Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. 260 – ca. 340)
Greek Church Father, bp. of Caesarea (Palestine), and author of the first History of the Church and first universal Chronicle. His Ecclesiastical History is confined to the Roman Empire; at the end of Book I it contains the earliest reference to the letter of king Abgar of Edessa to Jesus and the sending to Edessa of Thaddaios (Addai in the later Syriac work, The Teaching of Addai). Many of Eusebius’s works were translated into Syriac and some survive complete only in Syriac.
1. ‘Ecclesiastical History’ ( CPG 3495), preserved incomplete; ed. P. Bedjan (1897) and W. Wright and N. Mclean (1898); GT by E. Nestle (1901). The Armenian translation was made from Syriac, rather than Greek.
2. ‘Martyrs of Palestine’ ( CPG 3490): the long recension is preserved solely in Syriac (ed. with ET, W. Cureton ); in Greek only the short recension is found in Book X of the Ecclesiastical History.
3. ‘Theophania’ ( CPG 3488), preserved complete only in Syriac, ed. S. Lee 1842, ET 1843; GT by H. Gressmann (1904; new ed., by A. Laminski, 1992), and study by Gressmann (1903). Extracts are given in Bedjan, Mar Jacobi Sarugensis Homiliae Selectae, vol. 1, 721–69.
4. ‘Chronicle’ ( CPG 3494). The Greek original of this important work is lost, and the complete text is preserved only in Latin and Armenian translations. According to ʿAbdishoʿ this was translated by Shemʿon of Beth Garmai (6th cent.?), but according to Michael Rabo, by Yaʿqub of Edessa (who in fact continued Eusebius’s Chronicle in his own work). Only excerpts survive incorporated into Syriac chronicles (notable the Chronicle of Zuqnin, Eliya of Nisibis, and Michael Rabo); for these, see P. Keseling, ‘Die Chronik des E. in der syr. Überlieferung’, OC 3.1 (1927), 23–48, 223–41, and 3.2 (1927), 33–56; also R. W. Burgess, Studies in Eusebian and post-Eusebian Chronography, vol. 1 (1999), and W. Witakowski, ‘The Chronicle of Eusebius, its type and continuation in Syriac historiography’, ARAM 11/12 (1999/2000), 419–37.
5. ‘Onomasticon’ ( CPG 3466), on biblical place names; fragments of the Syriac translation were ed. by I. E. Rahmani (and others) in ROC 23 (1922/3), 225–70, and have been republished (in transcription) by S. Timm (TU 152; 2005).
6. ‘Letter to Carpianus’ ( CPG 3465), explaining the tables indicating concordances between the four Gospels. This ingenious system was originally devised by Ammonius, but was considerably refined in Syriac (where the tables are found in many early Gospel mss.). The Syriac text is edited by P. Pusey and G. H. Gwilliam in their edition of the Peshitta Gospels (1901), 1–21; with a study by Gwilliam in Studia Biblica 2 (1890), 241–72.
7. ‘Gospel Questions’ ( CPG 3470), dealing with the exegesis of select passages; the available Syriac excerpts were ed. by G. Beyer, in OC 2.12–14 (1925), 30–70; 3.1 and 2 (1927), 80–97, 57–69.
8. ‘Apology for Origen’ ( CPG 3476). An excerpt in Syriac translation is attributed to Gregory Thaumaturgus, ed. P. de Lagarde, Analecta Syriaca (1858), 64–5.
Two further works survive only in Syriac, but are not thought to be genuine:
9. ‘Encomium on the Martyrs’ ( CPG 3493), preserved in a ms. dated 411; ed. B. H. Cooper, in Journal of Sacred Literature 5 (1868), 404–8.
10. ‘On the Star of the Magi’ ( CPG 3507), ed. W. Wright, in Journal of Sacred Literature 4.9 (1866), 117–36; 4.10 (1867), 150–64.
According to ʿAbdishoʿ there was also a Syriac translation of Eusebius’s ‘Life of Constantine’, but this does not survive. In his ‘Preparatio Evangelica’ (not translated into Syriac) Eusebius quotes (VI.10.1–48) from a Greek translation of the ‘Book of the Laws of the Countries’, attributed to Bardaiṣan.
See Fig. 50.
- CPG 3465–3507.
- S. P. Brock, ‘Eusebius and Syriac Christianity’, in Eusebius, Christianity and Judaism, ed. H. W. Attridge and G. Hata (1992), 212–34.
- L. Van Rompay, ‘Some preliminary remarks on the origins of Classical Syriac as a standard language: the Syriac version of Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History’, in Semitic and Cushitic Studies, ed. G. Goldenberg and S. Raz (1994), 70–89.
How to Cite This Entry
Footnote Style Citation with Date:
Sebastian P. Brock, “Eusebius of Caesarea,” in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018), https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Eusebius-of-Caesarea.
Bibliography Entry Citation:
Brock, Sebastian P. “Eusebius of Caesarea.” In Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018. https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Eusebius-of-Caesarea.
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