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I think we should clarify that the "Eusebians" mentioned here the Arian-leaning followers of Eusebius of Nicomedia, not the followers of the titular Eusebius of Caesarea. --Peter
- "but with the beginning of the Arian controversies he becomes prominent. Arius appealed to him as his protector, and from a letter of Eusebius to Alexander it is evident that he aided the exiled presbyter" said Wikipedia. Bbut Socrates Scholasticus the historian says: "Eusebius in particular was a zealous defender of it [Arianism]: not he of Cæsarea, but the one who had before been bishop of the church at Berytus, and was then somehow in possession of the bishopric of Nicomedia in Bithynia." Thank you peter. So I've removed the italicized bit. Wetman 20:12, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)
- Removed: He is also supposed to have found in the records of Edessa the letters purporting to be written back and forth by its king Abgar and Jesus. He merely mentions the tradition: see Abgarus of Edessa. My many small tweaks are pretty minor. --Wetman 16:22, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)
No mention of the fact that Eusebius is widely discredited as a historian, except among Christian apologists, is permissable at Wikipedia. The following sourced text quoting a respected historian has been suppressed as "too partisan to stand ":
- " As Professor Michael J. Hollerich writes in Church History, Vol. 59, 1990, "Ever since Jacob Burckhardt dismissed him as "the first thoroughly dishonest historian of antiquity," Eusebius has been an inviting target for students of the Constantinian era. At one time or another they have characterized him as a political propagandist, a good courtier, the shrewd and worldly adviser of the Emperor Constantine, the great publicist of the first Christian emperor, the first in a long succession of ecclesiastical politicians, the herald of Byzantinism, a political theologian, a political metaphysician, and a caesaropapist. It is obvious that these are not, in the main, neutral descriptions. Much traditional scholarship, sometimes with barely suppressed disdain, has regarded Eusebius as one who risked his orthodoxy and perhaps his character because of his zeal for the Constantinian establishment."
In its place we are now invited to read the unsourced "ever since Jacob Burckhardt brutally dismissed him as "the first thoroughly dishonest historian of antiquity", a statement that has been partly subscribed by others, but by no means by all: others, while not pretending to extol his merits, have mentioned the irreplaceable value of his works"
Note how the editor affectingg such "NPOV" has not been able to resist inserting "brutally" to characterize Burckhardt—by which one may assess the authenticity of his neutrality. --Wetman 17:30, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
- Wetman: I respect both you, and the editor you are referring to here, quite a lot. I have no opinion (yet) on the relative merits of the two versions above. But knowing the editor, and knowing that he is not a native speaker of English, my first thought is that the the word "brutally" may simply be a poor choice of words, meant to describe the strength of Burckhardt's dismissal, rather than intended to be a negative judgment of his dismissal (as it would read to a native speaker). Paul August ☎ 21:51, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
- Wetman, I think that quote, if it is representative of the historiographical consensus about Eusebius, could fairly be paraphrased. But, looking up the cited article on JSTOR, you seem to have taken Hollerich's remarks completely out of context. The quote you give is part of the introductory remarks to an article whose argument is "that the standard assessment has exaggerated the importance of political themes and political motives in Eusebius's life and writings and has failed to do justice to him as a churchman and a scholar." That is to say, Hollerich was, in 1990, providing a revisionist viewpoint more sympathetic to Eusebius than the previous scholarly consensus. It seems deeply unfair to use a quote from his article as a club to further beat up on Eusebius, without even mentioning that said article is a partial defense of Eusebius. john k 08:23, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
- Just to add to it - we can't necessarily take for granted that Hollerich's summary of the consensus is accurate. At the very least, it seems likely that he is rhetorically exaggerating the extent of the anti-Eusebius consensus in order to make his own arguments seem more novel. john k 08:25, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
Greetings. My name is Giovanni and I am the editor that originally enhanced this article, which I noted was originally copied in whole from a religious based textbook, and thus contained the expected bias in favor of Eusebius. In it there was no mention of important criticisms, including well-known facts concerning his practices as a historian. Indeed, in the section originally titled "His excellence and limitations" it only further spoke about his excellence, in a repetitive fashion. I was surprised at the one sided nature of the article.
