Eusebius of Emesa

Eusebius of Emesa: Church and Theology in the Mid-Fourth Century

ROBERT E. WINN
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 289
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2850t9
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  • Book Info
    Eusebius of Emesa
    Book Description:

    Through a careful examination of his extant sermons, some of which survive in Latin and others in classical Armenian, this book invites readers to hear a bishop's voice from the mid- fourth century, an important period in late antique Christianity

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1936-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-18)

    ALTHOUGH A STUDENT of the well-known Eusebius of Caesarea and admired by the emperor Constantius, and although recognized by Jerome as a biblical commentator and skilled orator who delivered many sermons, Eusebius, the bishop of Emesa (c. 300–359), is today not a well-known figure of late antique Christianity. The main difficulty has never been an awareness that such a Eusebius existed; in fact, there are multiple references to him in late antique and medieval texts.¹ The main difficulty, rather, has always been the availability of texts ascribed to Eusebius from which historians could develop a description of his thought....

  6. CHAPTER 1 THE WORLD OF EUSEBIUS OF EMESA
    (pp. 19-51)

    THE WORLD OF EUSEBIUS OF EMESA was the region comprising the Roman provinces of osrhoene, Syria, and Phoenicia. This was a world that the Greeks and then the Romans had entered as political conquerors and, as a consequence, had left their language and culture as a legacy. In all three provinces Greek and the original Semitic traditions existed side by side; the region was bilingual and both the Greco-Roman and Semitic religious cults were active during the decades of the fourth century that saw the upbringing and ecclesiastical career of Eusebius.¹

    Antioch was the most important city in the region....

  7. CHAPTER 2 RHETORICAL AND EXEGETICAL STRATEGIES
    (pp. 52-85)

    THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER situated Eusebius in his fourthcentury Syrian world, and it indicated that within this world of diverse religions Eusebius’s loyalty, presumably originating with his upbringing in Edessa, lay with the great church or orthodox church. The previous chapter also suggested that this commitment in this context helps the modern reader understand the apologetic and polemical posture he assumed as a man of the church. Much like two of his younger contemporaries who would assume a similar posture in the late fourth century, John Chrysostom and Ephrem the Syrian, Eusebius had strong theological convictions that he identified as the...

  8. CHAPTER 3 THE NATURAL WORLD AND HUMAN NATURE
    (pp. 86-122)

    THE EXEGETICAL METHOD and rhetorical devices discussed in the last chapter comprised one part of Eusebius’s strategy to ensure that the church was at peace with itself and that it was certain of the distinction between apostolic teaching and the ideas of Jews, pagans, and heretics. The specific theological content that he communicated using these tools through his sermons formed a second part of his strategy. The subject of the present chapter, the natural world and human nature, is best understood in light of his efforts to define the identity of the church. In what follows we will observe how...

  9. CHAPTER 4 THE NATURE OF GOD
    (pp. 123-186)

    EUSEBIUS CRAFTED the first three sermons in the series on incorporeality to convince his audience that incorporeality was superior to corporeal existence, and this extended argument culminated in his discussion of the human soul. In the fourth sermon Eusebius finally applied his proofs for the superiority of incorporeality to his arguments for the incorporeality of God. After reviewing with his audience what they accomplished in the previous sermons, Eusebius admonished them to take one more step. “Now we ought to raise our thought to God, seeking those things which the Scripture permits to be sought about God.”¹

    The church’s understanding...

  10. CHAPTER 5 THE HUMANITY AND DIVINITY OF CHRIST
    (pp. 187-224)

    THE THEOLOGICAL DEBATE of the first half of the fifth century has come, for good and for ill, to dominate scholarship on patristic Christology. When discussing the Christological fine-tuning that occurred in the centuries after the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon there are good reasons to depend on the “Alexandrian” and the “Antiochene” positions as guides: these centuries are characterized by further exploration and reaction to the terms and ideas of the antagonists of the early fifth century. Such an approach is less fortunate, however, when these same terms and ideas are projected backward into earlier centuries to discern the...

  11. CHAPTER 6 MARTYRS AND VIRGINS: Asceticism and the Church
    (pp. 225-252)

    THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER suggested that there was a close relationship in Eusebius’s mind between the soteriological significance of the divine power of Christ and living an angelic life, a life of asceticism and sexual renunciation, that transcends human nature. As this present chapter will demonstrate, the links between his soteriology and his ascetic ideal were very close and received emphasis in his sermons. Evidence from his sermons suggests, however, that it was on this very point that Eusebius experienced hostility from his audiences. In his audience were individuals who took pleasure in noting when virgins broke their vows, who were...

  12. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 253-256)

    IN THE PRECEDING CHAPTERS I have argued that Eusebius was advancing an ecclesiastical identity in his sermons, and I have noted that he frequently did this by reminding his audience that Jews, pagans, and heretics were outside of the church. By establishing boundaries through his sermons, Eusebius was looking outward to define the identity of the church, and I have discussed how he would shape his theology in order to articulate the differences between the church and these three groups.

    The final chapter has provided a fitting culmination to a study of Eusebius’s theology because his understanding of the theory...

  13. APPENDIX THE ESSENCE TERMINOLOGY OF DE FIDE, HABITA HIEROSOLYMIS
    (pp. 257-262)
  14. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 263-274)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 275-278)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 279-279)