Ecclesiastical History: Books 1-5

Ecclesiastical History: Books 1-5

Ecclesiastical History: Books 1-5

Ecclesiastical History: Books 1-5

Excerpt

Eusebius was commonly known among the ancients as Eusebius of Caesarea or Eusebius Pamphili. The first designation arose from the fact that he was bishop of Caesarea for many years; the second from the fact that he was a close friend and admirer of Pamphilus, a proslyte of Caesarea and a martyr. At least forty contemporaries bore the same name, among which the most famous were Eusebius of Nicomedia, called by Arius the brother of Eusebius of Caesarea; Eusebius of Emesa; and Eusebius of Samosata— and so arose the necessity of distinguishing him from these others by specific designation.

The year of the Edict of Milan, which divides the first from the second epoch of Church history, does like service for the life and for the literary medium of the Church's first historian. According to the growing assent of scholars, 313 marks off chronologically the Alexandrian from the Byzantine period of Greek literature, and it is 313 that cleaves into uneven but appropriate parts the career of Eusebius Pamphili. In training and in literary taste Eusebius belongs to the earlier time. Officially and in literary productivity he belongs to the later. It was shortly after 313 that Eusebius became a bishop, as it was for the most part after 313 that his works were actually composed. Of events contemporary with these later years Eusebius recorded much that is valued, but it is for what he tells of the earlier period—of the days before the Peace . . .

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