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eBook The History of the Church From Christ to Constantine download
Author: G. A. Williamson,Eusebius
ISBN: 0806615095
Subcategory: World
Pages 429 pages
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Pub (June 1, 1976)
Language English
Category: History
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 982
ePUB size: 1165 kb
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eBook The History of the Church From Christ to Constantine download

by G. A. Williamson,Eusebius

Although Eusebius is concerned with using sources as evidence, he sees his job more as stringing together many different sources to make a coherent history of the Church.

Although Eusebius is concerned with using sources as evidence, he sees his job more as stringing together many different sources to make a coherent history of the Church. Today, various manuscripts mentioned in Eusebius are lost.

It was written in Koine Greek, and survives also in Latin, Syriac and Armenian manuscripts. The result was the first full-length historical narrative written from a Christian point of view.

Would that Eusebius’ The Church History be required reading for all Christians regardless of denomination, but .

Would that Eusebius’ The Church History be required reading for all Christians regardless of denomination, but then I suspect there would be far fewer of us, as so few today like to read. Even though Eusebius was a biased historian and kissed Constantine's ass far too much, the vast array of sources he draws upon and his accesible presentation are priceless. This is a very good book by the first great church historian.

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Bishop Eusebius, a learned scholar who lived most of his life in Caesarea in Palestine, broke new ground in writing the History and provided a model for all later ecclesiastical historians.

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Bishop Eusebius (c. AD 260 -339), a learned scholar who lived most of his life in Caesarea in Palestine, broke new ground in writing "The History of the Church" and provided a model for all later ecclesiastical historians.

Eusebius of Caesarea. 1st Augsburg ed. by Eusebius of Caesarea. The history of the church from Christ to Constantine.

General Index s BOOK I s BOOK II s BOOK. Eusebius History of the Church Book I. Chapter I: The Plan of the Work.

Download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd. Flag for inappropriate content. saveSave Eusebius the History of the Church PDF For Later. General Index s BOOK I s BOOK II s BOOK. Eusebius Pamphilius: Church History, Life of Constantine. Oration in Praise of Constantine by Eusebius Pamphilius. Eusebius Pamphilius: Church.

Often called the Father of Church History, Eusebius was the first to trace the rise of Christianity during its crucial first three centuries from Christ t. .The History of the Church : From Christ to Constantine. Select Format: Hardcover.

"Could I do better than start from the beginning of the dispensation of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus the Christ of God?"

Bishop Eusebius (c. AD 260–339), a learned scholar who lived most of his life in Caesarea in Palestine, broke new ground in writing the History and provided a model for all later ecclesiastical historians. In tracing the history of the Church from the time of Christ to the Great Persecution at the beginning of the fourth century and ending with the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, his aim was to show the purity and continuity of the doctrinal tradition of Christianity and its struggle against persecutors and heretics, and he supported his account by extensive quotations from original sources.

This edition of G. A. Williamson’s clear, fluid translation is accompanied by an introduction by Andrew Louth discussing the life and works of Eusebius, together with notes, bibliography, map of the world of Eusebius and brief biographies of the figures who appear in the work.

