Preparation for the Gospel (Greek: Εὐαγγελικὴ προπαρασκευή), commonly known by its Latin title Praeparatio evangelica, was a work of Christian apologetics written by Eusebius in the. : Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (The Preparation of the Gospel) eBook: Eusebius of Caesarea: Kindle Store. Eusebius’ Praeparatio Evangelica is a masterful work that deﬁes easy categorization. Written between and , soon after Eusebius had become bishop of.
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The Praeparatioaccording to scholarly consensus, directed its polemical denunciations against the Greeks, in particular the defender of traditional Greek religion, Porphyry prae;aratio Tyre. While the apologist labored at his magisterial defense of Christianity, the second decade of the fourth century was simultaneously producing dramatic yet still uncertain changes for Church and Empire alike.
Only an uneasy peace had patched up the friction between Licinius and Constantine following their clashes at Cibalae and Adrianople in Eusebius had already set high standards for himself in a diverse range of genres and in numerous areas of inquiry. In comparison with contemporary apologies by Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra, [ 12 ] the massive bulk of eusebiux appeared as the apology to end all apologies, and could arguably be seen as the culmination of a rich tradition of Christian apologetics.
Yet, in the estimation of some modern readers the Praeparatio may have missed prapearatio mark. Approximately 71 eusfbius of its pages consisted of verbatim quotations from earlier sources. His most important contribution thus seems to be an extravagant display of learning in order to prove that Christians did, in fact, know the works of their adversaries and had not converted to Christianity without careful consideration of the other options.
More recent approaches to the Praeparatio have attempted to look past the Eusebus citational labors and instead consider its importance for the construction of Christian, Jewish or Greek identities. At the same time, the apologists sought to articulate a defensible identity of who the Christians were, where they had come from, and what sort of communal life, or politeiathey embodied in their corporate existence.
The recent attentiveness to the identity-forming mechanisms of these texts has done much in elucidating early apologetics as a social as well as literary phenomenon. While this scholarly approach needs to be pursued further, in what follows I want to focus on the literary identity praeparario the text itself, that is, on the issue of genre.
In particular, I want to consider how Eusebius pushes the literary boundaries of Christian apologia in a decidedly wusebius direction.
Eusebius refers to the Praeparatio as an apologia in a number of passages throughout the text. A biblical passage from First Peter provides the starting point for his conception of the apologetic task. He quotes it twice in the programmatic statements of Book One: For instance, at 4. In these occurrences and others, Eusebius positions his apology as a defense of Christianity against a particular series of accusations.
He had presented these accusations early on. Eusebius consistently kept these questions at the forefront throughout the Praeparatioand especially in the other occurrences of apologia in the text. So at one point, he comments: Whatever innovations Eusebius may have seen himself as introducing, he nonetheless situated the work within the ongoing tradition of apologetics.
The extensive use of verbatim citations from other authors was meant, from this standpoint, to function as the invoking of witnesses to prove the innocence of the accused Christians against the indictments of their denouncers. The witnesses summoned as testimony, however, had to be drawn from the ranks of the accusers, not from Christian sources.
Surely not from our own literature, lest we should seem to make things easy for our argument; the susebius presented by us are from the Greeks themselves and those boasting in philosophy and those who have explored the rest of the history of the nations. He had been preceded by the likes of Josephus, Tatian and Clement; [ 32 ] and his contemporaries Marcellus of Ancyra and Lactantius found a citational form of apologetic methodology amenable to their own projects. Though not named as such by Eusebius, Origen referred to his defense against the anti-Christian assault of Celsus as an apologia.
Yet he pushed the boundaries of apology beyond the defense genre. In his prologue, he included as his predecessors not only those who countered the hostile accusations of critics, [ evangeilca ] but also those who wrote eusebous and philological examinations of the Scriptures and those who gave homilies on certain passages.
Even beyond this broadening of the apologetic genre to include other types of works, Eusebius boldly declares that he intends to approach the apologetic task in a way all his own. It is rather difficult to identify homiletic material aside from various protreptic passages [ 56 ] or exegetical commentary aside from brief etymological notes [ 57 ] in any depth in the Praeparatio.
Nor does Eusebius provide a point-by-point response to the arguments of a pagan opponent. As already noted, most readers of this text have considered it to be aimed at the Greeks. Yet even before he mentions the accusations of the Greeks, he avers that he is providing an elementary introduction for new converts to Christianity.
The apology offered in the Praeparatio does not pretend to be addressed to non-Christians. Books 5—9 have been transmitted as Books 1—4 of the Prophetic Eclogues a title which Eusebius himself gives evnagelica books[ 61 ] while the tenth book may have survived as the misnamed Commentary on Luke —though this is far from certain. Throughout the extant portions of the General Elementary IntroductionEussbius follows the method of quoting from select passages of Scripture and then offering brief comments, sometimes of only a line or so, on the importance of the passage in light of the incarnation and establishment of the Church.
Especially within a context of rival interpretations of these texts by heretics and Jews, the inexperienced recruits to the faith would have found the Evangelca writings troubling.
Among Christian thinkers, the one-time head of the Aristotelian school at Alexandria and later bishop of Syrian Laodicea, Anatolius, had, according to Eusebius, composed Arithmetical Introductionswhich evinced his great learning in divine things. From what does mathematics receive its name? How many parts of mathematics are there? Occupying no single literary form or rigid structure, [ 87 ] these works mark the creativity and assiduity of educators in a eusebiius of subjects and within varied frameworks and intellectual projects.
