945G Eusebius of Caesarea c. 260-c. 340
Eusebius Pa[m]phili de eua[n]gelica preparac[i]o[n]e ex greco in latinu[m] translatus Incipit feliciter.
[ Cologne, Ulrich Zel, not after 1473] $18,000
Folio 10 ¾ x 7 ¾ inches. [a]12, [b-o]10, [p]8 One of the earliest editions most likely the Second, (editio princeps : Venice 1470) This copy is bound in a modern binding of half period exposed quarter sawn beech boards and bound in quarter dark goatskin and tooled in blind.
This copy contains the fifteen books of the “Praeparatio evangelica,” whose purpose is “to justify the Christian in rejecting the religion and philosphy of the Greeks in favor of that of the Hebrews, and then to justify him in not observing the Jewish manner of life […] The following summary of its contents is taken from Mr. Gifford’s introduction to his translation of the “Praeparitio:
“The first three books discuss the threefold system of Pagan Theology: Mythical, Allegorical, and Political. The next three, IV-VI, give an account of the chief oracles, of the worship of demons, and of the various opinions of Greek Philosophers on the doctrines of Fate and Free Will. Books VII-IX give reasons for preferring the religion of the Hebrews founded chiefly on the testimony of various authors to the excellency of their Scriptures and the truth of their history. In Books X-XII Eusebius argues that the Greeks had borrowed from the older theology and philosphy of the Hebrews, dwelling especially on the supposed dependence of Plato upon Moses. In the the last three books, the comparson of Moses with Plato is continued, and the mutual contradictions of other Greek Philosphers, especially the Peripatetics and Stoics, are exposed and criticized.”
The “Praeparitio” is a gigantic feat of erudition, and, according to Harnack (Chronologie, II, p. 120), was, like many of Eusebius’ other works, actually composed during the stress of the persecution. It ranks, with the Chronicle, second only to the Church History in importance, because of its copious extracts from ancient authors, whose works have perished.” (CE)
In explaining the plan of his treatise Eusebius promises that his purpose shall be worked out in a way of his own, differing from the methods of the many Christian authors who had preceded him. This promise is further explained as meaning that his arguments will not depend on his own statements, but will be given in the very words of the most learned and best known advocates of the Pagan religions, that so the evidence alleged may not be suspected of being invented by himself. The cogency of |xvi this mode of argument truthfully and fairly conducted is unquestionable, but it had not in this case such entire novelty as Eusebius seems to claim for it. We shall find as we proceed that many of his arguments are the same as those of the earlier Apologists, Aristides, Justin Martyr, Tatian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen; that he constantly borrows long passages from their writings, including the same quotations from Greek authors, reproduced word for word with due acknowledgement. Those earlier authors had in fact adopted the very same method which Eusebius announced as distinctive of his own work. The quotations thus borrowed are however few in comparison with the great multitude gathered by Eusebius himself from all parts of the Greek literature of a thousand years, from works both known and unknown of poets, historians, and philosophers.
The peculiar value of the Praeparatio resulting from this wealth of quotation is universally acknowledged.
‘This book is almost as important to us in the study of ancient Philosophy as the Chronicon is with reference to History, since in it are present specimens of the writings of almost every philosopher of any note whose works are not now extant’ (G. E. L. Cotton, Dict. Gk. and R. Biogr., ‘Eusebius,’ 116b).
‘The Preparation exhibits the same wide range of acquaintance with the classical writers of Greece which the History exhibits in the domain of Christian literature. The list of writers quoted or referred to is astonishing for its length (see Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vii. 346). Some of these are known to us, even by name, only through Eusebius, and of several others he has preserved large portions which are not otherwise extant. . . . It was chiefly the impression produced by this mass of learning which led Scaliger to describe it as “divini commentarii,” and Cave to call it “opus profecto nobilissimum” (H. L. i. p. 178)’ (Lightfoot, Smith and “Wace’s Dict. Chr. Biogr. ii. 331)
It is also very interesting because of its numerous lively fragments from historians and philosophers which are nowhere else preserved, e.g. a summary of the writings of the Phoenician priest Sanchuniathon, or the account from Diodorus Siculus’ sixth book of Euhemerus’ wondrous voyage to the island of Panchaea, and writings of the neo-Platonist philosopher Atticus.
