Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel). Tr. E.H. Gifford (1903) -- Introduction
LONDINI ET NOVI EBORACI
APUD HENRICUM FROWDE
EUSEBIOU TOU PAMFILOU
AD CODICES MANUSCRIPTOS DENUO COLLATOS RECENSUIT
ANGLICE NUNC PRIMUM REDDIDIT
NOTIS ET INDICIBUS INSTRUXIT
OLIM ARCHIDIACONUS LONDINENSIS
TOMUS III. PARS PRIOR
E TYPOGRAPHEO ACADEMICO
M. CM. III
Excudebat Horatius Hart
1. THE AUTHOR. The prominent position occupied by Eusebius of Caesarea in the Arian controversy and the Council of Nicaea has given rise to so many important treatises on his life and character, that it would be quite superfluous to prefix a formal biography to the present edition of one among his many literary works. It will be sufficient to mention a few of the best sources of information accessible to the English reader.
(1) The article in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography on Eusebius of Caesarea by the late Bishop G. E. L. Cotton.
(2) Testimonies of the Ancients, in favour of and against Eusebius, collected by Valesius (Henri de Valois), and appended to the Prolegomena on The Life and Writings of Eusebius in Dr. McGiffert's English edition of the Church History (Parker, Oxford, 1890).
(3) The very interesting and learned Introduction to the Greek text of the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius, edited for the Clarendon Press by the late Dr. W. Bright, Canon of Christ Church, and Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Oxford, 1872.
(4) Bishop Lightfoot's article, Eusebius of Caesarea, in Smith and Wace's Dictionary of Christian Biography (ii. 308-48), of which Dr. McGiffert says with perfect truth: 'Lightfoot's article is a magnificent monument of patristic scholarship, and contains the best and most exhaustive treatment of the life and writings of Eusebius that has been written.'
In each of these works the student will find abundant references to earlier sources of information.
There is, however, one interesting and important |vi question concerning Eusebius, for a satisfactory explanation of which I have sought in vain even in these copious and excellent biographies. What was the true relation of Eusebius to Pamphilus? In other words, What is the exact meaning of the title Eu)se/bioj o( Pamfi/lou?
The inquiry is interesting because it is in connexion with Pamphilus that we first hear of Eusebius; and it is not unnecessary, because the older traditional explanations are very various, while in our own more critical days we find the title sometimes rendered as 'Eusebius Pamphilus,' and even as 'Eusebius the beloved of all,' a strange designation for one who was so well hated by his more orthodox brethren.
It will be convenient to begin with the summary account of the traditional notices given by Fabricius in his great work Bibliographia Graeca, Tom. vi. p. 30: 'Eusebius Pamphili, not the martyr's son, nor his sister's son (consobrinus), nor his slave, but a friend so peculiarly intimate that he took his name from him.'
On the supposed relationship it is sufficient to quote Bishop Lightfoot's judicious remark: 'Nicephorus Callistus (H. E. vi. 37) makes him a nephew (o toutou adelfidouV) of the martyr. Yet it is somewhat strange that he himself should never allude to this connexion, if it were so close. On the contrary, he speaks of his becoming acquainted with Pamphilus in such a manner as to suggest that there was no existing relationship which brought them together.'
In a note on the passage already quoted Fabricius defends the rendering 'friend of Pamphilus' by supposed examples of a similar usage. 'Thus C. Avianus Philoxenus acquired the name Avianus from his friend Flaccus Avianus, as Cicero writes, Epist. ad Familiares, xiii. 35: "The name Avianus he received because there was no man with whom he was more intimate than with Flaccus Avianus, who, as I think you know, was my own most intimate friend."' |vii
Of this example it is enough to say that the Latin usage is no authority for the Greek.
In the same note Fabricius adds: 'Etiam Iudas Iacobi et Petrus Damiani dictus uterque a fratre.' On Luke vi. 16 Ioudan Iakwbou Meyer remarks that it is usually rendered '"Judas the brother of James," and therefore the son of Alphaeus; but without any foundation in exegesis. . . . Hence here and in Acts i. 13, we must read "Judas son of James," of which James nothing further is known': and on Acts i. 13 Meyer again remarks that 'The relationship is arbitrarily defined as "brother of (the younger) James." It is: son of (an otherwise unknown) James.' This interpretation is now almost universally accepted. Thus Huther on Jude 1 writes: 'It is arbitrary to supply to Iakwbou adelfoV instead of the usual supplement uioV,' and Reuss, Introduction to Jude: 'Cette derniere formule doit signifier necessairement "fils de Jacques," et non frere de Jacques.' Compare Viger, De Idiotismis Graecis, p. 12 'o( vel involvit substantivum u(ioj aut pai=j, filius, vel pro illo sumitur.' On which Hermann remarks Annot. ad Vig. De Idiot, p. 701 'SwkrathV o Swfroniskou significat aut hunc fuisse Sophronisci unicum, aut illum esse cui pater fuerit Sophroniscus, quo ab aliis Socratibus distinguatur. SwkrathV Swfroniskou dicitur qui Sophroniscum, non alium, habet patrem.'
Even, however, if we could admit the rendering 'brother of James,' this extension of the genitive of kindred would not justify its further extension to the relation of 'friend': and the same objection applies to 'Petrus brother of Damianus,' as to whom see Fabric. Tom. viii. p. 88; Tom. xiii. p. 814.
St. Jerome, writing about sixty years after the death of Eusebius, speaks of him as the 'friend, eulogist, and companion' of Pamphilus: Apolog. adv. Rufin. i. 9 'Ipse Eusebius amator et praeco et contubernalis Pamphili tres libros scripsit elegantissimos vitam Pamphili continentes.' Again in the Preface to his translation of the work of |viii Eusebius On the names of places in Holy Scripture Jerome mentions that 'he took his surname from the blessed martyr Pamphilus'; while in the Preface to his Commentary on Isaiah and elsewhere he calls him simply 'Eusebius Pamphili.'
