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Religions of the Constantinian Empire$
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Mark Edwards

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687725

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687725.001.0001

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Christian versus Pagan in Eusebius of Caesarea

Christian versus Pagan in Eusebius of Caesarea

(p.3) Chapter 1 Christian versus Pagan in Eusebius of Caesarea
Religions of the Constantinian Empire

Mark Edwards

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 is the first of many in which Eusebius will be the dominant figure. After a brief review of the status quaestionis on Porphyry’s writings Against the Christians, it proceeds to an analysis of Eusebius’ Preparation for the Gospel, which repeatedly challenges both the coherence of Porphyry’s philosophy and the cultural hegemony of the Greeks The earlier books of the Preparation argue that the Greeks themselves were frequently aware of the absurdity of their religion. The account of Jewish philosophy in the middle of the work undermines the pretensions of pagan culture while furnishing Christianity with an ancient pedigree; the philosophers whose opinions are collated in the later books often bear witness to the truth of Christianity. The conclusion notes that, while the work is not overtly political, the use of the term politeia (citizenship), suggests that Christians are not truly subjects of any kingdom in this world.

Keywords:   Porphyry, Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel, philosophy, politeia, Moses, kingdom, Greeks, Jewish philosophy

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