In the same way that earlier introductions sought to simplify and schematize the classic texts of praepagatio philosophical traditions for the easy comprehension of beginners, the General Elementary Introduction made a distinctively Christocentric or rather, Logocentric approach to sometimes obscure evsngelica Hebrew texts accessible praepparatio those who desired to progress in their Christian understanding of the Scriptures.
Even though Eusebius never missed an opportunity to attack the interpretations of Jews and heretics, his aim was the instruction of those who had commenced their schooling in the faith.
Eusebius had correspondingly began the Praeparatio with the claim that he was seeking to answer the question, What is Christianity? His answer to this question took in the big picture—in fact, he sought to set his answer within world-historical terms, beginning with the greatest antiquity and following the histories of the nations up to his present day.
Such a broad scope would require the many books of both the Praeparatio and the Demonstratio Evangelica. In each, Eusebius exercised his vast literary knowledge to guide esebius through the texts of numerous traditions to help them recognize in a comprehensive manner the answer to Christian identity. The Praeparatio guided Christian students in learning to read the texts of the religious and philosophical traditions that competed for their attention in a way that Eusebius felt would be distinctively Christian, and as such, distinctively rational, wise and pious.
How was a Christian to understand the teachings of Plato or the other philosophical schools Books 11—15? How was a Christian to make sense of the three-fold division of theology under mythological, allegorical and political rubrics Books 1—6? Greek theological thought had developed in complex and seductive ways. Evangelifa were the questions guiding the Praeparatiowith its lengthy quotations and brief comments, its attention to contradictions between texts even of the same authorand its constant sign-posting and observance of the structure and progression of its citational argument.
Reading in the company of Eusebius, the master of ancient texts, we learn that the myths are actually histories of humans not gods, that the allegories were only embarrassed attempts to ;raeparatio up this fact, that the theology of the polis cults was rooted in daemonic activity, [ 96 ] that Plato merely borrowed from Hebrew wisdom though imperfectlythat the philosophical schools ptaeparatio riddled with contradictions and discord, that the Hebrew writings alone contained ancient wisdom and truth.
Because of his popularity as a teacher, Origen was forced to divide the students. Evngelica Thaumaturgus eusebiux his experience while a student of Origen as following the tripartite curricular structure of logic, physics, ethics, [ ] and then culminating in theological studies based upon the Scriptures.
Praeparatio evangelica – Wikipedia
The Praeparatio carried, therefore, a two-fold function: Special emphasis needs to be given here to what Eusebius intends with a title like Praeparatio Evangelicasince there has been no little confusion about what Eusebius is doing in the Praeparatio. That the Church, which was afterwards gathered by his own power out of all nations, though not yet seen nor established in the times when he was living as man among men, should be invincible and undismayed, prxeparatio should never be conquered by death, but stand and abide unshaken, settled and rooted upon his own power as upon a rock that cannot be shaken or broken.
Savage barbarians whom even Hellenism had been unable to civilize were domesticated through the gently illuminating rays of the Logos. The consequences of the Gospel teaching were both powerful and swift, and provided Eusebius with a more effective apologetic tool than mere words. These identities and this history were ultimately rooted in, and conveyed by, a master narrative of great complexity and evanelica, woven by Eusebius from the many textual strands of his sources.
The nations they had left especially Phoenicians, Egyptians and Greeks were found wanting: Even the nation of the Jews was portrayed in similarly dark colors. Christ had restored the ancient Hebrew politeia and his teachings had quickly run through all the nations. His apologia in answer to hostile antagonists served simultaneously as an introduction to identity. Yet, from the account given in the Praeparatio one would never know of these political realities.
His vision of the identities of Christians and others was sustained, comprehensive and total. The First Christian Histories: Iamblichi Chalcidensis in Platonis dialogos commentariorum fragmenta Leiden: The Handbook of Platonism Oxford: Edwards edsApproaching Late Antiquity Oxford: Apologetics in the Roman Empire Oxford: Price edsApologetics in the Roman Empire Oxford: George edsContinuity and Discontinuity in Church History: Essays Presented to G.
Stroumsa edsContra Iudaeos. Eusebius of Caesarea Against the Pagans Leiden: Stroumsa edsHomer, the Bible, and Beyond Leiden: Einleitung und Praeparaio Basel: Griffin edsPhilosophia Togata II. Plato and Aristotle at Rome Oxford: Teachers and Texts in the Ancient World London: Euseb von Caesarea und die Juden. Anonymous Prolegomena to Platonic Philosophy Amsterdam: The concept itself owes much to the rhetorical articulations of Evanglica authors, at the forefront of whom Eusebius stands.
See generally, Perrone, For the editions of the HEsee Louth, See the paper by Christopher P. Jones in this volume. For the attribution of Ps. For the sources available to Eusebius, see Carriker, See the bibliographical notice at Johnson, Irenaeus may have been attempting something similar eusebiys his Demonstratio ; see Graham, See also, PE See Josephus, Contra Apionem 1.
Eusebius would use the method elsewhere; see his comments referring to the Contra Marcellum at Eccl. On Greek theft, see especially Book 10; on Greek deviation and discord, see In general see the collection of essays in Edwards, ; with Cameron,