If it seems strange that Jerome, who lived in the next generation to Eusebius, has failed to give a correct paraphrase of his adopted name, we must remember that Latin, not Greek, was Jerome's native language, and that in the Preface to his translation of the Chronicon of Eusebius he speaks in the strongest terms of the difficulty of rendering 'the peculiar and, so to speak, the native idiom of the language.'
On this point the Greek writers of Church History are better witnesses than Jerome. Socrates in the first words of his Ecclesiastical History (circ. 430 A. D.) calls him simply EusebioV o Pamfilou, without any comment on the surname, which ought therefore to be taken in its usual and well-known sense.
Sozomen, a contemporary of Socrates, in his Hist. Eccles. i. 1. 9 writes EusebioV o epiklhn Pamfilou, where epiklhn may imply a patronymic, and may be illustrated by Xenophon, Oeconom. vii. 3 onomazonteV me Iscomacon patroqen proskalountai.
In a much later age Photius, Epist. 73, begins a bitter invective against the reputed heretic with the words EusebioV o tou Pamfilou eite douloV eite sunhqhV. Upon this the editor Baletta makes the usual remark that 'Eusebius was the disciple and friend of the martyr Pamphilus, from whom he took his surname': but it is evident that Photius himself either was or pretended to be ignorant of the actual meaning of the title; and his insolent insinuation, eite douloV, is of course rightly rejected, as we have seen, by Fabricius. Bishop Lightfoot in the article already referred to writes with just indignation: 'It was either a blundering literalism or an ignoble sarcasm, which led Photius (Ep. 73 Baletta) to suggest the |ix explanation that he was the slave of Pamphilus. Any man might have been proud to wear the slave's badge of such a devotion.'
We come at last to the positive testimony of one who at least knew the proper sense of the title o Pamfilou.
The oldest MS. of the Praeparatio Evangelica (Paris, n. 451) has a Scholion on the passage i. 3 (Vig. 7 c 3) which refers to the works of earlier Christian writers. 'Such,' says the Scholiast, 'as were holy Justin, Athenagoras, Tatian, Clement the author of the Miscellanies, Origen, and moreover Pamphilus himself the father of our present author Eusebius, PamfiloV o tou parontoV Eusebiou pathr.'
Dr. Harnack in his description of this MS. in Texte u. Untersuch. i. 1. 34 remarks on this Scholion: 'It is worthy of notice that Pamphilus is described as the father of Eusebius (EusebioV o Pamfilou). So obscure already was the Scholiast's historical knowledge.'
In a foot-note to this passage Dr. Harnack asks 'why Pamphilus is mentioned here at all. Did the author perhaps think of Lucian, or allow himself to be misled by the title of the Apology for Origen?' Again on p. 177 Dr. Harnack says: 'This Scholion is of later origin. . . . Add to this that the learned Arethas cannot have supposed Pamphilus to be the father of Eusebius.'
As to Dr. Harnack's first objection, there is nothing to surprise us in the Scholiast's mention of Pamphilus as one of the 'recent authors' of whom Eusebius might have been thinking. His literary work was of a different character, less popular, and less generally known than the writings of the Apologists previously mentioned, and for these reasons, as it seems, the Scholiast in adding his name to theirs introduces it by the words kai autoV eti PamfiloV.
Dr. Harnack's passing remark that 'the Scholion is of later origin' is not accepted by his very learned co-editor Oscar v. Gebhardt, who made a most careful examination of the Codex, and assigned this particular Scholion to the |x hand of Arethas himself (Texte u. Unters. i. 3. 183, n. 70).
Thus, instead of an ignorant Scholiast of a later age, we have the learned Archbishop Arethas asserting that the title is to be understood in its proper sense, 'Eusebius son of Pamphilus,' and this we shall find to be consistent with all that we know of the relations between Pamphilus and Eusebius.
Pamphilus, we know, was many years older than Eusebius, was the director as well as the partner of his studies, and is always mentioned by him in terms not only of admiration and affection but of the most profound respect. Thus he calls him 'the great glory of the diocese of Caesarea, most admirable of the men of our time1,' of all my companions by me most fondly regretted, a man most glorious of the martyrs of our time for every virtue2,' 'the name to me thrice dear,' 'a man who through his whole life shone pre-eminent in every virtue3'; and when we add to such language the still more remarkable expressions quoted by Bishop Lightfoot 4 from Cureton's edition of the Syriac Martyrs of Palestine, that 'heavenly martyr of God,' 'my lord Pamphilus,' 'for it is not meet that I should mention the name of that holy and blessed Pamphilus without styling him "my lord5"'----with such testimony of filial reverence we can hardly doubt that when Eusebius adopted the patronymic o Pamfilou, he meant it in its full and proper significance, that henceforth he would call no man 'father' save this best and dearest friend of his early manhood. 'How else,' as Bishop Lightfoot says,' could he express the strength of his devotion to this friend, who was more than a friend, than by adopting his name. He would henceforward be known as "Eusebius of Pamphilus."' Let us only complete the title, 'Eusebius son of Pamphilus,' and so do justice to the old Scholiast, that is, to the learned archbishop himself. |xi
A further explanation of the patronymic may probably be found in the prevalent custom of adoption. We know that Pamphilus 'had gathered about him a collection of books which seems to have been unrivalled in Christian circles' (Lightfoot, ibid.), and of which Eusebius became the possessor and made a catalogue (Eus. Hist. Eccl. vi. 32). It is therefore most probable that Pamphilus had made Eusebius his heir, and 'the only way in which a childless individual could acquire an heir was by adopting him' (Prof. W. M. Ramsay, Expositor, Sept. 1898, p. 204). Cf. Hermann, Political Antiquities of Greece, § 120 'The appointment of an heir, even by will, could take place only by adoption.' This statement that the heir was necessarily an adopted son is confirmed, among other passages, by Plato, Laws 924 A, and by Isaeus 66. 31 oute an eisepoioun eis touton ton klhron uion Aristarcw, 'they would not have represented that a son had been adopted by Aristarchus into this inheritance.' If Eusebius was thus made the heir of Pamphilus, his legal and usual designation would henceforth be 'EusebioV o Pamfilou.' And in any case, whether he was actually adopted, or took the patronymic as a symbol of respect and affection, the only true rendering is, I believe, 'Eusebius son of Pamphilus.'