Eusebius (c. 263-339), Greek historian and exegete, Christian polemicist and scholar Biblical canon, became bishop of Cesarea in 314 and is considered as the father of Church History as his writings are very important for the first three centuries of the Christianity.
In Book XI Eusebius proposes to show the agreement of Plato, as the representative of Greek Philosophy, with the Hebrew Scriptures. Adopting the threefold division of Ethics, Dialectic, and Physics, he notices the moral teaching of the sacred writers, their literary methods, accurate reasoning, and correct use of significant names, their knowledge of the natural world, and their contemplation of the ‘true being’ of things unseen (chapters 1-9). He then quotes the comments of Numenius, and his saying, What else is Plato than Moses speaking Attic Greek?, and Plutarch’s treatise on the Ei0 at Delphi (10, 11).
Other points of comparison are the ineffable nature of God, His unity, the Second Cause as contemplated by Philo, Plotinus, Numenius, and Amelius, the Third Divine Power of the Ps.-Platonic Epinomis (chapters 12-30).
The nature of the Good and of the Ideas, as stated by Plato in the Republic and Timaeus, is illustrated by xxiii quotations from Numenius, Philo, and Clement of Alexandria (21-25). The existence of evil powers, the immortality of the soul and the Divine image, as taught in the Alcibiades and Phaedo, and illustrated from Porphyry’s answer to Boethus On the Soul, the creation of the world and of the heavenly bodies, the goodness of God’s works, their changes and dissolution, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgement, are all brought into the comparison, and illustrated from the Timaeus, Republic, Politicus, and Phaedo, and from a fragment of Plutarch On the Soul.
In Book XII the comparison of Plato with the Hebrew Scriptures is continued on the simple instruction of children, the need of faith, the qualifications of rulers as described in the Laws, the Gorgias, and the Republic (chapters 1-9); the picture of the just man and his fate in the Republic; Paradise and the garden of Zeus, and the origin of mankind male and female, in the Symposium; the Deluge, the right foundation of law, religious training, the use of poetry, music, and wine, and the control of the passions, all illustrated from the Laws (chapters 10-28).
Other subjects brought into the comparison are the contrast of true philosophy and spurious wisdom (Theaetetus), the education of women (Republic), and passages of the Laws and Republic corresponding to the Hebrew Proverbs and laws of Moses on ‘the memory of the just,’ riches and poverty, and the honour due to parents, on slaves, landmarks, and thieves (chapters 29-42). Other coincidences are found in the use of certain examples and figures of speech, in the division of a nation into twelve tribes, in the situation of the chief city, and in Plato’s thoughts on faults in education (Republic), on atheism, on God, and Divine providence (Laws).
In Book XIII Eusebius quotes with approval Plato’s opinions on the absurdities of Greek mythology in the Timaeus, Republic, and Eutliyphron (chapters 1-5), on stedfast adherence to truth even unto death in the Crito |xxivand the Apology of Socrates (chapters 6-11), adding the testimonies of Aristobulus and Clement to the agreement of Plato and other Greek philosophers with the Hebrew Scriptures (chapters 12, 13).
The remainder of the book treats of matters in which Plato’s teaching is condemned concerning the belief of the common people (Timaeus and Republic), a multitude of inferior gods and daemons, the nature of the soul (Timaeus) criticized by the Platonist Severus, the worship of the heavenly bodies (Laws and Timaeus), the treatment of women (Laws and Republic), unnatural vice, and the laws of murder.
In Book XIV the consistent truth of Hebrew doctrines adopted by Christians is contrasted with the contradictions and conflicts of Greek philosophers, showing how Plato criticized his predecessors in the Theaetetus and Sophista, and was himself criticized by his followers in the successive Academies, who in their turn are subjected to the keen satire of Numenius (chapters 1-9). The subject is continued in quotations from Porphyry, Xeno-phon, Plato, Plutarch, and especially from Aristocles On Philosophy against the schools of Parmenides who rejected the evidence of the senses, of Aristippus, Metrodorus, and Protagoras who believed them alone, and of the Pyr-rhonists who believed nothing at all. The doctrines of Epicurus are refuted from the writings of Aristocles, Plato, and Dionysius of Alexandria (chapters 21-47).
