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December 8, 2018


#Classic: Eusebius

by N@ncy


Who was Eusebius (260-340), Bishop of Caesarea?

  1. Eusebius lived and wrote in one of Rome’s provincial capitals,
  2. Caesarea (aka Sharon on the coastal plain of Israel.)
  3. He lived under direct Roman imperial power.
  4. He witnessed the persecution of Christians in Caesarea
  5. …under the governors Flavianus, Urbanus, and Firmilianus.
  6. Eusebius figures prominently in all
  7. …histories of late-ancient theology and philosophy


Why is Eusebius important?

  1. Eusebius worked at the library in Caesarea Palestina
  2. founded by the scholar Origen (ca. 185–ca. 254)
  3. He had access to numerous works of antiquity which have not survived.



  1. Books 1-7  – the reign of Herod and birth of Jesus (book 1)
  2. then we read the events before Diocletian’s persecutions (14-311 AD)
  3. Books 8-9  – narration of recent persecutions (253-305 AD)
  4. Book 10 – reign of Emperor Constantine (306 – 312)


Genre: Greek-Roman history writing…with a whiff of an apology
Edition: Eusebius Penguin Classic ISBN 9780140445350
Theme: was celebration of the success of Christianity in the Roman world.
Significance of Eusebius: important source for historians, classicists and theologians
POV: Eusebius, a orthodox Christian
Intended audience: with a knowledge of Christian texts and accepts their sacred status


Title: History of the Church: Eusebius describes a group of bishops, martyrs,
and scholars. Eusebius excludes heretics as outsiders to the church.
Setting: Eusebius uses the Roman Empire as the borders of the Christian Church
Narrative: gives the readers a past about the church. It profiles of key individuals
that carry across several chapters Apostle John, Irenaeus, Origen, and Dionysius of Alexandria
Style: Eusebius has a roller-coaster reputation for both veracity and style.


What does Eusebius NOT do?

  1. He does not discuss of doctrine because he assumes reader knows it
  2. …and has a positive opinion of Christianity.


Strong point:

  1. After reading this book I feel I’m better prepared to
  2. participate in Jeopardy or University Challenge shows!
  3. I learned more about some heresies of the times.
  4. After reading this book it will be easier to read another classic (TBR)
  5. The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius!


Weak point:

  1. There are small items that consume reading time
  2. skimming may be necessary!
  3. How Appolonius suffered Martyrdom at Rome
  4. …Roman senator who stuck to his beliefs.
  5. Blastus On Schism   Who?
  6. Many lists of bishops of Jerusalem and Rome (skim)
  7. Date of Easter…lots of commotion!
  8. The Elegant Works of Irenæus
  9. …this is a whole other study…skim Wikipedia page Irenaeus!
  10. Heresy of Artemon
  11. …it seems Eusebius is the only historian who mentions this!.



  1. There are just too many heretics,
  2. ..martyrs, saints, theologians to mention.
  3. This book is readable but I needed to extend my reading to
  4. Wikipedia and follow the footnotes closely
  5. …if I wanted to make heads or tails of Eusebius.
  6. This is a classic…I can say I read it.
  7. But…I’m not sure if it will be on many reading lists!
  8. This is definitely a book
  9. …for a dedicated reader of the classics!


Last thoughts: 

  1. Glossary….This is very handy!
  2. Excellent “Who’s Who in Eusebius” + Latin terms  (pg 339-427)
  3. Quick scan of emperors of Rome and
  4. bishops in Antioch – Jerusalem – Alexandria  (pg 428-434)
  5. Tip: I did some extra ‘skimming’ of the Wikepedia page
  6. …of the emperor mentioned
  7. This gave me a bit more historical background.
  8. It made the reading of Eusebius much easier knowing more
  9. about the politics/rulers.
  10. #Classic or the die hards!


7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m looking forward to reading this one.

    Have fun with Suetonius. He was supposed to have been a gossip. It will be fun to read your review!


    • Dec 8 2018

      It is good to know the structure before reading the book.
      There will be pages …lists of bishops…..that you can skim.
      There are some interesting heretics: did the holy spirit enter the Christ child at birth or during the baptism by St. John the Baptist? This is one of the issues people were fighting over!


      • Really! I thought the Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles/us when Christ ascended to Heaven. I guess it’s providential that I didn’t live then as I would have added more fuel to the fire, lol!

        I like lists of names. Hence, my fondness for The Iliad. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dec 9 2018

        …I wrote the spirit of God into the Christ child….not apostles! 🙂


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