Dancing Lion
Written in the early fourth century A.D., Eusebius of Caesarea’s The History of the Church is the first comprehensive chronological account in a long tradition of ecclesiastical history. Eusebius starts with an account of the life and ministry of Jesus and His apostles, recording the long history of persecution, heretical splints, and apostolic succession. He ends with the doings of Constantine the Great, who, as a hero of the church, ended the persecution and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. The book spans the first three hundred years of the history of the church, a period of time that allows for meaningful reflection, rudimentary development of legendary narratives, and a relatively recent understanding of the events being studied. Despite the legendary narratives sprinkled throughout his book, Eusebius writes as a historian. Because of this, the reliability of the History as a historical source is often questioned. Eusebius writes more as a compiler than a story teller, withdrawing his narrative voice to a significant extent. His compilation also finds value as a useful manuscript of other lost works; while not itself a primary source, the History utilizes a useful mixture of both primary and secondary sources, some of which we do not have.
Eusebius organizes his work into ten books. He follows a strict chronological scheme, at times telling his reader that he will speak more at length of a subject that comes later in the timeline. The book begins with the familiar praise of God so typical of Christian writers of that day. It then glosses over some prophecy, moving on to the birth of Jesus, His life and ministry, His death, and His resurrection. In all this, Eusebius does an impressive job of relying not only on the Gospels but also quotes a good deal of the Old Testament, especially the book of Psalms. Instead of focusing on Jesus’ works, however, Eusebius focuses on Jesus’ historical context, from His genealogy and dates to the rulers of Israel and the Jewish high priests. In his second book, Eusebius focuses on the apostles and the early persecution of the church—especially Nero’s. Having established the authority the apostles held not only as writers of various inspired books but also as founders of major congregations, Eusebius continues in Book Three to give an account of the multitude of heretical sects that sprouted inside the Church. In Book Four, he describes the handing down of the church offices and sees. In the next book, he focuses on the post-apostle traditions established in the church. Books Six through Nine cover the pervasive themes of martyrdom and heresy; Eusebius ends his work with an extended praise to God for the relief and renewal that Constantine brought to the Church.
In all this, Eusebius maintains a unique balance between his own narration and the plethora of sources he quotes. Even though a significant portion of his book consists of large quotes from his sources, his own narration nonetheless possesses a strong impact on how these sources are to be interpreted. In Chapter 3 section 7, Eusebius gives a prelude indicating that the Jewish War was punishment for killing Jesus. He follows this by quoting three paragraphs from Josephus describing the tragedy of the Jewish War (Eusebius, 3.8). Although Eusebius is concerned with using sources as evidence, he sees his job more as stringing together many different sources to make a coherent history of the Church. In the fourth century, the simple act of copying other manuscripts was arguably just as valuable as that of writing new, original manuscripts; taking advantage of his privileged access to the Theological Library of Caesarea, Eusebius made his work valuable as research, history writing, and manuscript copying.
Today, various manuscripts mentioned in Eusebius are lost. To be sure, some letters (such as those in the exchange between Jesus and Abgar Uchama quoted in 1.13) are spurious, despite the credentials Eusebius assigns them: “Written evidence of these things is available, taken from the Record Office at Edessa, at that time the royal capital. In the public documents there, embracing early history and also the events of Abgar’s time, this record is found preserved from then till now… I have extracted from the archives and translated word for word from the Syriac as follows” (1.13). Whether this extremely unlikely correspondence between Jesus and Abgar was forged by Eusebius or simply had slipped into the archives and was taken up by a naïve Eusebius is difficult to answer; given, however, that many spurious sources were accepted as authentic during Eusebius’ time and that Eusebius fills his book with truly authentic material, it is most likely that the spurious material did not originate with Eusebius.
One of the most valuable aspects of the History is its constant use of sources. Throughout his entire book, it must be said that the foremost source Eusebius draws upon is the Bible. Although Eusebius wrote right before the Council of Nicaea, the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John—as well as Paul’s letters and the Acts of the Apostles—had been accepted into the mainstream canon. He quotes the passages in a peculiar way, however, sometimes taking them out of context (though relatively rarely, compared to others of his time), sometimes presenting a strong and valid argument. Unfortunately, when one reads Eusebius, one gets the feeling that the passages taken from the Bible are separate, independent passages that have little to no context—short sayings and proverbs. This effect is most likely because Eusebius uses the Bible as a historical source to make his points or ground the various facts he is presenting—a less familiar use of the text of the Bible. Even though Eusebius, at times, takes the sacred passages out of context, he does so skillfully and with impressive tact. Credit must be given, however, for his ability to explain passages in their context. He provides an insightful guide to the different genealogies of Jesus provided in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke: the distinction between the maternal and paternal lineage. Although most serious modern scholars understand the differences thus, it is commendable that Eusebius, in the fourth century, so easily made this distinction. Given that he was a Christian writing for a Christian audience, it should be no surprise that he often quotes the Psalms, Isaiah, Daniel, and a number of other Old Testament books when confirming Jesus’ fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies. Just like his consistent use of Biblical passages, Eusebius uses many letters and official decrees to give his reader a good view from the perspective of a primary source. At the beginning of his book, Eusebius takes large excerpts from the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. This is especially meaningful, as Josephus was not a Christian. In the middle of his book, Eusebius draws from Clement’s Miscellanies, the epistles of Ignatius, Iraeneus’ Against Heresies, Justin’s Apology and Dialogue with Trypho, and Tertullian’s Defense of the Christians are all utilized on numerous occasions. At the end, Eusebius quotes heavily from the letters and decrees of the Roman Emperors.