In order to make it more balanced, I removed at least one clearly NPOV sentence which was simply true (found in another section--not the above "mis-information" that someone else found earlier and removed), and made this “excellence and limitations” into only "His Limitation," with the referenced quotation cited above, and some additional external links including the encyclopedia Britannica (which, btw, states as a fact that he was not a great historian and that his historical work are really apologetics. This, ofcourse, does not mention other notorious facets that implicate Eusabius in fraud. Still, I left this issue for people to read by including it in the "other links" section. After my edits, I felt it was balanced and worthy of what I expected to find in an encyclopedia, and which we do find in most other encyclopedias.
It appears there will now be some contention over which version is better? I'm new to Wikipedia, but love the idea and find it very useful. Forgive me if I'm still learning the proper protocol for resolving disputes in content. I see may have erred by simply reverting back to my version instead of seeking to find consensus here. I do think its much better as it stands now from an informative and balanced perspective. I’ll abide by what the community thinks is best as I’m sure we have all the same common goal here.
I think there will always be inherent bias in any subject and the best way to ensure a type of neutrality is to provide full disclosure of the relevant and supported issues surrounding a subject in keeping with widely accepted standards and practices among professional organizations that are experts in the respective fields. Otherwise, it is really POV, like the article I originally found that had no mention of of the fact that Eusebius is a widely discredited as a historian. Only among Christian apologists is this not mentioned, which as a group are by defintion carrying on the same axe-grinding tradition that Eusebius himself did in his time. This ofcourse is not NPOV, and Wiki is a secular Encylopeadia. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 188.8.131.52 (talk • contribs) . on 07:59, January 5, 2006 (UTC)
- Hi Giovanni. I'm the evil POV-pusher ;-) I don't think that anybody reasonable can accuse you of wanting to edit a so partisan text: a big problem of Wikipedia is that many (maybe most) Christianity-related articles have been built with the Catholic Encyclopaedia, the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge and the Dictionary of Christian Biography, all written by good Christians about a century ago. To this must be added that legions of Christian and anti-Christian apologist are roaming around these articles, a good reason to explain why I generally try to keep at large from this period. Going to Eusebius, nobody really doubts he was a quite mediocre historian, and I think I kept that clear when I edited your contribution: but one count is to say that is scholarship was no great thing and his works have a mainly apologetic intent, one that to accuse him of being a liar, as is easy to make him appear with the use of highly selective citations. In particular, I must confess I found hard to stomach: "Much traditional scholarship, sometimes with barely suppressed disdain, has regarded Eusebius as one who risked his orthodoxy and perhaps his character because of his zeal for the Constantinian establishment". It all to easy to awnser that Eusebius was a Semi-Arian because he believed in it, and is being attacked for this. And by the way, what is "traditional scholarship"? Modern scholars may criticise him for his scholarship, but certainly not having risked his "orthodoxy".
- Obviously Giovanni,I can't pretend to be neutral, because as you rightly said, nobody can pretend to be, and NPOV is only utopia. To conclude, why don't you log-in and take a username: it will make you able to partecipate to all wiki activities. With this I'm finished. Bye :-) Aldux 12:39, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
Having read john k objection above, if what he says is correct, then it does seem to me that the Hollerich quote is being used out of context, I wonder if the following might be a more balanced version of the "Limitations" section:
- His limitations
- The limitations of Eusebius could be said to flow from his position as the first court appointed Christian theologian in the service of the Constantine Roman Empire. Although Church historians were able to copy him, Eusebius is generally not considered a great historian. His treatment of heresy, for example, is inadequate, and he knew very little about the Western church. His historical works are really apologetics. Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 8, chapter 2, reminds us, "We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity."
- In his Praeparatio evangelica (xii, 31), Eusebius has a section on the use of fictions (pseudos) as a "medicine", which may be "lawful and fitting" to use . With that in mind, it is still difficult to assess Eusebius' conclusions and veracity by confronting him with his predecessors and contemporaries, for texts of previous chroniclers, notably Papias, whom he denigrated, and Hegesippus, on whom he relied, have disappeared; they survive largely in the form of the quotes of their work that Eusebius selected and thus they are to be seen only through the lens of Eusebius.
- These and other issues have invited controversy. For example, Jacob Burckhardt has dismissed Eusebus as "the first thoroughly dishonest historian of antiquity". Burckhardt is not alone in holding such a view. However, Professor Michael J. Hollerich thinks such criticisms go to far. Writing in "Church History" (Vol. 59, 1990), he says that ever since Burckhardt, "Eusebius has been an inviting target for students of the Constantinian era. At one time or another they have characterized him as a political propagandist, a good courtier, the shrewd and worldly adviser of the Emperor Constantine, the great publicist of the first Christian emperor, the first in a long succession of ecclesiastical politicians, the herald of Byzantinism, a political theologian, a political metaphysician, and a caesaropapist. It is obvious that these are not, in the main, neutral descriptions. Much traditional scholarship, sometimes with barely suppressed disdain, has regarded Eusebius as one who risked his orthodoxy and perhaps his character because of his zeal for the Constantinian establishment." He concludes that "the standard assessment has exaggerated the importance of political themes and political motives in Eusebius's life and writings and has failed to do justice to him as a churchman and a scholar".
