing that though Arius had called Christ κτίσμα Θεοῦ τέλειον
, He had added ἀλλ οὐχ ὡς ἕν τῶν κτισμάτων
. Thus he took his seat at the council of Nicaea not indeed as a partizan of Arius, but as anxious to shield him from censure for opinions whose importance, either for good or evil, he considered exaggerated.
He accordingly appeared there as head of the moderate section of the council, and drew up a creed which he hoped would satisfy both the extreme parties, of which the Arian was favoured by Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, and Theognis of Nicaea; while their opponents were led by Alexander, whose deacon Athanasius, afterwards so famous, accompanied him to the council, and rendered him great service.
This formula, which is to be found in Socrates (Hist. Eccl.
1.5), chiefly differs from the Nicene Creed in containing the expression πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως
(fromn Col. 1.15) instead of the deelaration that Christ is of the same substance
with the Father, expressed in the adjective ὁμοούσιον
; and the phrase "Very God of Very God" is not found in it after "God of God, Light of Light."
This creed was accepted by Arius; but Alexander insisted on the addition of ὁμοούσιος
, to which Constantine himself was favourable, and a majority of the council decreed its insertion. Eusebius at first hesitated to sign it, but afterwards did so; because, as he told the people of Caesareia in a pastoral letter explanatory of the proceedings at the council (Socrat. 1.5), the emperor had assured him that by the phrase need only be understood an assertion that the Son of God is wholly different from every created being; and that as His nature is entirely spiritual, He was not born from the Father by any division, or separation, or other corporeal process. Eusebius, however, always retained his mild feelings on this subject; for he wished to reinstate Arius in his church, in opposition to Athanasius, and he was intimate with his namesake, the bishop of Nicomedeia, a decided Arian. Eusebius had a very strong feeling against pictures of our Lord, and other novelties, which were then creeping into the Church. When Constantia, the widow of Licinius and sister of Constantine, requested him to send her such a picture, he refused, and pronounced all such representations worthy only of heathenism. (Vit. Const.
1. 3. p. 1069.)
These pictures he destroyed when they came in his way, considering them inconsistent with 2 Cor. 5.10 ("Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more"); and he greatly objected (Hist. Eccl.
7.18) to a practice prevalent at Caesareia of offering up figures of Christ as an act of thanksgiving for recovery from sickness.
It cannot be denied that in some of his objections to pictures of our Lord, he appears to overlook the practical importance of His Incarnation to our Christian life. Eusebius remained in favour with the imperial family till his death.
He was offered the see of Antioch on the death of Eustathius, but declined it, considering the practice of translations objectionable, and, indeed, contrary to one of the canons agreed upon at the recent council of Nicaea. For this moderation he was exceedingly praised by Constantine, who declared that he was universally considered worthy to be the bishop not of one city only, but almost of the whole world. (Socrat. H. E.
He died about A. D. 340; so that his birth, his elevation to high office, and his death, nearly coincide in time with those of his imperial patron.
The character of Eusebius, and his honesty as a writer, have been made the subject of a fierce attack by Gibbon, who (Decline and Fall,
c. xvi.) accuses him of relating whatever might redound to the credit, and suppressing whatever would tend to cast reproach on Christianity, and represents him as little better than a dishonest sycophant, anxious for nothing higher than the favour of Constantine; and resumes the subject in his " Vindication" of the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of the history. For the charge of sycophancy there is but little foundation.
The joy of the Christians at Constantine's patronage of the true religion was so great, that he was all but deified by them both before and after his death; and although no doubt Niebuhr (Lectures on Roman History,
Lect. lxxix. ed. Schmitz) has sufficiently shewn that Constantine, at least up to the time of his last illness, can only be considered as a pagan; yet, considering that his accession not only terminanted the persecution which had raged for ten years, but even established Christianity as the state religion, it is not surprising that Eusebius, like others, should be willing to overlook his faults, and regard him as an especial favourite of Heaven.
