Eusebius as a forger.

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Ben C. Smith
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Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun May 12, 2019 10:26 am

Subject: Pseudo-Hegesippus and the TF
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:34 pm
Peter Kirby wrote:By itself, this only shows that Eusebius is capable of quoting Josephus without manuscript support (with high probability, anyway). It leaves open the possibility that Eusebius found this Testimonium somewhere else and thought it something Josephus said or would likely say (or that, like other quotes, it had already "landed"). It is primarily (but not exclusively) the work of Ken Olson that supports the opinion, to the contrary, that the text was more likely composed by Eusebius. And this other example supports the likelihood that Eusebius could quote it with or without first having it in a manuscript.
What I would love to see is a reasoned argument in favor of Eusebius having composed something himself while attributing it to somebody else. The example you cite is exactly the sort of thing which proves that Eusebius is capable of trusting other people's references either without checking them for himself or without daring to ask. Is there a similar example which would seem to prove that Eusebius is capable of making something up from scratch without relying on an Origen, as it were?

In his chapter of Eusebius of Caesarea: Tradition and Innovations, Ken Olson mentions Life of Constantine 2.5.3–41 as a possibility, of which he writes:

Modern scholars have long been skeptical about Licinius’ speech as recorded by Eusebius. Some defended Eusebius by claiming that he merely reports in good faith what his sources told him. In recent scholarship, however, there seems to be a tendency among commentators to ascribe the composition of Licinius’ speech to Eusebius himself.

But this is hardly a smoking gun, is it? This is a trend in scholarship, is it not? Olson continues:

If Cameron and Hall are correct, Eusebius apparently provided his own allegedly outside witness to the truth of Christianity.

That "if" is the catch here, since if the protasis is incorrect then Eusebius did once again as we can find him usually doing, quoting texts which, when and where we are able to check, do actually exist apart from Eusebius (works by the NT authors, the apostolic fathers, Josephus, Justin, Irenaeus, Clement, Origen, Abgar... the list goes on and on). So... is there a more ironclad example, one of equal weight to the example which demonstrates that Eusebius can misquote through a forebear in the faith?

(Note that this question is quite independent of whether the Testimonium is a forgery; it can still be a forgery without Eusebius having authored it.)
Based on Stephan's recent thread, I want to compile a list of passages for which arguments have been mounted (not merely suspicions coddled) in favor of Eusebius, instead of merely quoting a source, having actually forged that source, or at least added interpolations to it. (I am not concerned with Eusebius having subtracted from a source, since that is the nature of editing, and I am already quite prepared to think that he may have edited tendentiously.)
  1. Ken Olson argues that Eusebius forged the Testimonium Flavianum in Antiquities of the Jews 18.3.3 §63-64.
  2. Cameron and Hall (as cited by Olson above) argue (or at least summarize the suspicions of some scholars to the effect) that Eusebius forged Licinius' speech in Life of Constantine 2.5.3–41.
  3. James Corke-Webster argues that Eusebius at least added to the epistle of the churches in Lyons and Vienne in History of the Church 5.1.3-63.
If anyone has other concrete passages (attended by concrete arguments) to add, I will happily append them to the list.
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Charles Wilson
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Charles Wilson » Sun May 12, 2019 11:31 am

Jay Raskin, The Evolution of Christs and Christianities,
ISBN-10: 1413497918
ISBN-13: 978-1413497915 .

Raskin argues that Eusebius forged Hegesippus to provide another "Historical Source" to support his view that the One True Church is his church.

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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Secret Alias » Sun May 12, 2019 1:08 pm

Eusebius's relationship with Pamphilius is starling - ultimately taking over his name. The Life of Origen purports to have been written by Pamphilius but it might well be rewritten by Eusebius. I remember something about Pamphilius and Eusebius's signatures appearing side by side or in some strange way in the earliest manuscripts of the Hexapla. Also I think Jerome infers that Eusebius altered Origen. It is interesting to note that Eusebius is obsessed (and reacts to 'Celsus') as a continuation of Against Celsus which - interestingly - admits to being 'written a second time' in Caesarea (second time, third time = forgery in early Christianity). Also while we're on the subject the Commentary on Matthew is peculiar too. I think it has two text types (Alexandrian and Caesarean). Dog barking. Have to go.
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Secret Alias » Sun May 12, 2019 1:14 pm

Not forgery but worth considering. When you read his Commentary on Matthew he seems to have his master Ammonius's tables of the gospel harmony (based on Matthew). But he never mentions his master by name nor gives credit to Ammonius. Perhaps that's owing to him being embarrassed that Ammonius turned apostate. But Eusebius turns around and uses the tables. I just find the silence pertaining to both Ammonius and Clement rather puzzling. I suspect Eusebius might have 'cleaned this up.'
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Secret Alias » Sun May 12, 2019 1:16 pm

On Origen's text type https://books.google.com/books?id=ObwyA ... an&f=false
"Origen's text of the Gospels has affinities to both the Alexandrian and Caesarean texts." https://books.google.com/books?id=x6lBA ... 8Q6AEIMDAB
"It will be observed that both the Alexandrian and Caesarean texts are found in Origen's writings" https://books.google.com/books?id=SdoAA ... kQ6AEIODAD

How scholars explain this - Streeter was able to show that Origen, though he had a "Neutral" type of text at his disposal at Alexandria, had access also at Caesarea to another type" https://books.google.com/books?id=23dKA ... QQ6AEIKjAA

I say Eusebius probably just took the Caesarean text that was at hand and it shows up whenever he is expanding Origen. The same thing happens with Rufinus.
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by JoeWallack » Tue May 14, 2019 6:15 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 10:26 am