- While many have shared Burckhartdt's assessment, others, while not pretending to extol his merits, have acknowledged the irreplaceable value of his works.
- I think it's almost perfect. I only have some doubts with Although Church historians were able to copy him. This is quite an understatement: Eusebius' historical works (Church history and Chronicon) were not only used, but had an immense influence, making him possibly the most influential historian for the Middle Ages. The following church historians (Sozomenus, Socrates, Theodoretus) all had Eusebius as their model; and Jerome translated his Chronicon, proposing the model for the medieval world chronicles. But maybe his influence for posterity should be treated in a separate section that could be titled "His influence" or "His legacy". For now we could change where is Although Church historians were able to copy him to Notwithstanding the great influence of his works. What do the other think about this? Aldux 22:00, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
- I owe Aldux a public apology: my fuse is simply too short, and my insinuation of disingenuous language was unjustified. Once individuals have been canonized, a machinery comes into play that tends to suppress all criticism: thus I'm over-sensitized in this area. Aldux's point about the three old-fashioned sources used in Wikipedia articles is well-taken: I constantly use them myself, trying to limit my use to what is factual. You all have really improved this passage. Perhaps John Kenney can give us a better-rounded picture of Hollerich's assessment of Eusebius' reputation. Of only a handful of historians is their subsequent reputation as important as it is with Eusebius. --Wetman 04:32, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
- No problem, Wetman :-) Aldux 10:59, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree that this passage sounds close to perfect. The only part that I suggest is to keep the original "Eusebius was not himself a great historian." I think this fact is not in dispute among historians, and is more honest and direct than the language, "generally considred..." Nonetheless, it still says everything I thought was originally missing, and yet is now presented in a much better way overall. Thank you Paul, Wetman, Aldux, and John for making this happen. This yet another fine example of wikipedia in action: many minds being better than one as we place checks and balances on our own biases, forcing a far better product in the end. Giovanni33 13:44, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
I have edited the main article page to reflect the above proposals, and removed the POV tag on the section. Giovanni33 00:44, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
I have to agree with Wetman that the entire article on Eusebius is heavily biased in favour of the "orthodox" point of view. Around the time of Eusebius, there was a raging battle between the Gnostic Christians and the Literalist Christians. Of course, as in all battles, the victor gets to write the history. So, in this case, Eusebius took on the task of writing a history of the early Church that made it appear that the Literalists were there first, and that the Gnostics later perverted the message, but were overcome by the "orthodox" believers i.e. those who followed the teachings of the bishops. Eusebius himself admitted that he included only the material that supported his point of view and excluded anything contrary except where it was unavoidable. Thus, we have the foundation of Church History that has prevailed ever since. Never mind that Eusebius was a noted forger. Never mind that the interpolations in Josephus were quite likely by the hand of Eusebius himself. Eusebius had a task - to prove that the Literalist Church was the original one, and he certainly wasn't bothered by any evidence to the contrary. I have no doubt that the received version of Church History, built on the foundation laid by Eusebius, merely continues the fraud and deception. --Williambanting 08:23, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Hi Adux. I did not know about that policy about my Britanical link. Can you point me to where it says that a link, such as to Britanica, can not be used unless it's a free link, even though its available free as a cached on a google search? Thanks. I left this message on your talk page, also. Giovanni33 01:17, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
The limitations section seems to be mainly about the accusations of dishonesty, which is a pity. I've augmented this, and qualified the somewhat out-of-context quotes. I hope that this doesn't upset anyone? (those quotes in the context that we had are very misleading, if you read the context around them). I've added a bit on allegations about forged quotations in the Vita, but I don't have a reference. Anyone? Roger Pearse 20:38, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Jerome attacks Eusebius as "prince of Arians" in a letter to a friend. (Could I get a better explanation on this). In Jerome's De Viris Illustribus of Chapter 135 where Jerome gives a short autobiography, he says he is the son of Eusebius; however this article does not seem to represent this. Are we talking about two different "Eusebius" or is the meaning of the word "son" here something different (perhaps 'student' instead)? --Doug talk 14:27, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
