Utopia and dystopia in the Praeparatio Evangelica: Eusebius on Christian identity and his rhetoric of exclusivism

Rajiv Bhola

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch

Abstract

However tumultuous the first three centuries were in the evolution of the early Christian church, the most significant developments took place during the generation of Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea (ca. 260-339 CE). In his lifetime, the imperial attitude towards Christianity shifted from relative indifference to outright aggression, and finally to not simply tolerance, but endorsement under the emperor Constantine (306-337 CE). From the outset of the ‘Great Persecution’ in 303 CE, Eusebius adopted an apologetic approach to his writings that persisted even after hostilities ceased ten years later. His preoccupation with apologetics is understandable, considering that in previous periods of tolerance the threat of renewed persecution was always looming.

The present paper is a ‘state of the question’ on my current work on Eusebius’ Praeparatio evangelica. This text and its companion volume, the Demonstratio evangelica, are together considered to be his apologetic magnum opus, though traditionally they have not attracted much enthusiasm. At first glance, the PE appears to be primarily concerned with tracing the descent of various Mediterranean peoples religiously, ethnically, and intellectually. However, the purpose and framework of the text suggest that Eusebius’ may have had an instructional agenda for recent Gentile converts that went beyond the history lesson the text appears to be.

Seminar

SeminarDepartment of Ancient History Research Seminar Series
Abbreviated titleAHRS
CountryAustralia
CitySydney
Period9/10/189/10/18

Fingerprint

Dystopia
Utopia
Apologetics
Rhetoric
Christian Identity
Exclusivism
Persecution
Tolerance
Attitude toward Christianity
Hostility
Threat
Constantine the Great
Aggression
Indifference
Enthusiasm
Magnum Opus
Christian Churches
Convert
History
Descent

Cite this

Bhola, R. (2018). Utopia and dystopia in the Praeparatio Evangelica: Eusebius on Christian identity and his rhetoric of exclusivism. Abstract from Department of Ancient History Research Seminar Series, Sydney, Australia.
Bhola, Rajiv. / Utopia and dystopia in the Praeparatio Evangelica : Eusebius on Christian identity and his rhetoric of exclusivism. Abstract from Department of Ancient History Research Seminar Series, Sydney, Australia.
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abstract = "However tumultuous the first three centuries were in the evolution of the early Christian church, the most significant developments took place during the generation of Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea (ca. 260-339 CE). In his lifetime, the imperial attitude towards Christianity shifted from relative indifference to outright aggression, and finally to not simply tolerance, but endorsement under the emperor Constantine (306-337 CE). From the outset of the ‘Great Persecution’ in 303 CE, Eusebius adopted an apologetic approach to his writings that persisted even after hostilities ceased ten years later. His preoccupation with apologetics is understandable, considering that in previous periods of tolerance the threat of renewed persecution was always looming. The present paper is a ‘state of the question’ on my current work on Eusebius’ Praeparatio evangelica. This text and its companion volume, the Demonstratio evangelica, are together considered to be his apologetic magnum opus, though traditionally they have not attracted much enthusiasm. At first glance, the PE appears to be primarily concerned with tracing the descent of various Mediterranean peoples religiously, ethnically, and intellectually. However, the purpose and framework of the text suggest that Eusebius’ may have had an instructional agenda for recent Gentile converts that went beyond the history lesson the text appears to be.",
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language = "English",
note = "Department of Ancient History Research Seminar Series : session 2, 2018, AHRS ; Conference date: 09-10-2018 Through 09-10-2018",

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Bhola, R 2018, 'Utopia and dystopia in the Praeparatio Evangelica: Eusebius on Christian identity and his rhetoric of exclusivism' Department of Ancient History Research Seminar Series, Sydney, Australia, 9/10/18 - 9/10/18, .

Utopia and dystopia in the Praeparatio Evangelica : Eusebius on Christian identity and his rhetoric of exclusivism. / Bhola, Rajiv.

2018. Abstract from Department of Ancient History Research Seminar Series, Sydney, Australia.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch

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T1 - Utopia and dystopia in the Praeparatio Evangelica

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AU - Bhola, Rajiv

PY - 2018

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AB - However tumultuous the first three centuries were in the evolution of the early Christian church, the most significant developments took place during the generation of Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea (ca. 260-339 CE). In his lifetime, the imperial attitude towards Christianity shifted from relative indifference to outright aggression, and finally to not simply tolerance, but endorsement under the emperor Constantine (306-337 CE). From the outset of the ‘Great Persecution’ in 303 CE, Eusebius adopted an apologetic approach to his writings that persisted even after hostilities ceased ten years later. His preoccupation with apologetics is understandable, considering that in previous periods of tolerance the threat of renewed persecution was always looming. The present paper is a ‘state of the question’ on my current work on Eusebius’ Praeparatio evangelica. This text and its companion volume, the Demonstratio evangelica, are together considered to be his apologetic magnum opus, though traditionally they have not attracted much enthusiasm. At first glance, the PE appears to be primarily concerned with tracing the descent of various Mediterranean peoples religiously, ethnically, and intellectually. However, the purpose and framework of the text suggest that Eusebius’ may have had an instructional agenda for recent Gentile converts that went beyond the history lesson the text appears to be.

M3 - Abstract

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Bhola R. Utopia and dystopia in the Praeparatio Evangelica: Eusebius on Christian identity and his rhetoric of exclusivism. 2018. Abstract from Department of Ancient History Research Seminar Series, Sydney, Australia.