2. THE DATE. The work itself contains no direct statement of the date at which it was written, and it is difficult to determine this very closely from the allusions to contemporary events, especially to the persecutions of the Christians and the subsequent prosperity of their religion.
The persecution commenced by Diocletian (February 24, A. D. 303), and continued by Galerius, ceased by his edict A. D. 311. Speaking of this persecution Eusebius says (Eccl. Hist. viii. 16) that having begun to decrease after the eighth year 'through the grace of God it ceased altogether in the tenth year.' After the defeat of Maxentius (A. D. 312) Constantine and Licinius gave freedom to the Christians, which was confirmed by the Edict |xii of Milan late in the same year (Eus. Eccl. Hist. x. 5).
With these historical statements we have to compare the allusions to the condition of the Christians in the two portions of the great apologetic work of the same author.
We may notice first certain passages which seem to have been written just before, or immediately after, the final cessation of the persecution.
Praep. Ev. 584 a, b 'Even up to the present time the noble witnesses (martyrs) of our Saviour throughout the whole inhabited world, while practising "not to seem but to be" just and devout, have suffered all things that Plato enumerated.' Here the words eiV deuro peponqasin imply that the persecution if not still raging had very recently ceased.
Another passage which seems to have been written before the persecution had come to an end is found in the Demonstration of the Gospel, iii. 5. 78. Commenting on our Saviour's prophecy (Matt. xxiv. 9; Luke xxi. 12) that his disciples should be brought before rulers and kings for His name's sake, he adds 'and shall suffer all kinds of punishment for no fault or other good reason, but all this solely for His name's sake: and we may marvel at the prediction when we see this working up to the present time: for the confession of the name of Jesus is wont to inflame the wrath of the rulers, so that though no fault has been committed by one who confesses Christ, they punish him cruelly for His name's sake.'
Here again the present tenses eiV deuro qewrountaV energoumenon seem to imply that persecution was still raging.
A strong contrast to the language of these earlier passages is found in the Demonstration, v. 3. 11 'Who therefore on seeing the Churches of our Saviour flourishing (anqousas) in the midst of the cities, and in villages and country places throughout the whole inhabited world, and the peoples being ruled (kurieuomenouV) by Him. . . .' |xiii
Again in the Praep. Ev. 9 d 7 Eusebius speaking of the Christian religion says: 'after these many years of persecution it shines forth far more brightly, and daily becomes more conspicuous, and grows and multiplies more and more.'
From such a description it is evident that a great change had occurred in the policy of the Roman Emperors towards the Christian religion, and we may fairly conclude that the earlier passages were written shortly before or shortly after the cessation of the persecution, and the later after some years of peace and prosperity.
Considering that the Preparation and the Demonstration are the two connected portions of one great work which must have been a long time in execution, we cannot be surprised at finding indications of different dates occurring in different parts of the two treatises. And though unable to fix a precise date either for the commencement or for the completion of the whole work, we can hardly be wrong in saying that it was begun about the year 312 A.D., but not finished till a few years afterwards.
On this latter point we have an interesting note of time in Praep. Ev. 135 c 4 'many of the most highly inspired even of their chief hierophants, and theologians, and prophets, who were celebrated for this kind of theosophy, not only in former times but also recently in our own day, under cruel tortures (dia basanwn aikiaV) before the Roman courts declared that the whole delusion was produced by human frauds.' The passage evidently refers to the punishment of the false prophets and hierophants described by Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. ix. 11 'Licinius on arriving at the city of Antioch made a search for impostors, and tortured (basanoiV hkizeto) the prophets and priests of the newly erected statue, asking them "for what reason they practised their deception." And when under the stress of torture they were no longer able to conceal the matter, they declared that the whole mystery was a fraud contrived by the art of Theotecnus. He therefore meted out just |xiv judgement to all of them, and first put Theotecnus himself to death, and then his confederates in the imposture, after innumerable tortures (meta pleistaV osaV aikiaV).'
These executions took place immediately after the death of Maximinus in A. D. 313, and were followed by a further decree of toleration for the Christians. We cannot be wrong therefore in saying that the words 'recently in our time' (enagcoV kaq hmaV) were written neither before nor much after A. D. 314.
3. THE OCCASION. The time thus indicated in the work itself was especially opportune for such a defence of Christianity as Eusebius was undertaking. Persecution had ceased for the present, and there was no immediate need of such appeals to the justice or mercy of Pagan Emperors as had formed a chief subject of the first Christian Apologists. But the remembrance of the sufferings endured especially by the martyrs of Palestine, and witnessed if not actually shared by Eusebius himself, was still fresh; nor could there be any assurance that persecution would not be renewed under emperors less favourable to Christianity or less prudent than Constantine.