- Eusebius of Caesarea is covered in chapter 81 of DVI. Jerome is talking about himself in ch. 135, and of course his father was not the same person! (There are hundreds of people called Eusebius listed in the handbooks). As for "prince of Arians", this comes from Jerome's "Second Apology Against Rufinus". But it's a polemical phrase designed to undermine Rufinus, not representing Jerome's settled views. Roger Pearse 16:42, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
Before I revert, I'd like to see where this compromise is--I don't see anything new on talk. From what I can see above, the version I restored was the long standing compromise that was worked out (with me, yourself (Aldux), and other editors, Wetman, Kennedy.)--and this is what was what was changed unilaterally by one editor. The compromise we reached at that time is preserved in my edits, and I incorporated/kept most of the changes that were made to it, restoring the essential parts which I see no consenses or discussion to remove. Where is this new discussion about any new compromise reached? The material I restored is information that was removed by the editor as not being accurate, but I have now attached a source, Britanica, that supports the fact, upon restoring it. Unless there are some very good reaons, I will most certainly be restoring my edits later today. If there was really a new compromise worked out, and you are not mistaken, then we need to review this because it can not entail the removal of valid, referenced facts. The organization that was changed has some problems, as well, which is what I have fixed in my latest edit on reorganization. I now flows logically. I am happy to open up any disputes you have for discussion, again. Giovanni33 16:30, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
- I've been a bit rash in the revert, I must admit, even if I have some reservations that the way the pseudos are presented is not fully npov in my view, as there is more than one interpretation possible; anyways, I will not revert your edit if you go back to the previous version. Ciao,--Aldux 21:46, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
- Thank you Aldux, and no harm done. I'd be happy to have any changes you suggest to make the presentation of pseudos fully NPOV, even this means making clear that there are other interpretations. We only need to find a source that says so. Ciao.Giovanni33 22:33, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
I can't figure that out, but it looks like it will accumulate various commentaries and present various POV issues. Jacob Haller 18:39, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
The intro described him as "forging unity among orthodox advocates". But this sounds very odd; he had no interest in this, as his "Adversus Marcellum" makes plain, but in ensuring that the semi-Arian position was upheld against what he saw as the Sabellianism of people like Marcellus of Anycra. It's worth remembering that he was a marginal figure in his own day. He had no interest in this sort of thing. His importance has always been as a writer. Roger Pearse 10:06, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Is this Eusebius the same as the author of the Onomasticon mentioned in this link? If it is, should it be included in the article? (I'm well out of my depth here, so apologies for my ignorance). Manning (talk) 11:11, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
- He is the same Eusebius. The work was mentioned under Exegetical and miscellaneous works, but the title Onomasticon wasn't used there, so I've added it. EALacey (talk) 13:36, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
It seems clear to me that the Church History is worth an article of its own. Advantages: can then expand, without concerns about the balance of this article; can also be linked to easily (and robustly). Would there be any objections to a split? Charles Matthews (talk) 12:42, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
- The first step is to leave a concise version of the section here, with a Main aricle hatnote. Only cannibalizing articles creates problems. --Wetman (talk) 13:01, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
- Seems like a reasonable proposal, if more detail is to be added (although perhaps the thing to do is add more detail, then reformat?). But won't this mean duplicating some of the pro-/anti-Eusebius stuff? Roger Pearse 08:48, 27 February 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Roger Pearse (talk • contribs)
The statement "This is a very strange way to begin a historical narrative proving that Eusebius was attempting to push his own ideas regarding the church into a text." is a value judgement. There is history behind why Eusebius would emphasis the issue of the "divinity and pre-existence of Jesus Christ." The issue of whether Jesus was begotten or not was a huge debate at the time.