As to the charge of dishonesty, though we could neither expect nor wish a Christian to be impartial in Gibbon's sense, yet Eusebius has certainly avowed (H. E.
8.2), that he omits almost all account of the wickedness and dissension s of the Christians, from thinking such stories less edifying than those which display the excellence of religion, by reflecting honour upon the martyrs.
The fact that he avows this principle, at once diminishes our confidence in him as an historian and acquits him of the charge of intentional deceit, to which he would otherwise have been exposed.
But besides this, Eusebius has written a chapter (Praep. Evang.
12.31) bearing the monstrous title,--"How far it may be lawful and fitting to use falsehood as a medicine for the advantage of those who require such a method." Now at first sight this naturally raises in our minds a strong prejudice against a person who, being a Christian in profession, could suppose that the use of falsehood can ever be justified; and no doubt the thought was suggested by the pious frauds which are the shame of the early Church.
But when we read the chapter itself, we find that the instances which Eusebius takes of the extent to which the principle may be carried are the cases in which God is described in the Old Testament as liable to human affections, as jealousy or anger, " which is done for the advantage of those who require such a method." From this explanation it would appear that Eusebius may have meant nothing more than the principle of accommodating the degree of enlightenment granted from time to time to the knowledge and moral state of man kind; and his only error consists in giving the odious name of falsehood to what is practically the most real truth. (See Arnold, Essay appended to Sermons, vol. ii.)
The principal works of Eusebius are as follows : --
(χρονικὰ παντοδαπῆς ἱστορίας
), a work of great value to us in the study of ancient history. For some time it was only known in a fragmentary state, but was discovered entire in an Armenian MS. version at Constantinople, and published by Mai and Zohrab at Milan, in 1818.
It is in two books.
The first, entitled χρονογραφία
, contains a sketch of the history of several ancient nations, as the Chaldaeans, Assyrians, Medes, Persians, Lydians, Hebrews, and Egyptians.
It is chiefly taken from the πενταβίβλιον χρονολογικὸν
of Africanus [AFRICANUS, SEX. JULIUS], and gives lists of kings and other magistrates, with short accounts of remarkable events from the creation to the time of Eusebius.
The second book consists of synchronological tables, with similar catalogues of rulers and striking occurrences, from the time of Abraham to the celebration of Constantine's Vicennalia
at Nicomedeia, A. D. 327, and at Rome, A. D. 328. Eusebius's object in writing it was to give an account of ancient history, previous to the time of Christ, in order to establish belief in the truth of the Old Testament History, and to point out the superior antiquity of the Mosaic to any other writings. For he says that whereas different accounts had been given of the age of Moses, it would be found from his work that he was contemporary with Cecrops, and therefore not only prior to Homer, Hesiod, and the Trojan war, but also to Hercules, Musaeus, Castor, Pollux, Hermes. Apollo, Zeus, and all other persons deified by the Greeks.
In the course of the work Eusebius gives extracts from Berosus, Sanchoniathon, Polyhistor, Cephalion, and Manetho, which materially increase its value. Of this Chronicon
an abridgement was found by Mai in the Vatican library, at the end of a copy of Theodoret's Haereticae Fabulae,
also in two parts, to the second of which is added by the abbreviator, a list of bishops of the five patriarchal sees, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Jersalem, and Constantinople, together with the bounidaries of these patriarchates as they existed in the ninth century.
has been published by Mai, together with a commentary on St. Luke and twenty Quaestiones Exangelicae, also by Eusebius, in the Scriptorum Vaticanorum Nova Collectio, Rome, 1825.
are short disquisitions on certain points of the Gospel histories, e. g. why the evangelists give Joseph's genealogy rather than Mary's; in what sense our Lord is said to sit on David's throne, &c.
was translated into Latin by Jerome
, and published by J. J. Scaliger, Leyden, 1606
, of which another enlarged edition appeared at Amsterdam, 1658
It was again published at Venice, in Armenian, Greek, and Latin, by J. Baptist Aucher, 1818
. Mai and Zohrab's edition has been noticed above.