The wavering attitude of the emperor himself at this period is well described by Gibbon, c. xx 'The devotion of Constantine was more peculiarly directed to the genius of the Sun, the Apollo of Greek and Roman mythology; and he was pleased to be represented with the symbols of the God of Light and Poetry.' . . . 'As long as Constantine exercised a limited sovereignty over the provinces of Gaul, his Christian subjects were protected by the authority, and perhaps by the laws, of a prince who wisely left to the gods the care of vindicating their honour. If we may credit the assertion of Constantine himself, he had been an indignant spectator of the savage cruelties which were inflicted by the hands of Roman soldiers on those citizens whose religion was their only crime.' |xv
If the prudent policy of the emperor was dictated by a sense of the growing power of Christianity in the State, nothing could help so much to strengthen this feeling and turn it into a permanent conviction as a full exhibition of the contrast between the effete superstitions and gross immorality of Paganism and the pure and vigorous spirit of the new religion.
The conflict was not ended, but it had assumed a new character: persecution had failed, but other weapons not less formidable remained. The old charges of atheism, apostasy, and hostility to the State though often refuted were constantly renewed. Learning and philosophy lent their aid both in attacking the supposed credulity of the Christians, and in endeavouring to infuse new life into the ancient Polytheism.
Porphyry, the most learned and able philosopher of his age and the bitterest opponent of Christianity, was but lately dead, and had left behind him a work in fifteen books Against the Christians. As far as we can judge from the fragments that remain this was the most comprehensive and powerful attack that had yet been made upon the new faith. Eusebius was keenly alive both to the ability of the author, and to the dangerous character of his criticism: and there was need as well as opportunity for a new and comprehensive defence of the truth so vehemently attacked.
4. THE METHOD. In explaining the plan of his treatise Eusebius promises (7 a 1) that his purpose shall be worked out in a way of his own, differing from the methods of the many Christian authors who had preceded him. This promise is further explained (17 a 1) as meaning that his arguments will not depend on his own statements, but will be given in the very words of the most learned and best known advocates of the Pagan religions, that so the evidence alleged may not be suspected of being invented by himself. The cogency of |xvi this mode of argument truthfully and fairly conducted is unquestionable, but it had not in this case such entire novelty as Eusebius seems to claim for it. We shall find as we proceed that many of his arguments are the same as those of the earlier Apologists, Aristides, Justin Martyr, Tatian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen; that he constantly borrows long passages from their writings, including the same quotations from Greek authors, reproduced word for word with due acknowledgement. Those earlier authors had in fact adopted the very same method which Eusebius announced as distinctive of his own work. The quotations thus borrowed are however few in comparison with the great multitude gathered by Eusebius himself from all parts of the Greek literature of a thousand years, from works both known and unknown of poets, historians, and philosophers.
The peculiar value of the Praeparatio resulting from this wealth of quotation is universally acknowledged. '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 present specimens of the writings of almost every philosopher of any note whose works are not now extant' (G. E. L. Cotton, Dict. Gk. and R. Biogr., 'Eusebius,' 116b).
'The Preparation exhibits the same wide range of acquaintance with the classical writers of Greece which the History exhibits in the domain of Christian literature. The list of writers quoted or referred to is astonishing for its length (see Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vii. 346). Some of these are known to us, even by name, only through Eusebius, and of several others he has preserved large portions which are not otherwise extant. . . . It was chiefly the impression produced by this mass of learning which led Scaliger to describe it as "divini commentarii," and Cave to call it "opus profecto nobilissimum" (H. L. i. p. 178)' (Lightfoot, Smith and "Wace's Dict. Chr. Biogr. ii. 331). |xvii
5. THE STYLE. It follows from the nature of the method thus described that the value of the treatise does not depend on the literary style of Eusebius. His part in the work is that of an editor or compiler rather than of an original author. His own contributions are small, except in a few places such as Book VI, chapter 6, on the subject of Fate and Free Will, and the earlier chapters of Book VII, in which he describes the religious ideas and mode of life of the original Hebrews. For the most part he is content to give short notices of the numerous authors whom he quotes, and such brief comments as serve either to connect the passages selected or to explain their meaning and force.
It is thus a matter of less importance that his own style is not attractive: the sentences are often of inordinate length, and the constructions awkward and confused. On the other hand the diction is simple, appropriate, and free from all affectation of eloquence or rhetorical artifice. Bishop Lightfoot's judgement is, as usual, very accurate when he speaks of the want of 'rhetorical vigour and expression,' but adds that 'the forcible and true conceptions which it exhibits from time to time, more especially bearing on the theme which may be briefly designated "God in history," arrest our attention now, and must have impressed his contemporaries still more strongly; while in learning and comprehensiveness it is without a rival.'
The same great critic passes a less favourable judgement on the arrangement of the contents: 'The divisions,' he says, 'are not kept distinct; the topics start up unexpectedly and out of season.' On this point I may be allowed to plead on behalf of Eusebius that if he deserves the censure, it is not from want of very careful endeavours to avoid it. His best defence is to be found in his very frequent explanations of the purpose and arrangement of his work. |xviii
6. THE CONTENTS. In his first sentence Eusebius shows us that the proper title of his proposed work as a whole is The Demonstration of the Gospel (ApodeixiV Euaggelikh), of which the first part (Proparaskeuh thV EuaggelikhV ApodeixewV, or more briefly Euaggelikh Proparaskeuh) is intended to explain beforehand the objections which are likely to be urged against the Christians and their religion by both Greeks and Jews.
These objections refer to three main points:----
(i) The abandonment of the ancestral religion of the Greeks (5 a 2).
(ii) The acceptance of the foreign doctrines of the Barbarians, i. e. Jews (5 b).
(iii) The inconsistency of rejecting the Jewish sacrifices, rites, and general manner of life, while appropriating their sacred Scriptures and promised blessings (5 c).
The third point, however, is not included in the Preparation for the reason stated in the closing sentence (856 a 6), but is left for consideration in the Demonstration.