This is the complete translated text from Church History (Eusebius) on the letter from Jesus:
Chapter 13. Narrative concerning the Prince of the Edessenes. 1. The divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ being noised abroad among all men on account of his wonder-working power, he attracted countless numbers from foreign countries lying far away from Judea, who had the hope of being cured of their diseases and of all kinds of sufferings. 2. For instance the King Abgarus, who ruled with great glory the nations beyond the Euphrates, being afflicted with a terrible disease which it was beyond the power of human skill to cure, when he heard of the name of Jesus, and of his miracles, which were attested by all with one accord sent a message to him by a courier and begged him to heal his disease. 3. But he did not at that time comply with his request; yet he deemed him worthy of a personal letter in which he said that he would send one of his disciples to cure his disease, and at the same time promised salvation to himself and all his house. 4. Not long afterward his promise was fulfilled. For after his resurrection from the dead and his ascent into heaven, Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, under divine impulse sent Thaddeus, who was also numbered among the seventy disciples of Christ, to Edessa, as a preacher and evangelist of the teaching of Christ. 5. And all that our Saviour had promised received through him its fulfillment. You have written evidence of these things taken from the archives of Edessa, which was at that time a royal city. For in the public registers there, which contain accounts of ancient times and the acts of Abgarus, these things have been found preserved down to the present time. But there is no better way than to hear the epistles themselves which we have taken from the archives and have literally translated from the Syriac language in the following manner. Copy of an epistle written by Abgarus the ruler to Jesus, and sent to him at Jerusalem by Ananiasthe swift courier. 6. "Abgarus, ruler of Edessa, to Jesus the excellent Saviour who has appeared in the country of Jerusalem, greeting. I have heard the reports of you and of your cures as performed by you without medicines or herbs. For it is said that you make the blind to see and the lame to walk, that you cleanse lepers and cast out impure spirits and demons, and that you heal those afflicted with lingering disease, and raise the dead. 7. And having heard all these things concerning you, I have concluded that one of two things must be true: either you are God, and having come down from heaven you do these things, or else you, who does these things, are the Son of God. 8. I have therefore written to you to ask you if you would take the trouble to come to me and heal the disease which I have. For I have heard that the Jews are murmuring against you and are plotting to injure you. But I have a very small yet noble city which is great enough for us both." The answer of Jesus to the ruler Abgarus by the courier Ananias. 9. "Blessed are you who hast believed in me without having seen me. For it is written concerning me, that they who have seen me will not believe in me, and that they who have not seen me will believe and be saved. But in regard to what you have written me, that I should come to you, it is necessary for me to fulfill all things here for which I have been sent, and after I have fulfilled them thus to be taken up again to him that sent me. But after I have been taken up I will send to you one of my disciples, that he may heal your disease and give life to you and yours." Further accounts 10. To these epistles there was added the following account in the Syriac language. "After the ascension of Jesus, Judas, who was also called Thomas, sent to him Thaddeus, an apostle, one of the Seventy. When he was come he lodged with Tobias, the son of Tobias. When the report of him got abroad, it was told Abgarus that an apostle of Jesus was come, as he had written him. 11. Thaddeus began then in the power of God to heal every disease and infirmity, insomuch that all wondered. And when Abgarus heard of the great and wonderful things which he did and of the cures which he performed, he began to suspect that he was the one of whom Jesus had written him, saying, 'After I have been taken up I will send to you one of my disciples who will heal you.' 12. Therefore, summoning Tobias, with whom Thaddeus lodged, he said, I have heard that a certain man of power has come and is lodging in your house. Bring him to me. And Tobias coming to Thaddeus said to him, The ruler Abgarus summoned me and told me to bring you to him that you might heal him. And Thaddeus said, I will go, for I have been sent to him with power. 13. Tobias therefore arose early on the following day, and taking Thaddeus came to Abgarus. And when he came, the nobles were present and stood about Abgarus. And immediately upon his entrance a great vision appeared to Abgarus in the countenance of the apostle Thaddeus. When Abgarus saw it he prostrated himself before Thaddeus, while all those who stood about were astonished; for they did not see the vision, which appeared to Abgarus alone. 14. He then asked Thaddeus if he were in truth a disciple of Jesus the Son of God, who had said to him, 'I will send you one of my disciples, who shall heal you and give you life.' And Thaddeus said, Because you have mightily believed in him that sent me, therefore have I been sent unto you. And still further, if you believe in him, the petitions of your heart shall be granted you as you believe. 