Full Text for Studies in Eusebius, part 2 (Text)

Qtnurnr~tu m4t~1ngiral jinut~ly Continuing LEHRE UND WEHRE MAGAZIN FUER E v.-LuTH. H OMILETIK T HEOLOGICAL Q UARTERLY-THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY Vol. I V February, 1933 No.2 CONTENTS P age GRAEBNER, THEO. : The Modernistic Christ 81 KROEGER. A. C.: Die Stellung der Frau in der christlichen Kirche . . ... . , 85 MAIER. W. A.: Archeology - the Nemesis ... 95 SIHLER, E. G.: Studies in Eusebius 102 KRETZMANN. P. E.: Luther und Zuelsdorf . 112 KRETZMANN. P. E.: Our Formula for Infant Baptism . 120 LAETSCH. THEO.: Divorce and Malicious De~rtion . ..... 127 KRETZMANN. P. E.: Die Hauptschriften Luthers in chro- nologischer Reihenfolge . ... . . 133 Dispositionen ueber die altkirchliche Epistelreihe . 135 Miscellanea .. ... .. .. . .... . . . .. .. . 141 Theological Observer. - Kirchlich-Zeitgeschichtliches 145 Book Review. - Literatur.. .... ... 153 Ein Predlger mUM nleht allein Vlri' Eusebius, VIII,31.) From this point on, say from Aurelianus onward, Eusebius begins to write of incidents in his own life. In all fairness we may infer that, if he took such pains to use documents of the first order for the period from the apostles down, then this last period was set down with the same scrupulous regard for truth. In an anticipatory phrase Eusebius designates the period of Em- peror Diocletian that of "the siege of the churches." (From now on Eusebius introduces such a multitude of persons and characters that we must be careful to limit ourselves to the more important; whom to select is not easy. Scholars, naturally, appeal to him very much.) It was at the time of Bishop Tyrannos that this "siege of the churches" ":flourished" (r;"flaa8v). He gives a succinct survey of episcopal suc- cessions up to Diocletian's persecution, which was felt everywhere as the greatest of all, "the persecution of our own time." Speaking of Hermon, bishop of Jerusalem: "He received the apostolic chair, which is still preserved there" Tertullian "o+o""orl to t.bis mmservHti.ve habit of the churches which I have referred to above. Eusebius sums up the seven books preceding the eighth as "the succession to the apostles." And this term is significant - not so much the adherence of Ohristians to the Bible as the framework of a sacerdotal system and tradition was his chief interest; not so much the pTiesthood of all OhTistians as pTesented 1 Pet. 2, 9. Many servants at Diocletian's court were OhTistians. TI,ere were fine chuTches also and large ones, "houses of pTayer (nl}oaBV""'1l}ia!), in all the cities." Gibbon's computation that the Ohristians composed but one-twentieth of the total population is, on the very face of it, absurd. But much worldliness had crept in, says Eusebius - jealousy, backbiting, bitterness, hypocrisy, and insincerity; "OUT shepherds were inflamed with love of autocratic poweL" Repeatedly the bishop of OaesaTea called the persecution a "divine judgment." (VIII,l.) His design (VIII, 2) was that his narrative should be "useful" to his own and to future generations of Ohristians. The persecution began in the army (chap. 4); many withdrew from military service or were degraded to the ranks. (It was in 303 A. D.) Both Diocletian and Galerius were then at Nicomedia and issued their edict there. Among the fiTst sufiereTS were courtiers and pages. They were ordered to sacrifice. Too often flogging followed, after which vinegar and salt were applied to the wounds, and finally the martyr was placed on a metal brazier, made glowing, until he expired. Such was the fate of Peter, one of the imperial pages (chap. 6). Others were strangled. The bishop of Nicomedia was beheaded. The ashes of 110 Studies in Eusebius. those burned were thrown into the water that their tombs might not be honored. The prisons were filling with bishops, presbyters, deacons, readers, and exorcists. The provinces of Africa and Mauretania and the Thebaid district in Egypt suffered especially. What happened in the great commercial city of Tyre (chap. 7) Eusebius witnessed himself, probably in the amphitheater, when wild beasts, also steers and boars, were let loose against the Ohristians. In the end they were all dispatched with the sword and their bodies thrown into the sea to prevent their being given a Ohristian bm·ial. In the Thebaid of Egypt peculiar forms of torture were employed: the bodies were scraped with potsherds and drawn upward by the feet,. even those of women; others were torn apart by tree-tops drawn to- gether and then loosened (chap. 9). This went on for years. Some- times ten were executed, at other times more than twenty or thirty, even sixty. Eusebius personally visited these regions and made in- quil-ies on the spot. Some Ohristians came forward voluntarily, worshiping the Triune God, singing psalms at the end. Some of those brought before the tribunals of heathen judges were distiJlglli~hed h:;, 'Yealth, birth, :luct culture, e. g., Philoromos, who had held a high position in the depart- ment of finance, and Phileas, the bishop of Thmuis. A simple denial of Ohrist would have saved these two. Both were beheaded. The last message of Bishop Phileas to his church at Alexandria is given in full by Eusebius (chap. 10), including the citation from Phi1. 