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Praeparatio evangelica

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Praeparatio evangelica

Preparation for the Gospel (Greek: Εὑαγγελικὴ προπαρασκευή), commonly known by its Latin title Praeparatio evangelica, was a work of Christian apologetics written by Eusebius in the early part of the fourth century AD. It was begun about the year 313,[1] and attempts to prove the excellence of Christianity over pagan religions and philosophies.

Contents

The Praeparatio consists of fifteen books which have been completely preserved. Eusebius considered it an introduction to Christianity for pagans. But its value for many later readers is more because Eusebius added information from historians and philosophers which was not recorded elsewhere. Namely:

  • Here alone is preserved a summary of the writings of the Phoenician priest Sanchuniathon, of which the accuracy has been shown by the mythological accounts found on the Ugaritic tables.
  • Here alone is the account from Diodorus Siculus's sixth book of Euhemerus's wondrous voyage to the island of Panchaea where Euhemerus purports to have found his true history of the gods.
  • Here almost alone are preserved writings of the Platonist philosopher Atticus along with much else.
  • Here are contained many writings of the Middle Platonist philosopher Numenius of Apamea.
  • Here primarily are preserved important works of Porphyry, the Neoplatonist critic of Christianity (the On Images, Philosophy from Oracles, the Letter to Anebo, the Against the Christians, the Against Boethus, the Philological Lecture).

Influence

This work was used by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494) as a resource for his well-known oration A Speech by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Prince of Concord.

Praeparatio evangelica

The term also denotes an early church doctrine, praeparatio evangelica, meaning a preparation of the gospel among cultures yet to hear of the message of Christ. In this view, God has already sown the older cultures with ideas and themes that would grow to fruition through interpretation in a fully Christian context. [2] It should be noted that Eusebius' own Praeparatio Evangelica does not adopt the common notion (which occurs at least as early as Clement of Alexandria) of Greek philosophy as a "preparation for the Gospel." Eusebius instead offers a lengthy argument for the wisdom of the ancient Hebrews becoming a preparation for Greek philosophy (at least Platonic philosophy, see Praep.ev. 11-13). For Eusebius, the Greeks stole any truths they possessed from the more ancient Hebrews.

References

  1. ^ Aaron P. Johnson, Ethnicity and Argument in Eusebius' Praeparatio evangelica (2006), p. 11.
  2. ^ Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002), 122.

External links

  • Introduction and English text, translated by E. H. Gifford (1903)
  • Praeparatio Evangelica (English text), translated by E. H. Gifford (1903)
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