In Book XV the moral character of Aristotle is defended against the slanders of Epicurus and others by Aristocles; but where he differed from Plato and the Hebrews in regard to virtue and happiness, the ideas of God and His providence, the creation of the world, the fifth corporeal essence, the nature of the heavenly bodies, and the immortality of the soul, his doctrines are severely criticized by Atticus the Platonist (chapters 2-9).
His description of the soul as an enteleceia is further criticized by Plotinus, Porphyry, and Atticus (10-13); |xxv the Stoic philosophy is discussed by Aristocles, Areius Didymus, Porphyry, Longinus, and Plotinus (14-22), and the remainder of the book is occupied with a long extract from Plutarch, De placitis Philosophorum, on the various physical theories of the world, followed by the judgement of Socrates on such questions from the Memorabilia of Xenophon.
The literary value of the Preparation for the Gospel will be most fully appreciated by considering a separate list of the chief fragments of ancient authors for the preservation of which we are indebted to Eusebius in that work.
(a) Fragments of Poetry.
1. An interesting epigram by Callimachus on the simplicity of the primitive statues (99 b): this is contained in a fragment of Plutarch, De Daedalis Plataeensibus.
2. A fragment of Euripides, Melanippe Captiva, on the characters of bad and good women (466 d).
3. Large extracts in iambic verse from the Exodus, a tragedy by the Jewish dramatist Ezekiel (438 c 10-446 d 2), on which see Schürer, Jewish People, ii. 3. 224.
4. Fragments of an epic poem On Jerusalem by a Jew named Philo, 421 c, d, 430 c, 453 a. Cf. Schürer, ibid. 222.
6. Many of the oracles quoted by Oenomaus in The Detection of Impostors (209 c-234 a).
7. All the oracles contained in the work of Porphyry On the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles (123 d-124 b, 145 a-146 b, 168 b, 175 c). These oracles with their contexts are carefully edited by Wolff in his work Porph. De Philos. ex Oraculis haurienda, of which they form the chief substance.
8. Pindar, Fr. Incert. 2 (105), Paean. 10 (33), both in 687 b.
9. The remarkable epigram on the Tetragrammaton and the Name of seven vowels (520 a).
To go no farther, the Greeks would be unable to state the etymologies even of the letters of the alphabet, nor could Plato himself tell the meaning or the reason of the vowels or the consonants.
But the Hebrews would tell us the reason of ‘Alpha,’ which with them is called ‘Al’ph,’ and this signifies ‘learning’:and of ‘Beta,’ which it is their custom to call ‘Beth,’ which name they give to a house; so as to show the meaning, ‘learning of a house,’ or as it might be more plainly expressed, ‘a kind of teaching and learning of household economy.’
‘Gamma’ also is with them called ‘Gimel’: and this is their name for ‘fullness.’ Then since they call tablets ‘Delth,’ they gave this name to the fourth letter, signifying therewith by the two letters, that ‘written learning is a filling of the tablets.’
And any one going over the remaining letters of the alphabet, would find that they have been named among the Hebrews each with some cause and reason. For they say also that the combination of the seven vowels contains the enunciation of one forbidden name, which the Hebrews indicate by four letters and apply to the supreme power of God, having received the tradition from father to son that this is something unutterable and forbidden to the multitude.
And one of the wise Greeks having learned this, I know not whence, hinted it obscurely in verse, saying as follows:
‘Seven vowels tell My Name,—-the Mighty God,
The everlasting Father of mankind:
The immortal lyre am I, that guides the world,
And leads the music of the circling spheres.’ 28
You would find also the meanings of the remaining Hebrew letters, by fixing your attention on each; but this we have already established by our former statements, when we were showing that the Greeks have received help in everything from the Barbarians.
And any one diligently studying the Hebrew language would discover great correctness of names current among that people: since the very name which is the appellation of the whole race has been derived from Heber; and this means the man that ‘passes over,’ since both a passage and the one who passes over are called in the Hebrew language ‘Heber.’ 29
For the term teaches us to cross over and pass from the things in this world to things divine, and by no means to stay lingering over the sight of the things that are seen, but to pass from these to the unseen and invisible things of divine knowledge concerning the Maker and Artificer of the world. Thus the first people who were devoted to the one All-ruler and Cause of the Universe, and adhered to Him with a pure and true worship, they called Hebrews, naming men of this character as travellers who had in mind passed over from earthly things.