The fifteen books containing the discussion of the first two points are divided into five groups of three each, and this distribution is clearly indicated at the beginning of each group in Books I, IV, VII, X, XIII, while in the first chapter of Book XV we have a clear summary of the whole preceding argument, showing how the several divisions have been treated each in three books.
The first three books discuss the threefold system of Pagan Theology, Mythical, Allegorical, and Political (788 b 3-d 3). The next three, IV-VI, give an account of the chief oracles, of the worship of daemons, and of the various opinions of Greek philosophers on the doctrines of Fate and Free Will.
Books VII-IX give reasons for preferring the religion of the Hebrews founded chiefly on the testimony of various authors to the excellency of their Scriptures and the truth of their history. |xix
In Books X-XII Eusebius argues that the Greeks had borrowed from the older theology and philosophy of the Hebrews, dwelling especially on the supposed dependence of Plato upon Moses.
In the last three books the comparison of Plato with Moses is continued, and the mutual contradictions of other Greek philosophers, especially the Peripatetics and Stoics, are exposed and criticized.
A like orderly arrangement is observed in the smaller divisions of each group.
Book I. After stating the general purpose and plan of his intended work (chapters 1-5), Eusebius takes a brief survey of the earliest notions of the origin of the world, of mankind, and of the gods from the writings of Diodorus Siculus, Plutarch, Xenophon, Plato, and Porphyry (chapters 6-9, 17 b-30 d), showing that a simpler worship of sun, moon, and stars had preceded the endless theogonies and bloody sacrifices of the manifold forms of superstition among the heathen nations. The remainder of the book (31 a-42 d) is occupied by Philo's translation of Sanchuniathon's account of the Phoenician theology.
In Book II the religions of Egypt and of Greece are described in the words of Diodorus and of Clement of Alexandria; after which Eusebius himself states his reasons for rejecting both the gross legends of the older mythology and the physical explanations by which later philosophers endeavoured to throw a decent veil of allegorical interpretation over the shameless obscenities of their ancestral religion, and ends the book by a description of the comparatively purer religion of Rome from Dionysius of Halicarnassus.
In Book III the physical explanations of the Greeks and the allegorical theology of the Egyptians are further described in the language of Plutarch, Diodorus, and Porphyry, with brief criticisms by Eusebius himself (chapters 1-8). Then after quoting the Orphic Hymn, in which Zeus is described as the All, both body and soul |xx of the universe, with Porphyry's comments upon it, Eusebius proceeds 'to examine quietly and at leisure what after all the verses declare Zeus to be' (102 a). On this passage Gesner founded a charge of forgery against our author, whom he supposed to have introduced the verses in order to show that the Orphic poem taught the existence of the One true God, and even Cudworth strangely fell into the same error (Intellectual System, iv. 17). Fortunately Eusebius, while refuting Porphyry, has given us his own interpretation of the verses, showing at considerable length (102a-108a) that they represent the world as a great animal to which the name of Zeus is applied, his mind being nothing else than the ether. Compare Valckenaer, Diatribe de Aristobulo, xxvi. After quoting Porphyry again on the physical theologies of Greece and Egypt (108b-117d), Eusebius himself exposes their contradictions and absurdities in the five remaining chapters of the book (118 a-127 c).
In the second group of three books (IV-VI) he passes on from the mythical and physical systems of Greek theology to the political forms of religion upheld and enforced by the laws of the several states.
Books IV and V are mainly occupied with discussions on the oracles and their pretended prophecies and healings, which are attributed both by Eusebius and by the witnesses whom he quotes to the activity of evil daemons. The evidence on these subjects is for the most part taken from Porphyry's work On the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles, fragments of which are preserved by Eusebius, and his extant and well-known work On Abstinence from Animal Food. The last nine chapters are devoted to the subject of human sacrifices, the chief witnesses being Porphyry, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Diodorus Siculus.
In Book V the nature and operation of daemons, the incantations by which they may be controlled, and their regard for the images in which they are supposed to be |xxi present, are described in extracts from Plutarch On the Cessation of Oracles, from Porphyry's works already mentioned, and from his Epistle to Anebo. The latter half of the book is occupied by a most interesting and witty satire upon the oracles from the work of Oenomaus entitled The Detection of Impostors.
Book VI is devoted to the subject of Fate and Free Will in connexion with astrology, the evidence being supplied by Porphyry, Oenomaus, Diogenianus, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Bardesanes the Syrian, and Origen.
In the sixth chapter we have a good specimen of the clear argumentative style of Eusebius himself: with much force and earnestness he defends 'the freedom of the Will against the fatalism of pagan religion,' and especially of the Stoic philosophy.' By the independence with which he maintains the cause of Liberty, Morality, and Duty it is evident that no such teaching as that of Pelagius had as yet disturbed men's minds, or called forth the decisions of the Church on the doctrines of grace' (Dictionnaire des Sciences philosophiques, ii. 340).
The next group consisting of Books VII-IX deals with the religion of the Hebrews.
Of Book VII the first half (298 d-322 d) is the work of Eusebius himself, describing the lives and religion of the Patriarchs, and the doctrines of Moses and the Prophets on Divine Providence, on God as the First Cause of the Universe, and on the Word as the Second Cause. In the latter half of the book the same subjects are illustrated from Jewish and Christian authors, Philo, Dionysius of Alexandria, Origen, and Methodius.
Beck VIII consists of the history of the Septuagint as described by Aristeas, of quotations concerning the Exodus and the Law from Philo, Josephus, and Eleazar the High Priest, on the Biblical anthropomorphisms from Aristobulus, and two accounts of the Essenes from Philo, followed by his views of Creation, and of Providence.