15. And Abgarus said to him, So much have I believed in him that I wished to take an army and destroy those Jews who crucified him, had I not been deterred from it by reason of the dominion of the Romans. And Thaddeus said, Our Lord has fulfilled the will of his Father, and having fulfilled it has been taken up to his Father. And Abgarus said to him, I too have believed in him and in his Father. 16. And Thaddeus said to him, Therefore I place my hand upon you in his name. And when he had done it, immediately Abgarus was cured of the disease and of the suffering which he had. 17. And Abgarus marvelled, that as he had heard concerning Jesus, so he had received in very deed through his disciple Thaddeus, who healed him without medicines and herbs, and not only him, but also Abdus the son of Abdus, who was afflicted with the gout; for he too came to him and fell at his feet, and having received a benediction by the imposition of his hands, he was healed. The same Thaddeus cured also many other inhabitants of the city, and did wonders and marvelous works, and preached the word of God. 18. And afterward Abgarus said, You, O Thaddeus, do these things with the power of God, and we marvel. But, in addition to these things, I pray you to inform me in regard to the coming of Jesus, how he was born; and in regard to his power, by what power he performed those deeds of which I have heard. 19. And Thaddeus said, Now indeed will I keep silence, since I have been sent to proclaim the word publicly. But tomorrow assemble for me all your citizens, and I will preach in their presence and sow among them the word of God, concerning the coming of Jesus, how he was born; and concerning his mission, for what purpose he was sent by the Father; and concerning the power of his works, and the mysteries which he proclaimed in the world, and by what power he did these things; and concerning his new preaching, and his abasement and humiliation, and how he humbled himself, and died and debased his divinity and was crucified, and descended into Hades, and burst the bars which from eternity had not been broken, and raised the dead; for he descended alone, but rose with many, and thus ascended to his Father. 20. Abgarus therefore commanded the citizens to assemble early in the morning to hear the preaching of Thaddeus, and afterward he ordered gold and silver to be given him. But he refused to take it, saying, If we have forsaken that which was our own, how shall we take that which is another's? These things were done in the three hundred and fortieth year." I have inserted them here in their proper place, translated from the Syriac literally, and I hope to good purpose.
- As a clarification, this is the reply from Jesus, taken from the above. The answer of Jesus to the ruler Abgarus by the courier Ananias.:
9. "Blessed are you who hast believed in me without having seen me. For it is written concerning me, that they who have seen me will not believe in me, and that they who have not seen me will believe and be saved. But in regard to what you have written me, that I should come to you, it is necessary for me to fulfill all things here for which I have been sent, and after I have fulfilled them thus to be taken up again to him that sent me. But after I have been taken up I will send to you one of my disciples, that he may heal your disease and give life to you and yours."
- Please look at the reason user Wetman gave near the top of this Talk page under the heading "Misinformation". He removed the following statement from the article
"He is also supposed to have found in the records of Edessa the letters purporting to be written back and forth by its king Abgar and Jesus."
and then wrote "Misinformation" "He merely mentions the tradition...".
The original statement in the article was accurate and there was insufficient justification for removing it. This entry by Eusebius is well documented, and there have been many scholarly evaluations of it over centuries.
The opinion given that Eusebius "merely mentions the tradition" is contradicted by the opening sentences of the narrative, and is not sufficient reason to delete any mention of this controversial portion of Church History. Claire Perrier (talk) 20:27, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
- I've already said "Once individuals have been canonized, a machinery comes into play that tends to suppress all criticism." The spurious "correspondence" is well-known and needn't be characterised as fraudulent by me. --Wetman Wetman (talk) 03:30, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I've removed the following statement from the limitations section:
- Eusebius is often regarded as the first court-appointed Christian theologian in the service of the Constantine Roman Empire, seeing the Empire and the Imperial Church as closely bonded. (Dead ref: http://www.britannica.com/shakespeare/article-67584)
I've taken it out since there is no passage in Britannica that contains this statement or anything like it, and I don't believe that it is true: he wasn't appointed as anything by the court, but remained a provincial bishop all his life. The caesaro-papist idea in the above seems anachronistic for the reign of Constantine.
There ought to be something about his view of Constantine, but this isn't it; and I'm not sure that his views amount to a limitation anyway. Whatever we say, it should be referenced, particularly if derogatory. Roger Pearse 20:18, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
The following text, itself somewhat POV, turns out to have a fake reference in it:
- Notwithstanding the great influence of his works on others, the accuracy of Eusebius' accounts remains in doubt [ref] by virtue of various admissions in his texts.