But why should I spend more time in collecting all the instances of the propriety and correctness of the Hebrew names, when the subject requires a special treatise of its own. However, speaking generally, I think that even by what has been said I have supplied the evidence of the art of reasoning among the Hebrews: if indeed, as Plato said, it is a task for no mean or ordinary men, but for a wise lawgiver and dialectician, to discover the kind of names naturally belonging to things,—-a man such as Moses who has made known to us the Hebrew oracles. So then what follows next after the subject of Dialectics, but to examine what was the condition of the Hebrew people in regard to Physics?
10. Part of the Orphic Hymn to Zeus, of which vv. 19-42 (except two or three) are found first in the fragment of Porphyry Peri Agalmatwn preserved by Eusebius P. E. 100 c 5-101 c 1.
(b) Historical Fragments.
1. In history we have first the long extract from the translation by Philo Byblius of Sanchuniathon’s Phoenician History contained in a fragment of Porphyry’s work Against the Christians preserved by Eusebius (31 a-42 b). If we could fully trust Porphyry’s testimony to the truthfulness of Philo, and to the genuineness and antiquity of the work of Sanchuniathon, the historical value of the extract could hardly be over-estimated: and we cannot wonder that the question of its authenticity has been a most fruitful source of criticism and controversy from the time of Scaliger and Grotius to our own days.
‘Few problems, in fact, in the circle of Semitic studies and of ancient history in general are of more importance than this.’ So writes M. Renan. Memoire sur l’Origine et le Caractere veritable de l’Histoire phenicienne qui porte le nom de Sanchoniathon, p. 6.
2. Diodorus Siculus. In 59 c 2-61 a we have an interesting fragment of the sixth book of the Bibliotheca, confirming his account of the sources of Greek theology from the Ιερα αναγραφη, or Sacred Record of Euemerus,|xxvii and adding the wonderful narrative of Euemerus concerning his voyage to the fabulous island of Panchaea in the Indian Ocean.
3. The large fragments of Philo Judaeus first known from Eusebius will be found in 322 d 11 on the Word or Second God, in 336 b Concerning Providence, in 355 c-361 b on the Exodus and the Law from a work otherwise unknown, entitled Hypothetica, and in 379 a-400 a a very long and important passage from the Apology for the Jews.
These fragments will be found placed together at the end of the sixth volume of Richter’s edition of the Greek text of Philo.
4. Among the most important of the historical fragments preserved for us by Eusebius are the long extracts from the work of Alexander Polyhistor Concerning the Jews, which occupy the larger part of Book IX, and have been very carefully edited in a special monograph by Dr. J. Freudenthal. The value of these extracts is much increased by quotations from lost works of authors otherwise unknown, Eupolemus, Artapanus, Molon, a certain Philo, and Demetrius, who all wrote on the history of the Jews. On the importance of the fragments see Schürer, ibid. ii. 3. 197.
5. The extract from the Chronicon of Julius Africanus (487 d-491 b) was edited from Eusebius by Dr. Routh in Rell. Sacr. ii. 269-78, who enlarged the text from Georgius Syncellus and added copious notes (423-37).
6. From the lost work of Abydenus On Assyrian History we have most interesting notices of the Flood of Sisithrus, i. e. Noah (414 d), of the Tower of Babel (416 b), of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness and of his fortification of Babylon (456 d).
(g) Philosophical Fragments.
It is in the region of Greek Philosophy that the wealth of quotation is most remarkable.
1. Among the Neo-Platonists we find Atticus, whose commentary on the Timaeus is sharply criticized by |xxviii Proclus, but of whose own writings there remain only the important fragments preserved by Eusebius; the first of which describes the threefold division of Philosophy into Ethics, Physics, and Logic, and eulogizes Plato as ‘a man from nature’s mysteries new-inspired,’ and ‘in very truth sent down from the gods, in order that Philosophy might be seen in its full proportions,’ (509 b-510 a). Also in the long and important extracts contained in Book XV, chapters 4-9, 12, 13, Atticus appears as a passionate defender of Plato against Aristotle.
