University of Cambridge
Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge

Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History

Cambridge Seminar for NT PhD students

Prof. G.N. Stanton


[Still under construction!] [Suggest links:]


This web page has been created alongside a series of seminars for PhD students in NT studies held in the Divinity Faculty of the University of Cambridge. [The previous seminar discussed Justification and Variegated Nomism] The purpose of the seminar is to read Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History with one eye on its relevance for New Testament studies. Others who may be interested in attending the seminars should contact Professor Stanton in the first instance.


I.                   Introduction & Rationale:

a.      NT and early Christianity set within context of history of early Christianity (foreground, not just background); overview of early patristics (and innumerable theological issues), Wirkungsgeschichte, NT canon-reception history.

b.      Anticipated positive benefits: more Greek reading, reading texts and figuring out what they mean, use of sources etc.

c.       Ten books: ten sessions; expect a global read beforehand and discussion of selected text in session; plenty of issues raised (perhaps get one paper per session on something related to text in Eusebius – either something more on one of his sources, or on one of the topics suggested below).


II.                Eusebius (c. 260-341)

a.       Early biography uncertain

b.      Studied under Pamphilus (240-310) at theological school in Caesarea in Palestine

                                                               i.      Special respect for Origen (Eusebius completed Pamphilus’ Apology for Origen) [only fragments survive, see portion translated by Rufinus]

                                                             ii.      Eusebius wrote Life of Pamphilus (which doesn’t survive [for fragments see Jerome, Adv. Rufin. 1.9; Eusebius, HE, VII.32.25; De Mart. Pal. 11.3; Jerome, De Vir. Illustr. 75; Photius, Cod. 118]), and adopted his name.

                                                            iii.      CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Pamphilus of Caesarea

                                                           iv.      Pamphilus, presbyter of Caesarea

c.       Bishop of Caesarea, AD 315

                                                               i.      Caesarea Maritima: a retrospective after two millennia (eds: A. Raban & K.G. Holum; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996; papers from a conf held in Caesarea Maritima, Israel, Ja 3-11, 1995).

                                                             ii.      Combined Caesarea Expeditions

                                                            iii.      Virtual Caesarea Maritima

d.      Supported Arius, condemned by Council of Antioch (AD 324-5)

C. Luibheid, Eusebius of Caesarea and the Arian Crisis. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1978.

e.       Reinstated during Council of Nicea (accepted Nicene Creed)

G.C. Stead, "Eusebius and the Council of Nicaea," Journal of Theological Studies, n.s., 24 (1973) 85-100

f.        AD 335: Attended dedication of Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

P. Walker, Holy City, Holy Place? Christian Attitudes to Jerusalem and the Holy Land in the Fourth Century (OECS; Oxford: OUP, 1990)

g.       Wrote Life of Constantine (ET on-line)

A. Cameron & S.G. Hall, Eusebius: Life of Constantine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

OUP: Eusebius' Life of Constantine: Eusebius

Timothy D. Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius (new edn. Harvard University Press, 1984)

h.       Numerous other writings, not all of which survive (main critical edition: GCS, ed. I.A. Heikel et al.; 9 vols, 1902-1975)

[Eusebius of Caesarea: A list of editions and translations, with links]

i.         For brief surveys see ODCC p. 574; J.B. Lightfoot in Dictionary of Christian Biography 2(1880), 308-348.

j.        Eusebius of Caesarea

k.      Eusebius of Caesarea: encyclopedia article from Wikipedia (from Schaff-Herzog Encyc of Religion)

l.         CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Eusebius of Caesarea

m.     Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898) (on Eusebius, at Perseus)

n.       D.S. Wallace-Hadrill, Eusebius of Caesarea (London: A.R. Mowbray & Co. Ltd., 1960)

o.       H.W. Attridge & G. Hata (eds), Eusebius, Christianity, and Judaism (SPB 42; Leiden: Brill, 1992).


