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Ecclesiastical History

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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  1,703 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History is one of the classics of early Christianity and of equal stature with the works of Flavius Josephus. Eusebius chronicles the events of the first three centuries of the Christian church in such a way as to record a vast number of vital facts about early Christianity that can be learned from no other ancient source. When Eusebius wrote his E...more
Hardcover, Complete and Unabridged, 528 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Hendrickson Publishers (first published 324)
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Michael

This is a very good book by the first great church historian. Eusebius (c. AD 264 – c. 340) was a devout Christian, scholar, historian, author, priest, and eventually the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine. His “History of the Church” was the first book to record events in the life of the Church from the advent of Christ through the reign of Constantine. It proceeds chronologically and systematically, documenting the growth of the Church as it spread from Jerusalem throughout the whole of the Roman...more
Matthew
I wish evangelicals would read literature such as this. It is a very interesting chronicle of early Christians. It helps one understand how what we call the 'New Testament' was created and preserved, and a fascinating look at the network of early churches and their relationship. It's also notable that Eusebius, Christianity's first historian and a devout Christian, calls into question the validity of the book of Revelation (he does make clear that he is in no position to pass judgment on the boo...more
Yann
Je m'intéresse de plus en plus à l'histoire chrétienne, et il m'a semblé bon de commencer par cet auteur. Eusèbe de Césarée est réputé être le premier historien a avoir compilé les événements ayant marqué l'église lors des quatre premiers siècles de notre ère. Césarée en Palestine, la ville dont il est issu, ne subsiste de nos jours qu'à l'état de ruine, ayant été secoué par les tremblements de terre qui frappent habituellement cette région du monde. Les vestiges d'une riche cité grecque, et de...more
Tony
THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH FROM CHRIST TO CONSTANTINE. (ca. 300 A.D.). Eusebius. ***.
I did my best to read this history, but couldn’t make it through. This is an important book because it is the only surviving historical record of the Church during its first 300 years. Its language and style, however, were off-putting to my efforts. The translator (G. A. Williamson) did his best in providing references to the author’s work, but those references would have required having a copy of the Bible by m...more
Peter B.
This is a very helpful source on early church history, being the first major church history book written (A.D. 324). It's not terribly well written, but it makes up for that in its interesting subject matter. It shows an early church with real, personal connections with Jesus and the Apostles. It tells of its disputes with the pagans and with heretics. It shows their persevering through persecution and their victory over Rome.

Whatever weaknesses Eusebius had as a historian by modern standards,...more
The other John
For my latest history fix, I decided to go way back to the first 300 years after Christ. (Of course, having received this book for Christmas influenced this decision somewhat.) It was interesting and amusing to read about the first centuries of the Christian Church, reading of controversies and heresies that have been revived almost 20 centuries later. Once, Eusebius gets to the years of his life, however, and speaks of the persecutions that some faced, I was reminded that American Christians, a...more
Jeff Crompton
I'm interested in the Bible and the early history of Christianity, so I jumped on the book when I found it in a used bookstore - what could be more interesting than a 4th-century history of the church? Well, my interest quickly turned into exasperation. Eusubius consulted a large number of early historical manuscripts - not an easy task in those days - but he was far from an unbiased historian.

When things go poorly for the enemies of Christianity, Eusubius attributes this to God's wrath. And wh...more
Laura
It was interesting to find out, first hand, just how different the church was in the late 4th century than it is now, in all but the essentials. The martyr stories were riveting.
Jeffrey
This book is a classic, in the true sense of the word. Palestinian Church Bishop and historian Eusibius collected and compiled the writings of various church leaders who recorded bits from their own lives during the first 300 years of the Christian church. The wonderful thing is that Eusibius, at the time he wrote, had access to many records and documents that have long since faded into history. He was able to acquire writings from the variuos archives of governments and churches that would have...more
Peter
I've admittedly read this book in sections over the years, and as with a great many "histories", I think Eusebius is best taken in bite sized chunks. This is not because it is not fascinating, but because often for the modern reader understanding the references he makes can take time to piece together.

That being said, consistently one of the claims I continue to hear from Protestant sectors of Christianity is that "up until Constantine, the Church had things basically correct....then things sta...more
Abe Goolsby
A really insightful and inspiring look into the life of the church - its teachings, practices, leadership, struggles, sufferings, and triumphs - during its first three centuries. The sadistic cruelty that many of our forebears in the Faith endured throughout these early years during the periods of persecution, which, contrary to common misconception, were for the most part localized and intense but relatively brief, are quite unimaginable from the vantage point of the average American Christian...more
Ephraim Lawson Bowick
Maier's translation is a lot more fluid than others. If one wants to see the cultivation of the Church from the time of Christ to the Edict of Milan, this is the book for you. Want to see apostolic succession of the thrones of the five different sees of early Christendom? Get this book. Though Eusebius was an Arian sympathizer, this tome is crucial to our understanding of the early church because it is the only extant church history we have from this era. I cannot stress enough.. Get this!

Forgiv...more
Steve Hemmeke
Writing around 325, Eusebius chronicles the first 300 years or so after Christ's ascension. The focus is on the persecutions of believers, the bishops of various cities and especially Rome, the heresies that plagued the church, and the greatness of Constantine in relieving the church of her distress.