Book IX contains the testimony of heathen writers |xxii who have made mention of the Jews, a third account of the Essenes by Porphyry, quotations by Josephus from Hecataeus of Abdera, Clearchus the Peripatetic, Choerilus the poet, Abydenus, author of the Assyrian History, the Sibyl, and others on the Deluge and Tower of Babel. The remaining twenty-six chapters of the book are chiefly occupied by several important extracts from the work of Alexander Polyhistor, Concerning the Jews, which include long passages from the Iambic poems of Theo-dotus and Ezekiel on events in Jewish history, the spurious letters of Solomon to Vaphres king of Egypt, and Suron (Hiram) of Tyre; with descriptions of Jerusalem and other matters by various authors.
In the next group, Books X-XII, Eusebius gives examples from Clement, Porphyry, and Diodorus of the plagiarism of Greek authors both from each other and, as they argue, from the much older Scriptures of the Hebrews. The testimony to their antiquity is drawn from the Chronography of Africanus, and from Tatian, Clement, and Josephus.
In Book XI Eusebius proposes to show the agreement of Plato, as the representative of Greek Philosophy, with the Hebrew Scriptures. Adopting the threefold division of Ethics, Dialectic, and Physics, he notices the moral teaching of the sacred writers, their literary methods, accurate reasoning, and correct use of significant names, their knowledge of the natural world, and their contemplation of the 'true being' of things unseen (chapters 1-9). He then quotes the comments of Numenius, and his saying, What else is Plato than Moses speaking Attic Greek?, and Plutarch's treatise on the Ei0 at Delphi (10, 11).
Other points of comparison are the ineffable nature of God, His unity, the Second Cause as contemplated by Philo, Plotinus, Numenius, and Amelius, the Third Divine Power of the Ps.-Platonic Epinomis (chapters 12-30).
The nature of the Good and of the Ideas, as stated by Plato in the Republic and Timaeus, is illustrated by |xxiii quotations from Numenius, Philo, and Clement of Alexandria (21-25). The existence of evil powers, the immortality of the soul and the Divine image, as taught in the Alcibiades and Phaedo, and illustrated from Porphyry's answer to Boethus On the Soul, the creation of the world and of the heavenly bodies, the goodness of God's works, their changes and dissolution, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgement, are all brought into the comparison, and illustrated from the Timaeus, Republic, Politicus, and Phaedo, and from a fragment of Plutarch On the Soul.
In Book XII the comparison of Plato with the Hebrew Scriptures is continued on the simple instruction of children, the need of faith, the qualifications of rulers as described in the Laws, the Gorgias, and the Republic (chapters 1-9); the picture of the just man and his fate in the Republic; Paradise and the garden of Zeus, and the origin of mankind male and female, in the Symposium; the Deluge, the right foundation of law, religious training, the use of poetry, music, and wine, and the control of the passions, all illustrated from the Laws (chapters 10-28).
Other subjects brought into the comparison are the contrast of true philosophy and spurious wisdom (Theaetetus), the education of women (Republic), and passages of the Laws and Republic corresponding to the Hebrew Proverbs and laws of Moses on 'the memory of the just,' riches and poverty, and the honour due to parents, on slaves, landmarks, and thieves (chapters 29-42). Other coincidences are found in the use of certain examples and figures of speech, in the division of a nation into twelve tribes, in the situation of the chief city, and in Plato's thoughts on faults in education (Republic), on atheism, on God, and Divine providence (Laws).
In Book XIII Eusebius quotes with approval Plato's opinions on the absurdities of Greek mythology in the Timaeus, Republic, and Eutliyphron (chapters 1-5), on stedfast adherence to truth even unto death in the Crito |xxiv and the Apology of Socrates (chapters 6-11), adding the testimonies of Aristobulus and Clement to the agreement of Plato and other Greek philosophers with the Hebrew Scriptures (chapters 12, 13).
The remainder of the book treats of matters in which Plato's teaching is condemned concerning the belief of the common people (Timaeus and Republic), a multitude of inferior gods and daemons, the nature of the soul (Timaeus) criticized by the Platonist Severus, the worship of the heavenly bodies (Laws and Timaeus), the treatment of women (Laws and Republic), unnatural vice, and the laws of murder.
In Book XIV the consistent truth of Hebrew doctrines adopted by Christians is contrasted with the contradictions and conflicts of Greek philosophers, showing how Plato criticized his predecessors in the Theaetetus and Sophista, and was himself criticized by his followers in the successive Academies, who in their turn are subjected to the keen satire of Numenius (chapters 1-9). The subject is continued in quotations from Porphyry, Xeno-phon, Plato, Plutarch, and especially from Aristocles On Philosophy against the schools of Parmenides who rejected the evidence of the senses, of Aristippus, Metrodorus, and Protagoras who believed them alone, and of the Pyr-rhonists who believed nothing at all. The doctrines of Epicurus are refuted from the writings of Aristocles, Plato, and Dionysius of Alexandria (chapters 21-47).
In Book XV the moral character of Aristotle is defended against the slanders of Epicurus and others by Aristocles; but where he differed from Plato and the Hebrews in regard to virtue and happiness, the ideas of God and His providence, the creation of the world, the fifth corporeal essence, the nature of the heavenly bodies, and the immortality of the soul, his doctrines are severely criticized by Atticus the Platonist (chapters 2-9).
His description of the soul as an enteleceia is further criticized by Plotinus, Porphyry, and Atticus (10-13); |xxv the Stoic philosophy is discussed by Aristocles, Areius Didymus, Porphyry, Longinus, and Plotinus (14-22), and the remainder of the book is occupied with a long extract from Plutarch, De placitis Philosophorum, on the various physical theories of the world, followed by the judgement of Socrates on such questions from the Memorabilia of Xenophon.