2. From the Epitome of Areius Didymus we have a short extract on the Platonic Ideas (545 b), and several passages on the Stoic doctrines in Book XV, chapters 15, 20.
3. Numenius the Neo-Pythagorean is known almost exclusively from the long and numerous extracts preserved by Eusebius. From the contemplation of true ‘Being’ with Plato (525 c-527 a) he passes on to the nature of ‘the First and Second God’ (537 a), and to ‘the only Good’ transcending all essence, which can be contemplated only apart from sense ‘in a certain, immense, ineffable, and absolutely Divine solitude’ (543 d). In 650 d we find him defending Plato for ‘preserving both life and truth’ by withdrawing from Athens; and in 727 b-739 he describes The revolt of the Academics against Plato, under the leaders of the three, or more, Academies.
4. The fragments of Aristocles the Peripatetic contain an interesting criticism of Socrates and Plato, and of the divergent Socratic Schools (510 b-511 c), a defence of the veracity of the senses against the Eleatics Xenophanes and Parmenides (756 b-757 d), a long refutation of the Sceptics Pyrrho and Timon (758 c-763 d), strong and able censures of the Sophists, Cyrenaics, and Epicureans (764 c-768 d), and lastly a defence of the moral character of Aristotle against the slanderous |xxix attacks of Epicurus, Timaeus of Tauromenium, Alexinus the Eristic, Eubulides, Demochares, Cephisodorus, and Lycon (791 a-793 c).
5. Of the three known fragments of Euemerus, the most important is contained in a fragment of the sixth book of Diodorus Siculus, itself preserved by Eusebius (Diod. Sic. iv. 179, Dindorf).
6. On the falsehood of oracles we have first a valuable fragment of Diogenianus directed against the fatalism of Chrysippus (136 d 3); then the vigorous and amusing invective of Oenomaus occupying no less than eighteen chapters of Book V (209 b-234 c); and the long series of extracts from the work of Porphyry On the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles, mentioned above (p. xxvi).
7. Of other works of Porphyry Eusebius has preserved many fragments of the Epistle to Anebo (92 a, 197 c, 740 d), on which see Parthey’s edition of Iamblichus De Mysteriis; a large part of the treatise De Statuis (97 d 2 note); several fragments of a work On the Soul, against Boethus; three long extracts from the Philological Lecture; fragments of the famous treatise Against the Christians (31 a, 179 d, 485 b).
8. A fragment attributed to Plotinus on the Entelecheia of Aristotle, which is inserted by Creuzer after Ennead. iv. 2.
9. From Plutarch’s treatise on the Daedala, or primitive wooden statues at Plataeae, and the worship connected with them Eusebius has preserved two very interesting fragments (83 c, 99 b); and though the long extracts from the Stromateis (22 b-25 b) and the De placitis Philosophorum (836 a-852 c) are not the work of Plutarch, but a compilation by some unknown writer from the Epitome of Aetius, this very ancient error in the title does not detract from their value. We are equally indebted for their preservation to Eusebius, to whose accuracy and fidelity Diels (Proleg. 5-10) pays an emphatic and even enthusiastic testimony. |xxx
Goff E119; BMC I 194
(United States of America: Boston Public Library
Indiana Univ., The Lilly Library (- 2 ff.)
[PLUTARCH] ‘THALES of Miletus, one of the seven sages, declared water to be the first principle of all things. This man is thought to have been the founder of philosophy, and from him the Ionic sect derived its name; for it had many successions. After studying philosophy in Egypt he came as an elderly man to Miletus. He says that all things come from water, and are all resolved into water. And he forms his conjecture first from the fact that seed, which is watery, is the first principle of all animal life; thus it is probable that all things have their origin from moisture. His second argument is that all plants derive nourishment and fruitfulness from moisture, and when deprived of it wither away. And the third, that the very fire of the sun, and of the stars, and the world itself are nourished by the evaporations of the waters. For this reason Homer also suggests this notion concerning water,
“Ocean, which is the origin of all.” 34
This is what Thales says.
‘But Anaximander of Miletus says that the first principle of all things is the infinite, for from this all are produced, and into this all pass away; for which reason also infinite worlds are generated, and pass away again into that from which they spring. So he says the reason why the infinite exists is that the subsisting creation may not be deficient in any point. But he also is at fault in not saying what the infinite is, whether it is air, or water, or earth, or any other corporeal elements; he is wrong therefore in declaring the matter while excluding the efficient cause. For the infinite is nothing else than matter, and matter cannot have an actual existence, unless the efficient cause underlie it.