Eusebius makes several intriguing assertions, only the first of which is generally accepted.
- Peter was the main source for the gospel of Mark
- Paul wrote Hebrews
- 2 Peter is probably not canonica...more
Brad
Amazing. Sunday School doesn't teach that this stuff even exists. Eusebius' work was a great read. There is so much that isn't said about the church history in the Bible. Eusebius goes into great depth of the time period of Jesus' life and the next couple of centuries to follow. He plots out the lineage of disciples starting with the original apostles. There is so much to be learned from his writing.
Ben
In the introduction to this Penguin edition of Eusebius' History, Andrew Louth describes the book as "really quite an uneventful history." I'm not sure which book Louth read before he wrote this introduction, but it was certainly not Eusebius' History of the Church. The History is filled with exciting, and disturbing, recollections and traditions of the church from the time of Christ to Constantine. Williamson offers a dynamic translation that contains many anachronistic idioms, but they do not...more
Fred Sanders
Looking back from the fourth century to the bad old days before Constantine, Eusebius tells every story he's ever heard about the early church. His credulity, his crush on Origen, his replacement theology, and an over-realized eschatology detract somewhat from his accomplishment, but I am so glad this book exists.
Andrew
The most amazing "historical" record that supplements a lot of the missing gaps in the New Testament, especially regarding the martyrdom and eventual apostasy of the church. While some facts have to be taken with a grain of salt, most of the history presented here agrees with the record of the scriptures.
Madeline
Not as easy to read as some of its great imitations (Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English and John Foxe's Acts and Monuments are definitely more fun to wade through), but fascinating and pretty much obligatory if you're interested in early Christian history, martyrology, or late Roman historiography. Often the passages that Eusebius quotes at length (a major innovation for historiography at this time) are more interesting than his bits...but since this is the only place you'll find many...more
Virginia Bonnett
I bought this book to continue learning about the beginnings of the Church. Eusebius was alive during the third to fourth centuries of the Church. He started his history with Jesus and his disciples and ended it with his own current time--the era of Constantine.

Eusebius was very thorough in his writing and quoted many other Church writings and Roman writings of the times. It took me quite a while to read this book (it very detailed and quite dense). The writing is in depth and so full of inform...more
Heather Crabill
Lots of interesting history not included in the bible. A must-read for anyone interested in the history of the early church. Easy read.
Rnpatsy
Early Christian history and the political changes it created in Israel, Palestine, Roman and Egyptian history.
Kristi
I wish more Christians would read early church books. It was very interesting, and not difficult.
Samuel Phillip Gonzales
Must read for any serious student of Church history
Jim B
Paul Maier's commentary is invariable informative and helpful. The pictures (every few pages!) gave an added dimension to the story being told. It is amazing how many busts of emperors and other great men still survive. I feel I could recognize Constantine if I met him on the street.

Eusebius tells the history of Christianity fomr the prophecies of Christ and his Birth and life to the establishment of Christianity by Constantine. The history is full of fascinating detail that give a much more coc...more
Bob
This is one of the first real works of church history. Much of it seems to be taken up with successions of bishops and accounts of martyrdom. The former often include sketches of the character of these bishops, who sometimes become martyrs as well. The latter often include detailed, and sometimes gruesome accounts of their deaths as well as accounts of their faithfulness to God--martyrdom is often spoken of in terms of fulfillment.

Along the way we also see both the formation of the canon and the...more
Daniel Melvill
Eusebius is called the father of church history, and indeed, his account of the first 200 years of Christianity is the first history since Luke wrote Acts.

Unlike the father of history, Herodotus, Eusebius does not tell his history in an elegent storyteller's fashion. The account is clunky at times, and relys too much on other writers accounts - good, because that means we have those documents preserved, but prehaps not the best for writing an elegent history. I wished that Eusebius gave us more...more
Diane
Wonderful, ancient history of the Christian Church covering the period from its beginnings (the first chapter looks at God's preparations for Christ's coming) to Constantine's legalization of Christianity. This is a period that often isn't covered very well in histories of Christianity, so it filled in a lot of details that I had been unaware of previously.

The book focused mostly on the spread of Christianity, the experience of persecutions during some periods, and the internal controversies abo...more
Kevin de Ataíde
The cover calls this book collection the 'only surviving historical record of the Church during its crucial first 300 years.' However in the edited version of Andrew Louth, an excessively critical introduction tells us just what Eusebius' history is not. Now, critical approaches can be useful in many ways, but I don't like the way Eusebius is called 'a scholar less interested in ideas than in facts, evidence, information.' And this, because, as an orthodox bishop, he condemns the distortions tha...more
Matthew Bryan
Surprisingly good read of great importance. Eusebius gave us the first ever history of the Christian faith in the early 4th century. It opens with a beautiful description of Jesus, and a sweeping summary of world history. For the first half of the book, Eusebius deals with times covered in scripture. Every time I began to accuse him of simply recounting what scripture had already told us, he veered off to give wonderful nuggets of information I had never before heard. The final third of the book...more
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How the early Christian lived 2 12 Nov 23, 2012 06:16AM  
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  • Fourteen Byzantine Rulers: The Chronographia of Michael Psellus
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Eusebius of Caesarea (c. AD 263 – 339) also called Eusebius Pamphili, was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon. He wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, and On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As...more
More about Eusebius...
Ecclesiastical History, Vol 1: Books 1-5 Ecclesiastical History, Vol 2: Books 6-10 Life of Constantine Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Volume I - Eusebius: Church History, Life of Constantine the Great, Oration in Praise of Constantine Chronicon (Pantodape historia)

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“I myself have read the writings and teachings of the heretics, polluting my soul for a while with their abominable notions, though deriving this benefit: I was able to refute them for myself and loathe them even more.” 4 likes
“2. It is admitted that when in recent times the appearance of our Saviour Jesus Christ had become known to all men there immediately made its appearance a new nation; a nation confessedly not small, and not dwelling in some corner of the earth, but the most numerous and pious of all nations, indestructible and unconquerable, because it always receives assistance from God. This nation, thus suddenly appearing at the time appointed by the inscrutable counsel of God, is the one which has been honored by all with the name of Christ.” 0 likes
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