After this survey of the contents of the Preparation as described chiefly by Eusebius himself, I think we are in fairness bound to acquit him of the charge of confusion in the divisions of the work and the arrangement of its topics. His occasional repetitions are for the most part confined to quotations, and especially to certain well-known and striking passages of Plato which are used more than once in different branches of the subject, and with different applications.
7. QUOTATIONS. The literary value of the Preparation for the Gospel will be most fully appreciated by considering a separate list of the chief fragments of ancient authors for the preservation of which we are indebted to Eusebius in that work.
(a) Fragments of Poetry.
1. An interesting epigram by Callimachus on the simplicity of the primitive statues (99 b): this is contained in a fragment of Plutarch, De Daedalis Plataeensibus.
2. A fragment of Euripides, Melanippe Captiva, on the characters of bad and good women (466 d).
3. Large extracts in iambic verse from the Exodus, a tragedy by the Jewish dramatist Ezekiel (438 c 10-446 d 2), on which see Schürer, Jewish People, ii. 3. 224.
4. Fragments of an epic poem On Jerusalem by a Jew named Philo, 421 c, d, 430 c, 453 a. Cf. Schürer, ibid. 222.
5. Eight extracts from the epic poem of Theodotus On the Jews, describing Sichem, and narrating the story of the sons of Emmor (426 b-429 a). Cf. Schürer, ibid. 224. |xxvi
6. Many of the oracles quoted by Oenomaus in The Detection of Impostors (209 c-234 a).
7. All the oracles contained in the work of Porphyry On the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles (123 d-124 b, 145 a-146 b, 168 b, 175 c). These oracles with their contexts are carefully edited by Wolff in his work Porph. De Philos. ex Oraculis haurienda, of which they form the chief substance.
8. Pindar, Fr. Incert. 2 (105), Paean. 10 (33), both in 687 b.
9. The remarkable epigram on the Tetragrammaton and the Name of seven vowels (520 a).
10. Part of the Orphic Hymn to Zeus, of which vv. 19-42 (except two or three) are found first in the fragment of Porphyry Peri Agalmatwn preserved by Eusebius P. E. 100 c 5-101 c 1.
(b) Historical Fragments.
1. In history we have first the long extract from the translation by Philo Byblius of Sanchuniathon's Phoenician History contained in a fragment of Porphyry's work Against the Christians preserved by Eusebius (31 a-42 b). If we could fully trust Porphyry's testimony to the truthfulness of Philo, and to the genuineness and antiquity of the work of Sanchuniathon, the historical value of the extract could hardly be over-estimated: and we cannot wonder that the question of its authenticity has been a most fruitful source of criticism and controversy from the time of Scaliger and Grotius to our own days. 'Few problems, in fact, in the circle of Semitic studies and of ancient history in general are of more importance than this.' So writes M. Renan. Memoire sur l'Origine et le Caractere veritable de l'Histoire phenicienne qui porte le nom de Sanchoniathon, p. 6.
2. Diodorus Siculus. In 59 c 2-61 a we have an interesting fragment of the sixth book of the Bibliotheca, confirming his account of the sources of Greek theology from the Iera anagrafh, or Sacred Record of Euemerus, |xxvii and adding the wonderful narrative of Euemerus concerning his voyage to the fabulous island of Panchaea in the Indian Ocean.
3. The large fragments of Philo Judaeus first known from Eusebius will be found in 322 d 11 on the Word or Second God, in 336 b Concerning Providence, in 355 c-361 b on the Exodus and the Law from a work otherwise unknown, entitled Hypothetica, and in 379 a-400 a a very long and important passage from the Apology for the Jews.
These fragments will be found placed together at the end of the sixth volume of Richter's edition of the Greek text of Philo.
4. Among the most important of the historical fragments preserved for us by Eusebius are the long extracts from the work of Alexander Polyhistor Concerning the Jews, which occupy the larger part of Book IX, and have been very carefully edited in a special monograph by Dr. J. Freudenthal. The value of these extracts is much increased by quotations from lost works of authors otherwise unknown, Eupolemus, Artapanus, Molon, a certain Philo, and Demetrius, who all wrote on the history of the Jews. On the importance of the fragments see Schürer, ibid. ii. 3. 197.
5. The extract from the Chronicon of Julius Africanus (487 d-491 b) was edited from Eusebius by Dr. Routh in Rell. Sacr. ii. 269-78, who enlarged the text from Georgius Syncellus and added copious notes (423-37).
6. From the lost work of Abydenus On Assyrian History we have most interesting notices of the Flood of Sisithrus, i. e. Noah (414 d), of the Tower of Babel (416 b), of Nebuchadnezzar's madness and of his fortification of Babylon (456 d).
(g) Philosophical Fragments.
It is in the region of Greek Philosophy that the wealth of quotation is most remarkable.
1. Among the Neo-Platonists we find Atticus, whose commentary on the Timaeus is sharply criticized by |xxviii Proclus, but of whose own writings there remain only the important fragments preserved by Eusebius; the first of which describes the threefold division of Philosophy into Ethics, Physics, and Logic, and eulogizes Plato as 'a man from nature's mysteries new-inspired,' and 'in very truth sent down from the gods, in order that Philosophy might be seen in its full proportions,' (509 b-510 a). Also in the long and important extracts contained in Book XV, chapters 4-9, 12, 13, Atticus appears as a passionate defender of Plato against Aristotle.
2. From the Epitome of Areius Didymus we have a short extract on the Platonic Ideas (545 b), and several passages on the Stoic doctrines in Book XV, chapters 15, 20.