The reference given for the statement "the accuracy of Eusebius' accounts remains in doubt" was this:
- cite web|url=http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9033282%7Ctitle=Eusebius Of Caesarea|publisher=Britannica Online Encyclopedia|accessdate=2008-02-01
No such statement is to be found in the Britannica article, which instead emphasises the importance of his work, albeit that clarity isn't one of his virtues. I have therefore moved the paragraph here and replaced the positive statement that his accuracy is in doubt (which if true would probably be the opinion of someone, and should appear in the body of the discussion with a statement of who says so) by a bland and neutral phrase leading into the discussion of his limitations. Roger Pearse 15:58, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
- The "remains in doubt" statement may have been based on the following text from the Britannica article: "Eusebius, however, was not a great historian. His treatment of heresy, for example, is inadequate, and he knew next to nothing about the Western church." However, these are more specific criticisms than the general remark about accuracy that you altered, and don't correspond to the criticisms raised in the rest of the "Limitations" section. I think your edit is an improvement. EALacey (talk) 17:42, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
- You're probably right; thanks. Roger Pearse
My reading, from other pages around this matter, seem to indicate that the text as it stands, is incorrect, probably based on the confusingly worded run-on sentence in the Eustatius article. AFAICS, the sequence was that, Eustathius, the anti-Arian, attacked both Origen and Eusebius for "Arianism" and Eusebius layed the counter-charge of Sabellianism against Eustathius, just as Arius had charged Alexander of Antioch. Needs a reference.Helvetius (talk) 16:25, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I see that the limitations section has been quietly worked over from a POV point of view. I'm going to restore it to something in the form that it used to have; lists of people for and against, and what the general view is. I also mistrust that reference to Burgess' book; I don't think Richard Burgess holds that view. Roger Pearse 13:32, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Wasn't this the Eusebius who is generally accepted to have forged a mention of Jesus in the histories of Josephus, because Eusebius felt that more evidence of Jesus's life had to be manufactured? Why is neither 'Josephus' nor 'forgery' mentioned in this article? Or do I have the wrong Eusebius? - Brian Kendig (talk) 21:12, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
- Yes, the same Eusebius. But the question about his part in the writing of the Testimonium Flavianum (as the passage in question is known) is contentious. Many impartial commentators would say these passages are not forgeries at all. Of those who think they are it is mere hypothesis that they are to be ascribed to Eusebius. He is blamed largely because his is the first historical record of the TF.
- Consequently, any entry on the subject in the article would need to be well researched and supported by reliable sources which put both sides of the argument.
- For more: see this blog entry and Jeff Lowder's piece at "infidels.org" (scroll down to (b) to see Lowder's discussion of the TF). see also Josephus on Jesus
- Disclaimer: I take no side in this debate, merely wanted to illuminate the scope of the problem.
"Eusebius is also reported to have written later that at times it is a "necessary medicine" that historians fabricate history." What is the source for this? The only reference I can find is from a respondant to a blog of Richard Carrier's who never replied to the statement. http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2008/12/jesus-project.html Kroy Ellis, 5 May 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 05:44, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
- That citation is from the title of Eusebius' Praeparatio Evangelica Book 12:23. I emphasise title because the words may well be the work of a later editor/copyist rather than those of Eusebius himself.
- The more important question is, "what does Eusebius himself actually say in the text Prae. Ev. 12:23?"
- First thing is the obvious: Eusebius was writing in Greek, not English. He used the Greek "pseudos" which is more neutral than the English "falsehood". It can be translated "fiction" - see under "Autenrieth" at the Perseus lexicon entry for pseudos.
- Turning to Prae. Ev. 12:23 we find that Eusebius is continuing his commentary on Plato in order to show that the practices of Christians are morally acceptable according to Plato's standards. He notes that Plato advocated the use of "falsehoods" (pseudoi) by lawgivers in order to keep the young on the straight and narrow. Eusebius argues, therefore, the ancient Hebrew use of "falsehoods" (pseudoi) to teach about God is justified.
- Point one: Eusebius is not advocating the use of dishonesty in historical reportage, he is defending the use of "falsehoods" (pseudoi) by the ancient Hebrew scriptures.
- What is interesting is the sort of "falsehoods" that Eusebius has in mind: "Now you may find in the Hebrew Scriptures also thousands of such passages concerning God as though He were jealous, or sleeping, or angry, or subject to any other human passions, which passages are adopted for the benefit of those who need this mode of instruction."
- Point Two: Eusebius is attempting to justify what Christian theologians refer to as "accomodation" - the practice of speaking about God using "accomodated" (or "human") language.
- So, really, Eusebius is arguing that the use of fiction (pseudos) in the form of accomodated language by the Hebrews was justified according to the standards of Platonic philosophy. Any attempt to extend this to imply that Eusebius himself felt free to make up material in order to justify his argument in the Church History is, in my opinion, a monumental overreach. The slight on Eusebius' honesty is unjustified and should be put to bed.
- See Eusebius the Liar? for a fuller treatement.
- Wow. Great research on the source of this statement.