‘Anaximenes of Miletus declared that the air is the first principle of all things, for from this all are produced, and into it they are resolved again. For example, our soul, he says, is air, for it holds us together; and the whole world too is encompassed by air and breath, and air and breath are used as synonyms. But he too is wrong in thinking that living beings consist of simple homogeneous air and breath; for it is impossible that the matter can exist as sole principle of things, but we must assume the efficient cause also. As for instance silver suffices not for the production of the drinking-cup, unless there be the efficient cause, that is the silversmith; the case is similar with copper and various kinds of wood, and all other matter.
‘Heracleitus and Hippasus of Metapontum say that fire is the principle of all things: for from fire, they say, all things are produced and all end in fire: and all things in the world are created as it gradually cools down. For first the coarsest part of it is pressed together and becomes earth; then the earth being resolved by the natural force of the fire is turned into water, and being vaporised becomes air. And again the world and all the bodies in it are consumed in a conflagration by fire. Fire therefore is the first principle, because all things come from it, and the end, inasmuch as they are all resolved into it.
‘Democritus, who was followed long after by Epicurus, said that the first principles of all things are bodies indivisible, but conceivable by reason, with no admixture of vacuum, uncreated, imperishable, not capable of being broken, nor of receiving shape from their parts, nor of being altered in quality, but perceptible by reason only; that they move, however, in the vacuum, and through the vacuum, and that both the vacuum itself is infinite and the bodies infinite. And the bodies possess these three properties, shape, magnitude, and weight. Democritus, however, said two, magnitude and shape; but Epicurus added to them a third, namely weight. For he said the bodies must be moved by the impulse of the weight, since otherwise they will not be moved at all. The shapes of the atoms are limitable, not infinite: for there are none either hook-shaped, nor trident-shaped, nor ring-shaped. For these shapes are easily broken, whereas the atoms are impassive and cannot be broken; but they have their proper shapes, which are conceivable by reason. And the “atom” is so called, not because it is extremely small, but because it cannot be divided, being impassive, and free from admixture of vacuum: so that if a man says “atom” he means unbreakable, impassive, unmixed with vacuum. And that the atom exists is manifest: for there are also elements (στοιχεῖα), and living beings that are empty, and there is the Monad.
‘Empedocles, son of Meton, of Agrigentum, says that there are four elements, fire, air, water, earth, and, two original forces, love and hate, of which the one tends to unite, and the other to separate. And this is how he speaks:
“Learn first four roots of all things that exist:
Bright Zeus, life-giving Hera, and the god
Of realms unseen, and Nestis, who with tears
Bedews the fountain-head of mortal life.” 35
For by “Zeus” he means the seething heat and the ether; and by “life-giving Hera,” the air; the earth by Aidoneus, and by Nestis and “the fountain-head of mortal life,” the seed, as it were, and the water.’
So great is the dissonance of the first physical philosophers: such too is their opinion concerning first principles, assuming, as they did, no god, no maker, no artificer, nor any cause of the universe, nor yet gods, nor incorporeal powers, no intelligent natures, no rational essences, nor anything at all beyond the reach of the senses, in their first principles.
In fact Anaxagoras alone is mentioned as the first of the Greeks who declared in his discourses about first principles that mind is the cause of all things. They say at least that this philosopher had a great admiration for natural science beyond all who were before him: for the sake of it certainly he left his own district a mere sheepwalk, and was the first of the Greeks who stated clearly the doctrine of first principles. For he not only pronounced, like those before him, on the essence of all things, but also on the cause which set it in motion.
‘”For in the beginning,”
“all things were mingled together in confusion: but mind came in, and brought them out of confusion into order.’”
One cannot but wonder how this man, having been the first among Greeks who taught concerning God in this fashion, was thought by the Athenians to be an atheist, because he regarded not the sun but the Maker of the sun as God, and barely escaped being stoned to death.
But it is said that even he did not keep the doctrine safe and sound: for though he made mind preside over all things, he did not go on to render his physical system concerning the existing world accordant with mind and reason. …
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