Dealing with the subject of apologetics and polemics against the pagans in Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 260-340), this volume discusses his response to the vigorous political, cultural and religious campaign launched against Christianity in his time. The first part of the book examines the background for Eusebius' apologetic enterprise and his early apologetic writings. The second and main part of the study analyzes major topics in Eusebius' great two-part apologetic work, the Praeparatio Evangelica and the Demonstratio Evangelica, such as the concept of Christian prehistory, prophecy and miracles. The last part deals with Eusebius' tactics and rhetoric and the place of Porphyry - the outstanding pagan polemicist against Christianity - in Eusebius' work. This part closes with a discussion of Eusebius' final apologetic statement in his work The Theophany, reflecting already the recent triumph of Christianity. This publication has also been published in paperback, please click here for details.
Essential reading for reconstructing early Christianity, the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. 260—340 C.E.) have held a central place for historians of early Christianity. Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History frequently stands on the scholar’s shelf alongside the writings of Josephus or Philo of Alexandria. While apologists like Irenaeus and Origen have stood squarely in the spotlight, Eusebius has remained in the shadows. Kofsky contends that the value of Eusebius’s own apologetic and theological writings has been neglected. He corrects this deficit and invites us to see Eusebius as a “contender for the faith” in his own right. To accomplish his goal, Kofsky takes us on a detailed tour of two of Eusebius’s key documents: Eusebius’s Praeparatio Evangelica and Demonstratio Evangelica. This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.
Theology and Hermeneutics in Early Syriac Literature
The study of early Syriac Christianity has for decades been steadily expanding, yet its scope still lags way behind that of research relating to Greek and Latin Christianity. One of the intriguing and understudied topics here is the nature of Syriac Christianity's autonomous identity in late antiquity. This question is intrinsically connected to its genesis from an indigenous Christian Aramaic background as well as its interaction with the neighboring Jewish milieu. This volume unearthes some of the idiosyncracies -- mainly pertaining to trinitarian theology, christology and hermeneutics -- to be found in early Syriac literature before the onslaught of Greek hegemony. The idiosyncrasies analyzed here offer new insights into the nature of that peculiar brand of early Christianity, confirming a model of an indigenous early Syriac tradition gradually entering into a dynamic interaction with Greek influence.
This valuable collection of thirteen studies provides an overview of recent research on central issues concerning the history of late antique Gaza. Several essays address various aspects of the continuity of pagan culture in Christian Gaza, festivals, spectacles, and the classical legacy of the fifth and sixth centuries, thus highlighting the public life of the city as a unique synthesis of the new and old worlds. Several articles deal with central topics pertaining to the monastic life developed in the region of Gaza and its vicinity between the fourth and seventh centuries. More specifically, they explore the rich Correspondence of Barsanuphius and John, the spiritual leaders of this monastic community. Two papers furnish an archeological survey of the monasteries of Gaza, and a discussion on the geographical and administrative aspects of its territory. Certain articles focus on the anti-Chalcedonian resistance of this monastic center in the wake of the council of Chalcedon, while others tackle the change of its stance in the time of Emperor Justin (518-527). In sum, this book covers a relatively neglected chapter in the complex and fascinating Christian history of the Holy Land.
Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony and Aryeh Kofsky
This book studies one of the most striking chapters in the history of late antique monastic culture, provided by the monastic legacy of Gaza. A monastic intellectual community flourished in the region of Gaza from the fourth to the seventh century, producing a wealth of literary works. In this diverse and exciting literary corpus—especially in the unique correspondence between spiritual leaders and their clientele—matters that are usually only hinted at in monastic sources, are vividly portrayed. Distinct from the dry and matter-of-fact monastic instructions and the stereotypes of hagiography, this corpus exposes the psychological tensions, moods, frustrations, and elations in the daily existence of the monks, revealing them as creatures of flesh and blood. This book seeks to frame the historical development of this community and endeavours to analyze the spiritual and intellectual context of what may be termed the monastic school of Gaza. The legacy of this complex and thriving centre cuts across theological differences and boundaries. Shedding light on these neglected educated circles enhances and somewhat balances the overall historical picture of late antique ascetic culture and Palestinian Christianity.