2, 6. They were made to suffer even while being examined by the Roman official. If they merely "touched" the pagan sacrifice, they were freed. The bishop in his letter quoted also the First Oommand- ment as strengthening the Ohristians in their refusal. A small town in Phrygia, the inhabitants of which were all Ohristian, was burned, men, women, and children, by Roman legionaries (chap. 11). In some cases Ohristian women were threatened with having their daughters thrown into houses of prostitution (chap. 12). Eusebius calls it all a truceless war (n62s,.,ov a(Jnoy~ov) of the Ro- man government against the Ohristians (chap. 13). Diocletian retired to private life, and Galerius in the East and Oonstantius in the West became Augusti. The latter contented himself with destroying Ohris- tian chapels and churches. (At this point Eusebius reveals his flattery of Oonstantine.) Maxentius (in Italy, the new Oaesar), from political motives, assumed for a while protection of the Ohristian religion, while Maximinu8 Daza, the new Oaesar in the East, almost outdid Galerius as to acts of cruelty (chap. 14). In the eighth year of the persecution (310 and 311 A. D.) a change for the better seemed to come (chap. 16). Galerius began to suffer from an awful disease, of "worms," while his body exhaled an intolerable stench (cf. Lactantius, De ]JEortibu8 Persecutorum), and he then issued the edict to stop the Studies in Eusebius. 111 persecution. Eusebius, chap. 17, presents it as translated by himself from the Latin. (Of. From Augustus to Augttstine, pp. 186-188.) Of Books IX and X, which contain some repetitions, I will limit myself to the selection of several points particularly instructive to a modern student of church history. I now turn to X, 2 ff.: the re- building of churches, sometimes with financial aid given by the gov- ernment. Eusebius took particular pains to transcribe such decrees from Latin to Greek (chap. 2). The finest of these rebuilt churches (chap. 4) was that at Tyre in Phenicia. The joy it gave the Ohristians to possess this church re- minded them of the joy of the Jews when the Temple at Jerusalem had been rebuilt after the Babylonian captivity. One seems almost to heal' a sermon in this church and a vivid expression of Ohristian faith, especially the words of praise. "But the second cause of our blessing, the Introducer of the knowledge of God, the Teacher of the true wor- ship of God, the Destroyer of the impious, the Slayer of tyrants, the Regulator of life, Jesus, the Savior of us that had been despaired of, let us extol Him while naming Him, because He, being the only (ft0vdn:aro;) P8~:'£:='c,t , -- 0 -' ; Son, in the expressjon. of t1~8 I-~3t8Y!lal kindliness to mankind, assuming (v:n;oovr;) our nature, prostrate below in destruction, like the best of physicians, on account of the salvation of the suffering ones He beholds dreadful things, He gathers personal sorrow for the troubles of others, He Himself saved not only those who were diseased nOT only those oppressed with awful ulcers and wounds ~ctually festering, but from the very caverns of death." Scriptural allusions are often interwoven with this discourse: "Looking down upon the living temple of us all and gazing upon the house of living and well-established stones [a temple], well and safely built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Ohrist being the Oorner-stone, whom rejected not only they of the ancient and no longer existing architecture [the Jews], but also the modern average mankind, being evil builders of evil [structures]. But the Father both then and now, having approved then and now, has established Him as the Head of the corner of this our common church." The new edifice faced the Tising sun. TheTe were four transverse colonnades, with an open view to the sky in the middle. OedaTs of Lebanon weTe used fOT some of the woodwork. The altar was in the centeT of the church, sUTrounded by a netwo~k of wooden stTuctures. The ceiling was of marble. The baptisteTY was outside of the church pTopeT. The decTee of Oonstantine and Licinius fOT fTeedom of wOTship is pTesented in a version fTom the Latin (X, 5), with the allusion to the DecTee of Milan, 313 A. D., and now directing the restoration of the church property to the OhTistians on the part of the Roman officials, without demanding payment on the part of the OhTistians. New York, N. Y. E. G. SIHLER.