The historical importance of their discovery is explained by Niebuhr, in his essay entitled Historischer Gewinn aus der Armenischen Uebersetzung der Chronik des Eusebius,
published in his Kleine Shcriften.
The Praeparatio Evangelica
(εὐαγγελικης ἀποδείξεως προπαρασκεύη
) in fifteen books, inscribed to Theodotus, bishop of Laodiceia, is a collection of various facts and quotations from old writers, by which it was supposed that the mind would be prepared to receive the evidences of Christianity.
This book is almost as important to us in the study of ancient philosophy, as the Chronicon
is with reference to history, since in it are preserved specimens from the writings of almost every philosopher of any note whose works are not now extant.
It was translated into Latin by George of Trebisond, and published at Treviso, 1480.
The George translation is said to be a very bad one, and the Greek work itself first appeared at Paris. 1544, edited by Robert Stephens
, and again in 1628, also at Paris, with a Latin version, by F. Viger, who republished his edition at Cologne, 1688.
The Praeparatio Evangelica
is closely connected with the Demonstratio Evangelica
, written soon after it.
The Demonstratio Evangelica
) in twenty books, of which ten are extant, is a collection of evidences, chiefly from the Old Testament, addressed principally to the Jews.
This is the completion of the preceding work, giving the arguments which the Praeparatio
was intended to make the mind ready to receive.
The two together form a treatise on the evidences of considerable ability and immense learning.
was translated into Latin by Donatus of Verona, and published either at Rome or Venice in 1498
and at Cologne in 1542
The Greek text appeared with that of the Praeparatio,
at Paris, in the editions both of R. Stephens
The Ecclesiastical History
), in ten books.
The work was finished in the lifetime of Crispus, i. e. before 326, whom (10.9) he commemorates as θεοφιλέστατον καὶ κατὰ πάντα τοῦ πατρὸς ὅμοιον
The history terminates with the death of Licinius, A. D. 324. When Constantine visited Caesareia, he offered to give Eusebius anything which would be beneficial to the Church there; Eusebius requested him to order an examination to be made of all documents connected with the history of martyrs, so as to get a list of the times, places, manner, and causes of their deaths, from the archives of the provinces. On this the history is founded; and of its general trustworthiness, with the limitation necessary from the principle of omission noticed above, there can be no doubt whatever.
The first book consists of a discussion on our Lord's pre-existence, the prophecies respecting Him, the purpose of His revelation, and many facts relating to His life, together with the story of His correspondence with Abgarus or Agbarus, toparch of Edessa. [AGBARUS.] The second bok begins the history of the Church after our Lord's Ascension, with an account of the death of Pilate, the history of Simon Magus, St. Peter's preaching at Rome, and the various labours of other apostles and disciples.
The rest of the work gives an account of the principal ecclesiastical writers, heresies, and persecutions, including the betautiful stories of the martyrs at Lyons and Vienne, and the death of Polycarp. Many accounts of different scenes and periods in church history had been written before, as by Hegesippus, Papias, Irenaeus, and Clemens of Alexandria; but Eusebius was the first who reduced them all into one whole, availing himself largely of the labours of his predecessors, but giving a unity and completeness to them all.
The History was turned into Latin by Rufinus, though with many omissions and interpolations, and published at Rome, 1474. The Greek text, together with that of the histories of Socrates, Theodoret, Sozomen, and Evagrius, appeared at Paris, 1549, edited by R. Stephens
, and again at Geneva, 1612
, with little alteration from the preceding edition.
In this edition the text of Eusebius was that which had been published by Valesius at Paris, in 1659
, with many emendations, after a careful recension of the MSS. in the Bibliotheque du Roi; and again at Amsterdam, with the other historians, in 1695
The same histories, with the remaining fragments of Theodorus and the Arian Philostorgius, were published at Cambridge in three folio volumes, 1720
. The Cambridge edition was furnished with notes by W. Reading, and republished at Turin, 1746-48.
