Little is known about the life of Eusebius. His successor at the See of Caesarea, Acacius, wrote a Life eusebius ecclesiastical history pdf Eusebius, a work that has since been lost. Eusebius’ own surviving works probably only represent a small portion of his total output.
In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius writes of Dionysius of Alexandria as his contemporary. By the 3rd century, Caesarea had a population of about 100,000. It had been a pagan city since Pompey had given control of the city to the gentiles during his command of the eastern provinces in the 60s BC. The gentiles retained control of the city for the three centuries to follow, despite Jewish petitions for joint governorship. Caesarea became a center of Christian learning.
On his deathbed, Origen had made a bequest of his private library to the Christian community in the city. Eusebius, who was then somewhere between twenty and twenty-five. Because of his close relationship with his schoolmaster, Eusebius was sometimes called Eusebius Pamphili: “Eusebius, son of Pamphilus”. Eusebius’ Preparation for the Gospel bears witness to the literary tastes of Origen: Eusebius quotes no comedy, tragedy, or lyric poetry, but makes reference to all the works of Plato and to an extensive range of later philosophic works, largely from Middle Platonists from Philo to the late 2nd century. In the 290s, Eusebius began work on his magnum opus, the Ecclesiastical History, a narrative history of the Church and Christian community from the Apostolic Age to Eusebius’ own time.
At about the same time, he worked on his Chronicle, a universal calendar of events from the Creation to, again, Eusebius’ own time. Eusebius succeeded Agapius as Bishop of Caesarea soon after 313 and was called on by Arius who had been excommunicated by his bishop Alexander of Alexandria. An episcopal council in Caesarea pronounced Arius blameless. The theological views of Arius, that taught the subordination of the Son to the Father, continued to be a problem.
Eustathius of Antioch strongly opposed the growing influence of Origen’s theology as the root of Arianism. Eusebius, an admirer of Origen, was reproached by Eustathius for deviating from the Nicene faith. In the following year, he was again summoned before a synod in Tyre at which Eusebius of Caesarea presided. Much like his birth, the exact date of Eusebius’ death is unknown.
However, there is primary text evidence from a council held in Antioch that by the year 341, his successor Acacius had already filled the seat as Bishop. Of the extensive literary activity of Eusebius, a relatively large portion has been preserved. Hence, much has been preserved, quoted by Eusebius, which otherwise would have been destroyed. The literary productions of Eusebius reflect on the whole the course of his life. At first, he occupied himself with works on Biblical criticism under the influence of Pamphilus and probably of Dorotheus of Tyre of the School of Antioch. Then followed the time of the Arian controversies, and dogmatic questions came into the foreground. Lastly, Eusebius wrote eulogies in praise of Constantine.
Under each letter, the entries are organized first by the book they are found in, and then by their place in that book. Where there is a contemporary town at the site or nearby, Eusebius notes it in the corresponding entry. Terebinth”, for example, describes Shechem as “near Neapolis”, modern Nablus, and “Tophet” is located “in the suburbs of Jerusalem”. The Onomasticon has traditionally been dated before 324, on the basis of its sparse references to Christianity, and complete absence of remarks on Constantine’s buildings in the Holy Land.
The work also describes traditional religious practices at the oak of Mamre as though they were still happening, while they are known to have been suppressed soon after 325, when a church was built on the site. Eusebius compiled his work in Greek, although a Latin translation of the Onomasticon was made by Jerome about a century later. Pamphilus and Eusebius occupied themselves with the textual criticism of the Septuagint text of the Old Testament and especially of the New Testament. The work as a whole has been lost in the original Greek, but it may be reconstructed from later chronographists of the Byzantine school who made excerpts from the work, especially George Syncellus. The tables of the second part have been completely preserved in a Latin translation by Jerome, and both parts are still extant in an Armenian translation.
In his Church History or Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius wrote the first surviving history of the Christian Church as a chronologically-ordered account, based on earlier sources, complete from the period of the Apostles to his own epoch. The time scheme correlated the history with the reigns of the Roman Emperors, and the scope was broad. Before he compiled his church history, Eusebius edited a collection of martyrdoms of the earlier period and a biography of Pamphilus. The martyrology has not survived as a whole, but it has been preserved almost completely in parts.