- My understanding of what you found, to sum it up -- It appears that:
- 1. There is no evidence that Eusebius ever stated "that at times it is a "necessary medicine" that historians fabricate history." or believed/practiced this himself (based on this unproven quotation anyway), but rather was reporting on what Plato believed. The statement never appears in the text of the referenced book, but is referring to Plato's views in a chapter title. Looking at the entire chapter list, it's obvious that he is writing about Plato, as you pointed out. Excerpts translated by Gifford as follows:
- I. That the Hebrews, according to Plato, were right in imparting to beginners the belief in their instructions in a simple form because of their incapacity p. 573 b
- II. That faith, according even to Plato, is the greatest of virtues
- . . .
- XXXI. That it will be necessary sometimes to use falsehood as a remedy for the benefit of those who require such a mode of treatment p. 607 d
- . . .
- XXXIV. How Plato changed the oracles in Proverbs into a more Hellenic form.
- . . .
- 2. (Your conclusion) "Eusebius is arguing that the use of fiction (pseudos) in the form of accomodated language by the Hebrews was justified according to the standards of Platonic philosophy."
- "Any attempt to extend this to imply that Eusebius himself felt free to make up material in order to justify his argument in the Church History is, in my opinion, a monumental overreach. The slight on Eusebius' honesty is unjustified and should be put to bed."
- The statement, supposedly written by Eusebius, makes it look like he has used fables/falsehoods whenever it suited his purposes. It most likely was never written by him, thus unjustly disparaging all of his historical works. It doesn't belong in the article and should be removed imo. Kroy Ellis --220.127.116.11 (talk) 07:16, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
The issue actually comes up twice in the article. There's a treatment under Limitations as well as the statement under the lead for the section works. My sense is that the second comment can be deleted because it's redundant, it's un-referenced, and as worded it's misleading for this reason: the title isn't a specific claim about acceptable practices in writing history, but a general claim about use of pseudos in any context - that is, it states "it will be necessary sometimes to use falsehood as a remedy for the benefit of those who require such a mode of treatment" NOT "at times it is a "necessary medicine" that historians fabricate history". Given that Eusebius is dealing with Plato's remarks on the use of pseudos by lawgivers, clearly the scope is broader than just writing history.
This would leave the second treatment under "Limitations" where it probably belongs. Although, even there I'd want to expand the material to indicate the significance of the fact that the "necessary medicine" remark occurs in the header, to point out that the Prae. Ev. is (roughly speaking) a commentary on Plato, and to elucidate the point Eusebius was actually making in the body of the text.
Actually, given all of this, you might (stress "might"!) have an argument for deleting any reference to "necessary medicine" as potentially an out of context misrepresentation (see here) - but personally I think that sort of approach borders on gaming the system. In any case, the allegation is just going to keep coming back, so better would be to cite WP:RS that show that the criticisms of Eusebius here are really quite tendentious. That, I think, would put the matter to rest once and for all.
Thanks for the kind words about the research, by the way. Unfortunately, it's mainly WP:OR or I'd have put it in the article already! -- Muzhogg (talk) 08:34, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
- Well said. As far as this statement: "at times it is a "necessary medicine" that historians fabricate history", it comes from the above referenced blogger's comment -- No one ever wrote it but the blogger. --18.104.22.168 (talk) 17:03, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
My apologies for being contrary, but "Eusebius is also reported to have written later that at times it is a "necessary medicine" that historians fabricate history" is a citation from the article! I even referenced the offending section: works (see the last line). But I take it you mean that the comment derived from the blog and somehow worked its way into the article without somebody doing their due diligence. -- Muzhogg (talk) 23:17, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
- Right. This statement has obviously taken from the previously mentioned/referenced blog. I don't think it should be in the article. Kroy Ellis --22.214.171.124 (talk) 01:23, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
I noticed he was listed as Top-Importance under the Wikiproject: Saints. I could not find him being listed as a saint anywhere in the article, so I was wondering if he is considered a saint in Christianity such as Catholicism or Orthodoxy. Thanks126.96.36.199 (talk) 21:22, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
I went to add a citation to a more recent scholarly work, and realized that the citation style here is overly complex and could use a clean up. Anyone have any major problems if I do a little wikifying and organizing to the citations here? If I hear nothing by Thursday, I'm going to convert all the citations to Harvard citation style. It looks as though the article is already using it, but not via the Wikipedia functionality. ReformedArsenal (talk) 14:00, 13 November 2012 (UTC)