III.             The Church History

a.      Ten books, perhaps an earlier edition ended before AD 303 with book seven (the last three cover events in Eusebius’ own lifetime)

A. Louth, ‘The date of Eusebius' Historia ecclesiasticaJTS ns 41 (1990) 111-123.

R.W. Burgess, ‘The Dates and Editions of Eusebius' Chronici canones and Historia ecclesiasticaJTS ns 48 (1997) 471-504.

b.      Survives in Greek as well as in Latin, Syriac and Armenian versions

c.       For history of study see A.C. Headlam, ‘The Editions and Manuscripts of Eusbius: Part I’ Journal of Theological Studies 4(1903) 93-102.

d.      Critical edition by E. Schwartz & T. Mommsen, Eusebius' Werke 2 (3 vols; GCS 9.1, 1903; 9.2, 1908; 9.3, 1909).

e.      ETs by K. lake & J.E.L. Oulton (Loeb, 1926-32); H.J. Lawlor & J.E.O. Oulton (London, 1927-28); R.J. Deferrari (Fathers of the Church 19 & 29; 1953-5); G.A. Williamson (Penguin, 1965; rev. A.Louth, 1989).

f.        T.D. Barnes, ‘The editions of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History’ Greek,-Roman,-and-Byzantine-Studies. 21 (Sum 1980), p. 191-201.

g.      Eusebius of Caesarea's Church History - Table of Contents

h.      NPNF ET: Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History (ET & Notes)

i.        Eusebius of Caesarea: Church History (ET on-line)

j.        Robert M. Grant, Eusebius as Church Historian (Oxford: Clarendon, 1980).

k.      H.J. Lawlor, Eusebiana: Essays on the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius (Oxford: Clarendon, 1912).

l.         Bernard Pouderon & Yves-Marie Duval (eds), L¹Historiographie de l¹Église des premiers siècles (Théologie Historique 114; Paris, 2001).

proceedings of a colloquium, and there are some good articles on Eusebius


IV.              Book One

Sources:  Josephus, Julius Africanus, King Abgar.

Topics: history, Christology, historical setting of Jesus’ ministry, chronology of Jesus’ birth, genealogies of Matt & Luke, OT messianic prophecies.

Greek Reading: I.1-8: the introduction.

Flavius Josephus - - Scholarly Resources for the Study of Flavius Josephus

                        Flavius Josephus (

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Julius Africanus or some more links at Sextus Julius Africanus

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: The Legend of Abgar or more material at St. Pachomius Library


NB. On approach to OT see Commentary on Isaiah and OUP: Eusebius of Caesarea's Commentary on Isaiah: Hollerich

J.E. Bruns, "The 'Agreement of Moses and Jesus' in the Demonstratio Evangelica of Eusebius," Vigiliae Christianae,  31 (1977): 117-125.

C. Sant, Old Testament Interpretation in Eusebius of Caesarea (Malta: Royal University of Malta, 1967).


V.                 Book Two:

Sources:  Tertullian, Philo, Josephus,  Clement of Alexandria, Hegesippus

Topics: early mission, reading Acts, apostles, Theudas, Simon the Samaritan magician, Peter in Rome, Philo on the Contemplative Life, troubles in Jerusalem, Paul on trial, James the just, Nero.

Greek Reading:


Book III: Papias, Clement of Rome, Ignatius

Book IV: Aristides, Gnosticism, Justin Martyr, Acts of Martyrs, Tatian

Book V: Letter of Churches of Lyon & Vienne, Irenaeus, Montanism

Book VI: Origen, Dionysius

Book VII



Sommerville,-Robert-E, ‘Ordering principle for Book VIII of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical history : a suggestion’ Vigiliae-Christianae. 20 (Je 1966), p. 91-97..


Irena Backus, ‘Calvin's judgment of Eusebius of Caesarea : an analysis’ Sixteenth Century Journal 22 (1991) 419-437.


A.E. Johnson, ‘Rhetorical criticism in Eusebius' Gospel questions’  Studia Patristica 18, vol 1. Kalamazoo, Mich : Cistercian Publications, 1985. p. 33-39.


H.A. Drake, ‘Eusebius on the true cross’ JEH 36 (Ja 1985), p. 1-22..


V. Some Other Links:


Tyndale House - Doorway to Bible Scholarship


Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Cambridge




Created and maintained by P.M.Head (27.6.2002) [Web Page]