More recent editions are Heinichen, in three volumes, Leipzig, 1827
, which contains the commentary of Valesius and very copious notes, and another at Oxford in 1838, by Dr. Burton, regius professor of divinity in that University
The History has been translated into various languages : into English by Parker, 1703
, by Cater, 1736
, and by Dalrymple, 1778
; into German, Eusebii Kirchengeschichte aus dem Griech. und mit Anmeroungen erlaütert von F. A. Stroth, 1778
; into Italian in the Biblioteca degli Autori volgarizzati, Venice, 1547
; and into French by Cosin, Paris, 1675
De Martyribus Palaestinae
(περὶ τῶν ἐν Παλαιστιίνη μαρτυρησάντων
), being an account of the persecutions of Diocletian and Maximin from A. D. 303 to 310.
It is in one book, and generally found as an appendix to the eighth of the Ecclesiastical History.
(πρὸς τὰ ὑπ̀ Φιλοστράτου εἰς Ἀπολλώνιον τὀν Τυανέα διὰ τὴν Ἱεροκλεῖ παραληφθεῖσαν αν̓τοῦ τε καὶ τοῦ Χριστου σὑγκρισιν
). Hierocles had advised Diocletian to begin his persecution, and had written two books, called λόγοι φιλαληθεῖς
, comparing our Lord's miracles to those of Apollonius of Tyana. (See Lactantius, Instit.
5.2, 3, 4.)
In answering this work, Eusebius reviews the life of Apollonins by Philostratus.
The Against Hierocles
was published in Greek and Latin by F. Morell (among the works of Philostratus) at Paris, 1608, and with a new translation and notes by Olearius, Leipzig, 1709.
), bishop of Ancyra, in two books. Marcellus had been condemned for Sabellianism at Constantinople, A. D. 336, and this work was written by desire of the synod which passed sentence.
The most important edition is by Rettberg, Götting. 1794-8
De Ecclesiastica Theologia
(περὶ τῆς ἐκκλησιαστικῆς Θεολογίας
, τῶν πρὸς Μάρκελλον ἐλἐγχων Βίξλια γ́
This is a continuation of the Against Marcellus
The Against Marcellus
and the De Ecclesiastica Theologia
both were edited with a Latin version and notes by Montagu, bishop of Chichester
, and appended to the Demonstratio Evangelica, Paris, 1628
De Vita Constantini,
four books (εἰς τὸν Βιὸν τοῦ μακαριου Κωνσταντινου Βασιλέως λόγοι τέσσαρες
), a panegyric rather than a biography.
These lives have generally been published with the Ecclesiastical History
, but were edited separately by Heinichen, 1830
Onomasticon de Locis Hebraicis
(περὶ τῶν τοπικῶν ὀνομάτων ἐν τῆ θεία. γραφἧ
) a description of the towns and places mentioned in Holy Scripture, arranged in alphabetical order.
This is inscribed to Paulinus, bishop of Tyre, as is also the tenth book of the Ecclesiastical History.
It was translated into Latin by Jerome, and published at Paris with a commentary, by Jacques Bonpère, 1659, and again at Amsterdam, by J. Cleves, 1707.
Besides these, several epistles of Eusebius are preserved by different writers, e.g. by Socrates (1.8) and Theodoret (1.12); and he wrote commentaries on various parts of Scripture, many of which are not extant.
The first edition of all the works of Eusebius was published in Latin at Basle, in four volumes, ex variorum inteterpretatione,
1542, which reappeared at Paris in a more correct form, 1580.
Since that time it has been usual to edit his works separately, and the chief of these editions have been given with the account of each work.
(See Cave, Script. Eccl. Hist. Lit.
vol. i.; Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. 7.100.4; Neander, Kirchengeschichte,
vol. ii. p. 787, &c.; Waddington, History of the Church,
ch. vi.; Jortin, Eccl. Hist.
The last two contain interesting discussions on the religious opinions of Eusebius.