Based on Stephan's recent thread, I want to compile a list of passages for which arguments have been mounted (not merely suspicions coddled) in favor of Eusebius, instead of merely quoting a source, having actually forged that source, or at least added interpolations to it. (I am not concerned with Eusebius having subtracted from a source, since that is the nature of editing, and I am already quite prepared to think that he may have edited tendentiously.)
  1. Ken Olson argues that Eusebius forged the Testimonium Flavianum in Antiquities of the Jews 18.3.3 §63-64.
  2. Cameron and Hall (as cited by Olson above) argue (or at least summarize the suspicions of some scholars to the effect) that Eusebius forged Licinius' speech in Life of Constantine 2.5.3–41.
  3. James Corke-Webster argues that Eusebius at least added to the epistle of the churches in Lyons and Vienne in History of the Church 5.1.3-63.
If anyone has other concrete passages (attended by concrete arguments) to add, I will happily append them to the list.
Now we're talking.

JW:
Ben, can this include general evidence that Eusebius was a truth-challenged advocate for Jesus?


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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue May 14, 2019 7:05 am

JoeWallack wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 6:15 am
Ben, can this include general evidence that Eusebius was a truth-challenged advocate for Jesus?
Well, I am not all that concerned about Eusebius tendentiously misreading or misinterpreting his sources; I am already on top of his bias (= his Christian advocacy). I am concerned here with the invention of material or the interpolation of invented passages into existing material.
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You Say EuseBS, I Say EuseBias

Post by JoeWallack » Wed May 15, 2019 7:33 am

JW:
I suppose The Abgar Letter is a candidate as E is the first known discoverer. I'm not aware of any Bible scholar who has made an effort to make a detailed argument for this such as analyzing the language and I have faith that neither Stephen Carlson nor nur Schamazelhell will not be doing so any time soon.


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Re: You Say EuseBS, I Say EuseBias

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed May 15, 2019 9:17 am

JoeWallack wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:33 am
JW:
I suppose The Abgar Letter is a candidate as E is the first known discoverer. I'm not aware of any Bible scholar who has made an effort to make a detailed argument for this such as analyzing the language and I have faith that neither Stephen Carlson nor nur Schamazelhell will not be doing so any time soon.


Joseph

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It would be a candidate, yes.

If Eusebius forged these letters, then either Egeria is lying later about her visit to Edessa or the Edessan Christians really liked what they read in Eusebius and adopted the correspondence as the basis for their own foundational legend. The latter option seems more likely, since both the letters and the legend appear in Syriac literature and manuscripts. The Edessans must have been pretty grateful to Eusebius for providing them with a useful etiological legend like that, even though he himself shows little or no interest in Edessan Christianity outside of his descriptions of these letters. Moreover, his interest either in Thomas or in Thaddeus is quite sparse, while Syriac/Eastern Christianity is chock full of references both to Thomas and to Thaddeus.

It is, of course, not impossible that Eusebius is the fountainhead for all of this. But to me it sure looks like the correspondence is Edessan or at least Eastern in origin, written up as an etiology for Edessan Christianity; and Thomas and Thaddeus are involved because Eastern Christianity was as keenly interested in Thomas as Western Christianity was in Peter.

If someone were to present an argument for a Eusebian origin for the epistles of Jesus and Abgar, one which put these and other observations into perspective, I would give it my attention. I have not looked at the style of the Greek to any real degree.
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Re: Eusebius as a forger.

Post by Stuart » Wed May 15, 2019 9:59 am

I have long felt that the material under the name Eusubius is much like that under Epiphanius, Origen and Irenaeus. That is a collection of material from various authors, which has been collected into a compendium by some middle ages editor.

In a sense this is not much different than the Pauline letters of the New testament, where theories, on often very sound grounds, argue that several of the books are in fact made up of fragments sometimes of other letters (e.g., most of Galatians 3-6, 2 Corinthians 8-9, Romans 16, etc) or passages made up by the collector of the fragments who put them into letter form, or by the editor who bound them into a collection, or the redactor who Catholicized them more or less into the form we have now.

From that perspective, the concept of "forger" is perhaps incorrect, as this goes back to the assumption of single authorship and these works being held so sacrosanct as to be untouchable Canon. There is however zero evidence that the Church Father writings were ever considered sacrosanct, and they were copied, rewritten, cobbled together for arguments like fragments we see in text books today.

While not challenging in the least the existence and relationship of the material under the name Eusubius having problematic relationships with other materials, nor that at some stage the compendium of material obtained made up speeches (what ancient writing, including the NT and also the OT is not full of made up dialogue?) and made up sources (or at least "adjusted" to fit the argument at hand), I would suggest we change our perspective to examine the content of the church father writings as snowballs. The more important the author --few would argue that Eusubius is the most important for church lore ("history") to this day-- the more likely it would attract improvements and additions.

None of this is to say that, like the Pauline collection, there are layers of earlier material that may even date from the ascribed author's reputed era. But the presence of snippets from earlier days does in no way mean all the material is early, or that the work is a unity, expect from the later editorial hand that we measure as the author (e.g. the Lukan redactor of Luke-Acts leaves a distinct hand, but we are well aware of an earlier form of Luke and that both Luke and Acts are composed from many source documents). So some of Eusubius may in fact be from his hand.

Anyway I very much welcome this rising awareness that the Church Father writings are problematic, the true authorship unknown, and the pseudo autobiographical material suspect, more legend than fact, and even the dating of the material questionable (since it's often based on the dubious legendary pseudo biographical commentary). It is a healthy development.
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