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Pamphilus of Caesarea

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Estimated Range of Dating: 280-310 A.D.

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Information on Pamphilus of Caesarea

G. Röwekamp writes, "The defense of Origen originally contained six books, of which the first five were jointly composed by Pamphilus and Eusebius. Pamphilus' introductory letter is addressed to the confessors condemned to labor in the mines. Book 1 assembles passages from Origen (especially from De principiis) that are intended to prove his orthodoxy against the accusations of the anti-Origenists in the first Origenist controversy. The passages have to do with the Trinity, the incarnation, the conception of scripture, the resurrection, punishment of sinners, the doctrine of the soul, and the transmigration of souls. Only this first book has survived in the translation by Rufinus (together with the latter's work on The Falsification of the Books of Origen). Even though the original text contianed primarily harmless passages, Rufinus toned down suspect features (e.g., subordinationist tendencies) in view of the changed situation since the Council of Nicaea; Jerome blamed him for this (adv. Ruf. 2.15; 3.12). Books 2-5 presumably dealt with the life and writings of Origen. After Pamphilius's death Eusebius collected in a sixth book Pamphilius's letters on the orthodoxy of Origen (Eus., h.e. 6.36.3f.). Jerome claimed (adv. Ruf. 1.8; ep. 84.11) that the apology had been composed entirely by (Arian) Eusebius and that the latter had simply wanted to give it the martyr's authority. In fact, Jerome, an anti-Origenist, seemed to be challenging the authorship of the orthodox martyr Pamphilus, something which even Photius, an opponent of Origen, attests (cod. 118). The second defense described by Photius (cod. 117) is not the same as that of Pamphilus but was written in the context of the Origenist controversies at the end of the 4th c. Ca. 460 Antipater of Bostra composed a Refutatio of the 'Apology of Eusebius,' but only fragments of this have been preserved (PG 85:1791-94; 86/2: 2045-53; 2077; 96:468 and 488-511." (Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, p. 457)

Claudio Moreschini writes, "Following Origen's example and combining ascetical fervor and study in his own life (Mart. Pal. 11.2), Pamphilus, too, gathered a group of disciples and fellow workers from various backgrounds, the most outstanding of whom was Eusebius (Hist. eccl. 7.32.25). These men were engaged in a revision of the biblical text, a task already begun by Origen in his Hexapla. This philological work on the sacred book was not their exclusive concern; both the master and some disciples showed philosophical interests (Mart. Pal. 5.2; 7.5; 11.19). But it seems to have been their primary activity, confirming a shift in contemporary tendencies in Origenist circles, which were clearly in the ascendant after the deposition of Paul of Samosata, bishop of Antioch (268-269). Their dominance, however, did not mean that there were no disagreements and disputes, as the case of Methodius of Olympus shows. Eusebius in his turn was to give this development an even more sustained impetus and thus create the conditions for the birth of the Antiochene school." (Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature, vol. 1, p. 414)

Quasten writes, "Pamphilus deserves special credit for the numerous copies of the Bible that he made from the Hexapla of Origen. We owe it to him and Eusebius that the Septuagint as it appears in the revision of Origen was read in the Churches of Palestine and spread far beyond the borders of that country (Jerome, Praef. in Paral.; Adv. Ruf. 2,27). The history of the criical text of the Old and the New Testament is intimately connected with the names of Pamphilus and Eusebius and not a few of the extant manuscripts of the Bible go back to codices made by them." (Patrology, vol. 2, p. 146)

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Kirby, Peter. "Pamphilus of Caesarea." Early Christian Writings. <>.