3. Numenius the Neo-Pythagorean is known almost exclusively from the long and numerous extracts preserved by Eusebius. From the contemplation of true 'Being' with Plato (525 c-527 a) he passes on to the nature of 'the First and Second God' (537 a), and to 'the only Good' transcending all essence, which can be contemplated only apart from sense 'in a certain, immense, ineffable, and absolutely Divine solitude' (543 d). In 650 d we find him defending Plato for 'preserving both life and truth' by withdrawing from Athens; and in 727 b-739 he describes The revolt of the Academics against Plato, under the leaders of the three, or more, Academies.
4. The fragments of Aristocles the Peripatetic contain an interesting criticism of Socrates and Plato, and of the divergent Socratic Schools (510 b-511 c), a defence of the veracity of the senses against the Eleatics Xenophanes and Parmenides (756 b-757 d), a long refutation of the Sceptics Pyrrho and Timon (758 c-763 d), strong and able censures of the Sophists, Cyrenaics, and Epicureans (764 c-768 d), and lastly a defence of the moral character of Aristotle against the slanderous |xxix attacks of Epicurus, Timaeus of Tauromenium, Alexinus the Eristic, Eubulides, Demochares, Cephisodorus, and Lycon (791 a-793 c).
5. Of the three known fragments of Euemerus, the most important is contained in a fragment of the sixth book of Diodorus Siculus, itself preserved by Eusebius (Diod. Sic. iv. 179, Dindorf).
6. On the falsehood of oracles we have first a valuable fragment of Diogenianus directed against the fatalism of Chrysippus (136 d 3); then the vigorous and amusing invective of Oenomaus occupying no less than eighteen chapters of Book V (209 b-234 c); and the long series of extracts from the work of Porphyry On the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles, mentioned above (p. xxvi).
7. Of other works of Porphyry Eusebius has preserved many fragments of the Epistle to Anebo (92 a, 197 c, 740 d), on which see Parthey's edition of Iamblichus De Mysteriis; a large part of the treatise De Statuis (97 d 2 note); several fragments of a work On the Soul, against Boethus; three long extracts from the Philological Lecture; fragments of the famous treatise Against the Christians (31 a, 179 d, 485 b).
8. A fragment attributed to Plotinus on the Entelecheia of Aristotle, which is inserted by Creuzer after Ennead. iv. 2.
9. From Plutarch's treatise on the Daedala, or primitive wooden statues at Plataeae, and the worship connected with them Eusebius has preserved two very interesting fragments (83 c, 99 b); and though the long extracts from the Stromateis (22 b-25 b) and the De placitis Philosophorum (836 a-852 c) are not the work of Plutarch, but a compilation by some unknown writer from the Epitome of Aetius, this very ancient error in the title does not detract from their value. We are equally indebted for their preservation to Eusebius, to whose accuracy and fidelity Diels (Proleg. 5-10) pays an emphatic and even enthusiastic testimony. |xxx
8. CONCLUSION. The work which has been my chief occupation and my delight for several years is now drawing to a close. I have to renew my thanks to friends already mentioned in the Preface to vol. i; to Dr. Sanday, whose counsel and encouragement first led me to add to the English translation a revised text; to Dr. Redpath, by whose many useful suggestions and careful correction of the proof-sheets I have been aided throughout; to Dr. John Mayor, the Professor of Latin in the University of Cambridge, and Dr. Joseph Mayor; to the Rev. W. R. Inge, one of the rare students of Plotinus; to Dr. H. H. Turner, F.R.S., Savilian Professor of Astronomy; and last not least to the Delegates, Secretary, and other Officers of the Clarendon Press, to whose unfailing kindness and invaluable help I am most deeply indebted.
Of the inadequacy of my own work I am painfully conscious. To do full justice to so large a compilation from all branches of ancient literature the editor himself should be historian, poet, philosopher, archaeologist, astronomer, ethnologist; and I certainly am none of these. For all errors and defects which remain un-corrected I can only trust to receive the indulgence for which old age not often pleads in vain.
153 c 3 'how far they proceed who need'] read 'how far in need.'
168 c 3 'Then fragrant incense and dark blood of grapes'] read 'Dark blood of grapes pour'd on the blazing pyre.'
302 d 1 'mariners' stars'] read 'star-fish.'
210 d 7 'He killed with his spear Carnus son of Phylander an Aetolian knight'] read 'Hippotes son of Phylander kill'd with his spear Carnus the Aetolian.'
224 d 3 'No spot on earth . . .' Omit this line.
294 c 3 'not only'] read 'I do not mean.'
404 b 11 'upon God'] read 'upon them as gods.'
448 d 5 'as soon as they cease to be wanted'] read 'as being no longer wanted.'
634 c 9 ' had become indestructible'] read when once created were indestructible.'
642 b 1 'and by those who are growing elderly and'] read 'and as they grow older.'
734 b 4 ' such as they were '] read 'whether few or many.'
734 c 2 ' house '] read ' room.'
737 b 1 ' to the leadership'] read ' Hegesinus.' Cf. note.
756 d 7 ' the existing thing'] read ' being.'
778 a 8 ' simultaneous circular revolution'] read ' synodical revolution.'
782 c 9 'show evidence'] read ' find evidence.'
823 b 9 'it is '] read ' they are.'
826 c 1 'universals'] read ' wholes.'
830 d 7 'wrist'] read ' palm.'
836 b 4 'the sun out of] read ' the Sun, or out of.'
850 a 5 ' pillar supporting the surfaces'] read ' pillar: but of the surfaces....' See note.
[Footnotes have been placed at the end]
1. 1 Eus. H. E. viii. c. 13.
2. 2 Mart. Pal. c. vii.
3. 3 ibid. xi.
4. 4 Dict. Biogr. ii. 311 a.
5. 5 ibid. 310 b.
This text was transcribed by Peter Kirby, and reformatted by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2003. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Greek text is rendered using sometimes the Symbol font and sometimes the Scholars Press SPIonic font, free from here.
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