Groups such as the Donatists in North Africa , for example, refused to recognize as Christians those who had sacrificed to the emperor or turned over holy books during the persecutions. The attitude of the earliest Christians toward paganism and the imperial government was complicated by their close association with Greco-Roman literary and artistic culture: it was difficult to attack the former without seeming to criticize the latter.
Nevertheless, the Christian opinion of other religions except Judaism was generally very negative. All forms of paganism—the Oriental mystery salvational religions of Isis , Attis , Adonis , and Mithra as well as the traditional Greco-Roman polytheisms and the cult of the emperor—were regarded as the worship of evil spirits.
Like the Jews, the Christians unless they were gnostic were opposed to syncretism. With the exception of the notion of baptism as a rebirth, Christians generally and significantly avoided the characteristic vocabularies of the mystery religions. Many Christians also rejected the literary traditions of the Classical world, denouncing the immoral and unethical behaviour of the deities and heroes of ancient myth and literature.
Paul could quote such pagan poets as Aratus , Menander , and Epimenides. Clement of Rome cited the dramatists Sophocles and Euripides. Educated Christians shared this literary tradition with educated pagans. The defenders of Christianity against pagan attack especially St. Justin Martyr and St. Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century welcomed Classical philosophy and literature.
- The Consumers Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from The Union of Concerned Scientists.
- Eusebius, Christianity, and Judaism - Google книги.
- CRC Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics;
They wished only to reject all polytheistic myth and cult and all metaphysical and ethical doctrines irreconcilable with Christian belief e. Clement of Alexandria , the second known head of the catechetical school at Alexandria , possessed a wide erudition in the main classics and knew the works of Plato and Homer intimately.
His successor at Alexandria, Origen , showed less interest in literary and aesthetic matters but was a greater scholar and thinker; he first applied the methods of Alexandrian philology to the text of the Bible. Augustine held that although Classical literature contained superstitious imaginings, it included references to moral truths and learning that could be used in the service of God.
The great Church Father compared Classical literature to the gold of the Egyptians, which God permitted the Hebrews to use on their journey to the Promised Land even though it had once been used in pagan religious practice. The Christian Apologists of the 2nd century were a group of writers who sought to defend the faith against Jewish and Greco-Roman critics.
They refuted a variety of scandalous rumours, including allegations of cannibalism and promiscuity. By and large, they sought both to make Christianity intelligible to members of Greco-Roman society and to define the Christian understanding of God, the divinity of Christ , and the resurrection of the body. To accomplish this, the Apologists adopted the philosophical and literary vocabulary of the broader culture to develop a more refined expression of the faith that could appeal to the sophisticated sensibilities of their pagan contemporaries.
Second-century Platonists , for example, found it easy to think of Mind nous or Reason Logos as divine power immanent within the world. Philo of Alexandria had spoken of the Logos as mediating between the transcendent God and the created order. Although some of their coreligionists were offended by the use of Greek philosophical ideas, the Apologists made important advances in the development of Christian thought and were the first of the Christian theologians.
Legitimization Under Constantine
Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Introduction The church and its history The essence and identity of Christianity Historical views of the essence Early views Medieval and Reformation views Modern views The question of Christian identity The history of Christianity The primitive church The relation of the early church to late Judaism The relation of the early church to the career and intentions of Jesus The Gentile mission and St.
Eusebius's moderate stance on Arianism a Christology denounced as heresy at Nicea earned him temporary excommunication by a synod at Antioch in or , but his zealous support of Constantine put the biggest blot on his legacy. Expounded in the celebratory Life of Constantine , this awed admiration also appears at the end of the Church History —where, to be fair, it makes some sense.
Eusebius had lived through terrible persecution. Constantine's conversion to Christianity promised to end such horrors and begin an era unprecedented church strength. Eusebius's support for the redeemed regime was a logical, albeit naive, reaction. Eusebius enjoyed the emperor's confidence and became the family's chronicler. He also became bishop of Caesarea, apparently in , the year Constantine and Licinius issued the so-called "Edict of Milan" that granted toleration to Christians. Later, Eusebius was offered the more prominent episcopacy of Antioch, but he chose to stay in Caesarea.
