Theologian Thursday: Eusebius (260-339)

Added on by Keegan Osinski.

As a lover of church history, I have found a soft spot in my heart for Eusebius, who was one of the first church historians, and followed the thought of Justin Martyr and Origen.

It's kind of funny to think of him being a church historian when he only lived in the third/fourth century. I mean, some of the more exciting drama (some post-Nicean controversies, and the councils of Constantinople and Chalcedon, not to mention anything in the middle ages) were just getting started or hadn't happened yet. But his work st the stage for  the keeping of records, without which the Christian tradition would be woefully paltry and this blog would not exist.

Eusebius was named the bishop of Caesarea in 313 after being imprisoned for a time during the persecutions, and was one of Constantine's top theological advisers. He was involved in the Council of Nicaea (with a slight Arian bent) in 325, and in 334 presided over a synod in which Athanasius was brought forth and accused of chopping the hand off a bishop (they brought the hand as evidence... but not the bishop. THIS IS REAL CHURCH HISTORY, PEOPLE).

Anyway, Eusebius's work has a lot to do with the canonization of books in the Bible. His relaying of the history of the documents and their use within the early church aided in the process of creating the canon we know today. In addition, he also talks about important figures in the early (eastern) church. His knowledge of the western church was lacking a bit, but you can't really blame him, because he didn't have an email account set up.

What you should read:
Ratings:
(To read more about my Theologian Rating System, click HERE) 
Gender Equality:
Although I imagine his respect for women was about on par with anyone else's in the patriarchal fourth century, he heaps praises on multiple women in his exposition of the martyrs, including Valentina, Theodosia, and others, calling them courageous, brave heroines.
Environmental Sensibility:
As usual, it's hard to say on this one. But I do find it interesting that just about every mention of "Creation" in his Church History is referring to the creation of humanity rather than creation or nature in general. I think that says something about where nature was on his priority list.
Heretical Tendencies: 
I had to give him two stars, just because of his (however slight) preference for Arian theology and its happenstance of falling on the losing side of history. Additionally, he studied from the personal library of Origen (who also turned out to be a heretic), which was maintained by his teacher, Pamphilus.
General Badassery: 
Like I said, I like this dude. Eusebius wrote a ton and was a  totally legit scholar. Those characteristics are pretty badass to me, but outside of that not much is known about his life, so there doesn't seem to be any crazy stories about him.

Finally, a long but lovely quote/prayer:

"May I be an enemy to no one and the friend of what abides eternally.
May I never quarrel with those nearest me, and be reconciled quickly if I should. 
May I never plot evil against others, and if anyone plot evil against me, 
may I escape unharmed and without the need to hurt anyone else.
May I love, seek and attain only what is good. 
May I desire happiness for all and harbor envy for none.
May I never find joy in the misfortune of one who has wronged me.
May I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make reparation.
May I gain no victory that harms me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are mad at each other.
May I, insofar as I can, give all necessary help to my friends and to all who are in need.
May I never fail a friend in trouble.
May I be able to soften the pain of the 
grief stricken and give them comforting words.
May I respect myself.
May I always maintain control of my emotions.
May I habituate myself to be gentle, and never angry with others because of circumstances.
May I never discuss the wicked or what they have done, but know good people and follow in their footsteps."