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Preview — The History of the Church by Eusebius. The History of the Church: From Christ to Constantine by Eusebius. Eusebius’s account is the only surviving historical record of the Church during its crucial first years. 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.
In tracing the history of the Church from the time of Christ to the Great Per Eusebius’s account is the only surviving historical record of the Church during its crucial first years. 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.
Paperbackpages. Published November 23rd by Penguin Classics first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The History of the Churchplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The History of the Church.
Lists with This Book. Eusebius of Caesarea lived from approximately — A. He was a bishop, author of many writings, imprisoned, tortured, and suffered through several Roman persecutions, saw friends martyred including his beloved mentor. Eusebius was a leader and speaker at important early Church councils and synods.
Eusebius experienced much of what he put into The Church History. He was not a disintere Eusebius of Caesarea lived from approximately — A. He was not a disinterested historian by any means, nor did he write history as we think of it today.
Today we like to hope our historians are completely objective, that they treat objective truth objectively.
Personally I think writers can never be completely objective no matter how hard they try. But that is just my subjective view.
Eusebius wrote his history as a gift to posterity, that is to us. Neither did he strive for thoroughness. He wanted to inspire, to give hope. And he had his favorites. Origen, Dionysius and Constantine were the top three. I went into Origen more below. Eusebius is often accused of being too fond of Constantine. Eusebius describes a quite different Church, one very similar to ours: Perhaps the battle between Good and Evil has not changed so very much after all These questions led to accumulating, reviewing and determining the credibility and validity of the many varied writings.
Then repeated councils needed to be called and the necessary persons had to assemble from all parts of the known world during a time when travels was hazardous. I was so grateful. Although I have studied Church history before, I still got lost. Those really interested can see below. There is just so much more I could say about this history but let me limit myself to three more points. Although Eusebius is not a perfect source, he is frequently the only source for many ancient documents otherwise lost to history.
The rest of work has not survived. So in that sense, if for no other, we owe Eusebius a huge debt. At times I thought Eusebius gloried in the gruesome in recounting his stories of the deaths of the martyrs. As he was an eyewitness to some of them I do not doubt his testimony and he gives other first person narratives as well. The heroics of the early Christian martyrs will haunt you. I thought I had read some awful atrocities today, but there is nothing new under the sun.
The Romans were hideously cruel. Well of course they were. Look what they did to Jesus. At the time The Church History was written, AD, the canon of Sacred Scripture, was still not fully formed, that is, no one in the East or the West or anywhere in all of Christendom had a Bible as we know it today!
Some of the episodes within that fascinating period of our Christian heritage are told here in this book. How we acquired our beloved scriptures happened during these first years. If you want to know the story, this is as good a place to start as any. There are many fine photos of the areas discussed and the busts of the Roman generals and emperors throughout the book.
A fascinating and disturbing read.
Preliminary review; scattered cesarwia. For example, how holy and generous everyone was back then and how idyllic the circumstances—before sinners were let into the Church and ruined everything. Aside, that is, from a Roman persecution every so often… maybe a fire, plague, pillage These seemingly foundational questions were anything but simple and led to dealing with endless heresies; sorting through numerous writings of varying quality; conducting repeated councils; developing and refining creeds, and yes, even to specifying what concerned Mary, but only because it was her humanity and relationship to Jesus which in the end settled so many questions about Him.
There was no official canon then, so these eusebip Christians had to first collect and then sort through all the writings and try to determine what was orthodox from what was not, without computers or any form of communication, all the while battling enemies from within and without.
Considering all they were up against, that we have the Sacred Scriptures today is nothing short of miraculous. Eusebius was not a historian as we think of one today.
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He was neither impartial nor thorough and unapologetically so. He was writing his history for Christian posterity. He has his favorites. Origen was the most important.
He devoted his longest chapter, 8, almost exclusively to him. For me it was also the most interesting chapter. The reason is because his hero was so remarkably intelligent most could not even understand his writings well-enough to see how they would be controversial.
However, if you are interested in an outline of this discussion, read this. Brant Pitre whose course on Jesus of Nazareth: A Biblical Christology I am currently listening to said that members of the infamous Jesus Seminar do not read period documents like this, limiting themselves to the Gospels. However, Eusebius’s History is supposedly the best record of the period immediately following the time of the Gospels and even describes how the Gospels were assembled, or so Pitre claims–I haven’t read it yet.
I have been meaning to read this forever. Need to bite the bullet and just do it! View all 9 comments. Oct 23, Matthew rated it it was amazing Shelves: I wish evangelicals would read literature such as this.
It is a very interesting chronicle of early Christians. It helps one understand how what we call the ‘New Testament’ was created and preserved, and a fascinating look at the network of early churches and their relationship.
It’s also notable that Eusebius, Christianity’s first historian and a devout Christian, calls into question the validity of the book of Revelation he does make clear that he is in no position to pass judgment on the boo I wish evangelicals would read literature such as this.
It’s also notable that Eusebius, Christianity’s first historian and a devout Christian, calls into question the validity of the book of Revelation he does make clear that he is in no position to pass judgment on the book’s importance. Also, the chronicles of the martyrs and the countless sufferings of early Christians is astounding.
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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. AD — c. It proceeds chronologically and systematically, documenting the growth of the Church as it spread from Jerusalem throughout the whole of the Roman This is a very good book by the first great church cdsareia.
It proceeds chronologically and systematically, documenting the growth of the Church as it spread from Jerusalem throughout the whole of the Roman Empire and beyond. From the vast array of topics encompassed in that region and time, Eusebius focuses his history on five: Each of these subjects is treated with care and attention to detail. The line of the bishops, by which eusbio doctrine of apostolic succession is supported, is quite thorough, including occasional biographical sketches, as is the case with the emperors.
But it is not hard to tell which topics are the most important to Eusebius: More of the book is spent on these two topics than all the others combined. It is not hard to guess why that is so.