He died there sometime around With his great passion for learning, Eusebius became an accomplished exegete, theologian, apologist, orator, statesman, and, of course, historian. But while he is best known for his historical work, one could argue that he was above all an apologist. His biblical works respond to problems in the text of Scripture, and his historical works argue for the truth of Christianity.
One of Eusebius's major apologetic works, Preparation of the Gospel , uses quotations from Greek authors to refute the mythology, oracles, and philosophy of paganism. Another apologetic work, Proof of the Gospel , shows that Christianity continues the religion of the Old Testament patriarchs and fulfills Judaic prophecy. Apologetics motivated Eusebius's early historical work, the Chronicle , as well.
In it Eusebius lines up the principal events of universal and sacred history in order to prove that the Jewish people were older than other peoples. The works in praise of Constantine—the Life of Constantine , Praise of Constantine , and Constantine's Address to the Assembly of the Saints —may be considered historical works but also have an apologetic thrust. His Church History shares a missionary purpose with Eusebius's more explicitly apologetic writings, but it abounds with historical details. The opening words state Eusebius's six interests:.
Eusebius later adds a seventh interest: the canon of the Scriptures. Yet he discusses none of these themes in the first of his 10 books.
Eusebius begins his Church History by describing the divine nature of the pre-existent Christ and the "scattering of the seeds of true religion" among human beings from the beginning of time. Many people throughout history rejected this divine teaching, but it was always available.
This point was crucial to Eusebius because it answered a significant question from pagans: If Christianity is the only true religion, why was it so late in coming to the world? Furthermore, the affirmation that Christianity began at Creation was central to Eusebius's theology of history.
Index of Canons
To bolster his claim that God's plan reached its climax in Christ, he had to trace that plan back through all time. On this basis, he could show how God continued to work through the church as well. Eusebius wrote the History for ordinary Christians and interested non-Christians.
- Photographs of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- Member-Only Access!
- An Edge in the Kitchen.
- SharePoint 2010 User’s Guide: Learning Microsoft’s Business Collaboration Platform.
- The primeval language and Hebrew ethnicity in ancient Jewish and Christian thought until Augustine.
This broad audience was not interested in doctrinal questions, so Eusebius gives such questions little attention. Instead, he concentrates on what would have popular—and enduring—appeal: sensational tales of martyrdom, juicy tidbits about famous leaders, lively quotations, and personal reflections. Eusebius had many defects, both as a writer and as a historian.
He assumed, inaccurately, that the early church looked just like the church he knew. He displayed no sense of doctrinal or institutional development, especially in the Latin West, a region about which he knew little. Eusebius can also be accused of whitewashing what he did know.
As he introduced accounts of persecution in his day, he stated that he was including only what would be profitable:. Other complaints about Eusebius include his inattention to coherent narrative, his occasionally careless use of sources, and of course his belief that Christianity and the Roman state belonged together. But this negative picture can be exaggerated, and modern readers can be grateful for what Eusebius left us.
Whatever may be said about Eusebius's inability to organize his materials, he nonetheless had keen insight into themes that would have abiding interest for future generations. Who can forget the scenes recorded by Eusebius? The apostle John fleeing the bathhouse upon finding Cerinthus, "the enemy of the truth," there.
Impact of Paganism and Christianity - Oxford Handbooks
Polycarp confessing his faith before the governor: "Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and he has done me no wrong; how can I blaspheme my king who saved me? Blandina, the slave girl, hanging on a stake as if on a cross, but inspiring her fellow martyrs, "who saw the One who was crucified in the form of their sister. Origen's father admiring his sleeping boy as one in whom the divine Spirit was enshrined.
Eusebius did not perfect the discipline of church history, but he took the crucial first step of considering world events from a Christian perspective. It is a tribute to his accomplishment that such scholars as Rufinus, Socrates Scholasticus, Sozomen, and Theodoret continued his pursuit—though none attempted to rewrite what he had written.
For centuries, historians only took up where he left off. Everett Ferguson is a distinguished scholar in residence at Abilene Christian University. Click here for reprint information on Christian History. Sections Home.
Related Eusebius of Caesarea Against Paganism (Jewish and Christian Perspectives)
Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved