EUSEBIUS, (c.260–c.340), Bishop of Caesarea, the ‘Father of Church History’. He was a pupil of the scholar and martyr Pamphilus, who trained him in the tradition of Origen and imbued him with a hatred of Sabellianism which remained with him all his life. After Pamphilus’ death (310), he fled from the persecution to Tyre, and then into Egypt, where he spent some months in prison. By 315 he was Bp. of Caesarea. During the Arian controversy he supported Arius and was condemned by the Council of Antioch (324/5). At the Council of Nicaea he was reinstated by the Emp. Constantine when he produced the baptismal creed of Caesarea as evidence of his orthodoxy. But (despite what Eusebius says) this creed cannot have formed the basis of the Nicene Creed (q.v.), which Eusebius ultimately accepted. His acceptance was, however, half-hearted, and he continued as one of the opponents of Athanasius. About 327 he was offered the bishopric of Antioch, but refused it. In 335 he attended the Council of Tyre and the dedication of the church of the Resurrection at Jerusalem, and was afterwards summoned by Constantine to advise on the case of Athanasius. He delivered the ‘Tricennial Oration’ in honour of the 30th anniversary of Constantine’s accession to power in 336 and was active until he died.
Of Eusebius’ many writings the most celebrated is his ‘Ecclesiastical History’, the principal source for the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Age till his own day. As with all Eusebius’ writings, its literary style is poor. But it contains an immense range of material on the E. Church (he has little to say about the W.), largely in the form of long extracts taken over bodily from earlier writers. If Eusebius’ interpretation of these documents was sometimes in error, this is to be explained by his want of critical judgement and not by conscious perversion of the facts. The ‘History’ consists of ten books, of which the last three deal in great detail with the events of his own time. Indeed, it is widely (though not universally) held that the ‘History’ had originally ended before 303 with book 7, and that the later books were added in successive editions, the final edition with book 10 being revised as late as c.325. Besides the original Greek, it survives in Latin, Syriac, and Armenian versions.
Among his other historical writings are: ‘The Martyrs of Palestine’, an account of the Diocletianic persecution between 303 and 311, of which he was an eye-witness; a ‘Chronicle’ in two books, i.e. a summary of universal history with a table of dates; and a ‘Life of Constantine’, a panegyric which, though excessive in its flattery, contains invaluable historical matter. His apologetic writings include a defence of Christianity ‘Against Hierocles’ (a pagan governor of Bithynia), and a pair of treatises, the ‘Preparation for the Gospel’ and the ‘Demonstration of the Gospel’. The former of these (in 15 books) shows why Christians accept the Hebrew and reject the Greek tradition, while the latter (in 20 books, only partly extant) attempts to prove Christianity by the OT. The ‘Preparation’ contains many quotations from classical authors now lost. His other extant writings are a work on the Incarnation called ‘The Theophany’, two books against Marcellus of Ancyra, a collection of OT passages foretelling the coming of Christ, commentaries on the Psalms and Isaiah (which employ the allegorical methods of Origen), a book on Problems of the Gospels, a treatise on ‘Easter’ (De solemnitate Paschali) in which he expounds the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and a valuable work on Biblical topography called the Onomasticon.
His writings are repr., from various sources, in J. P. Migne, PG 19–24; crit. edn. by I. A. Heikel and others (GCS, 9 vols. in 11, 1902–75). Editio princeps of HE by R. Stephanus (Paris, 1544); much improved text by H. Valesius (ibid., 1659); crit. text, with Rufinus’ version, by E. Schwartz and T. Mommsen in the GCS edn. of his works (2 vols., 1903–8); this is repr., with notes and Fr. tr. by G. Bardy, and index by P. Périchon, SJ (SC 31, 41, 55, and 73; 1952–60). Crit. edns., with Fr.tr., of the ‘Preparation for the Gospel’ by É. des Places, SJ, and others (ibid. 206, 215, 228, 262, 266, 292, 307, 338, and 369; 1974–91), and of ‘Against Hierocles’ by id. (ibid. 333; 1986). Eng. trs. of HE by K. Lake and J. E. L. Oulton (2 vols., Loeb, 1926–32), H. J. Lawlor and J. E. L. Oulton (2 vols., London, 1927–8), R. J. Deferrari (Fathers of the Church, 19 and 29; 1953–5), and G. A. Williamson (Harmondsworth, 1965; rev. by A. Louth, 1989).
H. J. Lawlor, Eusebiana (1912); J. Stevenson, Studies in Eusebius (1929); D. S. Wallace-Hadrill, Eusebius of Caesarea (1960). R. Farina, L’Impero e l’Imperatore cristiano in Eusebio di Cesarea: La prima teologia politica del cristianesimo (Bibliotheca Theologica Salesiana, Series I: Fontes, 2; Zurich, 1966). R. M. Grant, Eusebius as Church Historian (Oxford, 1980). C. Luibhéid, Eusebius of Caesarea and the Arian Crisis (Dublin, 1981). T. D. Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius (1981), esp. pp. 81–188. É. des Places, Eusèbe de Céesaréee Commentateur (Théologie historique, 63 ); M. J. Hollerich, Eusebius of Caesarea’s Commentary on Isaiah (Oxford, 1999). P. W. L. Walker, Holy City, Holy Place? Christian Attitudes to Jerusalem and the Holy Land in the Fourth Century (ibid., 1990), esp. pp. 3–130 and 347–410. H. W. Attridge and G. Hata (eds.), Eusebius, Christianity, and Judaism (Studia Post-Biblica, 42; Leiden, 1992); J. Ulrich, Euseb von Caesarea und die Juden (Patristische Texte und Studien, 49; 1999). A. Kofsky, Eusebius of Caesarea against Paganism (Jewish and Christian Perspectives Series, 3; Leiden, 2000). A. J. Carriker, The Library of Eusebius of Caesarea (Supplements to VC, 67; ibid., 2003). CPG 2 (1974), pp. 262–75 (nos. 3465–507), and Suppl. (1998), pp. 186–90. E. Schwartz in PW 6 (pt. 1; 1907), cols. 1370–439; J. Moreau in DHGE 15 (1963), cols. 1437–60, s.v. ‘Eusèbe (17) de Césarée de Palestine’‘; id. in RAC 6 (1966), cols. 1052–88, s.v.; J. Stevenson in NCE 5 (1967), pp. 633–6, s.v.; D. S. Wallace-Hadrill in TRE 10 (1982), cols. 537–43, s.v.
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