Eusebius writes for a Christian audience, so his themes are typical of what one might expect of fourth century Christian teaching. In his book, Eusebius addresses various heresies led by “false prophets” that appeared throughout the history of the early church—from the Ebionites (3.27) to Paul of Samosata (7.26-27). His general formula for condemning these offshoots is first by identifying the leader (who, it would seem, took the place of Jesus as head of the group), explaining their heretical theological belief, and giving a brief description of how they were rejected by the Church and, from thence, died out. On the other side is the development of church dogma and tradition. Various discussions are given on the differing considerations of the emerging canon, and Eusebius also gives a description of the incorporation of Easter as a Christian holiday. Along with this is a consistent recording of the apostolic succession; Eusebius is faithful in his endeavor to keep his reader up to date with the succession of bishops of the different bishoprics. It is also important to note that, as a bishop, Eusebius wrote his History partially for the sake of apologetics; he wrote it in order to give Christianity historical grounding in the truth. One of his main reasons for taking the pains to explain Jesus’ genealogies was to defend the historicity of Jesus’ lineage from misunderstandings: “through ignorance of the truth each believer has been only too eager to dilate at length on these passages. So I feel justified in reproducing an explanation of the difficulty that has come into my hands” (1.7). Along with his apologetics comes the pathos that must never be forgotten from the history books. The most prominent theme of the History is that of the persecution of the Christians in the first three centuries the book covers. As it ends with Constantine, the history it narrates is rife with persecution; from the apostles to bishops and saints all throughout the Roman Empire. These martyrs are remembered both solemnly and as build-up to the climactic resolution of the narrative: Constantine the Great as the hero of the church. Despite all the discussion of the Jewish War as a result of the killing of Jesus, Eusebius is relatively open-minded concerning the Jewish people and it would be unfair to deem him outright anti-Semitic. He quotes Josephus with respect and, moreover, does not portray the Jews as the only persecutors of Christianity: indeed, the Roman Gentiles are the main culprits when it comes to persecution. His condemnations of the evil Roman emperors are just as harsh—if not more so—as his condemnations of the Jews. In fact, he carries a degree of heartfelt sorrow and sincere soberness when describing the tragic events that (he believes) followed as an immediate punishment of the Jews. As someone who dwelt and ministered in Israel, he considered it no light matter that thousands upon thousands of Jews died in the Jewish War.
Although it contains more commentary, the History is so full of primary sources that it is comparable to modern primary source readers. The book itself is, as a history book, not a primary source; but, if not a compilation of primary sources, Eusebius’ work is a very raw secondary source. Because it is the first history of the church, it sets important precedents that characterize the many ecclesiastical histories that follow it. Its heavy reliance on outside sources might be said to be a good thing—especially when considering the criterion of multiple attestation—if only all the sources were authentic. Later fakes such as the Letter of Lentulus conveniently made their way into the naivety of the history writing that followed Eusebius. Eusebius certainly did not write with the objectivity modern critics desire in a historical source. But Eusebius was not simply writing a historical source; he was writing as an academic and a bishop of his own time. Indeed, one must not look far into modern academia to see bias and arguments for personal opinion; writing without these traits is often considered bland and meaningless. Moreover, given the lack of rapid information communication as well as major councils (the Council of Nicaea was yet to happen), Eusebius must be understood as attempting a great endeavor that had major shortcomings. Despite these shortcomings, Eusebius’ work has the genuine tone of one who is searching for the truth of the details behind events, however thick his lens on the truth might be.
Subtitled “From Christ to Constantine,” this is the only detailed account of the early Christian church up to the time of Constantine the Great. Eusebius (A.D. 263-339), Bishop of Caesarea Maritima, a port in the Roman province of Palaestina I, was a contemporary and confidant of Constantine, dying two years after him. Contrary to some claims, that emperor did not make Christianity the official religion of the Empire―his Edict of Toleration declared Christianity a legitimate religion and, true, he did favor it to the point of ending persecutions and ordering all confiscated property returned to local bishoprics. He also convened the Council of Nicaea that was to settle the Arian heresy and compose the Nicene Creed still recited in today’s mainstream churches. Yet Constantine reportedly only was baptized on his deathbed and that by a [heretic] Arian bishop.
In this 1965 edition, translator Williamson admits that as originally written the book often is tedious and occasionally incorrect. He simplifies the 4th century writing style and in footnotes explains or corrects Eusebius. Surely, Fundamentalists to Freethinkers should know an account of which Williamson says, “Without this work what should we know of the progress of the early Church, its rapid expansion, its glorious enthusiasm, energy and vitality, its tribulations, persecutions and martyrdoms, its sad divisions and astonishing heresies?”
By the time that Eusebius wrote, the canonical books of the New Testament―those considered authentic writings of the four Evangelists, Paul, Peter, and others―had been determined, but he also discusses Gnostic Scriptures in the Nag Hammadi collection and the writings of others considered by early Church Fathers to be heretical. In ten Books that begin with the nature and work of Christ: His contemporaries and choice of followers, Eusebius’s meticulous research covers Church developments under Roman emperors beginning with Tiberius and ending with Constantine. The works and fate of such Christian writers such as Ignatius, Polycarp, Clement and Irenaeus is detailed, along with grisly descriptions of heroic martyrdoms, some occurring in the author’s lifetime. Book Ten is titled “Peace and Recovery of the Church: The Victory of Constantine,” with direct translations from Latin of six imperial decrees and ordinances of Constantine and Licinius.
Eusebius went on to compose a volume on the life of Constantine that is a main source for the religious policy of the emperor who ruled in A.D. 306-337, but also includes much else about the relationship between the two men. See Eusebius: Life of Constantine / Introduction, Translation and Commentary by Averil Cameron and Stuart G. Hall, Clarendon Press, Oxford. 1999.
Albert Noyer / Author of The Getorius and Arcadia Mysteries.