Eusebius and Empire: Constructing Church and Rome in the Ecclesiastical History
The experts in the seminar highly recommended Eusebius and Empire: Constructing Church and Rome in the Ecclesiastical History
by James Corke-Webster (it's pricey; if you want to read it, try inter-library loaning it through your local public). I would also recommend Andrew Carriker’s The Library of Eusebius of Caesarea
... for Josephus’s accounts of the (supposed) mass suicides at Masada and Gamla in each case he names two eyewitnesses (in both cases women) and describes their credentials, usually a marker of a reliable method. But modern historians now suspect he made these sources up; and their accounts (see Making History: Josephus And Historical Method [also $$$]
). But this still illustrates Josephus knew what the standards were and was trying to trick his readers into thinking he had met them. The masses were often gullible. But the educated elites reading books like this typically were not. But if one were inclined to need to believe his stories, Josephus provided adequate cover for doing so.
Indeed, like Eusebius, Josephus was very much composing propaganda (see, eg., Out-Heroding Herod: Josephus, Rhetoric, & the Herod Narratives
and Historiography and Self-Definition: Josephos, Luke-Acts, and Apologetic Historiography
); he just was better at it, and more typically honest about it. A lot of his history checks out; it has corroboration and reliable sourcing. Nicolaus of Damascus, for example, really did exist and really did compose an eyewitness account of Herod, and Josephus is unlikely to have gotten away with lying much about its contents ... https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/17358
, 2019, -
Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, written in the early fourth century, continues to serve as our primary gateway to a crucial three hundred year period: the rise of early Christianity under the Roman Empire. In this volume, James Corke-Webster undertakes the first systematic study considering the History in the light of its fourth-century circumstances as well as its author's personal history, intellectual commitments, and literary abilities. He argues that the Ecclesiastical History is not simply an attempt to record the past history of Christianity, but a sophisticated mission statement that uses events and individuals from that past to mould a new vision of Christianity tailored to Eusebius' fourth-century context. He presents elite Graeco-Roman Christians with a picture of their faith that smooths off its rough edges and misrepresents its size, extent, nature, and relationship to Rome. Ultimately, Eusebius suggests that Christianity was - and always had been - the Empire's natural heir.
The Library of Eusebius of Caesarea
, 2003, -
This volume reconstructs the contents of the library in Roman Palestine of Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. 265-339) by examining Eusebius' major works, the Ecclesiastical History, Chronicon, Preparation for the Gospel, and Life of Constantine. After surveying the history of the library from its origins as an ecclesiastical archive and its true foundation by Origen of Alexandria to its disappearance in the seventh century, it discusses how Eusebius used his sources and then examines what specific works were available in the library in chapters devoted to philosophical works, poetry and rhetoric, histories, Jewish and Christian works, and contemporary documents. The book ends with a useful list of the contents of the library.
Making History: Josephus And Historical Method
, 2006, -
The encounter between interpretation and history in the writings of Josephus provides the conceptual framework for this collection of essays. The contributions in this volume, which were presented at an international colloquium entitled "Josephus: Interpretation and History" held in Dublin in 2004, are united, not by a single view of Josephus, but by the question of historical method, both ancient and modern. These essays take up aspects of a problem basic to all researchers who would use Josephus for historical purposes, namely: What is the relationship between narratives and history? Organized thematically, the volume reflects a critical engagement with the texts of Josephus, other literary texts, case studies of particular events, and material remains.
Out-Heroding Herod: Josephus, Rhetoric, & the Herod Narratives
, 2006, -
The book examines the parallel accounts of the rise, reign and fall of King Herod of Judea in the works of Flavius Josephus: Bellum Judaicum 1.204-673 and Antiquitates Judaicae 14-17. The main questions considered here concern the very existence of two separate accounts of the same historical period, the significant rhetorical differences between them, and the ways in which Josephus portrays two different images of the same man: Herod of Judea.
Historiography and Self-Definition: Josephos, Luke-Acts, and Apologetic Historiography
Also under consideration here are literary and historiographical questions regarding the structure of the narratives, the implementation of rhetorical tools, the historian’s authorial voice, and the relations with earlier sources and other examples of Jewish, Greek and Roman historiography.
The two Herod narratives clearly demonstrate Josephus’ meticulous implementation of rhetorical tools and dramatic devices, mostly influenced by Greek historiography. A few Roman echoes and a deeper level of Jewish assumptions appear as well. Josephus’ careful composition and highly charged rhetoric is here explained by using the modern theory of narratology. Reading the Herod narratives in light of narratological concepts like focalization, order and the narrator’s voice reveals new angles for understanding Josephus’ method as a historian and new insights concerning the image of Herod and the rhetorical means used by Josephus in portraying him.
, 1992, -
For centuries scholars have recognized the apologetic character of the Hellenistic Jewish historians, Josephos, and Luke-Acts; they have not, however, adequately addressed their possible relationships to each other and to their wider cultures. In this first full systematic effort to set these authors within the framework of Greco-Roman traditions, Professor Sterling has used genre criticism as a method for locating a distinct tradition of historical writing, apologetic historiography.
Apologetic historiography is the story of a subgroup of people which deliberately Hellenizes the traditions of the group in an effort to provide a self-definition within the context of the larger world. It arose as a result of a dialectic relationship with Greek ethnography. This work traces the evolution of this tradition through three major eras of eastern Mediterranean history spanning six hundred years: the Persian, the Greek, and the Roman.