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am 4. März 2000
The G.A. Williamson translation of Eusebius' History of the Church has a few helpful features.
First, the lengthy introduction provides the 20th (21st?) century reader a framework for looking at these 4th century writings--it identifies his biases, omissions, strengths as well as his cultural context. I found that re-reading the introduction, once I finished *History of the Church,* helped greatly in clarifying the work.
Second, the "who's who in Eusebius" section aids in keeping track of the various names/saints/heretics that pop up in the pages. I got the most out of the book when looked up each new name in the "who's who" section and *slowly* read Williamsons comments. Such an approach made for slow going, but it helped me to sift through and synthesize the material. A couple of examples: I now know who Dionysius of Alexandria is and who's responsible for calculating the date of Easter.
One more note on the translation: it's supposedly much more modern and readable than others (or so says the introduction). Eusebius, supposedly, wrote in obtuse and windy Greek. As I have only read this translation, I can't compare it; but I did find this translation readable.
Interesting things along the way:
-Eusebius' has interesting comments on the development of the canon--i.e. the selection of the gospels and the epistles for that distribution known as the New Testament
-Reading Eusebius will give you an appreciation for the sufferings of the 2nd and 3rd century martyrs for simply refusing to give token acts of worship to Roman gods.
-This book does *not* contain much evidence of the "Eusebian Accomodation," the pro-government stance I'd heard about in church history class.
Overall, this book is *the* seminal church history book and worth reading, but will require some discipline to finish
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am 11. Dezember 1999
Eusebius' "History of the Church" is rightly known as "THE History of the Church." There is no other of the same breadth and depth as Eusebius'. This volume is an excellent synthesis of the works of all significant early Christian and secular historians and eyewitness accounts of the events forming the early Church. Eusebius's narrative is linear, tracking the growth of the Church from Pentecost, A.D. 32 through stages of vicious persecution until the Emperor Constantine's sanctioning of Christianity as The Roman Empire's official religion. Eusebius' prose is terse yet wonderfully erudite with an obvious bias towards the early Church--baptized in blood so that the Church today might flourish.
Eusebius tells us how the Church and the Canon of Scripture came to be. Every major Church figure, controversy, and event of significance is recorded in accurate detail. Every heresy that threatened the Church's existence is reported thoroughly, yet concisely. Eusebius was not an eyewitness to many of the events himself and therefore draws upon all available secondary sources during his time, including Josephus; Philo; Clement; and documents that later formed the Canon of Scripture. This synthesis of the ancient sources in itself is extremely valuable--Eusebius makes sense of all of Josephus' and Philo's voluminous works and puts it all together clearly for his readers.
Eusebius writes about people, and there are many in this account. From the 12 Disciples and Paul to the Church bishops to all those branded as heretics. Eusebius pays special attention to the martyrs: e.g., James, killed by Herod; Polycarp, whose death Eusebius presents a riveting account of. Eusebius also writes of those who abandoned the faith at swordpoint so that later Christians may take heed.
The text is 332 small paperback pages long, with ~9 point font but spaced 1 1/2 for comfortable reading. There are sections within each chapter (as there are in Augustine's "City of God") that help in digesting the wealth of information. The appendices contain short summaries of all major figures from A.D. 32 to Constantine, Christian and secular, and a timeline of the reigns of the Roman emperors concurrent with the terms of the Church bishops.
G.A. Williamson's footnotes are not as thorough or accurate as Kirsopp Lake's in the Loeb Series (Harvard University Press). But the Loeb Series sells for almost quadruple the price of the Penguin volume.
This is the best volume of Church history there is.
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am 3. April 2000
Dissertation On Eusebius The Church History
I found this particular book very interesting, and I encourage anyone who is in the Christian faith, or in the study of theology to pick up a copy of this book. I give the translators of this text two thumbs up, due to the fact that writings from the fourth century may sometimes grow wearisome, and result in loss of interest to the subject. The translators have taken this book which had to be reproduced from Greek, Hebrew, and Latin texts, and successfully compiled an ancient masterpiece. Eusebius has used his own account in this book, as well as other esteemed historians, with important quotes from scripture. Together they lay down facts that are without a doubt helpful for the understanding of politics, heretics, martyrdom's, persecutions, the succession of Bishops, and Emperors from Christ to Constantine. In conclusion I found this book to have a lot of twists, that swing your emotions from one level to another, which ultimately proves most satisfying, and fulfilling. So I advise you to purchase this book, it without a doubt will deem itself very profitable.
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am 13. Mai 1999
As a Christian, it is very interesting to me to know the lives of the apostles beyond the records in the Bible. What was the lives and works of Peter, Paul, John, Philip etc. in their later part of life times? Who were their student and what they had done? It is especailly attracting me for the record of a letter written by Jesus Himself to a king in Esseda! If it is really a fact, it is very interesting. A letter written by Jesus! Can you imagine that. I have search the topic on the web and I had found similar result. So, to review Jesus and His apostles' livings in a view of history record, to get the more information about the New Testament beyond the record in the Bible, this book is highly recommended. In the later part of the book, a continuing records of heresies and prosecutions and martyrdom are quit informative. However, beyond those figures that we are familiar with, the later part of the book is quit boring to me and hard to be finished.
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am 3. Mai 2000
As I was reading "When Jesus Became God", the name of Eusebius, and his work on Church history, appeared repeatedly. I told myself that I would have to read this work, to get further insight into the early history of the Church. I'm very happy that I did, for this book, even though it is 1700 years old, is extremely interesting and informative on very early Church history. Many, many names were unfamiliar to me, but the helpful "Who's Who" in the back was a life saver. Constantly consulting it extended my reading time to double what it would have been otherwise, but I couldn't have understood the work as well without the assistance. If you're at all interested in this period of Church history, you must read this book!
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am 30. Juli 1999
Eusebius of Caesarea, a bishop in Palestine, wrote this history of the world in the fourth century. As a contemporary of the Emperor St. Constantine, Eusebius lived through the severe persecution that preceded Constantine's legalization of the Church; his view, so influential in the following 16 centuries, was that Constantine was a new Moses, come to lead the Church out of the Captivity of Roman official persecution and into the promised land of state endorsement. He was surely right that St. Constantine's support was epochal, perhaps the most important decision in shaping the world in which we live today. This is a great book (and anyone who knows his Church history will know the names all the way through). Read it, you'll love it!
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am 12. Oktober 2011
Eusebius' account is of course of inestimable value to anyone interested in the Early Church. The essential scholarly introduction by Professor Andrew Louth and the comments by the gifted translator G. A. Williamson add to this by giving the reader greater insight and perspective. Also very worthwhile are the brief descriptions of the many historical figures with whom the reader may not be entirely familiar, and for quick reference the dates of the emperors and bishops of that era, not to mention the map (which could have been somewhat more detailed). In combination, these make a thoroughly enjoyable, indeed fascinating reading/research experience, shedding light on Christianity in these pivotal formative years.
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